Sergey Ordzhonikidze: "Public Chamber is actively working to reconcile Armenian and Azerbaijani peoples"
Chairman of the Russian Public Council for International Cooperation and Public Diplomacy of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation Sergey Ordzhonikidze discussed relations with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in an interview with Vestnik Kavkaza.
- In what areas do you work with Azerbaijan within the framework of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation?
- We and Azerbaijan have very good relations. The Public Chamber often sends its delegations there. They visited us recently. Obviously, we will visit them soon. We have a lot of issues that we would like to discuss together: in the field of health, environment, housing and communal problems. The only issue that we don't discuss with them is foreign policy, because the Public Chamber only deals with public diplomacy, it doesn't resolve state issues. At the same time, we support creation of atmosphere in societies of Azerbaijan and Armenia that would contribute to resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis. We're working on this topic to reconcile two friendly peoples.
- Kazakhstan recently elected new president. What do you think about Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev?
- I think that those warm relations that existed under previous president Nazarbayev will continue. I know new president very well, we are familiar with him thanks to joint work on foreign policy issues. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan, and I was Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, and we often communicated. He's a literate, erudite man, a subtle politician who knows his country and international relations. His has balanced approach to most of the issues that he has to resolve. I think he will continue to pursue this approach.
- Why did Tokayev become Nazarbayev's successor?
- Nazarbayev nominated Tokayev as a candidate, and it was a very good step, because Kazakhstan needs modern leader who knows not only internal problems, but also international ones. Kazakhstan is located between China and Russia, which means that Kazakhstan needs to take into account problems in bilateral relations between these two big countries. Who can do it better than former foreign minister? Plus, Tokayev was also prime minister and knows economic problems very well. He has lots of friends in Russia. At one time, we worked in one country, in the USSR, and he worked in our embassy in China. He knows not only Russia, but also China. All things that I have listed are huge reasons why he was nominated by such an outstanding political figure as Nazarbayev.
- How will relations with Caspian states change with his election?
- I don't think there will be major changes. I don't see any serious problems there. I think we will resolve Caspian issue sooner or later, this is not the most difficult issue for the former USSR countries. We have much more complex and important economic problems. Although there are also economic factors in the Caspian issue.
- Nursultan Nazarbayev was elected as honorary chairman of the EAEU. Do you think it's a formal post?
- No, he will be a serious chairman, he never had and will never have formal posts in his career. At one time, Gorbachev called him to Moscow to take very high positions, based on his knowledge and his abilities in the field of economics, economic development and resolution of terrible problems that the USSR faced at that time. Nazarbayev declined. I understand why. It was generally difficult to work with Gorbachev, and even more so in those conditions. Apparently, at that time there was certain foresight that the Soviet Union was going through its most difficult times. But no one thought that the collapse will happen so fast and so soon. Strictly speaking, it wasn't a collapse, it was a conspiracy with the aim to destroy the country, which was started by president of Russia. After all, Russia was the first to declare its own independence. I always had one question: independence from whom? Apparently, Yeltsin wanted independence from Gorbachev. Strange as it may seem, but such almost comical and everyday relations played an ominous geopolitical role.