June 22, 2022

A Humiliating Lack of Recognition


A Humiliating Lack of Recognition

"In general, it has been calculated that if the right of nations to self-determination is actually realized throughout the globe, then instead of the 193 states that are now members of the UN, more than 500 or 600 states will emerge on Earth. Of course, it will be chaos. For this reason, we don’t recognize Taiwan, Kosovo, South Ossetia, or Abkhazia. Apparently, this principle will be applied to the quasi-states, which, in our view, Luhansk and Donetsk are."

– President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev at a recent forum with President Putin

On June 17, Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev met with President Putin at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. While there, the presidents fielded questions from reporters, one of which was directed toward Tokayev regarding the Russian war with Ukraine

Tokayev's response revealed that Kazakhstan would not recognize the independence of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, two ostensibly pro-Russia regions in eastern Ukraine whose independence is central to Russia's justification for the invasion. Tokayev's statement was startling to Putin, causing him to stumble and to hesitate on his own answer. 

This was not the only offense that Putin received during the forum, as Tokayev also refused to accept the award of the Russian order of Alexander Nevsky. The very next day, Putin suspended a Kazakh oil shipment via the Russian port in Novorossiysk.

The change in relations between the two leaders is even more shocking, considering that at the beginning of the year Moscow came to Tokayev's aid when protests erupted in Kazakhstan and Tokayev nearly lost power.

 

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