Kasym-Zhomart Kemeluly Tokaev
He was born on 17 March 1953 in Alma-Ata. Graduated from Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Diplomatic Academy of the MFA of Russia, and Beijing Linguistic Institute. He started his career as a practising fourth-year student in the embassy of the USSR in Beijing in 1974. After that he was sent to the embassy in Singapore. Later he worked in the central body of the MFA of the USSR. Later he supervised the first group of the Soviet practising students in the Beijing Linguistic Institute. During the period 1985 – 1991 he was the Second Secretary and later First Secretary in the embassy of the USSR in China. After graduating from the Diplomatic Academy of Russia in 1992, he came to independent Kazakhstan by Nazarbaev’s personal invitation, and he was assigned to the position of the First Deputy to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. From October 1994 until October 1999, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Deputy to the Prime-Minister. In October 1999 Majilis approved Tokaev’s nomination to the position of Prime-Minister. On 28 January 2002 he resigned as Prime-Minister and was assigned to the position of State Secretary and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. On 11 February 2007 he became the Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of Kazakhstan. Mr. Tokaev has been elected as the Chairman of the Council of the Leaders of the CIS and the EEC (Eurasian Economic Community). He is a doctor of political science, the topic of his thesis being “The external policy of Kazakhstan during the period of formation of world order”. He has a diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. He was awarded with Kazakhstan’s highest awards - orders “Parasat” and “Astana”. He is married, and has one son. Hobbies: Reading memoirs and historic literature, table tennis, swimming, tennis, golf. He is the author of the books: “Overcoming. Diplomatic sketches of Kazakhstan’s minister”, “Under the banner of independence”, “Diplomacy of the Republic of Kazakhstan”, “External policy of Kazakhstan during globalization”, “The word about the father”.
Source: Information-analysis portal “Eurasian Home” - www.eurasianhome.org
For one of the most educated officials in the country, as well as being an admirer of theatrical art, it is not a novelty to be bestowed with such epithets. Opinions on the Internet favor him. The following words of one of the experts from the Internet portal “Eurasian Home” are typical: “After N. Nazarbaev, perhaps he is the official most well-known and respected abroad. During the 15 years of Kazakhstan’s independence he has acquired not only political but also economic influence – it is always possible to get large investments or cheap credits from the USA, Russia, Europe and Asia for his name.” Here we present a portrait of Kasym-Zhomart Tokaev. Recently he was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and now he is the Head of the Senate.
This official has changed his position but stayed within the elite. One of the strongest representatives among Kazakhstan’s politicians, having held the positions of Prime-Minister, State Secretary and the Head of the MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), currently his view is from the windows of the Parliament. The latest changes among members of the governmental Olympus caused an unusually large amount of statements in the mass media, especially on the Internet. If we skimmed the cream of these statements we could create a good sponge cake, as equally immaculate as the reputation of today’s hero. Or almost equally, because there are a couple of stains on Tokaev’s white dress. This refers to the real estate corruption scandal. The results of this old journalistic investigation can be still found on the Internet. Although many years have passed, one can still find information about the connection between the official’s family and the privatization of an historic building in the center of Almaty. At that time, the MFA couldn’t prove the official innocent, and most of the interviews moved from the front pages of newspapers to electronic pages. Tokaev had to give an interview. The website www.kub.kz published the interview without changing the name “The rain also cleans the stains.” The politician told the following to the journalist: “Maybe I disturbed somebody. Maybe somebody doesn’t like my popularity. Anything could be possible… However, I’m not angry with anyone, including your newspaper. Time changes everything. And the rain washes off the tracks. Things will be sorted out over time.” Tokaev said the following regarding lobbying commercial interests of his relatives: “This is fantasy! It has nothing to do with reality!... Good God, no! Without white-washing my relatives, I can assure you that they are not oligarchs. They are nowhere near becoming such! I own two apartments – one in each capital. I said it by the way. I’m not going to strip down to my underwear to prove myself innocent.” It seems to be the only problem of such scale. Comparing to the positive information about the politician, the stain loses its significance and cannot be a heavy weight on the scale of Tokaev’s reputation. So, what does the Internet have to offer about Tokaev? At first sight, there is little of interest. Phrases such as, “Tokaev noted promising perspectives for the cooperation”, “separately emphasized”, and “drew the journalists’ attention” put almost all the information about him into the framework of his official visits. Not everybody can extract useful information behind the trite expressions of these articles. The short lines, which actually contain nothing important, obscure the events and the heroes. However, would it be correct to attribute the absence of concrete information to the talent (or lack thereof) of the journalists? Maybe, being an official of the appropriate entity, Tokaev used diplomatic methods of expression to bring to naught all additional questions. Tokaev is compared to Yevgeny Primakov in his professionalism and international authority. Nobody doubts that the politician belongs to the