Articles by Dmitry Babich

President Tokayev Wins Election: Why Is It Good News for Everyone?

“Groomed by Europe, feared by enemies, sure of victory” – this was how the German magazine Der Spiegel described the incumbent President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, on the eve of the presidential election, which took place on Nov. 20. Der Spiegel magazine is correct in its vision of Europe (and the West in general) “grooming”…

President Tokayev’s Three Principles Outline Way to Achieve International Peace

The 77th General Assembly of the United Nations was characterized by a general feeling of anxiety and alarmism. Some speakers limited themselves to accusations, blaming other members of the “community of nations” for the generally accepted fact that the world’s security situation and economic perspectives are visibly worsening. A balanced assessment of the situation with…

Seven Days of Search for Peace: Kazakhstan Hosts Record Number of World Leaders in Just One Week

NUR-SULTAN – Seven days of autumn… This week has brought a record number of momentous events both in the life of Kazakhstan and on the world stage. Tragedies and deadlocks on one side, speeches, and summits on the other. In a world where lots of previously secure structures are rapidly disintegrating, the President of Kazakhstan…

Kazakh President’s State-of-the-Nation Address As a Second Chance for Country

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s state-of-the-nation address is a unique combination of solutions for the country’s many problems. The key is democracy (hence the decision to conduct the pre-term elections of the President and the Parliament in 2022-2023, liberalization of the legislation on political parties and other reforms). But, besides European-style democracy, the President is using…

Kazakhstan as a Contributor to Food Security

In this year of endangered food security, when the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other UN bodies are warning about the threat of famine in Africa and some of the poorer countries of the Middle East, Kazakhstan is playing an honorable role as the “donor of food security.” The country not only produces…

From January to July: Kazakhstan Meets Challenges and Soothes Fears

The year 2022 is far from over, but it is already clear that this year will go down in the history of Kazakhstan as the year of momentous change, probably the most important since the country gained independence in 1991. The year was full of dangers, and they let themselves be felt in the first…

Kazakhstan’s Cross-Border Cooperation in Sphere of Water Supply – a Way to Central Asia’s Future

As an extremely hot summer comes to Europe, coupled with painful mutual embargos between the EU and Russia, Kazakhstan and its Central Asian neighbors provide an example of a mutually advantageous, responsible exchange of natural resources, water in the first place. Kazakhstan is providing neighboring states with electric energy and hydro carburants. In exchange, Kazakhstan…

A Very Special Referendum: Reducing the Level of Personal Powers

So, the amendments to the Constitution of Kazakhstan have been adopted. Not by the will of the President, not by the decision of some “very important” officials or even people’s deputies. These very important decisions were voted into law. Voted by none other than the people of Kazakhstan, by 6.1 million voters who took part…

The Spiritual Diplomacy of Kazakhstan and the Upcoming 7th Congress of Traditional Religions: Protecting Peace Religiously

Kazakhstan is living a rich religious life: the Moslems on May 2 started celebrating the holiday of Oraza Ait (the Kazakh name of Eidal-Fitr), while the second largest religious group in the country, the Orthodox Christians, continue the period of celebrations that followed the Orthodox Easter (it fell on April 24 this year).  What the…

Foreign Press on Terrorist Attack Against Kazakhstan: When Arrogance Leads to Ignorance

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan came out with an official statement denouncing “a number of publications” in Western media, which presented a twisted, pro-terrorist picture of the recent tragic events in Kazakhstan. “Currently, the law enforcement agencies and armed forces of Kazakhstan are confronting terrorists, not ‘peaceful protesters’ as some foreign media misrepresent it,”…

‘Nazarbayev’s Method’ Works: Peaceful Transition Almost Complete as Chairmanship of Nur Otan Party Transferred to President Tokayev

The decision of Kazakhstan’s First President Nursultan Nazarbayev to cede the chairmanship of the ruling party Nur Otan to current President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is a part of a long and sophisticated political process. This process is democratic in nature and aims to ensure the smooth transition of power to younger generations of Kazakhstan’s leaders without…

Dostoyevsky’s 200th Anniversary Celebrated in Kazakhstan, the Land of His Formative Years

On the 11th of November this year, the world will celebrate an important anniversary that has a special meaning for both Russia and Kazakhstan: 200 years ago the world-famous writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow, in a family of a Russian military doctor, Mikhail Dostoyevsky. The writer lived a tumultuous life of 60 years,…

Kazakhstan at the 76th UN General Assembly: a Global Volunteer

The 76th General Assembly of the United Nations, held in New York City in September of 2021, was an event of historical importance. And here is the reason: it was the first global discussion forum of universal importance that took place in what we can (still tentatively) call a post-COVID world, or rather the world…

President’s State-of-the-Nation Address: Tailor-Made for Kazakhstan

The state-of-the-nation address is a very special genre of public speech. The heads of states of many countries follow the American prototype and imitate the US presidents, repeating the usual speech patterns about democracy, new technologies and empowerment of the people. Others follow the more authoritarian “nativist” speech patterns, emphasizing loyalty to tradition, faithfulness to…

