Domestic Politics and Friendship with China: Experts’ Opinions on Toqayev's Interview

cover Covercollage

On January 3, an interview with President Toqayev was published. Topics discussed concerned Kazakhstan’s domestic and foreign policy, as well as more recent events such as Qantar and dual power in the country. has learned experts’ opinions.

Qasym-Jomart Toqayev considers the events of January 2022 not a people’s revolution, but a planned coup attempt by forces that opposed democratic transformations. A factor was the dual power that had developed in the country. As Toqayev diplomatically stated, "the president and the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, as well as the chairman of the Security Council in the person of the ex-president," i.e., Nazarbayev, acted simultaneously.

The damage from Qantar amounted to about three billion USD. However, it remains unclear who calculated it and how. Political commentator Gaziz Abishyev told Orda that he read Egemen Qazaqstan's interview with Toqayev with interest, though the text in essence is not an interview. According to the expert, this is a way of "political communication" to consolidate the theses voiced earlier.

Let's just drop everything and say that President Toqayev addressed the nation after the New Year with a set of fateful, important political theses, the sum of which reflects the general state course. In this sense, it was interesting for me to read the text, the expert says.

The print edition format of the interview, according to Abishyev, was chosen, among other things, because of its more traditional format.

Firstly, there are several explanations for this. This is a stylistic format, in the sense that Toqayev, by virtue of his education, experience, how he came about and began his career. It's just that for him, as a politician, this method of communication is the most convenient. Secondly, it seems that some alternative, more interactive, or frivolous formats of political communication are considered premature due to some kind of internal regional field of ours. Apparently, there are technological considerations there, but they don't do it at random, Abishyev told
Political commentator Gaziz Abishyev, photo from personal archive

Abishyev also believes that in strong presidential republics like Kazakhstan, where the head of state determines both domestic and foreign policy, there is no need to be sophisticated to catch the population’s attention. Especially given the power of the state media, which unconditionally broadcast Akorda's position.

He can write on TikTok, respond by telegraph, or make an address through a print interview. It’s all the same, the unified system will process all this and distribute it to the electorate in a form convenient for them: through posts on Instagram, YouTube, and other formats. The most important thing is the content, and the form does not play an important role, Abishyev said.

In his Telegram channel, Gaziz Abishyev commented on the foreign policy course that the president spoke about in the interview. It remains multi–vector. Relations with Russia remain strategic despite Moscow’s war with Ukraine. More than 300 treaties and agreements link the countries. Kazakhstan also carries on constructive work in all international organizations, taking into account its national interests and actively developing partnerships with China, including via transit potential.

Kazakhstan can and should take advantage of its geographical position connecting China with Europe. The "One Belt, One Road" projects, the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, the Ayagoz—Tachen railway are all elements of a large economic project beneficial to Kazakhstan. At the same time, the head of state has noted the senselessness of sinophobia. China has turned into a technologically advanced state, relations with which are extremely important, and cooperation is promising, Abishyev writes.

Adil Kaukenov, chief expert of the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies, holds the same opinion. He drew attention to Toqayev's desire to rid Kazakhstan’s society of previously established stereotypes regarding its eastern neighbor.

Screen of Telegram channel "notes of the Kazakh sinologist"

 Kazakh political scientist Daniyar Ashimbayev sees in the interview transparent reproaching regarding the government's work, discussing the fate of the Cabinet of Ministers.

On the one hand, the President recalled his September order to double GDP by 2029 and called it a "completely achievable goal." On the other hand, he stated that for him "macroeconomic indicators are not of primary importance," but "the main thing is citizens’ genuine well-being." There is certainly some contradiction here, which can be understood as a veiled hint at the manipulation of statistics that flourish in the executive branch. Take, for example, data on the population’s increasing incomes. According to the government, they are constantly growing, but statistics say that inflation has eaten away almost all of the growth. The President did not mention in the interview that the government recently reported on the fulfillment of his instructions to reduce inflation by half. It is obvious that he has a slightly different vision of the effectiveness of this work, Ashimbayev writes in his Telegram channel.

According to the president, "the government should have a detailed action plan taking into account all possible scenarios". Nonetheless, neither the expanded powers nor the increased independence of the regions have shown the Cabinet of Ministers's effective work.

But a miracle has not happened yet and, apparently, the economic miracle will be implemented by another team, the expert believes.

At the same time, it has been repeatedly predicted that the government under Alikhan Smailov's leadership would resign in 2022 and 2023. Nevertheless, despite the September rotation of ministers, there are no obvious hints of a radical change in executive power yet. 

Another important moment was when the President expressed his position on tightening the legislation on domestic violence. He also stressed that Kazakhstan should avoid imitating other cultures, but also not slip into false patriotism and unbridled boasting.

What is much more important is not who we were, but who we are and, most importantly, who we will be. We must be united in understanding not only what a difficult path we have gone through, but also what we are striving for. We need not live with memories of the past, but with aspirations for the future, to prove the greatness of our nation by acting, Qasym-Jomart Toqayev said in the interview.

He also noted that we all need to take note of our shortcomings and work to overcome them.

Original Author: Maksim Skopin

DISCLAIMER: This is a translated piece. The text has been modified, the content is the same. Please refer to the original piece in Russian for accuracy.

Latest news

view all