Kazakhstan

Consolidated Authoritarian Regime
5
100
DEMOCRACY-PERCENTAGE Democracy Percentage 5.36 100
DEMOCRACY-SCORE Democracy Score 1.32 7
Last Year's Democracy Percentage & Status
5 100 Consolidated Authoritarian Regime
The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 1 the lowest. The Democracy Score is an average of ratings for the categories tracked in a given year. The Democracy Percentage, introduced in 2020, is a translation of the Democracy Score to the 0-100 scale, where 0 equals least democratic and 100 equals most democratic.

header1 Score changes in 2020

  • Civil Society rating improved from 1.25 to 1.50 to reflect the relative opening of the civic space, including the country’s first sanctioned protest since 2007, the emergence of a new, diverse class of civic activists, and the absence of police intervention at a number of protests not formally approved by the state.
  • As a result, Kazakhstan’s Democracy Score improved from 1.29 to 1.32.

header2 Executive Summary

By Malika Toqmadi

Despite the resignation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev—the country’s only president since its independence in 1991—Kazakhstan remained a consolidated authoritarian state in 2019. Nazarbayev maintains his grip on power as Leader of the Nation, as well as leader of the ruling Nur Otan party and lifelong chairman of the Security Council, which endows him with continued and sweeping control of the country’s major decision-making processes.

The hopes of many for political liberalization and decentralization of power were dashed as the acting president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, in his inaugural speech proposed changing the name of the capital city from Astana to Nur-Sultan and, perhaps more importantly, nominated Nazarbayev’s daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, to succeed him as Speaker of the Senate, allowing her to take over presidential responsibilities in case the current president resigns or dies in office.1

The 2019 transfer of power was followed by a wave of political activism not seen in the country since the early 2000s. Although the overall environment of suppression of the opposition, independent media, and civil society continued during the year, the early presidential elections on June 9 were accompanied by unprecedented public debate, countrywide street protests, and a record number of citizen election observers,2 who actively used social media to report widespread irregularities.

Tokayev was inaugurated as president amid mass arbitrary detentions of peaceful protestors3 demanding the cancellation of the election results and an end to the massive internet shutdowns. The OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission concluded that voters had “no genuine choice” and that the elections “showed scant respect for democratic standards.”4

Protests took place throughout the year. Thousands of people were drawn to the streets for a wide range of issues—from socioeconomic grievances, such as a series of “mothers’ protests” and new labor tensions in the city of Zhanaozen, to youth-driven rallies for political reforms and anti-Chinese demonstrations. In 2019, the authorities deployed a new method of disrupting antigovernment gatherings, where so-called titushky—unidentified paid agitators in civilian clothes—attacked protestors and journalists at various demonstrations and press events.5

A range of political movements and parties announced their formation in 2019, including “Oyan, Qazaqstan” (OQ), Respublika, Democratic Party of Kazakhstan (DVK), Nashe Pravo (Our Rights), Haq, and others. However, no new political parties have been officially registered in the country since 2006, and restrictive legislation and administrative pressure make registration impossible for most new parties.6

Under popular pressure, President Tokayev has declared the need for a state that provides a “quick response to the needs of people” and has proposed to “carry out political reforms without ‘running ahead of ourselves.’”7 As one of his first steps as president, he established the National Council of Public Trust, an advisory body meant to “ensure constructive dialogue” between the state and civil society, which nevertheless ended up consisting predominantly of progovernment figures.8 The council met twice in 2019 and became the main platform for Tokayev to articulate his agenda and address some civic demands, such as promising to allow peaceful public rallies, decriminalize libel,9 “create the institution of parliamentary opposition,”10 and speed up law enforcement reforms.11 However, despite Tokayev’s stated intentions to conduct liberal reforms, the results are yet to be seen, as he is limited by his lack of legitimacy and the tight legislative and political boundaries established by the country’s first president.

In 2019, Kazakhstan continued to import and install advanced surveillance and intelligent monitoring systems based on Chinese technologies. The country’s digital communications space is heavily controlled by the state, namely, by the National Security Committee (KNB). In July, the government tried to intercept and monitor users’ encrypted connections by asking all internet users to install so-called national security certificates on their devices. This public request was withdrawn the next month, as the president referred to the action as a successful “test.”12 Websites are routinely shut down by authorities without a court order. There are about 30,000 websites banned permanently,13 and popular social media and online messaging services are regularly blocked, for instance, during public protests or livestreamed addresses by the fugitive oligarch and opposition leader Mukhtar Ablyazov (cofounder of Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, DVK).

