The Ukrainian crisis has split Central Asians into two parts. Most of them support Russia, while the nationalist minority advocates for the new Kiev authorities. The power elites of the region took a wait-and-see attitude in this situation, waiting for when and how the Ukrainian crisis will be resolved.
On the eve of the Crimean referendum, Kyrgyzstan made a loud statement on the situation in Ukraine. 11 March The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic refused to consider V. Yanukovich as the legitimate president of Ukraine, stating that “the Kyrgyz Republic condemns any actions aimed at destabilizing the situation in Ukraine. Therefore, we consider the statement by V. Yanukovych of 11 in March of the current year inappropriate and inadequate. The only source of power in any country is the people. A president who has completely lost the trust of his people, has de facto lost his presidential powers and, moreover, has fled his country, cannot be legitimate. ” Recall that, speaking in March 11 in Rostov-on-Don, V. Yanukovych said that he remains the legitimate president of Ukraine and will return to Kiev "as soon as circumstances permit." Moreover, it was V. Yanukovych who was accused by Kyrgyz diplomats of the current situation, noting that “ill-considered actions and corruption of the former Ukrainian authorities led to today's crisis and the deaths of dozens of innocent people”, insisting on resolving the situation “by peaceful means, through negotiations and dialogue, unconditional observance of international law and the UN Charter. "
Against the background of the cautious position of the other Central Asian states, the demarche of the Kyrgyz Ministry of Foreign Affairs looked like obvious dissonance. However, the internal political situation in Kyrgyzstan is quite specific.
Over the past ten years, the republic experienced two coup d'états (2005 and 2010), during which its former presidents acted like V. Yanukovich, fleeing to the territory of another state. Supporting him, the current leadership of Kyrgyzstan, who came to power as a result of the “revolution” of 2010 and the fall of K. Bakiyev’s regime, would have questioned its own legitimacy. According to the assessment of the Kyrgyz expert Alisher Mamasaliev, the statement of the Republican Ministry of Foreign Affairs is no longer addressed to an external, but to an internal audience. “First of all, official Bishkek is trying to balance its pro-Russian vector a little,” he told 13 in March in an interview with the Regnum news agency. - Secondly, it is such a signal to our non-systemic opposition in order to eliminate any precedent of political reincarnation of the overthrown presidents. I mean a certain similarity of the current position of Viktor Yanukovich with the situation of the flight of two ex-presidents from Kyrgyzstan - Askar Akayev and Kurmanbek Bakiyev. ” Therefore, according to him, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not bear any antagonism with Russia, and cannot be the reason for revising bilateral relations.
The statement of the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry, however, contains an important observation that the only source of power in any country is the people.
The conflict between the people's right to self-determination and the preservation of the territorial integrity of the state, which is invisibly present in international law, largely determines the specifics of the situation around Crimea. In a situation where there are no legitimate authorities in Ukraine, the only source of power is the people of Crimea, who in the 16 March referendum and determine its future. The realization that the results of the will of the Crimeans will have to be considered even if it is not recognized as a legitimate part of foreign states, and the hysterical reaction of the new Kiev authorities, the US and the EU, who have tried to stop the referendum by all means. The same circumstance is connected with the forcing of the referendum by the Crimea itself and Russia.
If the influence of Kyrgyzstan on the policy, economy and security of Russia is small, then this cannot be said about Kazakhstan. The Republic is the key partner of the Russian Federation in the Customs Union, possessing the second largest territory, economic volume and population potential. In addition, Kazakhstan is also the key ally of Russia in the CSTO, having a common border with it with a length of about 7 thousand km., And just recently signed an agreement on the creation of a common air defense system. Therefore, the opinion of Ak Orda (the official residence of the Kazakh president) in the Kremlin was always listened carefully. N. Nazarbayev was perhaps the only leader with whom V. Putin, after the start of the Ukrainian crisis, had so many telephone conversations.
It was N. Nazarbayev B. Obama in a telephone conversation on March 11 offered to take on the role of a mediator in the negotiations between Moscow and Kiev, designed to resolve the crisis peacefully.
Since the aggravation of the situation around the Crimea, Astana has taken a cautious position, calling for its settlement peacefully on the basis of international law. However, the assertion that N. Nazarbayev “did not support V. Putin,” whom the Ukrainian and Western media rushed to speak, is clearly exaggerated. According to Ak Orda’s website, 10 of March N. Nazarbayev held a telephone conversation with German Chancellor A. Merkel, during which “the President of Kazakhstan reaffirmed the importance of a diplomatic settlement of the Ukrainian crisis through dialogue between all interested parties, using possible international mediation mechanisms to ensure the territorial integrity of this countries, as well as the rejection of mutual threats and ultimatums. " During a telephone conversation with B. Obama on 11 in March, the presidents of the two countries also "reaffirmed the need for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine using diplomatic methods that ensure the territorial integrity of this country and promote the convergence of the positions of all interested parties." That is, in negotiations with leading Western leaders, the President of Kazakhstan reaffirmed the importance of preserving the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the peaceful, diplomatic settlement of the crisis situation around the Crimean Peninsula.
Meanwhile, in the message about the telephone conversation with V. Putin, which took place on March 10, several other wordings were used. N. Nazarbayev, in particular. noted that "Kazakhstan, as a strategic partner, with understanding refers to the position of Russia, protecting the rights of national minorities in Ukraine, as well as the interests of its security." In addition, he "... expressed his opinion on the need for a peaceful settlement of the crisis in Ukraine based on the preservation of sovereignty and in accordance with the norms of international law." It is easy to see that Ak Orda “forgot” the need to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine, which had actually lost the Crimea, confining itself to the words of sovereignty and the norms of international law. Astana's “forgetfulness” is by no means accidental. The most experienced politician N. Nazarbayev simply said to each of the world leaders what he wanted to hear, taking a wait-and-see attitude. Well aware of the importance for Kazakhstan of the Customs Union and allied relations with Russia, and not wanting to spoil relations with the countries of the West, he chose to wait until the situation returns to normal.
