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4 Jan, 2024 15:48

Central Asian state calls Russia ‘main ally’

Moscow “plays a very important role in world politics,” the Kazakh PM says
Central Asian state calls Russia ‘main ally’

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has characterized Russia as his country’s “main partner and ally,” adding that bilateral relations are “at a very high level.” In a Wednesday interview with the country’s Egemen Qazaqstan newspaper, the leader also said that close ties between the two neighbors are crucial for “ensuring regional stability and international security.” 

While the Kazakh leadership has publicly professed on multiple occasions that it abides by Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, there have been allegations that the Central Asian nation, which is a member of several Russian-led economic and security pacts, has been secretly helping Moscow circumvent restrictions and acquire Western-made goods, including dual-use ones that could have a military application.

In the interview, Tokayev said that “high-level political dialogue is developing rapidly” between Kazakhstan and Russia, with more than 300 treaties and agreements signed between the two countries over the past 30 years.

The Kazakh head of state recounted how he and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, had “clarified that the strategic partnership and relations between our states will not deviate from the nature of true friendship” during the Russian president’s official visit to the country in November 2023.

“Russia is the main trade and economic partner of Kazakhstan,” he noted, with  trade turnover reaching some $21.4 billion in the first ten months of last year. The two countries are also deepening cooperation in the “scientific-educational and cultural-humanitarian spheres,” the official added.  

According to Tokayev, Moscow plays a key role in the international arena, and  Putin is a “person who influences the global climate both by words and deeds.” Therefore, “no problem in the world can be solved without the participation of this state.” 

Speaking during his visit to Astana in November, the Russian president said that the two neighbors were “not just allies, but the closest allies,” lauding Tokayev’s personal contribution in fostering these ties.  

Meanwhile, in September, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said, following a meeting with the Kazakh head of state, that he was satisfied with the way Astana “supports us in preventing sanction circumvention and has taken active counter-measures.” 

The Russian Foreign Ministry, for its part, has made it clear that it considers Western countries’ attempts to woo Central-Asian states as part of an overt anti-Russia agenda.