In an article published on its website on April 24, 2023, the Novaya Gazeta Europe newspaper stated: “Politico reports that the European Union has been working on plans to strengthen its ties with Brazil, Chile, Nigeria, and Kazakhstan, countries that are friendly with Russia. The media outlet claims that the EU wants to contain China, arm Ukraine, and isolate Russia.

According to the document, Kazakhstan is of particular interest to the EU because it must be prevented that Russia bypasses international sanctions through it. It is alleged that Kazakhstan would like to cooperate more closely with the union.

This demonstrates how important it is to the West that the largest nation in Central Asia, which is sandwiched between China and Russia, be freed from their sway.

It is true that the western world has the power to significantly influence how Astana’s political processes develop, as well as how people’s lives and social and economic circumstances in Kazakhstan. What is, is what is. But it’s important to note that the West’s ability to influence Kazakhstan’s situation is primarily economic in nature.

To this the obvious answer is, likely not. Moreover, that the West is far away, Russia is close by and more similar politically. There’s a Kazakh saying: “A neighbor, beside whom one lives, is better than a relative who is far away”.

The Kazakh behavioral stereotypes are based in many respects on the customs and folk wisdom of old Kazakhstan. The Kazakhs do not know what the Western countries are capable of in the event of conflict between the two sides. Because never before has there been that sort of thing in their own and their immediate ancestors’ life. But at the same time, they know very well from their own experience what Moscow could do to them in case of a similar conflict. The fact is that among the post-Soviet countries, Kazakhstan is long known to be the least disposed to stand up to Moscow. This seems to be even more the case now, i.e. after what happened in Kazakhstan in January 2022.

Therefore, the statements like “Kazakhstan represents a potential EU toehold in one of those regions where Western allies are vying for influence (and resources) with Russia and China” unwittingly brings thoughts about how well the Western world is informed about the state of affairs in that Central Asian State.