In the news (23/5/2022): Kazakhstan revisited.
A few months ago I posted some musings on the Alchemical Regime of Kazakhstan, Russian tough love, and the Almaty uprisings earlier this year, officially caused by rising liquefied gas prices. All of this happened prior to the “Special Military Operation” that was to be unleashed a few weeks later.
It’s always interesting to look again at issues that have ceased to be the Current Thing™ a short time later, to see how they evolve.
Last week, President Tokayev of Kazakhstan made the following statements with regards to the geopolitical situation unfolding:
“I would like to emphasize that even in such difficult conditions we will do our best to maintain and increase the volume of investments from the European Union, the United States, China, and other countries that have not only financial, but also broad technological competencies.”
Turkey deserved special reference in the President’s declarations:
"Fraternal Turkey and the countries of Central Asia are becoming more and more significant trade and investment partners. It is necessary to get out of the current crisis without losses, while maintaining established ties and chains. This work should be intensified, but, of course, taking into account the context of sanctions".
This is in line with what he said in February 22 at the Foreign Investment Council, in the aftermath of the uprisings and also before the upsurge of hostilities in Ukraine. In the Council’s annual meeting, chaired by Tokayev, a call was made to increase efforts in improving the country’s investment climate and boost the real economy.
The Foreign Investment Council, which is chaired by the President, was established in 1998 to promote direct dialogue between the government and foreign investors. It includes a lot of the Kazakh establishment’s heavyweights, including Prime Minister Samilov, the Chair of the National Bank, and many representatives of foreign investors, like European Bank for Reconstruction and Development President Odile Renaud-Basso, Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg, Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, Sberbank President Herman Gref and Citigroup CEO for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa David McD Livingstone, among others.
Interestingly, out of the 45 foreign representatives, only 5 of them can be considered official representatives of so-called “Russian interests” in the country: LUKoil’s Vagit Alekperov (actually from Azerbaijan); Nikolai Podguzov (Eurasian Development Bank); Igor Finogenov (Polymetal); Herman Gref (Russia Sberbank) and Oleg Deripaska (UC RUSAL). Deripaska achieved memetic status some years ago thanks to this admittedly funny propaganda video, which portrayed Putin as a no-nonsense, badass leader.
This number is not particularly large, given Japanese, German and Italian companies have 3 representatives each. In fact, it is very low if you group NATO countries together; not an arbitrary choice considering the strategic significance of the companies represented.
While war rages, alchemical transformations advance unimpeded.