Freedom of expression remains significantly restricted in Kazakhstan. There are criminal penalties for libel and defamation, and journalists are obliged to verify all published information and seek consent from the subjects of their reports. Journalists are threatened, prosecuted, and attacked by both authorities and individuals, often with impunity. Subsequently, media critical of the regime are almost nonexistent, while self-censorship is widely practiced by both media and internet users.

Corruption continues to be one of the major impediments to good governance in Kazakhstan. Although there are regular high-level declarations that the fight against corruption is a top government priority, private interests continue to influence decision-making, while political processes remain opaque and highly centralized.

Kazakhstan is in the beginning steps of an important process to shape new political structures without the cornerstone figure of Nazarbayev. The coming year will determine whether President Tokayev will be able to keep his promises of a socially oriented and “hearing state.” Considering the limited political and legal space for much-needed systemic reforms, as well as a lack of legitimacy in the eyes of both elites and society, Tokayev is in the precarious position of balancing populist measures to satisfy public demands and the pro-status-quo positions favored by elite interests. The country’s new opposition movements currently lack political organization, strategy, or clear ideological grounds. Acting in the narrow space of intimidation and legal prosecution, opposition actors and movements will likely continue to be united on an ad hoc, issue-centered basis.

National Democratic Governance 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Considers the democratic character of the governmental system; and the independence, effectiveness, and accountability of the legislative and executive branches. 1.251 7.007
  • Despite the formal transfer of power in Kazakhstan in 2019, the quality of the country’s national democratic governance changed in only narrow, superficial ways. Amendments to the 2017 constitution guarantee that, even after resigning as president, Nursultan Nazarbayev will serve as the lifelong chairperson of the Security Council, while also gaining the special status of Leader of the Nation and remaining leader of the ruling Nur Otan party. The Security Council has the power to veto appointments and dismiss key government officials, as well as analyze draft laws and control policy implementation.1 In October, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a decree that limited his powers even further by obliging him to seek approval from Nazarbayev for key appointments.2
  • In his speech after taking the oath of office on March 20, President Tokayev said that “Nursultan Nazarbayev remains the only and lifelong Yelbasy . . . the father of the nation” and that he “considers it necessary to perpetuate the memory” of Nazarbayev by changing the name of the capital Astana to Nur-Sultan. Within hours of Tokayev’s announcement, Parliament had approved the capital city renaming. This decision prompted street protests3 and a petition,4 and lawyers argued that an acting president had no authority to initiate constitutional amendments.5
  • Following the inauguration, Parliament elected Dariga Nazarbayeva, the former president’s daughter, as Speaker of the Senate, which allows her to take over presidential responsibilities in the event that the current president resigns or dies in office.6 Previously, she served as Deputy Chair of the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) and as Deputy Prime Minister.7
  • The presidential election featured seven candidates—the country’s highest ever number of registered nominees—including a longtime critic of the regime, Amirzhan Kosanov, as well as Kazakhstan’s first female presidential candidate, Daniya Yespayeva.8 Kassym-Jomart Tokayev conducted his campaign with active support from Nazarbayev under the slogan “Continuity, fairness, progress.”9 Tokayev was announced the winner against the backdrop of a mass detention of about 4,000 protesters disputing the elections,10 as well as an almost complete nationwide shutdown of the internet.11
  • Still, a measurable opening up of the political environment during the year allowed for the formation of new movements and parties, among them “Oyan, Qazaqstan” (OQ),12 Respublika,13 Haq,14 Nashe Pravo,15 Democratic Party of Kazakhstan (DVK),16 and others.17 While none of the parties were able to gain sustainable popular support, they contributed to invigorating the overall political environment.
  • The government was reorganized twice in 2019. In February, a month before his resignation, Nazarbayev dismissed the cabinet of former prime minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev for “failing to create real incentives for economic growth and welfare of Kazakhstanis.”18 The new government of Prime Minister Askar Mamin abolished the Ministry of Information and Communications and distributed its functions between the reorganized Ministry of Information and Social Development and Ministry of Digital Development, Defense, and Aerospace Industry.19 In his first days in power, President Tokayev decided not to dissolve the government of Askar Mamin but instead made several key shifts, and also established the Ministry of Trade and Integration and Ministry of Ecology, Geology, and Natural Resources.20
