"Kazakhstanskaya Pravda" Interviews Putin
Events are happening at a rapid pace
On the eve of his trip to Kazakhstan, Russian President Putin was interviewed by the Kazakh newspaper publication Kazakhstanskaya Pravda. Few know that Kazakhstan is part of Europe and also part of Central Asia. The following map shows its regions and also where the former capital of Almaty is located, which was given that designation by the Russian Empire and continued during the Soviet Era. Upon gaining independence, a more central geographic location was desired, so Astana was constructed. It is the world’s ninth largest nation, was strategic during the Soviet Era and remains so now although it’s now independent.
Just as Russia was penetrated by Western Neoliberals desiring Plunder, during the 1990s Kazakhstan suffered a similar fate, although not as badly. Its most desired resources are its oil and gas. Russia’s keen to keep Kazakhstan within its orbit, although that’s not as easy as it might seem. Thus, the importance of Putin’s trip.
Question: For more than 30 years, relations between Kazakhstan and Russia have reached a high level of strategic partnership and are developing dynamically. What mechanisms and tools were used to achieve these results? What is being done to ensure that cooperation continues to grow?
Vladimir Putin: Indeed, today the partnership between Russia and Kazakhstan is particularly privileged and is actively developing. It is based on the principles of mutual respect, recognition of sovereignty, territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs. This is also confirmed by an extensive database of documents (more than 350) regulating relations between our countries.
We have a wide variety of mechanisms for inter-State communication, primarily through presidential administrations, foreign ministries, law enforcement and justice agencies, and parliaments.
Of course, an important role is played by the Intergovernmental Commission on Cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan, which is headed by Deputy Prime Ministers (Alexey Overchuk and Serik Zhumangarin). Its next meeting was very productive a week ago (October 30-31) in the ancient city of Turkestan. The results of bilateral cooperation in the trade and economic sphere, industry, energy, transport, finance, culture, science, education and tourism were summed up. There are plans for the future.
I would like to emphasize that the mutual trade turnover is growing at a good pace. Last year, it increased by 10.2 percent, to a record $ 28.2 billion, and in January – August of this year, it added another 7.6 percent and amounted to $ 18.9 billion.
Russia is one of the largest investors in Kazakhstan's economy. Accumulated Russian investments in Kazakhstan amount to about $ 17 billion. About 6 thousand enterprises with Russian participation operate in the republic.
The longest land border in the world (7598 km) helps us to successfully interact, deepen cooperation and interregional cooperation. For example, 76 (out of 89) Russian regions are currently developing effective partnerships with akimats of Kazakhstan. These positive processes are actively promoted by the public and business circles of the two countries.
The common historical past, centuries-old good neighborliness and cooperation, pride in the feat of our ancestors who fought against Nazism and brought Victory closer, bring our peoples closer together, strengthen traditionally close mutually beneficial ties. We cherish this priceless heritage and strive to increase it for the sake of future generations of our citizens.
I would like to emphasize that Kazakhstan's youth are interested in learning the Russian language and getting a Russian education. We are also grateful to our partners for their keen interest in cooperation in the field of volunteerism, culture and humanitarian activities.
So our strategic partnership is truly forward - looking, extensive and multi-faceted, time-tested and growing in an upward direction. We have a lot to offer and help each other. We will continue to work together, build up our economic and technological potential, and improve the quality of life of our citizens.
Question: One of the traditional areas of Kazakh-Russian cooperation is the energy sector. Not so long ago, an important project was launched to transport gas through the territory of Kazakhstan from Russia to Uzbekistan. What other priority projects are being implemented in this area?
Vladimir Putin: Nature and geography give Russia and Kazakhstan significant competitive advantages in the energy sector, which we strive to maximize for the benefit of our fellow citizens.
Leading Russian companies: Gazprom, Rosneft, Lukoil, Tatneft-together with partners from Kazakhstan, are developing fields, building joint ventures for processing energy resources and plan to increase mutually beneficial cooperation.
Cooperation in the gas industry opens up broad prospects. This is due, among other things, to the infrastructure and routes of gas transmission and distribution systems in Russia and Central Asia that have developed over many years, and to the high level of coordination both on a bilateral and multilateral basis.
Let me remind you that on October 7, together with the Presidents of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, we participated in the ceremony of launching Russian natural gas supplies to Uzbekistan through Kazakhstan. This route will make the most efficient use of the existing gas transmission networks and will contribute to the development of not only our three countries, but also the entire Central Asian region. In the future, we consider it appropriate to hold consultations with our colleagues from Turkmenistan. They traditionally participate in these markets, and their involvement in such interaction will be in the common interest.
