“The most critical moment for bad governments is the one which witnesses their first steps toward reform” – Alexis de Tocqueville.

On Sunday 21 April, and in the following week, Kazakhstani society observed with anger and indignation the shameful trial of a group of young activists who unfurled a banner along the route of the Almaty marathon with the words: “You can’t run away from the truth”, “#ihaveachoice” [in Russian] and “#ADILSAILAYUSHIN” [meaning “for free elections” in Kazakh].

On 19 March 2019, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the 78-year-old president of the Republic of Kazakhstan, an enemy of the working class and the butcher of Zhanaozen, announced his resignation. In the last five or six years, predictions of Nazarbayev’s coming voluntary resignation were being made regularly, with varying degrees of credibility and, of course, tended not to be confirmed in reality. From 1984, Nazarbayev held the post of Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh SSR, and in 1989 assumed the role of First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, thus being de-facto leader of the republic for nearly 30 years – the longest of all post-Soviet leaders.

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