On June 17, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin, said that he does not recognize “quasi-state formations” in the Donbas.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (Source: TASS Russian News Agency) – June 17

Tokayev responded to a question from Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan about Russia’s war against Ukraine.

Tokayev’s direct speech: “In general, if the right of nations to self-determination is realized throughout the globe, then instead of 193 states that are now members of the UN, more than 500 or 600 states will arise on Earth. Naturally, it will be chaos.

Therefore, we do not recognize Taiwan, Kosovo, South Ossetia, or Abkhazia. This principle will be applied to quasi-state associations, which, in my opinion, are Luhansk and Donetsk (the so-called DPR and LPR)”.


The released video shows that Putin stumbled for a few seconds and could not answer.

Furthermore, according to Tokayev’s representative, he refused to receive the Russian Order of Alexander Nevsky, which was planned to be awarded as part of the economic forum.

Putin was clearly offended at such an unexpected demarche of the president of Kazakhstan. The very next day, the shipment of Kazakh oil through the Russian port in Novorossiysk was suspended.

The official reason is that in the water area near the terminal where the oil pipeline from Kazakhstan ends, torpedoes and mines from the Second World War were unexpectedly found.

In response, on June 20, Kazakhstan blocked 1,700 Russian coal wagons on its territory.

Putin’s anger is understandable since he supported Tokayev’s rise to power.

At the beginning of January, when protests started in Kazakhstan, Tokayev asked the heads of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan) to assist Kazakhstan. He compared the unrest in the country with a terrorist threat. The decision to send CSTO troops helped Tokayev quell protests and stay in power.


Tokayev’s behavior demonstrates that not all of Moscow’s allies are ready to support Putin’s aggressive imperial policy and even see it as a threat to their own states.

Such blatant disrespect from Tokayev also weakens Putin’s authority among his supporters at home and abroad.

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