President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: After the collapse of the USSR, the CSTO was created as a collective security agreement. The organization had nothing to do with the ideological confrontations of the Cold War

23.05.2017 The TV channel "MIR" took an exclusive interview with the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. Photo: The official website of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan On April 3, an explosion sounded in the St. Petersburg metro, during which a citizen of Kazakhstan died. You were one of the first to offer condolences and support the Russians. In the coming days, the CSTO summit will be held, how do you assess the work of the CSTO in the fight against terrorism? Nazarbayev: The events that took place in St. Petersburg, agitated the people of Kazakhstan, we experienced with the Russians. I expressed my condolences, said that we are together with Russia in this grief, in this trouble.

This again suggests that terrorism has no boundaries, it can be anywhere and anywhere.
In 2016, the Kazakhs had to endure several attacks by Islamic extremists. This year is less difficult. How did you manage to achieve these results and does the program adopted in Kazakhstan to combat religious extremism work?


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Nazarbayev: Kazakhstan’s society is different from all others by its tolerance. From the first minutes, from the first days of our independence, we are pursuing a policy of equality of all according to ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural principle. This policy is being maintained, all people know this, so the most important thing is to be alert and watch this problem. It used to be easier, now it comes to us, impudently it goes: ideology and literature spread, emissaries go from there, youth are recruited from here, and then they return to Kazakhstan. There is a big danger here.
The situation is normal religious now with us, it is controlled under the laws of Kazakhstan is happening, but you must always be vigilant in these matters.

In the ranks of the Islamic State (IG), which is banned in our countries, several thousand people from the CIS are fighting. After the victory over the IS on the territory of Iraq and Syria, is there a possibility that most of them will return to us and create the so-called sleeping cells of a terrorist state?

Nazarbayev: According to Kazakhstani legislation, if a citizen left and took part in such terrorist organizations, he does not come back, he loses his citizenship. And this is the measure that is needed. 500-600 Kazakhstanis are fighting in the ranks of the IG. But from the countries of the former Soviet Union a lot - up to 5 thousand, they say, and maybe more. This Caucasians, and residents of Central Asia. We know how much they work. First, we must take measures so that they do not leave there. We tried with those who returned to conduct preventive work, but it is not very effective. Therefore, we decided that we will not return them. And they should know, before going there, that they cannot return to Kazakhstan and lose their citizenship.

You were one of the initiators of the Collective Security Treaty. It is clear what his role was 25 years ago. And what is it today?

Nazarbayev: Just the CSTO after the collapse of the Soviet Union was created as a collective security agreement. The organization had nothing to do with ideological confrontations, with political ones, like during the Cold War - the Warsaw Pact, NATO, and so on. We were far from such desires, we wanted the chaos that arose after the collapse of the USSR, collectively hold together in order for the states to develop independently, strengthen independence, territorial integrity, and fight all threats. I was one of the initiators of such a creation. Those who wanted to, participated in this, those who did not, did not participate. But in general, the Collective Security Treaty is useful to all its participants. First, it is a common shield that allowed the CSTO members to develop peacefully. Gradually, we created a common air defense for all states. They created common collective forces to train the collective security forces, to combat the challenges that exist today. These are terrorism, drug trafficking, migration and internal destabilization, the desire to intervene from the outside in the affairs of states. And during this time, a great event happened - until 2025 we had developed a strategy, that is, a plan of action was created ten years ahead. This is a great achievement for the CSTO. I believe that all members participating in this organization understand that it is necessary for everyone for us.
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You have listed the list of threats, which one is the most dangerous?

Nazarbayev: Today, the biggest challenge is terrorism, as you know. And no single country can fight terrorism either alone, therefore, when our countries and special services cooperate with each other within the framework of the CSTO, we have the opportunity to identify more, find more and give each other information in order to prevent any possible trouble. from this.

The second challenge is migration. 4 million migrants pass through Kazakhstan, and almost 600 thousand migrants work with us inside. Therefore, work with these migrants is also conducted jointly.

The third is drug traffic, which goes through Afghanistan, through other countries, through Kazakhstan and other states, goes to Russia and even to Europe. And now the CSTO conducts special exercises on how we identify this traffic - the road, the possibility of transferring these drug couriers. Because we know that today 250 million people in the world use drugs, and, according to world exports, about 10 million die from drugs. And especially to prevent such an impact on young people, we work collectively.

