Kazakhstan on the Rise: An Investment Bridge Between Russia and the U.S.

Borat Who? The oil-rich former Soviet country is becoming a major player in the world energy sector, building ties with both Russia and the United States.

What's the Latest?

Face it, most Americans (and probably not just Americans) only think of Borat when Kazakhstan gets brought up. Whether that's testament to Sascha Baron Cohen's comedic prowess or a telling sign of our international ignorance, I'll leave for someone else to decide. 

But now, eight years after the film, Kazakhstan is striving to redefine itself to the outside world. Almaty, the country's largest city, is one of three finalists for the 2022 Winter Olympics (1 of 2 if you believe Oslo is likely to drop out). Long-time president Nursultan Nazarbayev unveiled two years ago a plan bent on boosting Kazakhstan onto the list of the world's top 30 most developed countries by 2050. Finally, the nation's energy-focused deal-making has positioned itself as a bridge between Russian and American interests in Central Asia.

What's the Big Idea?

Dina Gusovsky of CNBC has penned an illuminating report on the oil-rich former Soviet republic and the ways in which it has attracted investment from both Russia and the United States. Kazakhstan signed on to Vladimir Putin's Eurasian Economic Union this year while at the same time easing restrictions for potential American partners to enter into the picture. 

From Gusovsky's piece:

The Kazakhs "are making themselves the middlemen and creating a bridge between Russia and the U.S.", said Edward Mermelstein, an attorney who works as an adviser on cross-border investments in the former Soviet Union. "In a sense, becoming the Switzerland of the former Soviet Union."

Gusovksy notes that similar violence to that which occurred earlier this year in Ukraine could pop up in the future if tensions with Russia were to flare up. This presents the most glaring risk to Kazakhstan's budding and ambitious plan for growth. Recent allegations of human rights violations could also prove a sticky subject to dance around, though that sort of thing tends not to derail massive investment in countries like China.

Kazakhstan appears to be one of the top nations to watch in the coming decades. Whether it will still be called Kazakhstan then is still to be determined. 

Keep Reading at CNBC

Photo credit: yevgeniy11 / Shutterstock

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

Scientists invent method to extract gold from liquid waste

The next gold rush might take place in our sewers.

Surprising Science
  • Even though we think of it as exceedingly rare, gold can be found all around us.
  • The trouble is, most of the gold is hard to get at; its too diluted in our waste or ocean waters to effectively extract.
  • This new technique quickly, easily, and reliably extracts gold from most liquids.
Keep reading Show less

How 'dark horses' flip the script of success and happiness

What defines a dark horse? The all-important decision to pursue fulfillment and excellence.

Big Think Books

When we first set the Dark Horse Project in motion, fulfillment was the last thing on our minds. We were hoping to uncover specific and possibly idiosyncratic study methods, learning techniques, and rehearsal regimes that dark horses used to attain excellence. Our training made us resistant to ambiguous variables that were difficult to quantify, and personal fulfillment seemed downright foggy. But our training also taught us never to ignore the evidence, no matter how much it violated our expectations.

Keep reading Show less