The rest of President Tokayev’s years in power are unlikely to be uneventful. The new Kazakh president has yet to establish his authority and to surround himself with trusted elites. Most importantly of all, he cannot rely on the loyalty of the security services.
This podcast episode focuses on the recent upheaval in Kazakhstan and what to expect moving forward.
Moscow’s demands of the United States and NATO are in fact the strategic goals of Russian policy in Europe. If Russia cannot achieve them by diplomatic means, it will resort to other methods.
The protests in Kazakhstan are social, anti-authoritarian, and anti-nepotism, but they are not anti-Russian. That may change as a result of the authorities receiving military assistance from Moscow, the former imperial capital.
The protests in Kazakhstan have shown that the current model of governance has angered millions of people who missed out when the resources pie was shared out. Yet that model is such an intrinsic part of the country’s economic and political structure that the leadership is unlikely to be able to change it, should President Tokayev wish to do so.
If Russia succeeds in propping up the regime in Kazakhstan and making it more pro-Russian, then the Central Asian nation could, like Belarus, become a more reliable ally and partner for Russia.
Over the course of the last thirty years, China and Russia have demonstrated that their partnership is resilient and expanding. Any pragmatic leadership in the Kremlin—even a democratic one that seeks to improve ties with the West—will try to maintain stable and friendly relations with China, just as any pragmatic Chinese leadership will do with Russia.
Even if there is cause for competition in Central Asia, both Moscow and Beijing see friendly bilateral relations as a priority, especially against the backdrop of their escalating confrontation with the West.
Russia needs foreign students, and not only to diversify its exports. Connections with people who have lived in a partner state are a valuable resource for fostering cooperation and an instrument of soft power.
The development of the Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG 2 projects indicates that China has been and will remain Russia’s main foreign partner in Far North megaprojects for the foreseeable future. At the same time, Moscow is making a conscious effort to be less dependent on its partnership with Beijing.
Russia and China have touted their cooperation in space as something approaching an alliance, a perception fueled by new bilateral agreements, including plans to establish a joint moon base. Yet the main thing uniting Russia and China in this area is their rivalry with the United States.
If Moscow can’t dispense with foreign participation in developing 5G technologies, it will try to diversify its cooperation with foreign vendors.
If the pandemic has highlighted one source of friction in Russia-China relations, it is inadequate governance.
The new Berlin government is in a difficult spot when it comes to dealing with Russia.
Is there a realistic format for a political undertaking not to expand NATO to Russia’s borders?
The standoff at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is symptomatic of a broader Russian-Western chasm over the rules of multilateral institutions. Russia will not accept seeing that chasm resolved by a return to the status quo ante.
Militarization stopped being a way to mobilize Russians in support of the government in 2018. Russians—in particular young people—don’t want war.
What are the roots and drivers of the digital sovereignty narrative in Russian politics? Is there any Russian alternative to foreign 5G technology? Is the specter of sanctions against 5G equipment and other civilian telecom software a real threat, or a myth spread by scaremongers?
Russia has a unique chance to extend existing long-term contracts with Europe for both pipeline natural gas and LNG—and to agree new ones. Moscow’s export strategy, however, must be more flexible, more open, and accompanied by more friendly rhetoric if it is to seize the opportunity.
For now, Biden is the leader who prevented a war, but that’s not to say that the summit will be followed by a rapid de-escalation: not until Moscow sees new steps being taken by Washington on Ukraine. First and foremost, that means progress on implementing the Minsk agreements.