Elena Afonina: – Very strange signals come from neighbors … On the one hand, “Sputnik V” vaccination is being carried out in Kazakhstan, relations in many areas have been established, cooperation is developing. On the other hand, there are also negative aspects: Russophobia manifests itself, an active rejection of our common values begins. What do you think about that?
Sergey Mikheev: – In fact, there is nothing new in this. Our attitude towards many things is changing. And this does not justify any of our post-Soviet partners and former post-Soviet states. But, unfortunately, since the 1990s, the Russian government itself has given them the opportunity to endlessly play such a double game.
If we talk about Russophobia, then it, like ethnic nationalism, to one degree or another, has become the basis for almost all states in the post-Soviet space, with the exception of Belarus. And what to talk about if we have more than enough of this in Russia.
Kazakhstan is no exception. It’s just that all the post-Soviet countries differed from each other in the degree of rigidity in promoting their ethnic nationalism. Everywhere, in all states of the former Soviet Union, ethnic nationalism is the main state ideology. While in Kazakhstan the president was Nursultan Nazarbaev – an intelligent and flexible politician, this manifested itself softer than in other countries. Nevertheless, in Kazakhstan, Russophobia also took place, although it did not manifest itself as clearly as in other countries.
We turned a blind eye to this same Russophobia in the 2000s, pretending that everything was fine. And she began to develop further. Moreover, everyone remembers perfectly well how the president Boris Yeltsin and his team handed over pro-Russian organizations in Kazakhstan to the Kazakh special services. Many people who could have become the mainstay of Russia at that time, or were convicted, or left Kazakhstan, or even disappeared.
In addition, attention is drawn to some of the geopolitical influence of the Kazakh authorities – both ours and yours, and the Americans, and, possibly, the Chinese. This is also not surprising. We ourselves gave the Americans the opportunity to have their bases in Central Asia when they needed to solve some “common tasks” in Afghanistan. That is, we ourselves allowed them there.
It is very important to see this situation from an economic point of view. When in the 1990s Kazakhstan needed investments, Russia did not help in any way. But money came there from American transnational corporations. They came there and gained a foothold.
Such a policy for both ours and yours, or, as they call it, balance, has become commonplace throughout the post-Soviet space. But in Ukraine, this eventually turned into a war and a deep crisis. In other countries, the situation is more latent. But the essence is the same. The danger is that Russia does not act, does not solve this problem.
– Not so long ago, on the website of Constantinople, a large article was published about how the Pentagon is active in Kazakhstan. There, in particular, the military exercises “Steppe Eagle” are mentioned, which Kazakhstan has been conducting since 2003 jointly with the United States and Britain. This country is at the same time a member of the CSTO. And we also close our eyes to this. Don’t you see any dissonance here?
– All secrets are not secrets to anyone for a long time. And this is one of the reasons why there is no dynamic development between our countries in terms of military ties. But in general, I see here not a dissonance, but a deep doublethink of our ruling class, which manifests itself in domestic policy, foreign policy and the economy. For 30 years this has been our serious problem.
I must say that such doublethink is manifested at every step. On the one hand, we say and see that our interests run counter to those of the United States and Europe. At the same time, the USA and Europe are imposing their vision on us, despite the fact that it is clearly disadvantageous to Russia. At the same time, for 30 years we have been repeating the mantra that we also want to follow the long paths of European civilization, we are also for joint projects and so on. And already in the 1990s – the beginning of the 2000s, we simply lay flat on our belly in front of them, although it was obvious that this did not meet our interests.
The same can be seen in economics. We say that we are not satisfied with the export of capital from the country, they say, this is a big problem, the foundation for corruption. We waited and waited for investments, did not wait. We see how Americans and Europeans, at the legislative level, adopt acts in which it is written in black and white: to restrain Russia, including its technological development. And at the same time, where it is beneficial for the Americans and Europeans, we continue to cooperate with them.
What we do in the area of financial policy is in line with the recommendations of the International Monetary Fund. And this is also our doublethink.
Now on the issue of the military sphere. You just mentioned the exercises in Kazakhstan. But these exercises, as far as I understand, are being implemented within the framework of the Partnership for Peace program. And Russia, up to a certain point, was itself a participant in this program and even pretended to be some kind of partnership in the name of some kind of peace, a joint fight against terrorism. We launched them there. And then we also said: yes, we are standing in line for the West.
Until the mid-2000s, there were no other disputes at all. At this very time, we lost our foreign policy priorities – we allowed this doublethink situation to arise.
Until we get rid of these things here inside ourselves, nothing will work out there, among our neighbors. And it’s the same in domestic politics. Here’s the most recent example. We have all sorts of meetings and unrest. And we say: these people can bring us back to the 1990s. This is bad, terrible.
And then – bam! – 90th anniversary of Mr. Yeltsin. And what we hear: we must respect our history, Mr. Yeltsin did both the fifth and the tenth. So let’s decide then: Mr. Yeltsin is good, and the 1990s were bad? And how do these things fit together, if he is the author of these 1990s? Such a split of consciousness is in everything. And this prevents us from moving both inside and outside.