upper part of Kazakhstan’s elite. In general, such information is given in articles by so-called independent authors, which are numerous on the Internet. For example, the website www.continent.kz published the article “National peculiarity in attitude towards political leaders”. Lyudmila Adilova wrote in the article: “Kasymzhomart Tokaev, an experienced diplomat, also carefully prepares his own appearance on the political stage, his image corresponds to the expectations of the population and is accepted by the public. He is called “Kazakhstani Primakov”, therefore the general attitude towards his image is positive. A presentable appearance, calm behavior, propriety and goodwill, tractability in contacts, analytical skills and honesty – all of these are positively assessed by the respondents. The importance of this person puts him among the leading politicians. Despite constant accusations, the public’s sympathy is growing. In association with colors, Kasymzhomart Tokaev arouses positive emotions, although the general perception of the Cabinet of Ministers of the respondents seems to suggest negative and unattractive feelings. However, it is more of the collective image of the power, which is unconsciously negatively perceived. Almost all of the ministers are associated with dark, cold and dim colors.” “Nezavisimaya gazeta” newspaper published an article by Sergey Kozlov on its website; the article is about Tokaev’s appointment to the position of Head of the Government of Kazakhstan. The interview with the politician is titled with one of his statements: “We don’t have any fears regarding integration within the CIS”. The following is an extract from the article: “His appointment to the position of the Prime Minister provoked much debate in Kazakhstan. A professional diplomat became the head of the government for the first time. Many observers explain it by the special position of Kazymzhomart Tokaev on the political stage – his non-participation in the fight among the clans, authority on the international stage and experience in other bodies of the government.” On another portal an unknown author left his comments below the interview with Tokaev: “This is a competent answer of a competent diplomat. Mr. Tokaev – Kazakhs of MSIIR (Moscow State Institute of International Relations) support you!!! Long live Kazakh diplomacy!!! Hurray, gentlemen, hurray!” Of course, the emotionality and frivolity peculiar to Internet-idlers exaggerate the attitude towards the politician. However, it is also a catalyst, in a way. Let’s turn back to the article that we mentioned at the beginning. The paper “Kazakhstan is congratulated with its new speaker. Why?” is signed by the author Yerlan Zhurabaev, an expert from the Eurasian Heritage Fund. The article says a lot about Tokaev; it is well worth reading the article if you are interested in the politician. Here, we’ll pay attention to the given characteristic: “Kasymzhomart Tokaev is well-known by the congratulating parties, i.e. by the mighty of this world. He is known as an intelligent negotiator, who is able to defend Kazakhstan’s interests not only in Kazakh, but also in the Russian, English, Chinese and French languages. He negotiates using persuasion and compromise, rather than brutality and ruining his opponent’s positions, which may lead to problems in the future.” This extract is from the same source: “Kasymzhomart Tokaev, son of the popular Kazakhstani writer, graduated from the MSIIR in 1975. He has been a Prime-Minister, State Secretary and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and on 11th of January 2007 he became the second person in the country. The facts that he was suggested by the President Nazarbaev for the position of the Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament, who acts as the President in case of force majeur, and that the technocrat Karim Masimov was assigned to the position of the Prime-Minister shows that there is a demand for intelligent experts within the Kazakh elite during this period of innovation for Kazakhstan’s economy with the diversification of the economic and political life of society.” There is an interesting article offered by search engines in response to a request for the senator’s name. Although the article, written by Aigul Omarova and published on the portal www.nomad.kz, is old (written in August 2002), it still surprises. It surprises with the genuine admiration expressed for the hero of the publication. The name of the article is “the good (ex-) Prime-Minister has good prospects… The portray of K.K. Tokaev, State Secretary and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan.” Here are some extracts: “A confession by a career-oriented diplomat, who was formed professionally in 1980s, that his favorite writer was one of the main dissidents in the former USSR means a lot. It means that he doesn’t support the doctrine of the old Soviet school of diplomacy and understands the imperfections of the extinct system. Surprisingly, Kasymzhomart Tokaev, State Secretary and Minister of Foreign Affairs, doesn’t hide that his favorite writer is Irina Ratushinskaya. It shows how outstanding his personality is. A vulnerable and sensitive person is hidden behind the external glamour of the diplomat. This kind of person enjoys the poetry of Irina Ratushinskaya, one of the finest writers of the late 1970s and early 1980s, who stands next to such dissidents as Vasim Sinyavsky and Yury Daniel.” This article describes in detail Kasymzhomart Tokaev’s career, as well as his political journey and friendship with Nursultan Nazarbaev. “The future Minister of the Foreign Affairs of the independent state noted that Nazarbaev’s superiority was easily noticed. However, it wasn’t deliberately coercive or theatrical. It was natural, based on the authority of the person. Perhaps, this quality still attracts Kasomzhomart Tokaev, and he remains among the politicians most loyal to the President.” This fact is mentioned by many Russian authors. For example, Yerlan Zhurabaev wrote: “Due to Nursultan Abishevich, a new life started for Kasymzhomart Kemelevich; he entered the national elite… The