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The “Kazakhstan transition” has been expected for years. Although it was widely predicted, no one – inside or outside of Kazakhstan – could guess exactly when it would happen.

For some time, there were speculations of Kazakh president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, resigning. Rumours resurfaced in early March 2019 when Nazarbayev appointed a new prime minister, Askar Mamin, reshuffling the country’s political leadership.

But the real shake-up came on March 19 when Nazarbayev stepped down as president. The world gasped in surprise as the veteran of the post-Soviet political scene, in power for almost 30 years, announced his resignation.

Experts immediately started suggesting reasons for Nazarbayev’s sudden departure from office, among which maybe the most significant is fatigue. After three decades as president, Nazarbeyev has done a good job: Kazakhstan is considered the most successful state in Central Asia, but running the country remains а huge challenge. Nonetheless, any other authoritarian leader would never dare to do the same as Nazarbayev.

However, even though he resigned as president, Nazarbayev continues to lead Nur Otan, effectively the country’s only viable party. He also remains head of the National Security Committee and, most importantly, retains the life-long title of national leader, “Elbasy,” which was bestowed upon him in 2010.

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Prof. Malashenko, chief researcher at the DOC, graduated from Institute of Asian and African Countries, Moscow State University. He is Ph.D. in History, one of the leading experts of Islam, orientalist, political scientist. Prof. Malashenko is the author and editor of about twenty books (in Russian, English, French, and Arabic) and more than 200 articles. The latest are: • The Fight for Influence. Russia in Central Asia. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Washington DC, 2013 • Policy in Russia and Russia in Policy. Moscow, 2013 • My Islam. (Monograph) Publishing house ROSSPEN, Moscow 2010 • L’islam en Russie (Monograph). Les editions Keruss. Canada 2009. Pp. 1-280 • Ramzan Kadirov, a Russian Politician of the «Caucasian Nationality” (Monograph), Publishing House ROSSPEN. Moscow 2009 Before joining the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute he was the Chair of the “Religion, Society, and Security” Program at Carnegie Moscow Center, Professor at Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE), Professor at Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Head of the Islamic Department at Institute of Oriental Studies RAN (Russian Academy of Sciences).