Electoral Process 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Examines national executive and legislative elections, the electoral framework, the functioning of multiparty systems, and popular participation in the political process. 1.251 7.007
  • Kazakhstan’s electoral laws do not provide for free and fair elections. Furthermore, genuine opposition is suppressed, and administrative resources are routinely abused in favor of incumbents. The 2019 presidential election, the first without Nazarbayev on the ballot, was once again marred by widespread irregularities amid an uncompetitive electoral environment.
  • The June 9 presidential polls were observed by a record high of nearly 2,000 independent observers,1 who documented widespread irregularities, including ballot stuffing and falsification of final protocols.2 Observers faced harassment from law enforcement and security agencies, including detention for those who protested the voting falsifications.3
  • The OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission found that although the electoral process was well organized, “it was tarnished by clear violations of fundamental freedoms as well as pressure on critical voices.”4
  • Kassym-Jomart Tokayev won the presidential elections with 70.96 percent of votes, while the opposition candidate, Amirzhan Kosanov, was the runner-up with 16.23 percent. The Ak Zhol Democratic Party candidate, Daniya Yespayeva, won 5.05 percent of votes. And the Auyl Party candidate, Toleutai Rakhimbekov; the Kazakh Federation of Trade Unions nominee, Amangeldy Taspikhov; the Communist Party of Kazakhstan candidate, Zhambyl Akhmetbekov; and Sadibek Tugel of the republican movement “Uly Dala Kyrandary” each won at or below 3 percent of votes.5 According to the Central Election Commission, 77.5 percent of the eligible population voted.6
  • Presidential candidates in Kazakhstan face an extensive list of requirements—at a minimum, they must be at least 40 years old, have a higher-education degree, and have at least five years’ experience in public service or elected office.7 As such, current electoral law disenfranchises a significant share of the population from running for any kind of office, and candidates at all levels must be nominated by political parties or domestic nongovernmental organizations.
  • Even with Tokayev’s promise to “create the institution of parliamentary opposition,”8 the current registration procedure for political parties in Kazakhstan is highly restrictive, requiring parties to be established by at least 1,000 supporters at the constituent congress and have at least 40,000 members from all regions of the country.9 Additionally, the law provides for the indefinite suspension of party registration on ambiguously worded reasons, which allows this rule to be applied arbitrarily.10
  • Moreover, new parties face various extralegal obstacles while trying to register. In March, Nashe Pravo had to cancel the constituent congress as its leader, Sanavar Zakirova, was questioned by the police on the eve of the party congress and then followed to the venue, which she and her supporters found shuttered and surrounded by police.11 Later, in May, Zakirova was arrested for five days for peacefully protesting these obstacles.12 In November, she and two supporters, Alnur Ilyashev and Marat Turymbetov, were ordered to pay six million tenge ($15,500) to four members of the Nur Otan party for dissemination of false information and “discrediting honor and dignity”13 following the activists’ attempt to sue the ruling party for “obstructing the creation of a new political party.”14
  • According to the 2018 amendments to the Law on Elections, only registered organizations with no less than five years of polling experience are authorized to conduct and publish opinion surveys and exit polls related to the country’s electoral process.15 Consequently, only two organizations were authorized to conduct exit polls during the 2019 presidential elections, which significantly limited access to independent data on the election results.16
  • Elections to the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament) are scheduled for 2021. However, the last six national elections were called earlier than scheduled, giving incumbents an advantage over their opponents.17
Civil Society 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Assesses the organizational capacity and financial sustainability of the civic sector; the legal and political environment in which it operates; the functioning of trade unions; interest group participation in the policy process; and the threat posed by antidemocratic extremist groups. 1.502 7.007
  • Although a restrictive legal and political environment remains firmly in place, Kazakhstan’s civil society has undergone its most vibrant period in more than a decade. The 2019 power transition catalyzed a previously unimaginable political upheaval1 that continued unabated throughout the year and involved not just the marginalized classes but also an unusual list of new actors, including urban youth, a new Kazakh-speaking intelligentsia, and the middle class. Numerous demonstrations and campaigns on social media called for political change2 under slogans like “I have a choice,” “For fair elections,” and “You can’t run away from the truth.”3
