Internet press-conference with Aidos Sarym (Kazakhstan)

AidosSarym's picture
Aidos Sarym
Political Scientist
Kazakhstan
On March 20 Online press-conference for Armenian media with Political scientist Aidos Sarym (Kazakhstan) was held on following topics: Eurasian Union: problems, perspectives and relations; early presidential elections in Kazakhstan: Causes, predictable results and their impact on Kazakhstan's membership in the EEU.
 
These "first-hand" comments Armenian journalists will publish in their media outlets.
 
The internet press-conference with Gordon Hahn was organized within the project “Topical Dialogues on the New Integration Agenda of Armenia” of  the “Region” Research Center supported by U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section.
On March 20 Online press-conference for Armenian media with Political scientist Aidos Sarym (Kazakhstan) was held on following topics: Eurasian Union: problems, perspectives and relations; early presidential elections in Kazakhstan: Causes, predictable results and their impact on Kazakhstan's membership in the EEU.
 
These "first-hand" comments Armenian journalists will publish in their media outlets.
 
The internet press-conference with Gordon Hahn was organized within the project “Topical Dialogues on the New Integration Agenda of Armenia” of  the “Region” Research Center supported by U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section.
 
David Stepanyan (Armenia)
ArmInfo News Agency
 
Question:
Arminfo.am
Would you, please, outline the preferences and the negative consequences of Kazakhstan's membership to the Eurasian Economic Union, taking into account itsprogressive investment cooperation with European partners?
 
Answer:
David, it will be a very long story to tell. I can later send you a lot of links, where very smart people, economists, much more competent than me speak on these issues. The funny thing is that no one actually has any tangible information. No one! State Statistics in our countries is disgusting, so stretched out. So the field for such charlatans asGlazyev and others is vast.
 
David Stepanyan (Armenia)
ArmInfo News Agency
 
Question:
Arminfo.am
What challenges of today’s national security of Kazakhstan does the membership to the CSTO solve?
 
Answer:
Honestly, I do not know how to answer this question. Well maybe the soldiers and officers are trained to improve their skills. We have bilateral programs with Russia on missile defense and military machinery. But it's slightly different. CSTO, I believe, is Russia’s attempt to create its own NATO. No more, no less. But the CSTO will have the same prospect as the EEU. Remember though that the CSTO could not do anything even in Kyrgyzstan. Well, just nothing. And many of your colleagues naively believe that the CSTO will defend Armenia from Azerbaijan. If your leaders think that the CSTO is the cornerstone of your national defense and security, they are fools. Armenia's relations with Russia are a real thing, but the CSTO is a mere fiction.
 
David Stepanyan (Armenia)
ArmInfo News Agency
 
Question:
Arminfo.am
The establishment of a customs point on the border between Russia and Belarus has once again exposed the flaws of the EEU and the gap between real politics and integration projects implemented by Moscow. Can we say that Eurasian integration is still relevant today and is the base for Russia’s aspirations for a bipolar world?
 
Answer:
And will Russia itself exist in its current form in 10 years? If it does, let's talk about a bipolar world, and other Kremlin deliria then.
 
Araks Martirosyan (Armenia)
The 168 Hoursnewspaper
 
Question:
168 Hours
Can Armenia, already a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, expect support from Kazakhstan as a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization in the settlement of the Karabakh conflict?
 
Answer:
I strongly doubt that. If, God forbid, there is a war for Karabakh, our army will not help yours even within the CSTO. Ordinary Kazakhs are more likely to volunteer for Azerbaijan.
 
Artak Barseghyan (Armenia)
Public Radio of Armenia
 
Question:
Artak Barseghyan, Public Radio of Armenia
Mr. Sarym, how do you assess the political prospects of the EEU and how likely is the further expansion of this association?
 
Answer:
Are you serious? Well, be a little bit more realistic! I beg you. There are, of course, countries like Vanuatu, Nauru. But you do not want to finance them from your ownrevenues. Globally the ocean will swallow them up. I feel sorry for the people. But you're not going to bringthese people over to your country. Really serious countries would not join the EEU. They may play along, they may request loans to solve their problems, but they will not join in. So do not expect more and more from the EEU. This project will soon die out.
 
Artak Barseghyan (Armenia)
Public Radio of Armenia
 
Question:
ArtakBarseghyan, Public Radio of Armenia
To what extent do supporters of Pan-Turkism prevail in the Kazhakh establishment?
 
