President of Kazakhstan wants to be everyone's friend

Kazakhstan President makes himself comfortable between two chairs

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, while in Germany, stated that Kazakhstan would adhere to Western sanctions against Russia. Moscow needs to keep that in mind and be on its guard.

Tokayev as master of diplomacy

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, while on a visit to Germany as part of the C5 + Germany summit, made several contradictory statements.

Kazakhstan will follow the sanctions regime against Russia, he said, but immediately added that Kazakhstan was not "anti-Russia.” Astana is firmly committed to full cooperation with Moscow, he stated.

The sanctions confrontation is "absolutely counterproductive” from the point of view of improving international relations, the President of Kazakhstan said. According to him, Kazakhstan does not have goods that are subject to sanctions, nor does it participate in parallel imports to Russia.

At the same time, Kazakhstan takes sanctions against Russia into account and maintains contacts on this issue with relevant international organisations, Tokayev said.

In other words, Tokayev said that Kazakhstan was carrying out the sanctions, because there was nothing to sanction.

Russia happy to work with Kazakhstan under sanctions

The Kazakh authorities will continue making statements about sanctions in order to promote the interests of their large businesses. Kazakhstan benefits from sanctions against Russia, as many of Russian businesses have relocated to Kazakhstan. They pay taxes there and carry out parallel imports that Tokayev denies.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who recently visited Kazakhstan, said that the trade turnover between Russia and Kazakhstan in 2022 amounted to a record 2 trillion rubles despite sanctions. Russia is interested in the possibilities of cooperation with the EAEU countries under the conditions of sanctions, Mishustin said.

Moscow may curb Tokayev's ambition

The Kazakh authorities firmly sit between two chairs, but they sometimes may opt for openly hostile actions that contribute to the growth of Russophobic sentiments in the country.

Tokayev needs to realise that the realisation of his wishes depends on Russia.

For example, he suggested German Prime Minister Olaf Scholz should expand exports of Kazakh oil to Germany and thus mitigate the global energy crisis. In order to accomplish this goal, one should set up a consortium for the implementation of joint raw materials projects.

According to Tokayev, Kazakhstan supplied 500,000 tons of oil to Germany via the Druzhba oil pipeline since the beginning of the year, and plans to supply 1.2 million tons in 2024. However, it is obvious that Kazakhstan depends on Russia when it comes to transit. Tokayev may promise Scholz anything, but he may not be able to implement his plans.

It is worthy of note that the Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan turned to the Ministry of Energy of Russia with a request to triple the supplies of Russian gasoline and diesel fuel. Even earlier, the Kazakhs asked their Russian colleagues to set a reasonable price for gas. To crown it all, Kazakhstan imports electricity from Russia.

Does Moscow remember the lessons learned?

The Russian Foreign Ministry commented on Tokayev's statements as follows:

Moscow does not interfere in Astana's relations with third countries and expects to work together with Kazakhstan not to show negative influence on the ties between the two countries.

This position of non-intervention has already led to the special military operation in Ukraine and Russia's pull out from Armenia. Kazakhstan is at risk both due to its significant Russian population and activities of Soros institutions that stir up Kazakh nationalism and religious radicalism.

Kazakhstan's resource base belongs to Western companies. Kazakhstan has deposits of rare earth metals, and the struggle for them may unfold in the near future against the backdrop of China's embargo on supplies to the West.

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
Editor Dmitry Sudakov