Kazakhstan made the front pages of international newspapers last month when it hosted the first round of Syria peace talks. The diplomatic initiative is kicking off a year that will see a major PR push to portray Kazakhstan as a global player.
Georgia erupted in jubilation February 2 as EU lawmakers approved visa-free access for Georgian citizens, a prize Tbilisi has long sought. The former Soviet republic hopes that the short-stay visa waiver becomes a major step toward eventual full membership in the European Union.
Things are getting serious again in western Kazakhstan. This oil-rich region on the Caspian Sea was the scene over several months in 2011 of prolonged labor unrest, culminating in clashes that December that killed at least a dozen people.
Officials in Kazakhstan, by issuing an unexpected and urgent press release about an imminent televised address by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, unleashed a squall of chatter. But not all the talk about the contents of the January 24 address may be to authorities’ liking.