Answer:
I understand that for many of your colleagues pan-Turkism is a terrible word. In fact, any normal, saneKazakh who is happy with our history, culture, and our collective memory is for pan-Turkism in his or her heart. Probably you will not understand us. Because Armenians have no brothers. While we are nations that belong to the same family. There are many of us, we have had different fates. Sometimes difficult fates. But normal people should think about their brothers, think about the way they live in, how we can help them. Every Kazakh is a Turk and a Muslim. It is a given. It is part of our ambivalent soul. And with time the number of Kazakhs will increase, so will such views, and they will prevail. For your information I can give you statistics: every year the share of Kazakhs in the country grows by - 1-1.5 percent. SoonUzbeks will be the second largest ethnic group in Kazakhstan, not Russians. The number of Uighurs is quickly increasing. We are all Turks. Well, do you still think there may be alternatives even in our domestic policy? By the way, I have recently read that even the increase within the EEU is achieved mainly due to the Kazakhs. We are a young ethnicity, the mean age is 26 years. But God, as Napoleon said, is always on the side of big battalions.
 
Artak Barseghyan (Armenia)
Public Radio of Armenia
 
Question:
Artak Barseghyan, Public Radio of Armenia
Kazakhstan reacted very coldly to Armenia's accession to the EAEC. Can we say that Astana is more committed to strengthening its position in the Asian direction?
 
Answer:
No offense, of course, but why should Kazakhs care for Armenia? What can it give to us? We do not have common borders. Trade turnover - well, it almost looks like a statistical error. How much Kazakh investment is there in Armenia? Well, almost none. So why should we rejoice? In addition, we have moral, political, human obligations to Azerbaijan, to which you do not hold any good feelings. You still have a fierce war to fight for Karabakh, which will have to be returned in the end. I can understand Armenia, which has found itself in a rather difficult situation and is surrounded by hostile countries. Your government apparently sees Russia as the only means of survival. Armenia actually rests on Russian bayonets. As for the preference for the Asian direction, I do not quite understand it. How can Armenia prevent it? Let us think more about it when you specify your question.
 
The Hetq online newspaper (Armenia)
Question:
What was the reason for holding early presidential elections in Kazakhstan, what is the prognosis?How will this affect the prospects of Kazakhstan's participation in the EEU?
 
Answer:
This is a normal, albeit cynical political calculation. The government wants to hold elections in a comfortable and predictable environment. What will happen next year with oil? No one can answer. In addition, we will have another devaluation of the tenge. In 1998-1999 we held two election campaigns precisely aftersuch a scenario.
 
Artak Barseghyan (Armenia)
Public Radio of Armenia
 
Question:
ArtakBarseghyan, Public Radio of Armenia
How realistic is the formation of a strategic and military-political alliance between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan?
 
Answer:
Good afternoon. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are fraternal countries and are strategic partners, as it is reflected in numerous documents. We are linked by a number of joint economic, political and cultural projects. I believe that over time, such cooperation can go up onto the level of military and political cooperation. At least such a union would be much more effective and more responsible than say our ephemeral obligations within the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
 
Gagik Baghdasaryan (Armenia)
Novosti Armenia News Agency
 
Question:
Do you see any alternative to the economic integration with Russia?
 
Answer:
Kazakhstan and Russia are countries that can cooperate and trade profitably even without the current forms of "integration." Simply we are not yet ready for real integration, we have not matured yet. Especially Russia. It may take some 10-20 more years, with one or two generations of politicians and figures changing. Whereas the current CU and EEU are only stillborn projects. In simpler terms, these are projects aimed at a peaceful divorce, separation from the Russian Empire. Because there are only two actual ways to do this: confrontationally or peacefully. Georgia and Ukraine went for the first. We are all going for the second. At least as of now.
 
Gagik Baghdasaryan (Armenia)
Novosti Armenia News Agency
 
Question:
Gagik Baghdasaryan, Novosti-Armenia
Do you think the introduction of a single currency in the EEU is realistic in the foreseeable future?
 
Answer:
No. I do not believe it. I do not believe in the future of the EEU. In the best case scenario, the organization will end in the same way as the CIS. The single currency is from the wish-list of individual dreamers and fools. You can dream, you can read the tea leaves. But what’s the use of it?
 
The Hetq online newspaper (Armenia)
Question:
"Whereas the current CU and EEU are only stillborn projects. In simpler terms, these are projects aimed at a peaceful divorce, separation from the Russian Empire." How common is this assessment of the CU and EEU in Kazakhstan? Isn’t the formation of the Eurasian organization NursultanNazarbayev’s idea?
 
