June 17, 2024
The crisis in Kazakhstan. The impact of the crisis on geopolitical processes.
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The crisis in Kazakhstan. The impact of the crisis on geopolitical processes.

By Rustam Taghizade, Political Scientist

Protests in Kazakhstan on January 2 reached a peak in the country. Peaceful protests began earlier this week in the western Kazakh city of Zhanaozen. Rising fuel prices in this oil-rich city have led to deeper dissatisfaction with the country’s economic and political structure. Kazakh President Tokayev has made some concessions to quell the uprising. He dismissed the government and withdrew the increase in gas prices.

Causes of the crisis:

What are the causes of the crisis in Kazakhstan? Low wages, overdue wages, rising gas prices. In addition, strong corruption in the country has led to unrest. The country’s economy has collapsed. The wealthy elite increased their assets in offshore accounts. This caused widespread dissatisfaction among the population. Much remains unclear about the situation in Kazakhstan. In particular, it is unknown who was involved in the riots, as the government’s internet outage has severely blocked independent and social media. This allowed President Tokayev to tell a story about the protests, while others were filled with speculation, theories and rumours. This is an unstable situation, exacerbated by the arrival of Russian forces. It should be noted that the intervention of the CSTO can turn the internal crisis in Kazakhstan into a geopolitical crisis. Russia has the main say in the CSTO. Russia’s deployment of troops to Kazakhstan has fueled nationalist sentiment in the country. They want Russian troops to leave the country. I want to mention this quote. Diana Kudaibergenova, an associate professor of political sociology at Cambridge University, said: “People who take to the streets to protest peacefully and to express their views legally are playing a bigger game.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently said that Kazakhstan has never had its lands. Kazakhstan, rich in natural resources, has always been attractive to Russia. Kazakhstan, too, has tried to strike a delicate balance by trying to be nice to Moscow, Beijing and Washington in the hope that they will not get caught up in the superpower clashes. Asking for help from Russia, Tokayev could at least have tilted his scales a little when it came to the United States and Russia. There are more than three million ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan. This strengthens the tendency to flee to Russia.

Russia-Kazakhstan relations:

The subject of “Russian influence” occupies the world of Western think tanks. Now widely used in the media and expert circles, it is one of the main by-products of the current crisis in US-Russian relations, creating an ecosystem of new ideas, studying resources and “fighting resistance.” However, the concept of influence should be used with caution. Analysts have often assumed that when states do everything they see fit for Russia, it is either because Moscow is forcing them to do so, or because it is actively manipulating their domestic policies. other reasons why one state may act in a way that is desirable for another state: among other things, its perspectives and views simply coincide with the views of another state, its geopolitical or economic conditions naturally motivate it to act in a certain way or other the state “naturally” exerts only the existing influence on the former (for example, through the emission of cultural influence).

Theoretically, there are two main reasons why one state (B) acts in a way that is desirable for another state (A). Its condition may be that it acts in the way desired for B (A) by maximizing its usefulness (or minimizing its loss of usefulness). Alternatively, his perceptions or goals may leave him to achieve his goals and take the measures desired for A. Respectively, this is called hard and soft force.) The state and perceptions of B can be formed by the goals, in turn, by its attributes and actions, A’s attributes and actions. the international system as a whole. In addition, A and B can create vectors that actively or passively shape the state and goals and perceptions of (B). A can deliberately move to shape B’s situation – for example, to increase his military power to make B unstable. He and or the international system may shape B’s position passively or “naturally” – for example, A’s economic importance may make B dependent, or its cultural influence may limit B’s public opinion from its population to B. or B’s place in the international system may cause him to turn to A for security. A can also deliberately try to change B’s goals and perceptions – for example, diplomacy or government-backed media can motivate not only B’s population but also its politicians to act in A’s favour. Russian-Kazakh relations clearly show all the above types of vectors. Although Kazakhstan is often seen as Moscow’s best partner (or second only to Belarus), its relations with Russia have been largely ignored. It should be noted that Kazakhstan is a full-fledged actor in relations.

If we take a closer look at Russian-Kazakh relations, many Russian corporations have significant assets in Kazakhstan or business relations with Kazakh companies. Lukoil and Rosneft own shares in several major Kazakh energy concerns. Gazprom will participate in the development of Kazakhstan’s Tsentralnoye and Imashevskoye fields. Russian Railways is one of the main partners of Kazakhstan Railways and closely cooperates with Rosatom and Kazatomprom. Roscosmos is highly active in Kazakhstan, mainly due to the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Russian defence companies such as Almaz-Antey, Sukhoi, Irkut and Uralvagonzavod are partners with Kazakhstan’s military-industrial complex. Russian agribusiness companies are also well represented in the agricultural market of Kazakhstan.


Kazakhstan has recently been developing relations and economic ties with China, Europe and Turkey. Russia does not welcome it. Russia claims new territories. At present, Russia’s affairs on the Ukrainian front are not in order. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Russia sent troops into the allies and stifled the people’s voice of freedom, and people came under fire. The tragedy of January 20, 1990, in Baku, is an example of this. Currently, the same scenario is taking place in Kazakhstan. The political regime in Kazakhstan has appealed to Russia to protect its power. Such developments will affect geopolitical processes in the region. Russia has traditionally not given up its policy of expanding its territory and chauvinism.

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