  • On June 25, independent activist Alnur Ilyashev received state authorization for a peaceful demonstration following his 36 previously unsuccessful attempts over several years.4 More protests also took place without police interruptions, including a series of unsanctioned rallies organized by the OQ movement.5 Nevertheless, such tolerance for peaceful assembly is still an exception rather than a rule.6 More than 6,000 people were detained in 2019 for participating in peaceful protests, including children, bystanders, journalists, human rights defenders, and election monitors.7
  • A decade-long confrontation between the oligarch fugitive Mukhtar Ablyazov and the ruling regime reached a new peak during the year. Ablyazov actively called for public protests in his regular livestreamed addresses. Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan (DVK), the movement led by Ablyazov, was designated an extremist group by the government in 2018.8 Dozens of actual and alleged supporters of the movement faced serious criminal charges for a variety of actions, including participation in DVK’s social media chats and peaceful demonstrations.9
  • For the second year in a row, Kazakhstan was listed among the ten worst countries for workers in the International Trade Union Confederation’s Global Rights Index.10 On October 16, labor movement activist Yerlan Baltabay was sentenced to seven years in jail for “large-scale misappropriation of funds.”11
  • Although Kazakhstan officially professes to be a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional country,12 the state in fact restricts religious expression. Forum 18 registered 153 known administrative prosecutions in 2019, noting a drop in the number of prisoners of conscience compared to 171 such prosecutions in the previous year, and 284 in 2017.13
  • Following her visit to Kazakhstan in May, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms found that legal provisions on extremism and terrorism and incitement of “social, national, ethnic, racial, class or religious hatred”14 are often used to target civil society. The rapporteur expressed her concern regarding the nonjudicial inclusion of individuals convicted under those articles on the national terrorism sanctions list,15 thus undermining the rights of associated dependent women and children.16
  • The Open Dialogue Foundation lists 57 cases of politically motivated criminal prosecutions in Kazakhstan, including at least 21 political prisoners who remain in prisons or pretrial detention facilities as of November 2019.17 Among them are the activist and participant in the 2016 peaceful land reforms protests Maks Bokayev; former head of the state-owned uranium giant Kazatomprom, Mukhtar Dzhakishev; and poet and dissident Aron Atabek. In 2019, Dzhakishev’s release on parole was twice rejected; both he and Atabek have been in prison for over 10 years without proper treatment for serious medical conditions or access to international human rights monitoring missions.
Independent Media 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Examines the current state of press freedom, including libel laws, harassment of journalists, and editorial independence; the operation of a financially viable and independent private press; and the functioning of the public media. 1.251 7.007
  • The government of Kazakhstan restricts media freedom and encourages self-censorship by legislating criminal and administrative penalties for libel and defamation,1 and by obliging journalists to verify all published information and secure consent from the subjects of their reports.2 The internet is highly controlled, as the government continued to introduce invasive surveillance and censorship policies in 2019.
  • Adil Soz–The International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech registered 31 cases of detentions, arrests, or imprisonment of journalists during the year; 26 cases stemmed from journalists covering events, while 9 involved threats and 8 saw physical attacks against journalists.3 In September, journalist Amangeldy Batyrbekov was sentenced and jailed on criminal charges of insult and libel.4
  • Access to the few surviving independent media outlets left in the country was blocked by the authorities during major street rallies in 2019. Access to popular social media was regularly blocked throughout the year,5 though the authorities tended to deny the blockages or blame them on “technical problems.”6 More than 30,000 websites remain blocked in the country,7 due in part to the fact that websites can be blocked by authorities without a court order.8
  • In 2019, a new method was deployed to disrupt antigovernment gatherings and media reporting. Unidentified paid agitators in civilian clothes, the so-called titushky, attacked protesters and journalists at various rallies and press events, where authorities took no action to identify or prosecute the perpetrators.9