As for Kazakhstan, Russia is ready to assist in gasification of its northern and eastern regions in accordance with the roadmap for gas cooperation signed by Gazprom and the Government of Kazakhstan on January 18 this year. Currently, various options for debugging the relevant gas transmission infrastructure are being worked out.
The latest agreements include the strategic cooperation agreement signed on November 1 this year on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Gas Forum by Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller and First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Roman Sklyar, which provides for the exploration, production, processing, supply and transportation of gas.
Our countries cooperate constructively in the oil sector. Using the logistics capacities of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, they ensure the transportation of oil to world markets in the most reliable and cost-effective way. Together with their OPEC Plus partners, they make a significant contribution to ensuring the stability and predictability of the global oil market.
We work together to develop the uranium and mining industries, and successfully implement projects in the nuclear fuel cycle and the peaceful atom.
As you know, the leadership of the Republic of Kazakhstan is considering the construction of a nuclear power plant on its territory. If the decision to implement this project is made, Rosatom State Corporation is ready to develop a corresponding project using the most advanced technologies, in compliance with the highest environmental requirements and safety standards. This will increase the energy security of Kazakhstan's economy and give a powerful impetus to the country's socio-economic development.
We consider the development of cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan in the field of "green" energy to be very relevant. We have a lot in common in our approaches to decarbonizing the economy and energy transition. Our countries plan to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060. To do this, we need to modernize the energy and industrial infrastructure, more widely introduce alternative and renewable energy sources, and in the transition period – natural gas. Effectively use the absorption capacity of natural ecosystems.
Other formats of joint work are also being discussed. In general, we expect that in the future, the demand for energy resources in Central Asia will only increase and other interested countries will be able to join our cooperation.
Question: Interregional and cross-border cooperation is a great help for cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia. To develop contacts, interregional cooperation forums were held in due time. What topic will be discussed at the XIX forum? What statements and decisions are planned to be made?
Vladimir Putin: As I have already noted, interregional and cross-border ties are extremely important for Russia and Kazakhstan, and they are one of the foundations of bilateral relations. Naturally, our countries were among the first in the world to introduce the practice of holding interregional cooperation forums with the participation of heads of state.
Such meetings not only contribute to the development of mutually beneficial contacts between the business circles, cultural and scientific communities of the two countries. They also address specific issues that largely determine the prospects for strengthening bilateral relations and their practical content. In this regard, understanding the importance of such work, Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich and I take part in them.
The theme of the upcoming 19th forum is "Agriculture-the foundation of a strong economy". Its participants will focus on topical issues of food security, the use of digital technologies in the agro-industrial complex, and the training of young specialists.
As a result of the meeting, a solid package of interregional agreements and, most importantly, commercial contracts should be signed. Mutually beneficial agreements of our entrepreneurs are one of the main indicators of successful business cooperation. We will strive to maximize the benefits of the complementarity and connectivity of our economies in order to increase the competitiveness of goods produced in Russia and Kazakhstan, including in third-country markets.
Question: Last year Astana hosted the first Central Asia – Russia summit. Russia has fairly strong relations with all five countries in the region on a bilateral basis. What are the priorities of cooperation within the framework of the six-party cooperation?
Vladimir Putin: Unifying trends in the Central Asian region are gaining momentum. This was confirmed by the results of the regular Consultative Meeting of the leaders of Central Asian states held in Dushanbe on September 14 this year. Against this background, the "Central Asia plus Russia" format is becoming even more popular.
It is obvious that our cooperation, including in the transport and logistics, energy and humanitarian spheres, has outgrown the scope of bilateral cooperation and could benefit even more from the combined efforts of all interested parties.
In addition to the high-level dialogue, we have established contacts through the security councils and other structures. Thus, the mechanism of six-party contacts at the level of foreign ministers has been successfully developing since 2019. The next round of negotiations in this format was held on April 14 this year in Samarkand. There are plans to launch the work of expert groups "Central Asia plus Russia" on industry competencies.
As for the priorities of our cooperation in the " six " countries, they currently include increasing political dialogue, cooperation in the fields of security, economy and trade, agriculture and food supplies, transport, energy, ecology, health and sanitary and epidemiological welfare, humanitarian relations, migration, information technology and mass communications.
