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Youth Group Breathes Life Into Kazakh Politics


Asya Tulesova (far right) and other young activists have helped spark a resurgence in opposition politics in Kazakhstan.

During Kazakhstan's presidential campaign and in the days following the election, it was clear that many citizens -- particularly young people – feel that they have no say in how Kazakhstan is run or in selecting the officials who run it.

Peaceful demonstrations, accompanied by a social network campaign, questioned whether the people really play any role at all in Kazakhstan's political world.

The election is over, but groups like Oyan Qazaqstan (Wake Up Kazakhstan), a youth movement formed just ahead of the presidential election, are promising that they will continue to call for change in the Central Asian country.

RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderated a discussion on the rise of young people in Kazakh politics, what they accomplished during the presidential campaign and election, and where such groups might be headed in the future.

Participating in the Majlis from Almaty was Asya Tulesova.

During the Almaty marathon on April 21, Tulesova and fellow activist Beibarys Tolymbekov held up a banner alongside the race that read "You Cannot Run From The Truth."

Their action sparked demonstrations of discontent in Kazakhstan that are continuing to this day.

Tulesova is also one of the founders of the Oyan Qazaqstan movement.

From Nur-Sultan (formerly Astana), we were joined by Reid Standish, who has been covering Kazakhstan for Foreign Policy magazine.

From Prague, Torokul Doorov, the director of RFE/RL's Kazakh Service, known locally as Azattyq, also took part in the discussion.

And, as usual, I made a few observations as well.

Majlis Podcast: Kazakh Youth Group Wakes Up Political Scene
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Listen to the podcast above or subscribe to the Majlis on iTunes.

About Majlis

Each week, hosts Bruce Pannier and Muhammad Tahir welcome a panel of expert guests to discuss significant political developments and pressing social issues affecting the nations of Central Asia.

Click here to check out the latest Majlis podcast, or visit ITunes.

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