Following years of neglect in the 1990s, science and technology (S&T) and innovation policy issues in Armenia are once again the focus of Armenian policy-makers' attention. This is reflected in several conceptual and legislative acts adopted by the government between the years of 2000 and 2006. Also, public financing of research and development (R&D) has been stabilised through the implementation of three budget financing mechanisms. But the level of R&D financing as a proportion of gross domestic product (GDP) remains extremely low. Innovation policy measures proposed by the Armenian government need to be reinforced with concrete quantitative targets and adequate effective implementation. In terms of innovation performance, Armenia has a relatively good potential absorptive capacity (i.e. well-educated population), but poor knowledge generation capacity (i.e. low public and private expenditure on R&D). Meanwhile, Kazakhstan's government has made commendable efforts to create a national innovation strategy and launch a broad range of innovation programmes in a relatively short period of time. However, a word of caution must be sounded. The innovation programmes have very ambitious goals that will be difficult to achieve despite the large budgets available to them. The country lacks local expertise in innovation management, technology transfer and programme management. And with so many innovation-related programmes running at the same time, there is a real danger that the Kazakh government is 'trying to run before it can walk'. Analysis of the European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) indicators for Kazakhstan, and comparison with the EU-25 average as well as other CIS countries, reveals that the country has a good potential absorptive capacity but poor knowledge generation capacity and an unfavourable industry structure.