Answer:
NursultanNazarbayev is our president. I hope he is an active and thoughtful man. If you read all his works, you can find many ideas other than that. He has come up with all sorts of ideas, why do you think that it was his best idea?As for the popularity of the idea, I think that the number of people believing in the CU and EEU has decreased this year. They will be even fewer next year. I am not making this up. Such is the dialectic of authoritarian utopian projects that are built without taking into account public opinion. You can read the history of Africa and Latin America. Very funny and sad reading, I should tell you. The history of these countries is a huge cemetery of various integration projects.
 
The Hetq online newspaper (Armenia)
Question:
Where do you see the future of Kazakhstan - away from Russia and closer to whom? Or do you think Kazakhstan can do with bilateral relations with the countries it needs?
Which of the three main reasons moved Kazakhstan to a closer cooperation with Russia in the various allied formats?
 
Answer:
We have 7500 kilometers of common borders with Russia. We have a fairly large number of Russian population. We have a lot of unresolved internal and external problems. These are the reasons why, I believe, Kazakhstan has chosen the current model of cooperation with Russia. Personally I have tons of questions on how this policy is drawn. But sometimes I think that if I were President NursultanNazarbayev, I would probably have done the same. Maybe better, or maybe worse. But let me say this again: the current format of cooperation is not final at all. This is a temporary format that will disappear when Putin andNazarbayev are not there any longer. I would like the further formats to be different. Very interesting discussions on how this cooperation should be have started out in our society.
 
The Hetq online newspaper (Armenia)
Question:
"In addition, we have moral, political, human obligations to Azerbaijan, to which you do not hold any good feelings. You still have a fierce war to fight for Karabakh, which will have to be returned in the end."What exactly are the moral and political obligations of Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan?What may thepolitical and military cooperation between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan be reflected in?
 
Answer:
A strange question. We and Azerbaijan are brotherly Turkic peoples. We are neighbors across the Caspian Sea. We have energy projects. And so on. Aren’t all these obligations and commitment? I believe that in the distant future Turkic countries will establish their own integration project. Ideally, this will be a confederation. Can’t a confederation have a common army and navy? Call me an idealist or utopian, but that will happen. Simply we need to work very hard for that purpose.
 
Tatevik Ghazaryan (Armenia)
News.am
 
Question:
What prospects do you see for the Eurasian Economic Union? To what extent can the membership to one economic structure contribute to the development of economic cooperation between Armenia and Kazakhstan?
 
Answer:
I have already answered the question about the prospects of the EEU. There are none. The question about Armenia and Kazakhstan seems more interesting. Here is something to think and talk about here. But I'd rather speak here as a pessimist. It is unlikely that Armenia can become a major investor in Kazakhstan. Human resources? Yes, a lot of guys from Armenia workin the construction industryin Kazakhstan, for example. But with us unemployment issues will soon come to the fore. Do you think will be preferred on the market: our own workforce or the good builders from Armenia? In the coming years Kazakhs are unlikely to make large investments in Armenia. Karabakh will be the main deterring factor. You will not be able to build a Caucasian Singapore or Dubai with the current regime and mentality. These are the prospects.
 
The Hetq online newspaper (Armenia)
Question:
However, may I ask you to think of the current situation with the domestic problems in Kazakhstan today - on the eve of presidential elections in your country? Is there an alternative to the ruling forces today? Is their approach to the relationship with Russia any different from Nazarbayev’s position? Why was it necessary for Nazarbayev to appoint early elections – to obtain a vote of confidence or to demonstrate hisindispensability in the country?
 
Answer:
Nursultan Nazarbayev will win these elections. There can be no doubt about this. He will not pass his power to anyone. At least in the next 5 years. Then things will become clearer when there is a competition of political programs. The elections are necessary, so to speak, to prolong the uncertainty. Nazarbayev simply wants to solve tactical issues, including those related to his succession. Well, as I said above, very unpopular economic measures will be taken after the elections which we need a new mandate of trust for.
 
The Hetq online newspaper (Armenia)
Question:
IsISIS a threats to Kazakhstan? In general, what is the attitude to ISIS-related processes in a Muslim country and society (within the country and in its surroundings)?
 
Answer:
Of course, it is! The format of ISIS is a threat to the world. And itis a huge problem that more than 300 citizens of Kazakhstanare now fighting in Syria. For example, just today militants from there who intended for terror acts herehave been detained. But the more importantproblem is that there are people with radical religious views, internal networks, and an ideologyin the country. They recruit new supporters. In the future, they may want to get onto the political arena. Unfortunately, I have to state that our leadership and security forces still do not understand the depth and seriousness of the problem. That lack of understanding itself is a big problem.

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