No-one doubts Nazarbayev’s Nur Otan party will win Sunday’s parliamentary elections by a landslide. But for the first time, the second-placed party will automatically be guaranteed seats in the chamber, a concession unlikely to weaken the veteran leader’s grip on power.
‘You are the one and only independent Kazakhstan,’ reads one poster in Taraz exalting Nazarbayev. Another urges citizens to learn the state language, Kazakh, in a country where Russian is still more familiar to millions.
In a city now synonymous with a rampage last November by an Islamist militant who killed seven and blew himself up, most people still trust Nazarbayev to enforce security and prevent any spread of violence akin to that in nearby states.