Ironically, perhaps, the mixed record of the three former Soviet republics that have experienced pro-democracy revolutions has become fodder for the political technologists. In Kazakhstan, Mr Nazarbayev played on the upheaval in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan after it overthrew its president in March to present himself as the stability candidate.
"We want peace and order," said Zemfira, a schoolteacher in Mr Nazarbayev's home town of Kaskelen. "We've seen what happened in other places.
I believe that actual vote counting could be fairly clean. However, election campaining is a different story, that's for sure.