Kazakhstan has not experienced any ethnically motivated bloodshed since the country achieved independence in 1991. Ethnic violence did occur during the perestroika period, the most serious outbreak being the turmoil in December 1986 during which at least three people died.1 This gave rise to fears that Kazakhstan would become a crisis zone in the post-communist world. The securing of political stability in independent Kazakhstan has therefore generally been considered a major, if not the most important, achievement of the regime of Nursultan Nazarbayev.