The evident cracks in relations between Kazakhstan and Russia. A real break?

Behind-the-scenes tensions between Kazakhstan and Russia over the war in Ukraine spilled into embarrassing exchanges at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, where discussions went beyond economics and escalated into geopolitics, showing an interesting inter-republic break Central Asia and Russia.

Vladimir Putin used the platform to advance the broad claim that the entire former Soviet Union is "historic Russia ".

Against the backdrop of Russia's invasion of one of its neighbors, the Russian president's remarks on June 17 could not fail to raise alarm in other former Soviet states, such as Kazakhstan, whose president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, shared the stage. with Putin.

Tokayev took the opportunity to strongly counter the territorial claims made to Kazakhstan by some Russian commentators and to reiterate his country's refusal to recognize the separatist territories of Ukraine supported by Moscow.

The UN Charter is the basis of international law, he said, even though two of its principles are at odds: the right of countries to territorial integrity and the right of nations to self-determination.

It has been calculated that if the right of nations to self-determination were actually implemented over the entire globe, more than 500 or 600 states would arise on Earth, instead of the 193 that are currently part of the UN. Obviously it would be chaos , ” said Tokayev, a former diplomat who was secretary general of the UN office in Geneva.

For this reason we do not recognize Taiwan, nor Kosovo, nor South Ossetia, nor Abkhazia. And, in all likelihood, this principle will be applied to quasi-state entities, such as, in our opinion, are Luhansk and Donetsk “.

Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi had already declared in February that the recognition of separatist territories "was not on the agenda".

But Tokayev's public clarification to his host Putin was a bold reaffirmation of that stance, adopted as Kazakhstan tries to walk a diplomatic thread while Russia, its ally, wages war in Ukraine.

His comments raised the ire of Russia, where Congressman Konstantin Zatulin responded with thinly veiled threats against Kazakhstan's territorial integrity.

" They know too well that a whole series of regions and settlements with a predominantly Russian population have had a weak relationship with what has been called Kazakhstan ," he said.

We always and everywhere say, even in relation to Ukraine: If there is friendship, cooperation and partnership, territorial issues do not arise. But if this does not exist, everything is possible. As in the case of Ukraine “.

At the economic forum, Tokayev had already expressed his disappointment at the "absolutely incorrect claims about Kazakhstan" made by some Russian commentators.

He did not mention names, but there is no shortage of Russian commentators who question Kazakhstan's nationality, make territorial claims against it or criticize it for invented offenses, such as the alleged oppression of Russian speakers.

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Tokayev may have thought of a recent tirade by columnist Tigran Keosayan, who accused Kazakhstan of "ingratitude" towards Russia after the government canceled a Victory Day parade last month and urged it to " look carefully at what is happening in Ukraine ”. Keosayan is the husband of Margarita Simonyan, head of Kremlin-run broadcaster and propaganda machine RT.

Keosayan moderated the awkward discussion on the St. Petersburg stage between Tokayev and Putin, who at one point (and not for the first time) confused Tokayev's name in an attempt to pronounce it.

Keosayan suggested that Kazakhstan was ungrateful to Russia after it sent troops as part of a contingent from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) as part of efforts to quell January's violent civil unrest. Tokayev, in a media interview, rejected the idea that his country was grateful to Russia for this reason.

In Russia, some distort the whole situation, claiming that Russia would 'save' Kazakhstan and that now Kazakhstan should eternally 'serve and bow at the feet' of Russia, "he told Rossiya 24. " I believe these are totally assertions. false. "I think these are totally unjustified arguments and far from reality."

Speaking at the economic forum, Tokayev expressed his gratitude to Putin, "who today fully exposed the position of senior management, the Kremlin" towards Kazakhstan.

"Indeed, we have no issues that can be manipulated in one way or another, sowing discord among our nations and thereby causing damage to our people and the Russian Federation itself," he said, but these speeches have not served to hide the rift lines that have emerged in the Russian-Kazakh alliance since Russia started the war in Ukraine.

An affirmation of the desire to return to the Soviet borders can only make nervous countries, such as Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, which have taken partially different paths after the end of the Soviet bloc. Friendship with Moscow is one thing, physically returning to the Federation is one thing. This causes tensions and discussions that all parties would gladly do without …

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This is a machine translation of a post published on Scenari Economici at the URL on Thu, 23 Jun 2022 09:41:14 +0000.