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ISSN 0869-5377
The Logos Journal

When capital cites move: the political geography of nation and state building


About author:
PhD, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto.
Address: 3359 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, ON L5L 1C6, Canada.

Capital relocation (i. e., the physical move of the central state apparatus from one location to another) is an unusual tool for nation and state building. Yet, it is used more frequently than we might expect. Thus, when Kazakhstan shift edits capital city in 1997 from Almaty to Astana the move was unique in that post-Soviet region, but not as uncommon in other post-colonial cases. This paper examines the move of the capital in Kazakhstan suggests that this move was designed to address particularly acute nation-and state-building challenges. If the Kazakhstan experience seems strange in de-Sovietization, this tells us much about the diff erent nature of post Soviet space versus other post-colonial contexts. The relative in frequency of capital moves implies that the challenges of nation and state building in the ex-USSR—as daunting as they have proved to be—are generally not as acute as in those of other post-colonial contexts.

Keywords: capital, nation and state building, Th e Westphalian system, Astana, Kazakhstan

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