In 2016, the Kazakhs had to endure several attacks by Islamic extremists. This year is less difficult. How did you manage to achieve these results and does the program adopted in Kazakhstan to combat religious extremism work?

World Exclusive

Nazarbayev: Kazakhstan’s society is different from all others by its tolerance. From the first minutes, from the first days of our independence, we are pursuing a policy of equality of all according to ethnic, religious, linguistic and cultural principle. This policy is being maintained, all people know this, so the most important thing is to be alert and watch this problem. It used to be easier, now it comes to us, impudently it goes: ideology and literature spread, emissaries go from there, youth are recruited from here, and then they return to Kazakhstan. There is a big danger here. The situation is normal religious now with us, it is controlled under the laws of Kazakhstan is happening, but you must always be vigilant in these matters.

In the ranks of the Islamic State (IG), which is banned in our countries, several thousand people from the CIS are fighting. After the victory over the IS on the territory of Iraq and Syria, is there a possibility that most of them will return to us and create the so-called sleeping cells of a terrorist state?

Nazarbayev: According to Kazakhstani legislation, if a citizen left and took part in such terrorist organizations, he does not come back, he loses his citizenship. And this is the measure that is needed. 500-600 Kazakhstanis are fighting in the ranks of the IG. But from the countries of the former Soviet Union a lot - up to 5 thousand, they say, and maybe more. This Caucasians, and residents of Central Asia. We know how much they work. First, we must take measures so that they do not leave there. We tried with those who returned to conduct preventive work, but it is not very effective. Therefore, we decided that we will not return them. And they should know, before going there, that they cannot return to Kazakhstan and lose their citizenship.

You were one of the initiators of the Collect
ive Security Treaty. It is clear what his role was 25 years ago. And what is it today?

Nazarbayev: Just the CSTO after the collapse of the Soviet Union was created as a collective security agreement. The organization had nothing to do with ideological confrontations, with political ones, like during the Cold War - the Warsaw Pact, NATO, and so on. We were far from such desires, we wanted the chaos that arose after the collapse of the USSR, collectively hold together in order for the states to develop independently, strengthen independence, territorial integrity, and fight all threats. I was one of the initiators of such a creation. Those who wanted to, participated in this, those who did not, did not participate. But in general, the Collective Security Treaty is useful to all its participants. First, it is a common shield that allowed the CSTO members to develop peacefully. Gradually, we created a common air defense for all states. They created common collective forces to train the collective security forces, to combat the challenges that exist today. These are terrorism, drug trafficking, migration and internal destabilization, the desire to intervene from the outside in the affairs of states. And during this time, a great event happened - until 2025 we had developed a strategy, that is, a plan of action was created ten years ahead. This is a great achievement for the CSTO. I believe that all members participating in this organization understand that it is necessary for everyone for us.
World Exclusive
You have listed the list of threats, which one is the most dangerous?

Nazarbayev: Today, the biggest challenge is terrorism, as you know. And no single country can fight terrorism either alone, therefore, when our countries and special services cooperate with each other within the framework of the CSTO, we have the opportunity to identify more, find more and give each other information in order to prevent any possible trouble. from this.

The second challenge is migration. 4 million migrants pass through Kazakhstan, and almost 600 thousand migrants work with us inside. Therefore, work with these migrants is also conducted jointly.

The third is drug traffic, which goes through Afghanistan, through other countries, through Kazakhstan and other states, goes to Russia and even to Europe. And now the CSTO conducts special exercises on how we identify this traffic - the road, the possibility of transferring these drug couriers. Because we know that today 250 million people in the world use drugs, and, according to world exports, about 10 million die from drugs. And especially to prevent such an impact on young people, we work collectively.

Nazarbayev: I, from the first days of the collapse of the country, spoke in favor of not breaking off the connections that we had. Yes, we build independent states, sovereignty, each went his own way, each has its own policy. But there were such relations as, say, production relations between enterprises, without this it is impossible to live. Someone supplied, someone took with someone traded. This production, it after all immediately sat down, stopped. Well, human relations were. Someone learned children, someone had relatives in another country. So that these ties are not broken, so that what has developed over decades, not to lose, it was decided to create a new organization.
The CIS, which we had previously created, accepted a lot of documents, was completely useless. Because some states could sign contracts, others did not sign. In general, manifold policy of each member. Some preserved what was, others went this way, the third - the third. It was impossible to combine all this. And then a suggestion was made: let those who wish create a narrower integration. And show that it is useful and it works. For this purpose, the EAEU was created.