  • Almost all communications service providers are state-owned. Control over the digital communications space was transferred to the National Security Committee (KNB) in 2017.10 In July 2019, communications service providers sent instructions11 telling device users to install the “national security certificate,”12 which would allow the government to intercept and monitor users’ encrypted connections.13 The KNB halted this so-called testing program14 in the following month, stating that the certificate can be used in the future in case of “a threat to national security.”15 In October, despite anti-Chinese sentiment growing within the country, President Tokayev proposed adopting China’s “experience in digitalizing personal data,” including technologies of surveillance like intelligent monitoring systems and facial recognition.16
  • On August 28, the court lifted a yearlong ban on the online publication Ratel.kz and allowed its editor-in-chief, Marat Asipov, to again lead the site.17 The digital outlet had been banned since March 2018 on charges of “defaming the honor, dignity, and business reputation” of former finance minister Zeynulla Kakimzhanov and his son.18
Local Democratic Governance 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Considers the decentralization of power; the responsibilities, election, and capacity of local governmental bodies; and the transparency and accountability of local authorities. 1.502 7.007
  • Kazakhstan has a highly centralized system of governance. All akims (mayors) of major cities and regions are directly appointed by the president (and approved by the head of the Security Council), and thus are not accountable to the population. Rural akims are elected by the maslikhats (local representative bodies) of the district on the basis of indirect suffrage.
  • Since 2018, the election of maslikhats and rural akims are based on a proportional representation system, which excludes participation of self-nominees and embeds local governance into the national party structures. In the absence of genuine opposition parties, and the high barriers for new parties to register, political competition has been effectively eliminated at all levels of governance.1
  • On September 2, in his first State of the Nation Address, President Tokayev proposed introducing a system for assessing akims based on opinion polls: “For example, if as a result of the poll, more than 30 percent of the locals believe that an akim (mayor) of a city or a village is ineffective, this is a reason for a special commission to be set up.”2 This newly proposed system, seen as a response to the summer protests demanding representation, would act as a substitute for direct elections at the local level, which had been discussed in previous years but was blocked by Parliament in 2018.3
  • In the absence of direct elections, social media and street protests have become increasingly effective tools for people to influence various levels of government. On July 30, Gabidulla Abdrahimov—akim of Shymkent, the country’s third-largest city—was dismissed following public outrage on social media in response to a video he posted on Instagram while traveling in London. In the video, Abdrahimov “wished everyone to work in Kazakhstan and travel the world”—meanwhile, efforts back home were occupied with rebuilding Arys, a town that had been completely destroyed by an arms depot explosion on June 24, with most of its population temporarily settled in Shymkent.4 Contrary to the standard opaque decision-making process, Prime Minister Mamin provided a rare explanation of Abdrahimov’s dismissal: “At a time when most people need the help of the state, the city of Arys is under restoration, and the country is looking for answers to new challenges . . . this undermines . . . the authority of the state.”5
  • Since assuming power in June, President Tokayev has replaced several akims, including governors of the three major cities: the former akim of the West Kazakhstan region, Altai Kulginov, replaced Bakhyt Sultanov as governor of the capital city;6 the former head of the presidential administration, Bakhytzhan Sagintayev, replaced Bauyrzhan Baybek as akim of Almaty;7 and the former akim of the Otyrar district in the Turkestan region, Yerlan Aitahanov, was appointed to govern Shymkent following Gabidulla Abdrahimov’s removal from office.8 However, following Tokayev’s October decrees limiting his own power, the president has had to seek approval for the appointments of akims of major cities and regions from the head of the Security Council, former president Nazarbayev.9
Judicial Framework and Independence 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Assesses constitutional and human rights protections, judicial independence, the status of ethnic minority rights, guarantees of equality before the law, treatment of suspects and prisoners, and compliance with judicial decisions. 1.251 7.007
  • Kazakhstan’s judiciary remained heavily dependent upon the executive branch in 2019. Judges are appointed by the president, except for those seeking to serve on the Supreme Court, which are approved by the Senate (upper house of Parliament) based on the president’s proposals.1 The procuracy, which is directly accountable to the president, is endowed with extensive authority, including supervisory powers over the judiciary and the judicial process.2
