For Kazakhstan, those numbers do not paint a pretty picture. The country has made efforts to diversify its economy, but it's still largely dominated by oil and natural gas production. As of 2012, more than 25 percent of Kazakhstan's GDP came from the oil and gas industry, according to research from Ernst and Young.
Oil also represents the focus of a great deal of Kazakhstan's foreign investment. Chevron, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell all have stakes in at least one of Kazakhstan's three main oil fields.
"Kazakhstan is a petro-state," Molchanov said. "Falling oil prices are damaging to Kazakhstan's economy, as it is damaging to any other oil-dependent country."
Crude futures aren't the only headache for Kazakhstan's economy—the country also has to grapple with the poor economic conditions in Russia since that country became involved in efforts to destabilize Ukraine. Moody's downgraded Russia's debt rating, and inflation is becoming a bigger concern for the country in the face of sanctions from the European Union and United States. Those factors could hurt formerly Soviet Kazakhstan's image.
"A lot of people in the West see the sanctions out there and think the whole region is unstable or in flames," said William Courtney, former U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan and the president of U.S.-Kazakhstan Business Association. "That will hurt all of the former Soviet countries, because people in the West will see them as part of that—even though they're not."
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In the IOC's eyes, that could all add up to an economic gamble when it's already dealing with one as Brazil's shaky economic standing is presenting challenges to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.
The IOC's most recent host selection for the 2020 Summer Olympics showed how the organization aims to hedge its future risks, according to Terrence Burns, managing director at Teneo Sports, the sports business division of advisory firm Teneo Holdings. Tokyo beat out Istanbul and Madrid, cities located in countries with far more political and economic risk than Japan.
"The IOC is in a mode of mitigating risk—not taking chances on new cities and new horizons," Burns said. "Frankly, China's less risky than Kazakhstan by any metric."