Kazakhstan : a future regional and nuclear power

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Mesbahi

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Charles MacDonald

Third Advisor's Name

Ralph S. Clem

Date of Defense



It is the key assertion of this thesis that Kazakhstan is determined to keep its Soviet-era nuclear capacity and become the world's third largest nuclear power should circumstances move in that direction. The Republic of Kazakhstan reneged on its original commitment to repatriate this material to Russia for final disposition. My tenure at the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration, as well as the use of newly available declassified data on the Kazakhstan nuclear issue, and open government sources, supports the major arguments of my thesis. For primary sources in Kazakh and Russian languages, I utilized the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS).

Both the external factors, including the competitive post-Soviet security environment in Eurasia, and complex and challenging domestic factors such as trans-regional social movements, clan ties, ethno-political cleavages, authoritarianism and government corruption, cast serious doubt on the future of Kazakhstan as a nuclear weapon free state.



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