Alibek Dnishev, the Silver Voice of Kazakhstan, Turns 70 (Video)

Alibek Dnishev, the most famous Kazakh opera singer and a wonderful person, the singing soul of Kazakhstan, turns 70 today. Dnishev was born in Almaty and grew up in a typical Kazakh urban family, the son of a journalist.  Next to their apartment block stood a  movie theatre named Alatau where the young Dnishev watched…

National Security Strategy as a Medicine Against Society’s Fears

When Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed the decree approving the National Security Strategy for 2021-2025, the people unfamiliar with Kazakhstan’s realities could ask a question: “Why is it needed now? What for?” Such people should be reminded of one important thing about Kazakhstan.  The country’s institutions operate special political doctrine – that of The Listening…

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President with a Human Rights Agenda

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev will certainly be remembered in history books as ‘the human rights leader,’ one of the first Eurasian rulers who put the interests and protections of an individual citizen before everything else in the state’s policy. This is still an unusual phenomenon in the “big Eurasia,” where politicians for many centuries have…

Olzhas Suleimenov – Renowned Kazakh Poet, Thinker and Activist – Turns 85 Today

Olzhas Suleimenov turns 85 today. Not the youngest of ages for a human of flesh and blood, but this is the most interesting thing about Kazakhstan’s most famous  poet and prominent public figure Suleimenov: he never allowed the earthly reality to trap him. Under all ages and regimes, he never forgot to look at the…

From History to Modernity: Kazakh, Russian Scholars and Diplomats Hold a Conference in Moscow

MOSCOW – East and West, Europe and Asia, history and modernity: both Russia and Kazakhstan are unique countries that bring these seeming opposites together, showing the world a special kind of Eurasian harmony and peace-loving attitudes. This unique mixture of cultures and civilizations gave a special flavor to the scientific conference “Russia and Kazakhstan: 30…

Kyrgyzstan Gets New Constitution

Kyrgyzstan, a Central Asian state bordering Kazakhstan with its 6 million strong population, is on its way to political stabilization after the referendum on changes to the country’s Constitution was successfully held in it, with 79 percent of the votes cast in favor of the changes. The changes give Sadyr Japarov, Kyrgyzstan’s recently elected President,…

The Turkic World: Opportunities Instead of Impediments

What is the Turkic World and what role can it play in modernity, if historically these countries, connected by the language and the common ethnic roots, belonged to different empires, military blocs and even civilizations? These are difficult questions, the answers to which seemed to be made difficult by history itself, which placed the Turkic-speaking…

Zhambyl Zhabayev’s 175th Anniversary: a Poet of Steppes Who Outlived His (Almost) 100 years of Physical Life

Zhambyl Zhabayev is not just a great Kazakh poet, he became almost a mythical figure, uniting very different epochs. Even his life span is unique: born in 1846  he died on June 22, 1945 – weeks after the defeat of Nazism in Germany. He had only eight months more to live to celebrate his 100th…

The Election of Sadyr Zhaparov Lends New Hope for Greater Cooperation Between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan

On the 10th of January 2021, Kazakhstan’s border state, Kyrgyzstan, elected its new president. Sadyr Zhaparov, 52, a former deputy of the Kyrgyz parliament, was elected the new head of state by 79 percent of the votes cast. Кazakhstan, which has long looked on with much concern at the political instability and internal strife in…

Elections in Kazakhstan: International Reactions

MOSCOW – International observers, foreign policy pundits and the world’s media – everyone is watching Kazakhstan’s parliamentary elections, noting the progress of this country’s relatively young democracy. With every election, the international community gets a wider and wider access to the information about elections in Kazakhstan: this time, Kazakhstan’s Central Election Commission accredited 398 foreign…

Nikolai Anastasiev, a Literary Figure that Brought Together Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States, Dies in Moscow

Nikolai Anastasiev, a well-known Russian philologist whose scientific interests included Kazakh, American and Russian literature, died in Moscow at the age of 81 years. This news filled with sorrow the hearts of many literature lovers in three countries: Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States. Anastasiev was both a longtime professor of the most famous Russian…

The Year of Abai – Just One Big “Who Could Have Thought?” With a Happy End

The life of Abai Kunanbayev, the greatest poet of Kazakhstan, has never been easy.  But only very few could have predicted what the coronavirus pandemic would do in the year 2020, which had been declared the year of Abai Kunanbayev in Kazakhstan. Some of the 500 cultural events scheduled for this year had to be…

Kazakhstan’s Independence Day: 29 Years Ago the World’s Countries Have Got a New Big Friend

Kazakhstan’s Independence Day, celebrated on December 16 to commemorate the fulfillment of the Kazakh people’s long-cherished dream of having an independent state, which happened on December 16, 1991, fills every heart in Kazakhstan with pride and joy now.  Kazakhstan is the most economically successful country in Central Asia on the right track towards becoming one…