Similarly, attempts to treat N. Nazarbayev as an anti-Russian position during the March 14 meeting of the Heads of State of the Customs Union 5 in Novo-Ogarevo are unproductive. According to A. Dubnov (“A day later, how the war did not start. By the results of the extraordinary summit of the Customs Union”, Fergana.news, 6.03.2014) the fact that the formal meeting lasted only about an hour and a half, and the informal meeting lasted another hour, after which N Nazarbayev and A. Lukashenko left Moscow without making any official announcements, talking about their negative position. This is evidenced by the conversation held on the eve of N. Nazarbayev with the head of the Kazakh Foreign Ministry Yerlan Idrisov, during which the president noted that "... the situation in Ukraine is directly affecting the relations between the countries within the CIS and indirectly concerns the states of the Customs Union ...". However, these statements, as well as in Kyrgyzstan, are not intended for external, but for internal audience, some of which sympathize with the new authorities of Ukraine, considering Russia to be the culprit for the crisis.
The behavior of Kazakhstan after the Crimean referendum only confirmed these assumptions. March 16 had a telephone conversation between V. Putin and N. Nazarbayev, during which “special attention was paid to the referendum held in Crimea today. The high level of its organization was noted, and satisfaction was expressed that the population of the peninsula was provided with the opportunity for free expression of will on a crucial issue for the Crimean people. ” The next day, the foreign ministers of the two countries, S. Lavrov and E. Idrisov, discussed by telephone "the positions of the parties in the context of the implementation of the strategic partnership, in particular on current events in Ukraine, as well as possible efforts to resolve the situation in this country."
No statements about the need to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine on the part of Kazakhstan did not follow, which is tantamount to agreement with the results of the referendum, clothed in veiled forms characteristic of the East.
A completely different reaction was shown by Kazakh nationalists, who not only fully supported the Ukrainian "revolution", but also once again opposed any form of integration with Russia. Kazakh political scientist Aidos Sarym praised the events in Kiev as a “national liberation, popular revolution aimed at the formation of the Ukrainian national state, political nation”, lamenting that “most of our people, especially the Russian-speaking part, events taking place in this country , mostly seen on Russian TV channels, that is, through the eyes of Russian experts and political scientists. ” In his opinion, “Ukrainian society has begun to cleanse its nation, structure of society, and the body of power from the Soviet cliché,” and “real decolonization, desovetization” is taking place in the country, aimed at freeing itself from Russian dependence. According to A. Sarym, the same tasks are facing Kazakhstan, because “... all countries striving for true freedom and independence pursue the same goals and objectives. All historical the changes, decolonization, desovetization experienced by Ukraine, Kazakhs will survive. ” It is noteworthy that during the Ukrainian crisis, Kazakhstan, according to his assessment, did not take an anti-Russian, but "as usual ... a wait and see attitude", since, on the one hand, it fears a negative reaction from Russia, and on the other hand, 50-60% of the population is under the influence of Russian television.
The fears of the Kazakh nationalists are actively fueled by the Western media. Thus, the American “The New Republic” 10 of March wrote that after the Crimea, the following candidates for joining the Russian Federation could be “the east of Ukraine and the north of Kazakhstan, both with a large share of Russians in the population”. “In the north of Kazakhstan, almost 50% of the population are Russian, and in some areas most of them,” continues the publication, “And it no longer seems inconceivable, after the logic behind the annexation of Crimea by the Russian army, that Putin might at some point want to return parts of northern Kazakhstan to the Russian orbit, especially - if political instability is established in this country ”. “The New Republic” echoed “Deutsche Welle,” noting that “a considerable number of Internet users have concerns that after the Crimea, Moscow will certainly take on the Republic of Kazakhstan. It is known that ethnic Russians mostly live in a number of regions in the northern and eastern regions of the country, from which sometimes you can hear statements of a clearly separatist nature. ” In the age of Internet technology, all these texts are quickly copied and republished on the right sites.
To speak out in support of Russia in such an environment for Ak Orda would mean giving additional trumps to the hands of the nationalist opposition, which, even without that, after joining the Customs Union, constantly accuses the country's leadership of giving up part of sovereignty. In a situation when the population is already irritated by the sharp drop in the tenge rate, the authorities do not want to create another reason for discontent of a part of the population. Therefore, Kazakhstan’s attitude to the events in Ukraine is very similar to its position during the “five-day war” 2008 between Russia and Georgia, when Astana did not publicly support any of the parties, and then de facto acknowledged the situation.
Politically and ideologically, the West uses the situation around the Crimea to the fullest, trying to complicate the implementation of the main post-Soviet integration project to the maximum - the creation of a Eurasian Union.
It is not by chance that Western, Ukrainian and Russian liberal mass media began to actively exaggerate the idea that the annexation of Crimea would put an end to Russia's hopes for the re-establishment of the USSR, which, in their opinion, is the main goal of V. Putin’s policies. Soros's EurasiaNet, for example, commenting on his meeting with N. Nazarbayev and A. Lukashenko on March 5, argues that “the Crimean crisis greatly complicates Putin’s Eurasian integration process, making it difficult for the Kremlin to conquer the minds and hearts of the people of the former USSR.” Encouraging fears about the possible annexation of the Russian Federation to Russian-populated territories is one of the tools of the information war of the West against Russia, designed to drive a wedge between the allies as deep as possible. And, judging by the reaction of a part of Kazakhstan society, it is used quite effectively.