The past, the present and the future to come

Abstract. In this issue we publish an article by Tuleutai Skakovich Suleimenov entitled "The Past, the Present and the Future to Come". The author has made a great contribution as the first Minister of Foreign Affairs (1991-1994) to Kazakhstan's foreign policy and diplomacy after gaining independence, has been Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in several countries, is a Laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Kazakhstan and holds a PhD in Political Science. Today, as a professor at the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Suleimenov is actively involved in training a new generation of diplomatic personnel. On the eve of his 80th birthday Tuleitai Suleimenov shares his reflections on the path of a young state - the Republic of Kazakhstan in the 30th anniversary of its independence, in particular on the international initiatives of the First President of Kazakhstan - Elbasy Nazarbayev, which were a major contribution of Kazakhstan to the global agenda and international issues.

It has always been a challenge to make sense of the relatively recent past. All the more difficult when we consider a period of time that encompasses the events of thirty years of independence, which in essence equals a century. The further back we go in the early years of the acquisition of sovereignty, the clearer we see the significance of past events that can rightly be called historic.

The sun shines on everyone but not equally on everyone. Kazakhstan was searching for its place in the sun at the dawn of its independence and chose its own Kazakhstani way of development. This path has proved to be very complex and difficult. Despite this, the first President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the government of the country did not lose hope taking a huge responsibility to lead the country in the right direction.

The Republic of Kazakhstan has become an independent subject of international relations after the collapse of the Soviet Union. It has had to define its place in the system of geopolitical coordinates, form its national state interests, build a system of foreign policy priorities for these interests and lay the foundation for its foreign policy strategy. It is always difficult to be the first but it is also a great honour. Kazakhstan's management has managed to form a modern state with a developed market economy and a stable political system aimed at socially oriented protection of its citizens.

At the beginning sovereign Kazakhstan apparently defined its own geopolitical strategy aimed at a scientific understanding of the country as a full member of world political processes. As the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A. Nazarbayev noted, ‘The multi-vector nature of the country's international policy was once correctly defined. The longterm goal of Kazakhstan's foreign policy was to create and maintain favourable external conditions for the successful implementation of the first strategic document ‘Strategy for the Formation and Development of Kazakhstan as a Sovereign State’ [1].

The management of the country established the Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (KazISS) at an important time in our history, in order to prepare research assessments of the current situation in the world and to forecast the future development of the country. The staff of KazISS coped with the responsible task with dignity and at present continues to take an active part in preparing analytical and research developments in the field of domestic and foreign policy of the country for the management of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

The implementation of the proclaimed strategy, of course, required enormous work, high professionalism and responsibility, above all from the employees of the foreign policy department, the state apparatus, ministries and departments. We proceeded from the fact that the foreign policy is the art of the possible and we clearly understood the well-known dictum of English eminent persons that in the international relations there are neither "friends" nor "enemies", there are only national interests. The above heightened a sense of pride and national patriotism for one's country and its future to come.

The President of Kazakhstan K.K. Tokayev, following the laid down foreign policy course of Yelbasy N. Nazarbayev, preserving the principles of multi-vectorism and pragmatism laid down by him, signed the Concept of Foreign Policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the years 2020-2030. It emphasizes that "Kazakhstan will firmly promote and defend its national interests on the world stage" [2]. In addition, in his speech at the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2019, President Tokayev noted the need to promote the Universal Declaration on building a world free of nuclear weapons. This thesis has been a kind of "brand" of our foreign policy for three decades.

With the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, the voluntary renunciation of nuclear power status and the handing over of lethal weapons to Russia for disposal, the international environment has been shaken. These two historic events are of crucial importance not only to Kazakhstan, but also to the international community as a whole. There has never been a similar act to follow in the world.

N. Nazarbaev's initiative to convene the Conference on Interaction and ConfidenceBuilding Measures in Asia, which played a positive role in ensuring security on the Asian continent, was of great importance in this context.

A significant event in Kazakhstan's foreign policy was Nazarbayev's keynote speech at the UN General Assembly in 2016, in which he presented the Manifesto "Peace for the 21st Century" [3], a nuclear security programme. This document was recognised as an official UN document and distributed to members of the prestigious organisation.

