On Nazarbayev’s Urgent Visit to Moscow

The First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, aka the lifelong Chairman of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan, aka the leader of the ruling party Nur Otan has recently visited Moscow where he had private talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. What was the reason behind this trip? 

It all started  when Russian Deputy Chairman of Security Council (also former President and former Prime Minister) Dmitry Medvedev came to Nur Sultan on March 5, 2020.

The official press-releases state that, on March 6, the honorary guest met and had talks with the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Then he met with his successor at the presidential post Kossym-Jomart Tokayev.

Judging by the announcements in the press, Dmitry Medvedev did not (and was not planning to) meet with other high-rank state officials (for instance, with Speaker of the Senate Dariga Nazarbayeva and Prime Minister Askar Mamin). The only exception was Chief of the NSC Karim Masimov who used to serve as the head of the Kazakh government twice. He met the Moscow guest at the airport and was the one who probably saw him out. So Medvedev probably did talk to him.

Now then, on March 7, 2020, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Vladimir Putin had a phone conversation (unplanned, probably) after which, on March 10, Nazarbayev came to Moscow on a working visit. And, on the day of his arrival, he met and talked with the President of the Russian Federation. 

This is how this event (that we believe to be historic) is described in the Library’s official press-release.

«In the course of the meeting, the Leader of the Nation emphasized that Russia remains Kazakhstan’s reliable partner in all the activity areas. 

During the talks, the parties had discussed the questions of partnership within the EEU framework.

— I believe the integration is working and has great prospects. As the Honorary Chairman, I am going to ensure its further progress, said Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The First President of Kazakhstan underscored that the relationships between the two countries are developing in a perfect tune with the spirit and the principles of neighborliness and alliance.

Apart from that, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Vladimir Putin put a special focus on the issues of cooperation in the sphere of science and education.

In his turn, Vladimir Putin remarked on the contribution of the First President of Kazakhstan to the development of the integration processes and the solidifying of the strategic partnership between the two countries. 

— Our political dialogue continues. We meet with President Kossym-Jomart Tokaeyv on a regular basis. The governments of our counties are working in a fast-paced fashion. Last year, trade turnover grew by 19,7% reaching the almost 20 $ bln mark. This is a good result, said the Russian President.

 The parties had also discussed the topical issues of the international agenda and exchanged opinions on the situation on the world hydrocarbons market».

We do not see a point in commenting on the cited document — it is but a fig leaf covering the real purpose of Nazarbayev’s visit to Moscow and the content of his conversation with Putin. Unfortunately, so far, we have no reliable information as to what the cause of the meeting of the two leaders was. However, the timing itself allows us to assume that it was not all that cheerful, first of all, for Nazarbayev.

Why do we think so?

Let us start by saying that Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Nut Sultan was too short to be regarded as a usual working trip. Moreover, as per procedure, the Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council must, on such occasions, meet not only with the Chairman of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan but with the Secretary as well (in other words, Aset Isekeshev). And it is with him and not with Chief of the NSC Karim Masimov that he should conduct negotiations.

And this probably means that Medvedev came to  Nur Sultan with Vladimir Putin’s private message intended for the former and the acting heads of the Kazakh state.

Judging by the fact that Nursultan Nazarbayev called the Russian President as soon as next day, he did not care for that message. It looks like the phone discussion also brought no results, so its participants decided to continue talking in person for which purpose the First President of Kazakhstan flew to Moscow on March 10, 2020. We even allow for the possibility that Vladimir Putin summoned him there in order to press him down completely.

To those who are interested in this subject and would like to understand what is happening with the Russian-Kazakh relationships, we recommend to not only reading the official press-releases but watching these videos as well (click here, here and here).

These materials clearly show that, at the meeting with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, Nursultan Nazarbayev was a weak link. It follows, among other things, from the protocol video recording and the exchange of greetings: they both kept their hands crossed, as if «locked», however, sometime in the middle of the recording, the Russian President suddenly relaxed his guard and put the hands on the armrests while the Leader of the Nation continued to hold them locked as if shielding himself from his vis-à-vis.

It is also noticeable that, during the recording, Putin carried himself in a much more relaxed manner reclining at ease and even allowing himself to scratch his arm. By contrast, Nazarbayev sat as if he was a tin soldier. Moreover, there is a moment when the Russian President was shot side-on when he was looking at his guest as if a cat watching a fat little mouse.

And, of course, the guest looked much older and unhealthier than the host albeit, in this instance, one should cut Nazarbayev some slack considering his age and the plane transfer.


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