The Khan's Court: Kazakhstani Cabinet, 2019


After nearly three decades at the helm of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev has taken the unexpected move of stepping down from power. President Nazarbayev, the only leader independent Kazakhstan has known, has surrendered his vice-like grip on the country’s social, political, and economic life. Nazarbayev has guided Kazakhstan through the trauma of Soviet collapse, a hydrocarbon boom, and the establishment of a new capital. Now, without the modern khan to lead the republic, Kazakhstan must navigate the tightrope of its relations with China, Russia, and the United States, as it continues Nazarbayev’s quest to find its place in the international community.

This committee, comprised of Kazakhstan’s most esteemed government leaders, corporate tycoons, and diplomats, is tasked with leading their republic forward, in a troubled domestic and international setting. China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative has the potential to fundamentally change Kazakhstan, and Central Asia as a whole, through the unprecedented infrastructural changes it promises. This committee must confront the realities of this project and how to get the best deal for their country, within the framework of China’s project. With Russia to the north, Putin’s bear may become protective of its southern neighbor, which it still considers an integral part of the “Near Abroad”. The long reach of American influence also reaches deep into Central Asia, with the distant superpower pressing Kazakhstan to adapt democratic reforms, but also promising economic prosperity.

All this unfolds around Kazakhstan’s borders as the republic’s domestic affairs are thrown into uncertainty. While President Tokayev has taken charge temporarily, who will be the long-term successor to Kazakhstan’s first president? How will the new government react to pressures to liberalize its electoral system and media structure? Pressures are building on both sides, with Russian and American influence playing their part in mobilizing supporters on either side. The future of Kazakhstan, with its gleaming capital on the windswept steppes, hangs in the balance.


CM: Jeremy Cohen

Chair: Jinia Sarkar

About the Chair: Jinia Sarkar is a rising senior majoring in Human Science in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. She has participated in Model UN since she was a freshman in a high school near Baltimore, Maryland, developing her interest in the role of biology in current international affairs. When Jinia isn’t struggling with her senior thesis, she can be found RSVP-ing “interested” to events on Facebook, eating ice cream, or exploring DC. She can’t wait for NCSC XLVII this October!


About the Crisis Manager: Jeremy is a member of the Class of 2020, studying International History in the School of Foreign Service. He is a proud native of Princeton, New Jersey, where his MUN career began as a sophomore in high school. Jeremy is an enthusiast of all things post-Soviet, with a particular interest in Central Asia. When not reading the most recent news out of Kyrgyzstan, Jeremy is typically watching his favorite soccer team, Leeds United, in a mixed state of hopelessness and despair. He can’t wait to welcome everyone to NCSC XLVII!