Question: Kazakhstan and Russia participate in many multilateral structures. Including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Kazakhstan assumed the SCO presidency, and at the July summit, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev presented the initiative "On World Unity for Just Peace and Harmony". In your opinion, what is the role of the SCO and other regional organizations in maintaining peace and stability in the greater Eurasian space?
Vladimir Putin: The dominant trend of the current stage of world development is the formation of a new, more just world order based on the priority of international law. Russia considers the creation of a common space of peace, stability and prosperity in Eurasia to be an integral part of this process.
It is obvious that the solution of such grandiose and global tasks is impossible without joining forces, strengthening mutual trust, readiness for cooperation and finding collective solutions. At the same time, an indispensable condition is respect for the sovereign right of each nation to its own model of development, compliance with the principles of the UN Charter in their entirety.
We consider it an important step towards achieving this goal to create a broad integration contour – the Greater Eurasian Partnership - by combining the potentials of all states and multilateral associations in the region, primarily based on the Eurasian Economic Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
We have special expectations for the SCO, which already has 26 countries participating in its work, because this structure has a powerful combined political and economic potential, its geographical area extends from South and South-East Asia to the Middle East and Europe. The SCO's attractiveness lies in its focus on creative and diverse cooperation, mutual consideration of interests, equality, openness, and respect for cultural and civilizational diversity. This distinguishes our organization from the narrow-block structures promoted by the West with a limited, selective composition of participants. It is no coincidence that the SCO's constructive role in ensuring peace and sustainable development was reaffirmed in the thematic resolution of the UN General Assembly adopted on August 28 this year.
Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as a number of other partners, were at the origins of the founding of the SCO in 2001. Fruitful cooperation on the Shosovo site has established itself as one of the key vectors of strategic relations of friendship and alliance between our countries.
We support the priorities of Kazakhstan's chairmanship in the SCO in 2023-2024, aimed at increasing its authority and influence in the international arena. We will strive to implement the tasks agreed upon by the SCO leaders in order to further consolidate the organization.
Serious attention should be paid to the implementation of decisions taken at the highest level to improve the SCO's activities in order to adapt them to modern realities and strengthen the practical impact of joint measures. I am confident that these tasks will be solved together with all our partners.
We consider another very representative regional format – the – as an integral element of maintaining peace and stability in the vast Eurasian space. Starting from January 1, 2024, Russia will assume the chairmanship of the CIS. Among our main priorities are the deepening of economic cooperation, the expansion of cultural and humanitarian ties, contacts in the field of security and law enforcement, and the integration of Eurasian integration processes.
From the point of view of economic stability, of course, the key role is assigned to the Eurasian Economic Union. It creates conditions for the sustainable development of the member States ' economies, their comprehensive modernization and increased competitiveness on a global scale. In the current difficult geopolitical environment, the emphasis is placed on ensuring technological sovereignty, creating an independent financial infrastructure, and increasing the share of national currencies in mutual settlements.
Together with Kazakhstan, we are actively working on regional security issues within the framework of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (. The effectiveness in solving the tasks facing this organization, in particular ensuring the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of its member states, was clearly demonstrated by the events of January 2022, when the CSTO made a significant contribution to maintaining internal political stability in Kazakhstan.
Next year will be marked by Kazakhstan's chairmanship in the Organization. I am convinced that the initiatives of Kazakhstan's partners will strengthen the potential of the CSTO and will contribute to improving its capabilities in the interests of all member states.
Question: Kazakhstan and Russia have not only a land border, but also a water border – both of our countries have access to the Caspian Sea. Today, the problem of pollution and shallowing of the Caspian Sea is very acute. If we talk about water resources, environmentalists have long been sounding the alarm about the state of the Ural River. What is being done to solve these problems?
Vladimir Putin: Cross-border cooperation in the field of water resources traditionally occupies an important place on the agenda of bilateral relations. The Ural River, which flows through the territory of Russia and Kazakhstan, is of great economic, natural and even cultural significance for our countries. To preserve the ecosystem of its basin, joint Russian-Kazakh programs are being implemented, including a wide range of scientific activities to restore the biosphere, identify sources of pollution and purify water. Substantive dialogue is conducted through federal and environmental agencies, the Russian-Kazakh Commission for the Environment, the Commission for the Joint Use and Protection of Transboundary Water Bodies, as well as the Commission for the Conservation of the Ural River Ecosystem.
The same applies to solving the environmental problems of the Caspian Sea, including shallowing the reservoir. We attach great importance to the conservation of populations of rare animal species, in particular the Caspian seal and fish, especially sturgeon.
