Robert Cutler with the Institute of European and Russian Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, "The thing to understand about Kazakhstan is that there is political pluralism. But it is extremely restricted to a relatively not very numerous political elite. There have been opposition movements within this political elite, trying to liberalize things for the simple purpose of economic rationality. And the political conflict is really amongst this political elite. The mere fact that someone you know [as a fellow political elite] can be found murdered creates a little uncertainty and it makes people uneasy. [Opposition leader and former Information Minister Altynbek Sarsenbaev was murdered in February 2006.] There's a sense that something has got to change. But as is often the case, things are not going to change much so long as the autocrat[, Nursultan Nazarbayev,] is still in place."
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Excerpt from Peter Fedynsky and Victor Morales, "Slow Progress on Reforms in Kazakhstan," Voice of America 29 September 2006.