  • On March 18, one day before stepping down, President Nazarbayev appointed Gizat Nurdauletov, previously the first deputy prosecutor general, as the nation’s new prosecutor general.3 However, per President Tokayev’s decree signed in October, the president now must seek approval for the appointment of a new prosecutor general from the head of the Security Council.4
  • Both the national guard and the country’s military were frequently deployed to crack down on peaceful demonstrations in 2019. During the protests of June 9–13 alone, more than 4,000 peaceful protesters were detained. Nearly 700 were detained for up to 15 days, 305 received fines, and about 3,000 were released “after preventive discussions.”5 The UN Human Rights Office expressed concern regarding the “numerous expedited court proceedings held on the premises of police stations, conducted at night and in many instances without the presence of defence lawyers.”6
  • According to the World Prison Population List, Kazakhstan’s total number of incarcerated persons has fallen 21 percent over three years since 2015.7 Yet, torture remains endemic in the country’s prisons and detention facilities.8 Following public outrage over anonymous videos of torture in the LA155/8 prison in Zarechny, Almaty region,9 the prosecutor general initiated checks of detention facilities and identified “2,500 violations, ranging from unsanitary conditions of detention to ill-treatment of convicts. . . . The audit also showed that no colony meets international standards.”10
Corruption 1.00-7.00 pts0-7 pts
Looks at public perceptions of corruption, the business interests of top policymakers, laws on financial disclosure and conflict of interest, and the efficacy of anticorruption initiatives. 1.251 7.007
  • In the absence of a strong civil society and independent media to act as a check on unfettered government power, and with a lack of regulation on transparency in government spending and decision-making, corruption remains one of the major issues impeding Kazakhstan’s development.
  • The government’s avowed ambitions to tackle corruption, manifested in the national “Strategy Kazakhstan–2050” and the Anti-corruption Strategy for 2015–25, propose the creation of an atmosphere of “zero tolerance” to corruption.1 Although fighting corruption is consistently declared a top government priority, including in President Tokayev’s State of the Nation Address,2 most of the tangible accomplishments have been limited to reducing low-level, petty corruption rather than institutional and political wrongdoing.
  • According to the Committee on Legal Statistics, the number of registered corruption crimes has decreased by 15.3 percent since 2016,3 which may be a result of efforts to minimize direct contact of the population with officials, including due to the digitization of services.4 In 2019, 1,002 people were convicted of corruption crimes, among them 297 employees of law enforcement, 261 employees of akimats, and 49 employees of the State Revenue Committee.5
  • In June, President Tokayev divided the Public Service and Anti-Corruption Agency into two institutions. The new Anti-Corruption Agency is now directly subordinate to the president, which empowers the agency with more autonomy and legitimacy in carrying out the envisioned reforms.6
  • Since coming to power, President Tokayev has been an outspoken critic of large-scale initiatives, including the $1.8 billion light rail transportation (LRT) project in the capital city, which he has described as “unfortunate, controversial and economically unprofitable.” He also noted that the Anti-Corruption Agency should “go deeper” in its investigation of the project.7 Talgat Ardan, former head of the Astana LRT Company, is currently wanted by Interpol on suspicion of embezzlement.8
  • Three high-profile court cases regarding corruption in the Ministry of Education and Science culminated in 2019.9 In July, Vice-Minister Elmira Sukhanberdieva was found guilty of “abuse of power” and “illegal entrepreneurial activity.”10 In November, Ramazan Alimkulov, head of the ministry’s National Testing Center, was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for a bribe.11 And in August, in a rare case of whistleblowing in Kazakhstan, the ministry’s procurement manager accused Deputy Minister Rustem Bigari and Executive Secretary Aryn Orsariyev of embezzling 48 million tenge ($124,000) in equipment purchases.12

Author: Malika Toqmadi is an independent researcher based in Kazakhstan. She holds an MA in Politics and Security in Central Asia from the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, and an MA in Global and European Security from the Geneva Center for Security Policy, University of Geneva.

NOTE: The ratings reflect the consensus of Freedom House, its academic advisers, and the author(s) of this report. The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author(s). The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 1 the lowest. The Democracy Score is an average of ratings for the categories tracked in a given year. The Democracy Percentage, introduced in 2020, is a translation of the Democracy Score to the 0–100 scale, where 0 equals least democratic and 100 equals most democratic.

On Kazakhstan

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  • Global Freedom Score

    23 100 not free
  • Internet Freedom Score

    32 100 not free