In general, I think this is the right direction. And I am not going to criticize him, although the trade turnover fell naturally. The first is sanctions against Russia of the West, and the second is a decrease in exchange prices for our export goods: oil, gas, metals, fertilizers, and so on. That is, it is a natural process - the general fall and fall of commodity circulation among us. Although the physical volumes of commodity turnover are production, they are preserved, they are not reduced. Therefore, when the conjuncture passes and we adapt, I think it will work. The benefits of this association very much. Firstly, there are no customs barriers. Goods can move without any obstacles. Production can be created jointly in Russia, here, in Belarus, in other countries. This is good, but the question is different: it is necessary to tighten all members of the EAEU to the same level. Some in the development went further, others in the middle, others at the bottom. This is the problem. Pull them up to the level so that we can diversify to work. It turns out that the state, which objectively turned out to be poorer, hopes that others will help them. But this does not happen - in a market economy, no one gives nothing for nothing. These expectations are there, and perhaps there are disappointments. Everyone needs to work in himself. Of course, it is necessary to help, it is possible to help through trade and commodity circulation, opening the market for trade, borders. But each state needs to pull itself up to this level.

Today, Kazakhstan is perhaps the most developed, not only economically but also militarily, Central Asian country. How was this achieved in such a short time - 25 years?

Nazarbayev: The special was a program - rapid privatization, attracting a huge amount of investment in Kazakhstan, multinational companies in Kazakhstan and transferring the entire socialist economy to market economy, developing small and medium-sized businesses. And all this happened in a stable society and allowed, of course, to greatly boost the economy. Kazakhstan’s economy has grown 23 times in 25 years, and in terms of GDP per capita, we are far ahead of all our neighbors and are on a par with Eastern European countries. But now the decline in prices, the last devaluation, of course, increased these figures, but there may be a revaluation, everything can return, but the total volume of production remains as it is. Poverty has fallen 12 times in Kazakhstan - from 40% to 5%, unemployment has fallen sharply, and all this creates a stable environment in society. We never reduced the level of pensions and wages, even during crisis periods, this was facilitated by a special national fund that was accumulated in good years, normal years. And when there is a strong economy, then defense, culture, education, and health care can develop. In all these areas we have done a lot. I think that during this time and in some types of reforms we were ahead of everyone, and they were an example for neighboring states.

It was thanks to you that in Astana representatives of the Syrian armed opposition and representatives of the Syrian government bodies sat down at the same negotiating table for the first time. It was here that the first agreements were signed, even if framework, approximate, on a cease-fire. It would seem that soon the Syrian war will leave the world agenda. And then suddenly there is a gas attack on the city of Idlib, and behind it a rocket attack on the airbase, where not only the Syrian, but also the Russian military personnel were stationed. I know that another tour of the Astana format of inter-Syrian talks is scheduled for May 3. Will this war succeed in translating the peace process? Nazarbayev: On the Syrian issue, Kazakhstan’s role is that we have provided an opportunity for the conflicting parties of the Syrian opposition and the government, including those who are watching this process, to meet in Astana - Russia, Iran Turkey At their request, there are several series of such meetings. In fact, those who did not participate in Geneva are participating in the Astana site, especially from the opposition. But they considered that Kazakhstan is an equidistant and equally related to all conflicting parties. We offered the parties to meet, created the conditions for such negotiations. According to experts, representatives of the UN, with whom I spoke, they were very useful in order to continue the peace process there, to come to negotiations, so that these negotiations could continue. Then there can be a constitution, then there can be elections in the country, that is, such a prospect opens. But what happened happened. I cannot give a rating now. One side claims that it was a chemical attack, where people died, the other side says - it was not. And it is difficult to achieve an objective approach in this matter. But it seems to me that the interests of all states lie in the fact that, after all, only work together there. Without joint work, without the close work of all interested states, victory over the “Islamic State” and over terrorism in general is impossible to achieve.


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