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OIL & GAS IN KAZAKHSTAN: An Examination of Authoritarian Governance, The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, and Labor Unrest

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In this paper I examine the dynamics of oil exploitation in the Republic of Kazakhstan to better understand the impact of authoritarian governmental control of this resource on the lives

In this paper I examine the dynamics of oil exploitation in the Republic of Kazakhstan to better understand the impact of authoritarian governmental control of this resource on the lives of everyday Kazakh laborers in the extractive industry. In order to do this, I focus on what the state government has done in order to appear more transparent about financial matters in Oil & Gas and how they have addressed or failed to address worker concerns, especially in terms of compensation. More specifically, I look at the Kazakh government's efforts to become EITI-Compliant and at the same time minimize the impact of labor unrest. However, I argue that in its attempt to control society through the regulation of this industry, a "governing of things" in Foucault's terms, the Kazakh government is unintentionally creating ungovernable spaces in the regions of oil exploitation that can be utilized by laborers to negotiate reforms. Furthermore, thanks to an inherent clan culture, this form of modern governmentality actively benefits only the upper echelons of Kazakhstan's political elite, to the exclusion of everyone else, exacerbating problems of regulation, revolt, and subsequent retaliation. I conclude my paper by suggesting topics for further research, such as the exploration of oil's "fetishistic qualities," investigation into other extractive industry transparency or reform initiatives, the study of civil society efforts to promote communication between laborers and their government.

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  • 2017-05

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Recommendations for the Management of Oil Wealth in Kazakhstan

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This paper explores policies for the management of oil wealth in Norway, Mexico, and Russia, and applies them to the situation in Kazakhstan to create policy guidelines to improve the

This paper explores policies for the management of oil wealth in Norway, Mexico, and Russia, and applies them to the situation in Kazakhstan to create policy guidelines to improve the management of oil wealth in Kazakhstan. Ultimately the paper recommends that Kazakhstan transfer oil wealth to the oil stabilization fund directly, that it increase the cap on annual transfers from the fund to the budget to 11 billion dollars, and that it create strict policies for the promotion of growth.

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  • 2013-05

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Growing Up Soviet in the Periphery: Imagining, Experiencing and Remembering Childhood in Kazakhstan, 1928-1953

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This dissertation discusses children and childhood in Soviet Kazakhstan from 1928 to 1953. By exploring images of, and for, children, and by focusing on children’s fates during and after the

This dissertation discusses children and childhood in Soviet Kazakhstan from 1928 to 1953. By exploring images of, and for, children, and by focusing on children’s fates during and after the famine of 1930-33, I argue that the regime’s success in making children socialist subjects and creating the new Soviet person was questionable throughout the 1930s. The reach of Soviet ideological and cultural policies was limited in a decade defined by all kinds of shortcomings in the periphery which was accompanied by massive violence and destruction. World War 2 mobilized Central Asians and integrated the masses into the Soviet social and political body. The war transformed state-society relations and the meaning of being Soviet fundamentally changed. In this way, larger segments of society embraced the framework for Soviet citizenship and Soviet patriotism largely thanks to the war experience. This approach invites us to reconsider the nature of Sovietization in Central Asia by questioning the central role of ideology and cultural revolution in the formation of Soviet identities. My dissertation brings together images of childhood, everyday experiences of children and memory of childhood. On the one hand, the focus on children provides me an opportunity to discuss Sovietization in Central Asia. On the other hand, this dissertation contributes to our understanding of Soviet childhood: it is the first comprehensive study of Soviet children in the periphery in English. It shows how images and discourses, which were produced in the Soviet center, were translated into the local context and emphasizes the multiplicity of children’s experiences across the Soviet Union. Local conditions defined the meaning of childhood in Kazakhstan as much as central visions. Studying children in a non-Russian republic allows me to discuss questions of ideology, cultural revolution and the nationalities question. A main goal of the dissertation is to shift the focus of Sovietization from the cultural and intellectual elite to ordinary people. Secondly, by studying the impact of the famine and the Great Patriotic War, I try to understand the dynamics of the Soviet regime and the changing conceptions of culture and identity in Soviet Kazakhstan.

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  • 2020