Acclaimed political theorist Francis Fukuyama’s book Liberalism and its Discontents was published and presented for the first time in Kazakh and Russian languages

On August 22, 2023, a new book by Francis Fukuyama, a well-known political philosopher and professor at Stanford University, was presented in Almaty.

Liberalism and Its Discontents was first published in May 2022 in English, and it is now available to readers in Kazakh and Russian languages. This initiative was implemented by the CAPS Unlock Analytical Center, aspiring to become a leading Central Asian expert hub and a space for the exchange of knowledge, opinions and joint search for solutions to topical regional problems. 

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Liberalism and Its Discontents has been published in Kazakhstan in a limited edition – 500 copies in Kazakh and 1000 in Russian. 

In his book Francis Fukuyama argues that in recent decades the principles of liberalism have been pushed to extremes by both the right and the left: neoliberals have created the cult of economic freedom, while the progressives have focused on identity as a central place in their political vision. In today’s United States, both the populist nationalist right and the progressive left are not ready to accept the diversity that exists in society. This fragmentation poses a serious danger to democracy. As a solution, the author proposes to revive liberalism, returning to its classical origins.

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Classical liberalism is in a crisis, it is misunderstood and misappropriated by illiberal movements on the right and the left under the brands of ‘neoliberalism’ and ‘progressivism’. And this trend can pose an existential threat to democracy, rule of law, individual  autonomy as well as economic efficiency and prosperity. Putin’s Russia demonstrates that it is also a threat  to international legal order, peace and security. I therefore  welcome this Qazaq and Russian edition of my book in the hope that it would reach more readers and introduce this discourse to them”-, Francis Fukuyama.

As Aida Aidarkulova, Executive Director of the CAPS Unlock Analytical Center, noted at the presentation:

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“The publication of the book by the author of such a scale, especially taking into account that it is translated into the national language, is a contribution to the academic sphere of the country, and to the intellectual potential of our society. We hope that Mr. Fukuyama’s book will also help Kazakhstan, top managers of the state apparatus to choose the right route for the development of the country in such a difficult time, to preserve liberal values, and the importance of human rights as a guideline.”

As Nargis Kasenova, Co-founder of CAPS Unlock, international political scientist, Director of the Program on Central Asia at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, noted at the presentation

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“Our countries have no liberal-democratic experience. The very term “liberalism” is often accompanied by negative connotations, primarily due to anti-Western propaganda that imposes false and caricatured ideas about what is happening in liberal societies. We hope that Francis Fukuyama’s book will help correct this situation and give an understanding of the real state of affairs, without embellishment and idealization, in all its complexity and depth, as well as the high stakes of the search for the right solution to the challenges facing liberal societies. In our opinion, it is very important to understand this dynamic and these complexities. It is even more important to be clear about the essence and interconnectedness of the principles on which the supporting structure of liberal democracies is based.”

Raisa Kadir, director of Steppe & World Publishing, stressed the importance of presenting the book for Kazakhstani readers:

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We are extremely proud to have contributed to the translation of the Liberalism and its Discontents by Francis Fukuyama. This is the second book by prof. Fukuyama that we have translated so far.  We fully understand the significance and urgency of the topic covered by the author for our country. The discussion of the topics in the book will provide a fundamental understanding of the values of Liberalism to our readers and intellectuals in building a strong, fair and democratic society in the future”. 

For your reference: Francis Fukuyama is a distinguished professor, the Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), and director of the Ford Dorsey Graduate School of International Politics at Stanford University.   He has previously taught at Johns Hopkins University and George Mason University. Fukuyama was a researcher at the RAND Corporation and served as the deputy director for the State Department’s policy planning staff. He is the author of Identity, Political Order and Political Decay, The Origins of Political Order, The End of History and the Last Man, Trust, and America at the Crossroads. He lives with his wife in California.

Francis Fukuyama’s Liberalism and Its Discontents is available in Kazakh and Russian in Meloman Store Chain in Almaty. The worldwide order can be placed at Stepe & World Publishing by phone +7 700 246 3530.

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The popular science publication of Francis Fukuyama Liberalism and Its Discontents in Kazakh and Russian was prepared by the CAPS Unlock analytical Center (Central Asian Policy Studies) with the financial support of Open Society Foundations, in partnership with Stepe & World Publishing.