Kazakhstan’s Options and Crisis in Ukraine

Acerbic piece by Stephens in WSJ: Has Mr. Obama worked out a plan for the Kazakhs to get away from Russia, other than by launching themselves en masse from the Baikonur Cosmodrome?” I’d note that Kazakhs can’t do even that as Russia controls Baikonur.
And here is full version of what I wrote to answer Adam Taylor's Washington Post piece on reaction of Kazakhstan and Belarus to events in Crimea
You are right that neither Belarus nor Kazakhstan would be exactly thrilled.
Kazakhstan's Nursultan Nazarbayev has traditionally sought to maintain constructive relations with both Russia and West, but if a cold war redux erupts over inclusion of Crimea into Russia, Astana might be forced to take sides and therefore lose the opportunity to play great powers off each other. The same goes for Belarus' Alexander Lukashenka – who tends to make overtures to West – whenever he wants a major concession from Russia.
Economically, Crimea will be no gift either. As you may recall even entire Ukraine doesn't add much in terms of GDP.
Ukraine's GDP was $176 bn whereas Eurasian Union's $2,282 bn, so it would increase the alliance’s GDP by less than 8%. Crimea's regional domestic product is $5.2 billion, so it's less than 0.3% of EAU's GDP. Nor would Crimea be a major market for either Belarus or Kazakhstan, given that it has a population of 2.4 million and GDP per capita of $2,170 compared to EAU's average of $8717.
Also, a cold war over Crimea would be most probably accompanied by Western economic sanctions against Russia, which would also hurt the latter's economy in what will have negative impact on economies of countries Moscow trades with.
More importantly, inclusion of Crimea into Kazakhstan sets a precedent, which all of Russia's neighbors – that have a sizeable share of ethnic Russians and/or people with Russian passports concentrated in certain areas – will be wary of. Ethnic Russians account for a quarter of Kazakhstan's population and many of them live in northern provinces, which border Russia.
Further down the road, if isolated by the West, Russia would have to seek closer partnership with China and that, as I pointed out before, won't be a partnership of equals. While Belarus would not object to a Sino-Russian alliance, in which the Middle Kingdom plays a lead role, it won't be as beneficial for Kazakhstan, which as some of its Central Asian republics is wary of expansion of Beijing’s influence in the region.
As I wrote back on March 2:


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