After the publication of this author’s previous article entitled ‘Zelensky warns Kazakhstan is threatened by Russian invasion, and Kazakh KNB ex-head says it won’t be able to fight with Russia’, there were a few requests by those, monitoring the situation in Kazakhstan in a professional capacity, asking him to make public a translation of the Kazakh KNB former head’s full answer to a question by the Kazakh-speaking journalist concerning the relationship between Kazakhstan and Russia amid the war in Ukraine.
This is understandable because almost all Russian and Western journalists and political experts covering Kazakhstan have no basic Kazakh language knowledge. As far as can be judged, the Kazakhs prefer more openly discussing the most important topics and urgent issues related to Russia-Kazakhstan relations just in their own milieu while using their native language. And what’s being said publicly in this regard in Russian probably needs to be taken in this context as, so to speak, the tip of the iceberg.
So, let’s get to the point. Below is the Kazakh KNB former head’s full answer to the question by the Kazakh-speaking journalist concerning the relationship between Kazakhstan and Russia amid the war in Ukraine.
“Journalist: You served in the KGB. You are familiar with the Russian security service. You know people [there]. So, what do you think of our relationship with Russia? I am interviewing many people who have worked [in positions of responsibility] and know how to do jobs. When there is talk about Ukraine, it indirectly touches Kazakhstan, too. It is being said that Russia still poses a danger to us; they [the Russians] will invade [our country], should they want to; they have been coveting [our] land. There is also talk that they had thoughts of invading Kazakhstan prior to Ukraine. Is this all just a bunch of talk? What do you think?
Amangeldi Shabdarbayev (served as the Chairman of the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan from 2 March 2006 to 7 December 2009): I think this way. Frankly speaking, if we proceed from the interests of our nation, from the interests of our Kazakh people, we should not talk much about it. We need to be aware of [what is happening]. It’s not for nothing that our ancestors left us saying, “In case of having a Russian friend, you should keep your axe handy”. They [Russia and the Russians] have superiority over us in terms of number and other indicators. Well, to tell you the truth, we will not be able to [really] fight with them. But at the same time, we shouldn’t let what belongs to us go. We shouldn’t be afraid of them [Russia and the Russians]. It cannot be said it is good that there is a war between them [Russia and the Russians] and Ukraine. But after that, Russia won’t dare unleash a war against other States, against Kazakhstan. It will be afraid to do so. Because it got beat up a little bit. But we need to think about all this. We must do many things after a thorough weighing [of all pros and cons]. We need to improve our situations, our military readiness, and everything else”.