current appointment to his high post is evidence that he is entering the circle of potential successors of the farsighted President…” Then the author adds several lines about the personal characteristics of the politician, mentioning that with the new assignment they become significant for the country. The following was written: “Tokaev graduated from school №25, which is known in Almaty for its good teachers and in close circles in Moscow because Vladimir Zhirinovsky graduated from there (interestingly, graduates of the same school later became quite diverse politicians, by their aspiration and methods). Although Tokaev sometimes is blamed with being too soft and slow in his assessments; he can defend his opinion, and the misperception is caused by his profession – diplomacy. By the way, there have been a lot of cases, when very successful diplomats moved to the legislative branch, Andrey Gromyko being the best example.” The extracts from Tokaev’s book “Overcoming. Diplomatic sketches of Kazakhstan’s minister” became the last chord of the article. “Considering the new speaker in detail, it is worth giving him the opportunity to speak for himself”, wrote Yerlan Zhurabaev, - more so, because Tokaev is not only a speaker but also a writer, whose memoirs with assessing recent events contribute toward understanding the motivations of this politician.” Aigul Omarova on the website www.nomad.kz notes that Tokaev is vastly different from his colleagues in the government. The sporting interests of the politician are given as an example. He prefers table tennis to tennis, and is the head of the federation of this sport. Probably, it is an effect of the influence of his long stay in China, where people have ping-pong rackets in their hands from early childhood. Then the author writes about leisure time. It appears that Kasymzhomart Kemelevich likes long walks and reading books. “While most of Kazakhstan’s officials like feasts, Tokaev doesn’t. Even the President, in a private talk with a highly ranked officials reprimanded him for the noisiness of numerous parties which he had complained about, and advised him to follow Tokaev’s example, of whom nobody can say anything bad.”, - wrote the journalist. The following lines continue the story “At first sight, it seems that Kasymzhomart Tokaev is one of fortune’s favorites; he was born into a family of writers, graduated from MSIIR, worked in Beijing, where many of the graduates dreamed about going to, but he was chosen among the first ones. However, it is only at the first sight. Actually, hard work is behind his success. It’s easy to communicate with Tokaev, because he is well educated and the company of such person is always interesting. He is fluent in five languages. Many journalists didn’t like it when he spoke in English or Chinese during meetings. He is among few Kazakhstani officials who speak in so many languages. His fluency in these languages makes negotiations easier, and, according to Yerlan Idrisov, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tokaev is known as a person with a modern world view. He is highly respected within international society and has a lot of connections.” The above reflects the same kind of attitude, doesn’t it? It is even more so below… “Kasymzhomart Kemelovich is a philosophically inclined person. With the correctly adjusted voice, he gives the impression of an even-tempered and calm person. Sometimes one can hear didactic notes in his voice, but people forget about it, because the content of the words is more important. Organizers of Democratic Elections in Kazakhstan blamed Tokaev for many sins, including indecision and a poor knowledge of economics. However, few people noticed another thing. Unlike his predecessors, Kasymzhomart Kemelevich has traveled a lot within the country and not without purpose; he has solved concrete problems…” Interestingly, it is known that this author admires Tokaev. If we don’t consider the goals of such publications, we could assign many positive qualities to today’s hero. Due to the journalists, Kasym-Zhomart Tokaev appears as a stainless knight without fears. Maybe he is a diplomat, writer, or researcher… maybe all these in one… However, opinion on the Internet isn’t usually unidirectional. The website www.arabeski.globalrus.ru published the following in the article titled “Moor did his job”: “The current minister Kasymzhomart Tokaev is not considered to be an influential figure, therefore most of the independent experts in Kazakhstan think that the real head of the MFA is the “elder son-in-law”, while Kasymzhomart Kemelevich only travels abroad and explains Kazakhstan’s pretensions for territory or the position of the leader in the OSCE in 2009 (for some reason, some people name R Aliev as the author of this ambitious idea). It is clear that Rakhat Mukhtarovich is not happy with his current position, as a position in law enforcement would suit him better.” Of course, the politician’s high rank, position and appointments open the information about him for the general public. Although in small portions, we can find some private information about today’s hero. Now we turn to Tokaev’s admiration of Moscow. The following is the extract from an article written by Aleksey Andreev and published on the website of “Novye izvestiya” newspaper www.newizv.ru. To the question “Has Moscow and its inhabitants changed?” the interviewee answered “Today it’s hard for me to judge the changes, because lately I see Moscow only from the window of my car. Anyhow, the Russian capital is not the same as it used to be in the early 1990s. Moscow has blossomed. It is as beautiful as Paris, Rome, New York and Vienna. However, there is one unpleasant thing – the increase of xenophobia and attacks on foreigners. I’d like to believe that those are isolated cases, and not the general attitude of people in Moscow.” Another question was: “Do you go to the theaters in Moscow?” And the answer to the question: “I used to find some time to visit the theaters. I like “Bolshoy” theater and “Sovremennik”. This time I was invited to the program of Vladimir Spivakov, but I just don’t have the time.”