Protests in Kazakhstan? Last weekend saw multiple small demonstrations, even in the capital city Astana. Ostensibly the protests were about proposed land leases to foreigners - and the fears that this would lead to a veritable Chinese invasion - but there is deep-rooted discontent, due to the crumbling economy and many Kazakhs being simply tired of Nazarbayev and his cronies running the country for 1/4 of a century. Some of my colleagues at NU derided the protests as being small and pointless, as well as xenophobic (a claim that could be used to describe the country in general, not just these protestors in particular). But from what I have seen there is deep-seated resentment, if not hatred, for the "old man," and his "old men," and I think - and have suspected this for some time - that the country is a powder keg of anger and resentment. Not least is the danger that having pushed down on anything that looks, smells or sounds like Islamicist movements, and pushing down on any overt displays of religiosity, there could be a religious backlash. But Kazakhs are fed up with having the worst performing currency in the world, and one of the most corrupt countries in the region, and in the bottom 25% of the world. I for one will watch with great interest as to what happens over the summer. So far Nazzie and his police have cracked down pretty hard, dispelling any notions that this is a democracy ( a pretty ridiculous contention to begin with). But so far, not a peep from anyone at NU, save for one FB post that I have seen.