Sofya du Boulay (Omarova)

Thesis title: Spectacles of Power: How authoritarian regimes legitimise their rule in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan

Start year: 2015


Supervisor(s): Dr Sarah Whitmore

Research topic

I am a PhD candidate in Political Science at Oxford Brookes University. My research focuses on comparative politics, authoritarianism in the post-Soviet Eurasia.

Academic school / department

School of Law and Social Sciences


  • Du Boulay, S and du Boulay, H. (2020), New Alphabets, Old Rules: Latinization, Legacy, and Liberation in Central Asia, Problems of Post-Communism, DOI: 10.1080/10758216.2020.1785315
  • Du Boulay, S. (2020) Sekrety dolgoletia: strategii legitimacii politicheskih rezhimov v Rossii I Kazakhstane (From Russian: Durability secrets: legitimation strategies in Russia and Kazakhstan), Obshaya Tetrad, Vestnik Shkoly Grazhdanskogo Prosveshenia, 1(78), pp. 44-53
  • Du Boulay, S. (2020) The moral education of a young woman in Kazakhstan, Open Democracy, available online:
  • Du Boulay S., Isaacs R. (2019) Legitimacy and Legitimation in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. In: Isaacs R., Frigerio A. (eds) Theorizing Central Asian Politics. International Political Theory. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 17–41
  • Du Boulay, S. (2019) Why Authoritarian Legitimation Matters? Around the Caspian Policy Paper, available online:
  • Du Boulay, S. (2018) Novyi Azerbaijan (New Azerbaijan), Esquire magazine, available online:
  • Omarova, S. (2016), The revival of traditions in the Central Asian 'Island of Democracy': World Nomad Games, SIAR Research and Consulting Analysis, available online:
  • Omarova, S. and Hansen, J., Kobayashi, K. (2013) Transnational Communities in between Governance and Development, International Organization for Migration, Policy Analysis, Geneva

Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Member of Eurasian Nexus Forum, Swiss Society for Studies of Migration and OSCE Conflict Sensitivity Network.

Further details

Academic and professional training

  • MA degree in Interdisciplinary International Affairs, Graduate Institute of International Affairs (IHEID) (with honors), Geneva, Switzerland
  • BA degree in International Affairs and Foreign Policy (Summa Cum Laude), KIMEP University, Almaty, Kazakhstan
  • Visiting Research Fellow at Harvard University, The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies (2017–2018)

Scholarships and prizes

  • Nazarbayev Scholarship for outstanding academic achievements (2010–2012)
  • Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship (2012–2014)
  • OSCE Conflict Sensitive Development Program Grant (2014)
  • British Council Researcher Links Grant “Newton-Al Farabi” (2016)
  • European Commission and Marie Curie Horizon 2020 Grant (2015–2018)
  • Central Eurasian Studies Society Travel Grant (2018)