Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov has challenged claims made by Western media that Kazakhstan aligns with Russia’s interests. According to Peskov, assertions that Kazakhstan is Russia’s “backyard” are part of a larger information war that lacks foundation in reality.
This label was applied to Kazakhstan by multiple media outlets, including Bloomberg and Politico, following French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the Central Asian nation in late October. Macron’s visit was soon followed by a summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Astana.
In an interview, Peskov unequivocally refuted the idea that Kazakhstan, a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), could be considered “Russia’s backyard.” He emphasized that Kazakhstan is an independent state with a flexible foreign policy that actively seeks cooperation with various countries.
Emphasizing the deep relationship between Russia and Kazakhstan, Peskov stated that Kazakhstan remains a strategic ally of Russia, marked by mutual respect, mutual benefit, and a commitment to collaboration that is not marked by imposition or dictation.
Peskov also criticized the West’s endeavor to create connections not for its own advantage but as a means to displace Russia from various regions. He expressed doubt about the effectiveness of such a policy and its potential promises. These comments were in line with those made earlier by Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Serik Zhumangarin, who derided the “backyard” label as “stupid,” asserting Kazakhstan’s complete independence and extensive history.
During their meetings in Astana, Putin and Tokayev penned a three-year roadmap for Russian-Kazakh cooperation and discussed significant collaborative energy projects, further solidifying the enduring relationship between the two countries.
However, Bloomberg reported that Macron’s visit to Kazakhstan sought to secure uranium supplies for French nuclear power plants and to drive a wedge between Moscow and Astana amid the ongoing tension between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
Peskov’s comments and the subsequent discussions and agreements between Russia and Kazakhstan underscore the depth and independence of the relationship between the two countries and refute the assertion that Kazakhstan is merely a pawn or extension of Russia’s foreign policy. Indeed, these developments demonstrate that Kazakhstan actively pursues a foreign policy that is in keeping with its own national interests and ambitions for cooperation with partners around the world.