Today the international prestige of our country is very high. Kazakhstan at the present stage has the status of a major regional state in the Eurasian space, plays an active role in the system of international relations, taking its rightful place on the political map of the world. Our country is represented in many authoritative international organizations.

Kazakhstan has become a model of peace and harmony for international politicians, experts, political scientists, journalists and scientists. It is unique in the neighborhood and the interaction of the cultures of East and West, Islam and Christianity. Today Kazakhstan is a multiethnic state, home to more than 130 nationalities, ethnic groups and ethnicities. Thanks to our special mentality of hospitality and wisdom we were able to keep peace and accord between all ethnic groups. In 1995 the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan was established, which played a key role in the state preservation of civil peace and social harmony. During the period of its functioning it accumulated the unique experience of peaceful coexistence of different peoples, different faiths and confessions. This experience has been studied by the UN, generalized and recommended to other countries of the world community.

The situation in today's world is changing, and the events taking place - the global economic recession, the aggravation of interstate contradictions, interethnic and interfaith relations, the growing number of terrorist manifestations, the threat of various pandemics - instil a sense of uncertainty in the hearts of the people of the planet about the future. In particular, the confrontation between the United States and Russia, the EU and Russia continues, despite the meeting between Biden and Putin in Geneva.

In addition, the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and the incursion of the Taliban armed forces into the country have created tensions along the entire perimeter of the Tajik-Afghan border. Russia, Tajikistan and the CSTO are taking resolute military measures to counter possible armed clashes in the border zone. Incidentally, talks have taken place in Moscow between the Russian side and a Taliban delegation that arrived in the Russian capital. No specific results were reported from the talks.

Yelbasy's words, spoken back in November 2014, are far-sighted and wise: "I foresee from my experience that the coming years will be a time of global trials. The entire architecture of the world will change. Not all countries will be able to pass this difficult stage worthily. Only strong states and united nations will pass this threshold" [4].

N.A. Nazarbayev's strategy of independence formed the basis of the vision of modernization of modern Kazakh society and strengthening the independence of our country in the new world.

The peculiarity of Kazakhstan's recent history is its eventfulness. This condition is conditioned by the implementation, unlike a number of other countries, not only political but first of all economic modernization. In the history of the formation of Kazakhstan as a sovereign state, the years of independence will enter as a time of dynamic growth and systematic renewal of the life of our society.

The modern history of Kazakhstan includes the construction of an independent state based on a market economy. In a short period the country witnessed a change in the social system, the revival and formation of a new statehood, a new form of government, the formation of a new social structure and the implementation of economic reforms. The establishment of the Republic of Kazakhstan as a full-fledged subject of the system of international relations and a number of other qualitatively new phenomena have changed the face of Kazakhstani society.

Currently, Kazakhstan has its own borders, legally formalised. There is no independence without borders. The voluntary renunciation of the arsenal of nuclear weapons, which was located on the territory of our country, allowed us to attract foreign investment in the state's economy. The formation of our own foreign policy has allowed Kazakhstan to become a recognized player on the world stage.

The President of Kazakhstan, K.Tokayev, introduced and implemented a number of political, social and economic reforms for further development of our country over the last two years.

In particular, Kazakhstan has worked out a reasonable and financially supported Strategy of post-crisis development and we have entered the new decade with a new economic growth. New opportunities for implementation of the concept of the "Hearing State", interaction of the state and civil society, involvement of citizens in the process of political governance are to be tested, implementation of which is closely connected with the general line for building of an independent, prosperous and politically stable Kazakhstan.

It should be emphasised that at the present stage of development of the world order, fundamental changes are taking place in the system of international security and the architecture of peace. Phenomena and events as never before require the unification of mankind in the face of global threats.

The future of Kazakhstan, according to the statements of the First President - Yelbasy, the Leader of the Nation, is closely connected with Mangilik Yel, the main symbols of which are the Earth and the people. The earth is sacred and remains a symbol of national unity. One of the major achievements of independence is the timely and unquestionable establishment of state borders with neighbouring states. No borders, no independence.

