Zhanar Tulindinova: "Russia and the EAEU are foreign policy priorities of Tokayev's program"
This week Moscow hosted a number of events dedicated to the outcomes of the EAEU summit and future prospects of the Eurasian integration project. One of the participants of these event, deputy director of the Analytical Research Center "Eurasian Monitoring", Zhanar Tulindinova, visited Vestnik Kavkaza's studio and spoke about prospects of development of multilateral expert projects of the Eurasian space, as well as presidential elections in Kazakhstan.
- Early presidential elections were recently held in Kazakhstan. What do you think about their results?
- It was a historical event. These are the sixth elections in the history of independent Kazakhstan, but they are historical in the sense that for the first time, the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev, didn't participate in them. There was his successor, Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev. Elections showed that Kazakh society is consolidated around the ideas of Elbasy and continuity of the policy of Kazakh leader. What's very important is that Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev received almost 71% of votes - less than Nursultan Nazarbayev had ever received in the elections (his minimum rate was 81% in 1999), and yet this shows that Kazakh society accepted transit of power.
There are opinions that the results of protest vote were quite high. Opposition candidate Amirzhan Kosanov received 16% of votes, and this is also a good measurement of social position, because it shows a number of socio-economic problems among certain groups of citizens, primarily rural residents, migrants in big cities, and young people. Let's assume that transit power made people under the age of 30 more interested in these elections, but it's wrong to interpret voting of such young people as protest - that's their way of showing that they want to participate in political life, not protest. I believe that processes that are taking place in Kazakhstan today show that Kazakh society has awakened and its desire to participate in social and political activities is at its peak.
I think the main thing that these elections showed is that the Kazakh people are ready to rally around Nazarbayev's successor and support continuity of the course of Elbasy.
- Caspian Media Forum will be held in two months. What projects does Kazakh side plan to propose?
- I think that it's very important not to build some megaprojects at the central level, but to develop the Caspian region. Kazakh regional media from Mangystau and Atyrau regions are strong enough, they have great prospects. Horizontal ties must be built up at the level of regions and existing media to create joint projects, albeit non-institutionalized, create alliances and associations. This process of cooperation at the level of creative editorial teams and experts is already underway, it's important to continue and intensify it.
- What are Nursultan Nazarbayev's powers as Honorary Chairman of the EAEU?
- Nazarbayev is one of those politicians that are able to have strong leadership over any project, and that's why he's recognized as the leader of the nation. At the EAEU summit in Astana, leader of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, noted that he sees Nazarbayev as the EAEU's strategist, in other words, they expect ideas from strategic development of the union. By the way, this is one of Nursultan Abishevich's strong point. Kazakhstan was the first country in the post-Soviet space that presented its future strategy, it happened back in 1997.
In addition, he can work on structures of the EAEU. The Eurasian Economic Commission obviously needs personnel strengthening, considering the growth of its political weight and authority. He's also a very talented moderator of conflicts. No integration is complete without problems, and there are many of them at the bilateral level - Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Belarus, Russia and Armenia, and so on. Such conflict ridden dialogue often lacks strong moderator with political weight and authority to deal with these issues and bring parties to constructive contacts. Perhaps this will also be his role. I think Nursultan Nazarbayev will give new impetus to the development of the Eurasian Economic Union.