Why did Putin and Tokayev quarrel?

Why did Putin and Tokayev quarrel

Moscow has limited the export of Kazakh oil. The official reason is that in the water area near the terminal where the oil pipeline from Kazakhstan ends, torpedoes and mines from the Second World War were unexpectedly found. The next demining work is scheduled for June 20, they can last until the end of the month.

In response to this, the authorities of Kazakhstan decided to block 1,700 wagons with Russian coal on their territory. Also in Kazakhstan, they decided to rename their export oil so that buyers do not confuse it with Russian Urals. On June 8, Tokayev refused one of the highest orders of Russia, Alexander Nevsky, which Putin wanted to award him. And even earlier, Kazakhstan refused to hold a military parade on May 9.

Tokayev told the truth to Putin's face

What caused the economic war between the two countries? President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev made a number of harsh statements at the SPIEF economic forum in St. Petersburg. In the presence of the Russian president, he stated that he would not recognize the independence of the territories of Ukraine occupied by Russia, calling the “DNR” and “LNR” quasi-state entities.

“If the right of a nation to self-determination is really realized throughout the globe, then instead of 193 states that are now members of the UN, more than 500 or 600 states will arise on Earth. Of course, it will be chaos,” Tokayev said.

Also, in the presence of Putin, Tokayev expressed his claims to the deputies of the illegitimate State Duma and Russian propagandists, accusing them of inciting hostility between Kazakhstan and Russia. “I would like to express some complaints about the statements of a number of Russian deputies, absolutely incorrect statements about Kazakhstan, inaccurate statements, I would say, of journalists and even cultural figures,” Tokayev said.

In response, Russian propagandists and high-ranking officials lashed out at Tokayev. Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the Lower House of Parliament for CIS Affairs, Deputy Konstantin Zatulin threatened Kazakhstan with measures “as with Ukraine.” “It looked like a challenge to President Putin, who was next to him,” he said.

Kazakhstan and Russia's other neighbors are fed up with Moscow's imperial ways

Western experts believe that Russia's invasion of Ukraine is accelerating the estrangement of neighboring countries from Moscow and turning them back on the regime of Vladimir Putin. According to Foreign Policy magazine, experts believe that several post-Soviet governments, against the backdrop of Putin's war in Ukraine, have demonstrated greater independence from Moscow than expected. Uzbek Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said in April that he supported the territorial integrity of Ukraine. “Perhaps due to political pressure from Russia, he was later removed from his post and appointed to another post. The Kyrgyz foreign minister was also fired, likely due to insufficient public support for Russia's war. Moldovan President Maia Sandu said the government, which depends on Russian energy supplies and hosts hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees, is monitoring Russia's actions in Transnistria with “caution and vigilance,” the publication reports.

Viewing the Soviet past as a colonial one, the former republics of the USSR are resisting Russia's attempts to subjugate them, the researchers note. Modern Russian imperial ambitions in Ukraine or Georgia are perceived by these countries as a humiliation. “The more politically free a country is and the more room it leaves for a critical reassessment of its past, the less likely its public is to support Russian dominance,” said Erika Marat, professor at the US National Defense University College of International Affairs, and deputy director of the Swedish Defense Research Agency. Johan Engvall.

They also believe that Moscow's influence in the post-Soviet space will weaken. One reason is that Russian culture is losing its dominance and is forced to compete with other worldviews for the hearts and minds of younger generations.

However, distancing from Russia does not necessarily mean that these countries will move closer to the West. The leaders of the states of Central Asia and the South Caucasus can forge closer ties with China and Turkey. Russia's neighbors are becoming active players in the international arena. They want to build relationships with many powers, and Russia becomes just a neighbor.

“Many citizens of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia and the South Caucasus now see Russia not as a historical ally, but as a belligerent neighbor committing acts of genocide. Time is not on the side of Putin, who has embarked on an imperial and nationalist path of restoring Russia's exclusive control over neighboring countries, because Moscow's neighbors are no longer its colonial subjects,” analysts say.

Expert's opinion

Taras Zagorodny, political scientist:

– Tokayev's demarche is an open spit in Putin's face. He could say all this softly, but he said it harshly. And this position is caused by a sharp reorientation of Kazakhstan to other centers of influence – China, the United States and Turkey. Tokayev's opinion is their general mood. For Beijing, the protracted war of Russia in Ukraine is unprofitable because of the toxicity of Moscow. Because of it, you can now fall under US sanctions. And China has already decided to negotiate with the United States. As for Turkey, Kazakhstan is connected with it by ethnic roots, since the Kazakhs are also a Turkic people. And Erdogan is now intensively building a “Turkic world.” In addition, Tokayev, as a very experienced diplomat, sensed Russia's weakness in the war in Ukraine. Elite units are broken, advanced weapons are destroyed, which means that Moscow will not be able to attack Kazakhstan.

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