29.04.2022, 02:17
Шарип Ишмухамедов

Threatening rhetoric to Kazakhstan from Kremlin journalists

The malicious treatment of Russian propagandist Tigran Keosayan, who accused Kazakhstan in late April of trying to maneuver in a difficult geopolitical situation, provoked a strong reaction not only from ordinary citizens, but also from official bodies such as the Foreign Ministry.

However, it should be noted that such unfriendly rhetoric, in which stereotypical accusations are used against our country, is not uncommon on the Russian information front.
The full-scale war of Russia against Ukraine in 2022 became the main news of all world media, as well as the topic of scientific discussions and negotiations at the state level. It is impossible to move away from this topic in Kazakhstan, which is indirectly influenced by sanctions and closed borders. Speaking and discussing the reasons and accusations of the leaders of the countries that led to the war in Ukraine, any normal Kazakhstani will wonder about the prospects for relations with Russia.

However, now, as a result of mutual accusations of violating international law, the inability of the UN to stop the conflict, the impotence of its Security Council, the established order and rules of relations between countries are changing. The armed conflict divided not only neighboring countries, but also the world community, which is forced to make its choice between the parties to the conflict and different ideologies.

Kazakhstan, as a neighboring and friendly country to both states, is an inevitable witness and victim of the accompanying processes and factors of the military conflict. Despite diligent neutrality, the leadership of the Republic is forced to draw its own conclusions and adjustments in foreign and domestic policy. The position of the country's leadership towards the events in Ukraine was the statement of the President of Kazakhstan K. Tokayev in the article "Turbulence in Eurasia will not slow down the progress of Kazakhstan." In it, the Head of State directly confirms that in this “war” Kazakhstan respects territorial integrity, does not support the separatism of the DPR and LPR, and also considers Ukraine a friendly state.
However, the war did not become something spontaneous and unexpected, but included the use of numerous methods of information campaign, verbal, political statements by politicians, journalists of parties and public organizations long before 2022. Propaganda accusing Ukraine of nationalism, Russophobia, aggressive militarism, support for terrorists became especially noticeable after 2014, from the moment of the annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in the East of Ukraine. Russia's accusations against Ukraine touched on various areas of foreign policy, economics, ideology, gas contracts, the division of the Soviet past, and many other events and factors.

The apotheosis of Russia's accusations against Ukraine was February 2022, which brought together both previous and current situations. On February 21 and 24, 2022, President of Russia Vladimir Putin addressed the citizens of Russia, Ukraine and the world with a speech that became an informational start for the invasion of the territory of Ukraine. These online speeches were the result of many years of dissatisfaction with the processes, events, decisions of the leadership and government of Ukraine. It is especially important to study these accusations and theses from the position of Kazakhstan, which also often becomes the object of attention and statements of the same politicians, deputies, and journalists in Russia. Among various historical, contemporary facts and examples, the most important ones can be singled out, which reflect the essence of the dissatisfaction of the Russian leadership in relation to the past, present and possible future state of Ukraine.

The first thesis was the accusation that “modern Ukraine was entirely and completely created by Russia ... due to the separation, rejection from it (from Russia) of part of its own historical territories .., and in 1954 Khrushchev for some reason took away Crimea from Russia and also gave it to Ukraine.” The topic of territorial claims is a traditional factor of dissatisfaction with the leadership and some politicians of the Russian Federation, who consider it necessary to revise the borders of Ukraine, which illegally received control of the "original", "historical" lands of Russia.

The next important point in the speech of the President of Russia was the accusations of supporting nationalism, Russophobia of Ukraine directed against Russia, including in the form of support for terrorists. “Ukrainian society is faced with the rise of extreme nationalism, which quickly took the form of aggressive Russophobia and neo-Nazism… the Russian language is being expelled from schools, from all public spheres down to ordinary shops.”

Another example of unfriendly actions and policies of Kyiv against Russia were decisions in the field of economy and trade, which are also taken by foreign countries. “Instead of partnership, dependency began to prevail, which on the part of the Kyiv authorities sometimes acquired an absolutely unceremonious character. Suffice it to recall the permanent blackmail in the field of energy transit and the banal theft of gas.”

However, the most important part of the appeal of the head of the Russian Federation was the accusations of the leadership of Ukraine in cooperation with NATO for the militarization of the country and the future formation of a military foothold for an attack on Russia. “In recent years, under the pretext of exercises, military contingents of NATO countries have been almost constantly present on the territory of Ukraine ... The United States and NATO have begun shamelessly developing the territory of Ukraine as a theater of potential military operations. Regular joint exercises have a clear anti-Russian focus.”
The results of these accusations and military plans to change Ukraine can be seen from numerous testimonies and opinions of the local population. Anyone can notice the consequences and results of the decisions of the Russian leadership in the destroyed cities and villages of Ukraine.

Assessing the current situation, one can involuntarily draw parallels with similar moments in Kazakhstan itself. An amazing coincidence is the similar rhetoric of individual Russian deputies, politicians, and journalists regarding Kazakhstan. Despite the impossibility of comparing the situation of Ukraine and Kazakhstan, recent examples of doubt about the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Kazakhstan can be easily cited. On the Internet, it is easy to find articles and opinions of journalists from the largest media in Russia about nationalism, which allegedly threatens the Russian language and leads to the forcible introduction of the Kazakh language in Kazakhstan.

It is impossible not to mention the humanitarian cooperation with NATO, in which Kazakhstan previously held joint military exercises, allowed itself cooperation in teaching English to the military of Kazakhstan, and also received various military equipment from NATO countries. One can recall many other examples, such as biological laboratories in Kazakhstan and Ukraine opened with the help of the United States, close relations with Turkey, language restrictions on the work of Russian media, and much more.

The conclusion in this situation is that despite the very limited success of Russia in the military operation in Ukraine, the significant volume and scale of sanctions against the Russian economy, the loss of many allies in Europe and Asia, the external propaganda of the Russian media remains the same not only in relation to partners, but and close allies like Kazakhstan.

In this situation, we can quote an excerpt from an article by Russian political scientist Dmitry Zhuravlev, published in April 2022, 45 days after the start of the “special military operation in Ukraine” in relation to our country: “Kazakhstan has long been moving away from Russia, the current crisis has only emphasized this . The fact is that for Kazakhstan its own external sovereignty is extremely important. Before, after all, there was no such state: there was a territory, there was a people, but not a state. And this country can confirm its sovereignty only by being different from us. Not from the Americans, the British, the Europeans, but from us, because they were part of our country.”

Such inferences set the stage for Russian xenophobia against Kazakhstan, which is alarming.