The Secret of Nazarbayev

How can Kazakhstan’s leader gain respect on both sides of this world’s many barricades? A good question to answer on the Day of the First President.  On the Day of Kazakhstan’s First President political analysts, historians and just people with long memories, who remember what Kazakhstan has been through in the last 50 years –…

President Tokayev Addresses the SCO Summit: Emphasizes Collective Responses to Common Threats

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev chose the venue of the recent online summit of the  Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) for making several important statements. This authoritative international body, which includes Kazakhstan, China, Russia, India, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, was created in 2001 and will soon celebrate its 20th birthday. The organization, which includes some of…

The Power of Context: Abai Kunanbayev’s Translations Made European Literature Accessible to the Kazakh People

This year is marked by the celebration of the 175th anniversary of Kazakh poet and writer Abai Kunanbayev. Kunanbayev went on to become the first Kazakh classic writer famous not only for his works, philosophical treatises and music, but also as a translator, who popularized the masterpieces of world literature for a general audience. He…

Why Biodiversity Became the Centrepiece of Kazakhstan’s Agenda at the UN: the Tragic and Hopeful Story of the Aral Sea

When Kazakhstan’s Head of State, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev addressed online the United Nations’ General Assembly from the city of Nur-Sultan deep in the Eurasian steppes, his choice of subject might have appeared Quixotic to his listeners in the world’s most futuristic city on the other side of the Atlantic. The President did not speak about…

Kazakh Foreign Minister Tileuberdi Receives Warm Welcome From Russian Counterpart in Moscow

MOSCOW – In the framework of the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Kazakhstan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Mukhtar Tileuberdi met the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, Sergey Lavrov.   In Moscow, Tileuberdi was met with a speech from his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, who stressed the significance of Kazakhstan as an…

Jari Kaukua: “Al-Farabi Was a Representative Of an Enlightened Islamic Thought, Which Played a Great Role in “Naturalization” of Ancient Greek Heritage In Eurasian World”

As Kazakhstan celebrates the Anniversary Year of its medieval philosopher Abu Nasr al-Farabi (870-950), born on the territory of modern Kazakhstan 1150 years ago, The Astana Times is publishes a  series of articles and interviews with world-renowned scholars, which specialize on al-Farabi’s legacy. Our correspondent Dmitry Babich interviews Jari Kaukua, professor and post-doctoral fellow at…

The International Day Against Nuclear Tests – a Big Event for Kazakhstan, a Pioneer in Their Abolition

August 29 is the internationally celebrated International Day Against Nuclear Tests. It is highly symbolic that the establishment of this important annual event was initiated by Kazakhstan and the date of August 29 was chosen because it was on this day in 1991 Kazakhstan terminated nuclear tests on its soil and shut down the Soviet…

Respects for the Poet: Abai Kunanbayev is Lauded and Remembered in Moscow on his 175th Birthday

MOSCOW – Kazakstan’s Ambassador to Russia Yermek Kosherbayev paid his respect to the greatest Kazakh poet Abai Kunanbayev on the 175th anniversary of the Poet’s birth in the Semei region. His Excellency the Ambassador, diplomats of the mission and representatives of the Kazakh Cultural Autonomy in Moscow  laid flowers to the monument of the Poet.…

Abai in Moscow – Open Air, Recitals and Songs

MOSCOW – Like many great writers, Abai Kunanbayev was remarkably modest about his literary works and their usefulness for mankind. Here is what he wrote in his “Words of Wisdom” – a collection of moralistic essays on life, wisdom and Kazakh nation: “Finally, I took that decision: I will be entertaining myself with paper and…

Nursultan Nazarbayev: a Look Back at the Life of Achievement from the World’s Top Leaders

The 80th birthday of the first President of Kazakhstan, the leader of the Kazakh nation (Elbasy) Nursultan Nazarbayev – this is a great opportunity to celebrate his achievement. An opportunity not just for the citizens of Kazakhstan, but also for leaders and citizens of foreign nations. The reasons are simple and obvious. During the last…

Abai – the Kazakh Variant of the Perfect Man

“It is hard to explain what the very name of Abai means to Kazakhs. His cultural significance can remotely be compared to the role which Leo Tolstoy’s work and personality played in Russia’s culture, especially since the two great men lived in the same historical epoch. But even that would not be enough. Because Abai…

Al-Farabi Unites East and West

How the life story of a philosopher born 1150 years ago on Kazakh soil became an inspiration for Kazakh patriots in the twentieth century. When Kazakhstan became independent in 1991, its leading university (Kazakh National University) was renamed in honour of the great medieval thinker with Kazakh roots – Abu Nasr Al-Farabi. This fact alone…

First President Nazarbayev Urges Nation and Global Community to Join Forces in Time of Trouble

May 1 is celebrated every year as the Day of National Unity in Kazakhstan. This time, as usual, the First President of independent Kazakhstan, the Leader of the Kazakh nation Nursultan Nazarbayev came out with a traditional congratulation message. But it was a special address, one tinged with concern over the Covid-19 pandemic and how…