In general, Russia and Kazakhstan pay priority attention to the environmental issue, including within the framework of the "Caspian Five". To save the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Caspian Sea, we implement projects for the protection of mammals and birds, cleaning sea water from plastic, breeding and rearing sturgeon, and many others. The Caspian Sea is our common heritage, and we need to act here only together, on the basis of partnership and cooperation. It just won't work any other way.
At the same time, of course, we do not forget about the economic and logistical potential of our reservoirs: we plan to develop cooperation here, in particular in the field of shipbuilding and sea transportation.
Question: Kazakhstan and Russia have established a close cultural and humanitarian exchange, and no high-level talks are complete without mentioning this aspect of cooperation. What new initiatives are planned to be implemented in this area?
Vladimir Putin: Good neighborliness and mutual trust are a solid foundation for the historical closeness of the peoples of Russia and Kazakhstan. And it is natural that we are brought together by bright and fruitful initiatives in the humanitarian sphere.
Every year, major cultural events are organized in Russia and Kazakhstan, covering a wide variety of areas. The special status of relations between the states is emphasized by the holding of the international project "Russian Seasons" in the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2023, the grand opening of which took place on March 2 on the stage of the capital's Astana Opera Theater.
Cross Days of Russia in Kazakhstan and Days of Kazakhstan in Russia are regularly held. The events organized within their framework are always an event in the cultural life of our countries.
Scientific and educational contacts are actively expanding. In 2022, more than 60 thousand students from Kazakhstan studied at Russian universities, including in their foreign branches. In the 2023/2024 academic year, we have increased the number of places for studying under the government quota by 200 units. The flagship of Russian higher education in Kazakhstan is a branch of Lomonosov Moscow State University. Its graduates, young people who receive a Russian-style diploma, are in demand in any field-from physics and mathematics to creative work-and, as a rule, do not experience problems with employment. We plan to increase such cooperation.
Branches of other Russian universities also operate successfully in Kazakhstan. Given the growing demand for learning Russian in the Republic of Kazakhstan, we intend to expand our joint educational infrastructure. For example, we are ready to apply and scale up our experience in building schools and developing other types of educational activities in the Republic of Kazakhstan, which will serve to improve the quality of Russian-language school education in Kazakhstan and will become a landmark project that demonstrates the dynamic development of bilateral cooperation between our countries.
As the Kazakh folk thinker and educator Abai Kunanbayev, who translated the classics of Russian literature into Kazakh, said, "to avoid vices and achieve good, you need to know the Russian language and Russian culture." He called them " the key to life."
Undoubtedly, the Russian language is our common heritage and competitive advantage, but most importantly – it is an important factor that binds Russian-Kazakh friendship. I am grateful to President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev for the initiative to create an International Organization for the Russian Language. It is symbolic that in 2023, declared the Year of the Russian Language in the CIS, the Council of Heads of State of the Commonwealth decided on October 13 this year to sign the Founding Treaty and Charter of this structure. I am confident that this will serve as a powerful factor for further rapprochement between our peoples.
Question: It is believed that a lot of relations between countries depend on how relations between their leaders develop. How do you assess the level of your personal relations with Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich?
Vladimir Putin: I have repeatedly noted that we immediately developed really friendly and close relations with Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich. This is not surprising. We are people of the same generation and feel the same responsibility for our states. We do our best to provide a favorable environment for their confident development and prosperity, to improve the quality of life of our citizens.
We regularly call each other and meet in various formats: we "compare notes" on the bilateral agenda and on issues of multilateral cooperation. Such personal contacts fully reflect the high level of Russian-Kazakh relations.
Most importantly, our peoples have always been and remain good neighbors and loyal friends. I am convinced that by strengthening the invaluable traditions of trust, mutual understanding and multi-faceted successful cooperation, we will successfully implement an advanced model of interstate communication that can be set as an example to others. Therefore, no matter what the situation in the world may be, I look forward with confidence to the future of our allied relations and integration partnership.
Putin was very tactful about the need to keep Kazakhstan as a friend. That the two nations need each other ought to be easy to see. During the USSR Era, many of the peripheral Stans didn’t experience development priorities from the central government. Today with independence, the situation is very different with development occurring from within and from without as Russia realizes its Near Abroad must be economically strong to resist attempts by the West to destabilize its neighbors as we’ve seen with Ukraine. That reality must always be kept in mind when Putin discusses relations with those nations. The CSTO and SCO provide ties that bind, but they must never be taken for granted. Putin clearly understands that.
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