Russian Tsargrad TV Seemingly Able To Decide How Long Kazakhstan’s Information Ministers Can Stay In Office – OpEd


On January 11, 2022, President Tokayev appointed Askar Umarov Minister of Information and Social Development of Kazakhstan. The Tsargrad TV reacted to this with a series of materials describing the latter as an ‘open Russophobe’. This Russian media outlet also called President Tokayev’s decision to appoint him minister ‘an outrageous gesture’.

Other Russian media picked up its initiative.  Other Russian media picked up its initiative. They were joined by some Moscow’s officials and Russian politicians. There was a lot of noise. Some of Russian politicians, experts and journalists went so far as to describe Kazakhstan’s Minister of Information, Askar Umarov, as ‘a person with nazi and chauvinist views towards Russians’. He once, according to Russian media said, addressing to Kazakhstani Russians, the following: “You do not forget that you are an imposed diaspora here, not autochthons, and be thankful that your rights are respected, and no one is driving you away from here, as it is the case with colonizers in some other countries”.

Yevgeny Primakov, who heads the Russian Foreign Ministry’s international cooperation agency Rossotrudnichestvo, reacted to the appointment of Askar Umarov as Minister in the following way: Rossotrudnichestvo ‘won’t cooperate with Russophobic trash’. He added: “Rossotrudnichestvo does not maintain contact, work or co-operate with Russophobic garbage, so that rules out any co-operation on our part with this Minister and the Ministry he leads”. Dmitry Rogozin, the then Roskosmos (space agency) director, advised Askar Umarov on Twitter not to visit the Baikonur cosmodrome. “Minister Askar Umarov is not welcome at the Baikonur Cosmodrome”, he wrote.

The result was not long in coming. Askar Umarov was relieved of his office on September 2, 2022. He held his position as Information Minister just for seven-plus months.

On September 2, 2022, Darkhan Kydyrali was appointed Minister of Information and Social Development of Kazakhstan. The Tsargrad TV reacted to this news very restrained: “A certain Darkhan Kydyrali has been appointed Minister [of Information] in his [Umarov’s] place”. As far as can be judged, the Russian propaganda media did not pay much attention to him until mid-August, 2023. But then the situation changed. There was information that the website of the Russian Tsargrad TV channel was blocked in Kazakhstan by the decision of the Ministry of Information and Social Development. The head of the Ministry made an explanatory statement.

Darkhan Kydyrali said that the blocking of the website of the Russian Tsargrad TV channel was due to the adoption of measures to ensure information security. The Minister of Information stressed that this topic should not be politicized.

“There is no need to look for political subtext in this. As in any State, information security is important for us. Therefore, content, a site that poses a threat to the information space, contradicts our Constitution, the legal norms of our state and the law on the media, is blocked”, the minister said in an interview with Qazaqstan TV.

As an example, Darkhan Kydyrali pointed out that since 2016, more than 40 websites registered abroad have been blocked in Kazakhstan. “The site you mentioned is one of them. We warn publications about the need to comply with our standards, but if the media do not comply with our requirements, then they will certainly be blocked. And regardless of whether it is foreign or domestic media, we urge everyone to observe and respect our laws”, he added. What happened next?

Here is what the Novye Izvestiya newspaper has to say in this regard: “After the blocking of the Tsargrad TV channel in Kazakhstan, calls for radical action against the neighboring country began to be heard among the Russian patriotic public… There were reports that in Kazakhstan ‘a hunt has begun for the defenders of the Russian world’. Even calls for active action began to be read in some passages by Tsargrad”. Konstantin Malofeev, who owns the Tsargrad TV Channel and had founded the Tsargrad website, came out with a very robust statement on the Kazakh Information Ministry’s decision.

After a few days, on September 1, 2022, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev dismissed Darkhan Kydyrali from his ministerial post.

Akhas Tazhutov

Akhas Tazhutov is a political analyst from Kazakhstan.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *