The hidden Kazakhstani anti-war non-campaigns (29/04/22 17:45:37)
"The invasion of Ukraine has prompted many people in Kazakhstan to question the country’s membership of the CSTO and the Eurasian Economic Union (EaEU), which are seen as constraining Kazakhstan’s sovereignty and weakening the economy. Critics say the EaEU copies the EU’s institutional framework, but is more about geopolitical power than trade liberalisation, with Moscow the dominant partner. With Russia and Belarus now under international sanctions and the other two members – Armenia and Kyrgyzstan – being small and debt-ridden economies, Kazakhstan is the only open and dynamic economy in what is seen as an increasingly dysfunctional group.
Business and civil society activists are calling to suspend Kazakhstan’s membership of the EaEU. Demands to hold a referendum on membership of CSTO and EaEU are also gathering momentum.
While leaving the EaEU is not a viable option yet, many are calling on Tokayev to play a far more assertive role and prepare the ground for Kazakhstan’s gradual withdrawal by pointing to how Russia’s aggression violates the basic principles of the alliance, such as mutually beneficial cooperation, equal rights and safeguarding the national interests of all members."
"After much prevarication, Timur Suleimenov, the deputy chief of the Kazakhstani presidential office, made a categorical statement on April 1 assuring that Kazakhstan will not help Russia evade sanctions, emphasising Kazakhstan’s obligation to the international community. He also stated that Kazakhstan does not recognise Crimea as part of Russia nor the independence of Donbas. Upholding Kazakhstan’s membership of economic and military unions led by Russia, he clarified that the terms of its membership of the EaEU and CSTO do not extend to the case of Ukraine."
"In the Russian imperial imagination, the northeastern regions of Kazakhstan, which border Russia and have sizeable Russian populations, are Russian lands given away to Kazakhstan in the spirit of fraternal help.
Russian nationalist deputy, Gennady Zyuganov, has also repeated old, unsubstantiated allegations that Kazakhstan was producing biological weapons with US finance, a charge that the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, repeated at a lecture at MGIMO university in Moscow on March 25.
Kazakhstan has built a solid reputation as the second-strongest economy in Eurasia after Russia and as the most stable, modernising and reform-oriented country in Eurasia. But the “New Kazakhstan” promised by Tokayev now finds itself out of sync with Putin’s Russia."
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