Kazakhstan has provided the economic exemplar for other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries since its independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has been classified by the World Bank as an ‘upper middle income’ country and witnessed sustained growth in spite of the global recession. Political reforms however have been slower to realize, and the Presidential Republic still remains a highly centralized and autocratic regime. Some 24 years beyond independence this article assesses whether the role played by the non-governmental organization (NGO) sector has changed and, as a consequence, the asymmetric state-society fulcrum has shifted in favour of a stronger societal voice in Kazakhstan. It finds mixed evidence of partnership between NGOs and Government and ongoing problems in exercising public voice and moderating the power of the state.
- Non-governmental organizations
- Civil society
- Voice and accountability