“We know that Nazarbayev is a constant, we know what to expect of him,” said Edward Mermelstein, president of U.S.-based Alfa Consulting Group which provides business advice focused on Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“He’s made it clear he’s not a puppet of Russia and that he is not also someone to be used by the West.”

Kazakhstan's President Nazarbayev waves to audience during an election campaign rally at a stadium in Almaty