11/11/2021, 10.22
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Moscow and Nur-Sultan grudging allies

by Vladimir Rozanskij

Russian Foreign Minister: strategic collaboration between the two countries. The Kremlin condemns cases of xenophobia towards Russian-speaking Kazakhs, while blaming foreign forces. Attention to the protection of common borders, transit points between Europe and Asia.

Moscow (AsiaNews) - On the occasion of the 29th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Russia and Kazakhstan, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov wrote an article in Rossijskaja Gazeta extolling the "strategic collaboration" between the two countries. However, he condemned the "cases of xenophobia" against Kazakhs of Russian origin, which he believes are "inspired from outside."

Lavrov claims there are many opponents, especially Western ones, who aim to discredit the Russian-speaking community in Kazakhstan. According to Lavrov, this community lives thanks to the recent "powerful mutual ties" between Moscow and Nur-Sultan, rooted in ancient times.

Russia and Kazakhstan have been able to show "great successes in consolidating society and strengthening international harmony," but the cases of ethnic hostility in recent times "are the product of the application from the outside of special information methodologies, directed at the exacerbation of nationalist particularism and contempt for Russia."

Lavrov says to counter these attempts Moscow and Nur-Sultan must take appropriate measures, using various channels of relations: diplomatic, public order and administration of justice. The aim is to stifle "the tendentious work of the private sector and the journalistic and specialized sector of the two countries".

Kazakhstan's authorities have branded the cases of Russophobia as an expression of "caveman nationalism," in the words of Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin. Instead, the traditions of friendship should be guarded with great care, "a particularly significant role is the spiritual closeness between Russians and Kazakhs." The common Soviet past is an "extraordinary advantage of our countries in the conditions of fierce competition in international markets."

Russia and Kazakhstan maintain coordination programs in economic policy. In the last eight months, according to data exposed by Lavrov, the growth of the trade balance was 34%, reaching 15 billion euros and exceeding the three years before the pandemic.

The cooperation is based on documents confirmed several times in this thirty-year period, such as the Friendship Agreement of 1992, the Declaration of Friendship and Mutual Union of 1998, the Agreement of Good Neighborliness and Union of the 21st Century of 2013. An inter-parliamentary commission for collaboration between the two countries is always active, with sub-committees dealing with transportation, science and new technologies, energy, fuels, industry and other sectors.

Every year forums are held at the highest level, with the participation of the two presidents, as happened last September in video-conference, with the passionate discussion between Putin and Tokaev on the origins of the Asian tiger. The Kazakhs emphasized the role of the "Leader of the Nation" Nursultan Nazarbaev and his major "Eurasian projects" involving several former Soviet states.

Lavrov pointed to the special significance of some recent projects, such as the Bajterek astronautical program, which will open the way for Kazakhstan to enter the small circle of world cosmic powers. According to the plan, in 2023 Russian Soyuz-5 communication rockets will be launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome (the most important from Soviet times), which will help the country's economic and social growth.

Great attention will be given to border protection, in this very delicate phase for all of Central Asia: Russia and Kazakhstan share 7,500 kilometers of border, from which to pass large volumes of transport between Europe and Asia.

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