The democratic choice of Kazakhstan: A case study in economic liberalization, intraelite cleavage, and political opposition

Barbara Junisbai, Azamat Junisbai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)


This article departs from recent scholarship on Central Asia, which emphasizes the role of clans and regional identity in driving political outcomes. In Kazakhstan, elite cleavages based on rival economic interests (as opposed to clan or other traditional divisions) are the most significant sources of pressure for democratic political reform. Using the Democratic Choice opposition movement as a case study, the authors discuss the relationship between economic liberalization and elite cleavages and the role of elite cleavages in generating democratic challenges to authoritarian rule.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-392
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2005



  • Central Asia
  • Elites
  • Intraelite cleavage
  • Kazakhstan
  • Neopatrimonialism
  • Political change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

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