Most authoritarians these days know better than to go the Papa Doc Duvalier route and declare themselves president-for-life. The occasional sham election does wonders in terms of keeping off the international heat, especially if your country is an important source of gas or bauxite.
But Nursultan Nazarbayev seems to be seriously considering bucking the trend, despite the fact that he’s already his nation’s de facto ruler until he sheds his mortal coil—there is no limit on the number of times he may stand for office, and his party holds virtually every parliamentary seat.
The question now is whether the West will do anything about such a blatant discard of democracy. Would it become an issue as Almaty makes its bid for the 2018 Winter Olympics? Or is the West simply too frightened of coming to blows with Russia to do anything about Nazarbayev’s open disdain for due process?