Multi-vector or Travel Season? Why Did Leaders Come to Kazakhstan?

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Since the first of November, several foreign leaders have visited Kazakhstan one after another. The first on this list was French President Emmanuel Macron, then the leaders of the participating countries of the Organization of Turkic States and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrived a day earlier. The arrival of Russian President Vladimir Putin closed the series of visits.

Experts shared with us their opinion on why Kazakhstan has recently become a point of attraction for world leaders.

According to the director of the Institute of Applied Ethno-political Studies, Talgat Kaliev, this is a vivid embodiment of the multi-vector policy that Kazakhstan consistently adheres to in its foreign policy.

We are at the same time members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, OTS, EAEU, SCO. We work closely with China, Europe, the United States, and have friendly relations with Israel, the expert says.

He also believes that this is an indicator that Kazakhstan and Central Asia as a whole are acquiring a completely new meaning in the current geopolitical realities.

For us, this is a window of new opportunities that we need to use, Talgat Kaliyev said.

Political scientists Rasul Arin and Anuar Bakhitkhanov note the first and last visits of Macron and Putin as the most significant.

The visits of Erdogan and Orban were planned within the framework of the OTS summit. But the visits of Macron and Putin stand out because they represent different sides of the conflict in Ukraine, Arin emphasizes.

In his opinion, two factors may have motivated Emmanuel Macron's visit. The first is France’s energy security. The second is the geopolitical role of Kazakhstan as Russia’s neutral neighbor.

Emmanuel Macron with a dog of the Tazy breed at the Ethnoaul exhibition on November 1, 2023. Photo: Akorda.
Putin's visit was discussed earlier, but it was kept as a trump card until the right moment. Now it looks like a diplomatic counter-action by Russia, the expert believes.

Anuar Bakhitkhanov has also named energy as the main reason for the arrival of the French leader.

In my opinion, the main economic issue today is nuclear energy, namely, the construction of nuclear power plants. The final decision on this issue is almost at the finish line. As we can see, discussions are still ongoing, but now at the highest levels. The visit of the French president made it clear that Paris, and with it Europe, are interested in reliable and uninterrupted supplies of uranium and, in turn, are ready to help in the implementation and construction of nuclear power plants in Kazakhstan,  Bakhitkhanov said.

Unlike Macron, who did not openly talk about his interest in the construction of a nuclear power plant, Putin said that Russia was ready to help in the implementation of the project if necessary.

However, he stated this not during the visit, but in an interview that he gave before it.

Qasym-Jomart Toqayev and Vladimir Putin on November 9, 2023. Photo: Akorda

At the same time, Putin's visit itself, according to Anuar Bakhitkhanov, is important not only from the point of view of economic ties.

The geopolitical implication is of great importance for both countries, namely, the issue of integration. Today, the issues of the Russian language and everything related to it are very sensitive for the northern neighbor. Strategic partnership and mutually beneficial cooperation are extremely important for both Akorda and the Kremlin.

And political scientist, Valery Volodin, believes that this whole series of visits is part of a global process in which the world seeks to stop being unipolar.

New poles of power are being created. The Russian Federation sees itself as one of them, China is one of them, and perhaps the new Turkic world will become at some point. And each of them is looking for as many allies as possible and those who can share the values, ideals, mythologies that these new centers of power can oppose to the world of contentment and democracy, known as the world of the United States and Europe.

Volodin explains that the series of visits of world leaders to Kazakhstan are an attempt to bring Kazakhstan into their orbit.

But, according to the expert, there is another explanation for this.

It's the season. Historically, always after agricultural work, when the land begins to rest, and the main holidays have not yet begun, the leaders of different countries actively travel, paying their respects to all those who have long been promised to be visited, Valery Volodin believes.

Original Author: Igor Ulitin

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

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