Evgeny Bazhanov: "Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is a man who loves and knows Russia"
Kazakhstan will hold presidential elections on June 9. Nursultan Nazarbayev, who headed Kazakhstan for almost 30 years, resigned on March 20, and Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who previously was chairman of the senate, became head of state. Director of the International Issues Institute, Yevgeny Bazhanov, who personally knows Tokayev thanks to his diplomatic work, discussed Kazakh President's professional and personal life in an interview Vestnik Kavkaza.
"I think that since Nursultan Nazarbayev left his post relations between Russia and Kazakhstan haven't changes. First of all, he nominated Kasym-Jomart Tokayev to presidential post himself. Nazarbayev, Second of all, Tokayev is a supporter of Nazarbayev's domestic and foreign policies. Tokayev was actively involved in development and implementation of this policy in all areas. Third of all, Tokayev is extremely experienced person. He is a Soviet diplomat. worked in the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 1970s, worked in China, at the embassy in Beijing. Tokayev graduated from the Diplomatic Academy, passed additional courses, joined the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan, where he proved his worth and became deputy Foreign Minister, then Foreign Minister, and then Prime Minister. He has tremendous experience not only in the sphere of international relations, but also in the economy, in leading the country. Tokayev worked as Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations - this is a terrific international experience. He knows all the world's problems."
Yevgeny Bazhanov stressed that President of Kazakhstan received great education: “There are few presidents who have graduated from the MGIMO, the Diplomatic Academy, who know Russian, English, Chinese, French, Kazakh. I believe he's a great leader, not only because he has excellent education and huge professional experience, but also because he worked and works in science sphere all the time. He wrote amazing thesis, wrote very serious books about international relations, about modern world, about Kazakhstan’s relations with outside world, about his experience as diplomat, as high-ranking employee of the UN. He has written more than 10 books. By the way, he wrote a book about his father [Kemel Tokayev], an outstanding Kazakh writer. His family has very difficult fate, due to both Stalin period of the USSR and the Second World War, during which Kemel Tokayevich was a soldier. Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev writes books, sharing his experience, his knowledge."
Yevgeny Bazhanov also noted that President of Kazakhstan has a unique feature - he's interested in everything and remembers everything: "When you talk to him, you get the feeling that he knows more than all of know about current events in Russia, whether it's about ballet or football... It's not just about personal qualities. I believe that we're very lucky that Kassym-Jomart Tokayev really loves Russia. He loves and knows Russia, he wants to cooperate with us. He is a citizen of Kazakhstan, head of Kazakhstan, and, of course, above all, he will defend sovereignty, independence and interests of his country, so he will work not only with Russia, but also with other important partners of Kazakhstan, including China. Kazakhstan also has excellent relations with Muslim, Turkic world, with Israel. In this sense, Kazakhstan is extremely unique, and right now it's contributing - to the best of its abilities - to improvement of realtions between Russia and the West. "