Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 164

Interviewed in the latest issue of Argumenty i fakty, Kazakhstan’s president Nursultan Nazarbayev expresses strong dissatisfaction with key aspects of Russia’s policy toward Kazakhstan. Nazerbayev objects to: restrictions on Kazakhstan’s access to Russia’s pipeline system to export its oil to international markets; Russian special services instigating complaints from Russians in Kazakhstan about alleged ethnic discrimination, ignoring Kazakhstan’s substantial concessions on language and citizenship issues; and Boris Yeltsin’s recent decree on Russia’s "strategic goals" within the CIS, envisaging economic and other pressures instead of an equitable partnership. "It is time the Russian government thought about the reasons why Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan are seeking new partners and alternative paths of development." (17) This is not the first but is one of the frankest statements by Nazarbayev on problems accumulating in Russia-Kazakhstan relations. His criticism concerns exclusively actions by Russia’s executive branch, not the more nationalist and less responsible Duma. Avoiding injury to major Russian interests remains a basic policy guideline to Nazarbayev and the post-Soviet Kazakh elite. However, Kazakhstan appears increasingly willing to defend its vital interests in such areas as mineral rights, inter-ethnic relations, and to a more limited extent regional security.

1. Interfax, Reuter, December 28

2. Russian TV, December 28

3. Interfax, December 28

4. Reuter, December 29

5. Reuter, December 29

6. Reuter, December 28

7. Itar-Tass, Interfax, Izvestiya, Nezavisimaya gazeta, Western agencies, December 28

8. Interfax, BBC World Service, December 28

9. Interfax, December 28

10. Russian TV, December 27

11. Interfax, December 28

12. Interfax, December 27

13. Interfax-Ukraine, December 6, 19, and 27

14. Interfax, December 27 and 28

15. Interfax, December 7

16. Interfax, December 27

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