Russia and Kazakhstan cooperate in Eurasian Economic Union and Caspian Five
by Olivia Kroth
As neighbour countries, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan are interested in keeping peace and pursuing common interests. Both states share a border that is 7.000 kilometres long. About four million Russians live in Kazakhstan. With 16.6 million people, this republic has the 62nd largest population worldwide. Kazakhstan is the 9th largest country in the world, comprising a territory of 2.727.300 square kilometres. Both, Russia and Kazakhstan, are members of the Eurasian Economic Union as well as the Caspian Five.
As a result of the Fourth Caspian Summit in the Russian city of Astrakhan on the Southern Volga, a joint document consisting of 19 paragraphs was signed by representatives of the Caspian Five (Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran), according to ITAR TASS. The document states that the Caspian Five do not want to see the troops of other countries within the water area of the Caspian Sea. For 2016, the Caspian Five have planned to hold emergency exercises in which Russian and Kazakh units will play an important role. Furthermore, the Russian test site of Sary-Schagan in Kazakhstan, where the Russian radar Neman-P is tested, will be upgraded in 2016. Major Dmitry Andreyev of the Russian Defence Ministry informed that Neman-P is used to monitor Russian defence missiles in the area (VOICE OF RUSSIA / SOUTH ASIA & PACIFIC, 26.08.2014).
Wealth of natural resources
Overall, Kazakhstan is very rich in natural resources, with an abundant supply of minerals and fossil fuel. The country owns the 2nd largest reserves of chromium, lead, uranium and zinc worldwide. In addition, it possesses the 3rd largest reserves of manganese and the 5th largest reserves of copper. Kazakhstan ranks among the global top ten for coal, gold and iron. Diamonds and phosphor are found, too. Probably the most significant wealth consists of its natural gas and oil reserves, the 11th largest globally. In total, there are 160 deposits with over 2.7 billion tons of oil reserves. Those on the shore of the Caspian Sea are only a small part of the country’s total deposits. The estimate of Kazakhstan’s oil reserves is 6.1 billion tons. So the country has positioned itself as one of the top ten of the globe’s oil producers, together with the Russian Federation which is currently the global leader in the production of oil and gas. No wonder that both countries are interested in protecting their immense wealth of natural resources by military means.
Another topic at the Fourth Caspian Summit was closer cooperation in developing and marketing hydrocarbons. President Vladimir Putin said in his speech in Astrakhan: «We could work more closely together on the global hydrocarbons market, including issues such as price formation and guaranteeing global and regional energy security. We should make more active use of our natural competitive advantages, above all our countries’ advantageous geographical location. Given that freight transport in the Caspian region is mostly by sea, our main task is to develop a modern logistics infrastructure and make more effective use of transport links so as to ensure steady development and economic growth in our countries.»
Russian-Kazakh Interregional Cooperation Forum
At the end of September 2014, President Vladimir Putin visited the Kazakh oil producing city of Atyrau on the Caspian Sea to participate in the 11th Russian-Kazakh Interregional Cooperation Forum. This year, the motto was «Innovation in the spheres of gas and oil». Among other topics, the Eurasian Economic Union was discussed, which will officially start operating on the 1st of January, 2015. Besides Russia and Kazakhstan, Belarus is a member as well. Armenia and Kyrgyzstan will join them in 2015 (VOICE OF RUSSIA / SOUTH ASIA & PACIFIC, 24.09.2014). In Atyrau, Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev visited an exposition showing innovative technologies in hydrocarbon production. They also inaugurated a joint project called «Eurasia» for gas and oil. http://eng.kremlin.ru/news/23022
Nursultan Nazarbayev and Vladimir Putin
Nursultan Nazarbayev and Vladimir Putin have been colleagues and friends for a long time. Nursultan Nazarbayev was born in Alma-ata, on the 6th of July 1940. In 1962, he joined the Communist Party and became Kazakhstan’s first President when the country declared its independence in 1991. He has held this post ever since, and was re-elected in April 2011 for another term, receiving 95 percent of all votes, with almost 90 percent of all registered voters participating. Nursultan Nazarbayev received the Man of the Year national award, in 2012. This award was also given to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko.
The President of Kazakhstan is 74 years young. Photos and videos show him as an agile, good-looking, self-assured man who knows his worth and is proud of his merits. In Asia, maturity and wisdom are the qualities people look for in political leaders. Nursultan Nazarbayev certainly possesses both. He has matured and acquired just the right amount of know-how to steer his aspiring nation. He might serve Vladimir Putin (62) as a role model to go in for another term as Russian presidential candidate for the next elections in 2018. That would certainly make 80 percent of all Russian citizens happy, according to recent surveys and polls.
Olivia Kroth: The journalist and author of four books lives in Moscow.