Autore: Paolo Sorbello
In: Asia Maior. XXXI/2020

With its society deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economy struggling due to low oil prices, 2020 was the year in which Kazakhstan’s government was compelled to continuously adopt emergency measures. This contributed to a looming uncertainty about the country’s ability to cope with the multiple crises constantly affecting it. Throughout this essay, the COVID-19 topic permeates all aspects of Kazakhstan’s politics, from the internal measures undertaken to curtail its spread, to the effects of the lockdown on the economy and relations with other countries. Internationally, Kazakhstan’s attempts to build a positive global image were threatened by the release of a sequel to Borat, the US satirical film portraying Kazakhstan as a backward country, as well as by slanderous misinformation from the Chinese Embassy in Nur-Sultan. Old refrains claiming that Kazakhstan’s northern regions belong to Russia were repeated by Russian nationalist journalists and politicians, highlighting the precarious relationship between the two neighbours.

Keywords – COVID-19; oil crises; elections; protests; healthcare; nation branding; diplomacy.

Paolo Sorbello | Ca’ Foscari University of Venice |