Apparently, the main goal of our people remains the formation of a nation of a united future, without forgetting the depth of national history. Under these conditions, the need to consolidate the entire Kazakhstani society, especially the older generation, intellectuals and youth, brought up in the conditions of independence, which will lead our country to new heights of development in the foreseeable future, is in demand. In this context, it is appropriate to mention the state's care about the younger generation. In particular, the government on behalf of N. Nazarbayev established two Foundations: "Bolashak and the Fund for Future Generations. The first one is for education of youth in the most prestigious universities of the world, more than 15 thousands of them have already returned home and work in different ministries and departments of the country. The second is the accumulation of funds from the sale of oil and use by the government in Force Majeure situations. We can see how the government these days is skilfully spending a lot of money from this Fund to finance social programmes in the country.

Kazakhstan and its multi-ethnic people have undergone a historic path of testing independence, overcoming many obstacles and difficulties, creating a modern state. As we well know, the enduring values of our independence are: multi-ethnicity of a single nation, the great expanses of our land, common national interests, education and science, a peaceful foreign policy.

History does not remember many of its creators; they appear when the sea of events and the coming changes demand a leader who looks confidently ahead and knows what to do. Such a sought-after leader for Kazakhstan has been Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has taken on the enormous responsibility of establishing an independent state. He, with his political foresight, has managed to develop a radical new vision for the future of the country, which was not an easy task to achieve. Thinking back on those years now, I can say that it was the most important historical period that determined the trajectory of our country's development [5].

Of course, it is necessary to increase and protect what has been created and will be created by future generations. In this context, we should quote a statement by President Tokayev on July 2 this year in his congratulatory statement to the staff of the Foreign Service, that "the main task is to promote and protect national interests and to strengthen our country's position in the international arena. Significant successes have been achieved in this area" [6].

The most important thing is to protect the interests of their state, their citizens abroad, to conduct the foreign policy of their country, to attract investments, to organise bilateral cooperation, to organise exchanges of delegations, exchanges of leaders at the highest level. In other words, to build friendly relations for the benefit of their people and their state. Because everything is seen in comparison. Any state and any country must cooperate in economic, political, cultural, humanitarian areas, by all means exchange opinions, new technologies, cultures, to make our nation recognizable in the world, in international communities, join international organizations, promote their country for cooperation. Participate in all symposiums, congresses, summits, participate in the international life of the state [7].

On September 1, 2021, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev delivered an annual Address to the people of Kazakhstan. In his Address, the President outlined the priority goals of the country's socio-economic development for the coming period. “The time has come for action in a new reality,” said the Head of State and proposed to change approaches to public administration, personnel policy, the system of decision-making and responsibility for their implementation [8]. In the above departments, the President made specific proposals for reorganizing and increasing their responsibility.

In the area of economic development, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev announced "the creation of a truly diversified, technological economy." The most important thing in this matter should be a fair distribution of benefits and responsibilities. In addition, private entrepreneurship in the economy should play a leading role. It should ensure the growth of labor productivity, a green economy, the development of economic competitiveness and other mechanisms and levers for the development of the country's economy.

The President has made urgent proposals for the development of healthcare systems, ecology, digitalization, and local self-government. It should be emphasized that this Address is diametrically different from the previous ones because it names all the problematic points of the economy - during the pandemic “the budget deficit and transfers from the National Fund for expenditure commitments increase and the financial stability margin is not unlimited.” Inflation tends to rise. Food prices in the country are constantly rising.

In connection with international events, in particular, with the rising power of the Taliban in Afghanistan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stressed that “strengthening the defense capability, increasing the responsiveness to threats should become priorities of national importance. We must prepare for external shocks and the worstcase scenario.”

Thus, taking into account the internal and tense international situation that has developed recently in the world, I would like to note the particular importance of the Address of the Head of State regarding the strengthening of the economic power of the country, unity and cohesion of the people, support for the central government, as well as increasing the defense capability and protecting the territorial integrity of the independent Kazakhstan.

In short, this is our foreseeable future!

It is a great gift to appreciate what you have!

 

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Year: 2021
City: Almaty