Date of Graduation

Fall 2011


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

Andrei Shoumikhin


Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, stability, revolution, reform, Soviet Union, national identity, political culture, corruption, nepotism

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


Before the existence of the Soviet Union, the territories that became Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan were the homelands of nomadic tribes. They had no functioning centralized political systems or economies until the Soviet Union brought them under its domain. However, decisions in the Soviet Union were largely made through Moscow, with each of the republics having little control over their political systems or economies. Thus, when the Soviet Union collapsed, they needed to build their political systems, economies, and national identities from the ground up. Despite that both Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan had similar political and economic statuses as Soviet Republics, the political, economic, and cultural trajectories of the two countries began to diverge once the Soviet Union collapsed. Since that time, Kazakhstan's natural resources have allowed its economy to flourish and the country has maintained stability. Kyrgyzstan, meanwhile, has faced severe economic challenges and has undergone two revolutions. However, both Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan face similar struggles in attempting to establish cohesive national identities while overcoming corruption and nepotism that are endemic among the countries' political elite. The future stability of both countries is uncertain.


© Genevieve Rachel Gunow

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