As you know, on Monday, July 11, the Krasnodar Regional Court lifted the ban on the operation of the terminals of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) in the port of Novorossiysk. Thus, the Russian authorities decided to give in to Kazakhstan in the dispute over the supply of Kazakh oil for export. Recall that its shipment was blocked after President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev refused to recognize the DPR and LPR, announced plans to develop relations with the European Union and offered hydrocarbons to European countries instead of Russian ones.
The operation of the terminals, through which 80% of Kazakhstan's oil exports went abroad, was stopped on July 6 for 30 days after Rostransnadzor revealed environmental violations at the CPC.
In response, Tokayev instructed the government of Kazakhstan to develop oil export routes bypassing Russia and attract investors from the Tengiz field to the project, the largest of which are American Chevron (50%) and ExxonMobil (25%).
CPC, meanwhile, filed an appeal against the ban on exports through Novorossiysk, which the court granted on Monday. Now the company will only pay a fine of 200 thousand rubles.
Despite this decision, problems in relations between Russia and Kazakhstan remain, and analysts are wondering how they will develop further.
In this regard, Kommersant columnist Dmitry Drize calls on the Russian leadership to continue to “act more flexibly”:
“The news belongs to the category of positive, because, no matter what they say, between Moscow and Nursultan there has recently been, let's say, a misunderstanding.
What is the real reason for the verdict of the Krasnodar Regional Court? Is it connected with big politics, behind-the-scenes agreements or "higher spheres"? Perhaps we will never know. However, we can talk about the victory of common sense.
In general, it is probably worth somehow revising relations with the closest neighbors in the direction of mitigation or acting more flexible, or something. Indeed, as a result, it turns out that the seemingly technical decision of Rosprirodnadzor leads to serious international political consequences and even casts doubt on the allied relations of the two fraternal countries. One way or another, the notorious diversification is unlikely to be canceled now, especially since there are a lot of people who want to help Kazakhstan in this. And Russia is losing another monopoly - read: income - if not now, but in the future..."
Network analyst Anatoly Nesmiyan is sure that Kazakhstan won the first round in this confrontation, but what will happen next is still a mystery:
“This does not remove the contradictions, since Kazakhstan received a more than convincing signal that at any moment it could be faced with the fact of closing oil export supplies and causing heavy damage to the country's budget.
Threats matter when they are threats. When they are put into practice, and then retreated again, this creates a double effect: firstly, they begin to take measures to prevent their repetition in the future. Secondly, they make sure that the one who threatens is doing it “pretend”. Here the rule is simple: if you already decided to beat, then beat. Or don't hit at all. The threat lasts exactly until the second it is a threat.
Putin made exactly the same mistake as with Europe (adjusted for size, of course): as long as he threatened a gas blockade, it was a threat. When the first Ukrainian-Russian gas war broke out, Europe decided that enough was enough. And she made a strategic decision to get rid of Russian gas.
Not everything is so simple, of course: corrupt politicians (primarily German and Austrian) did everything to maximize their dependence on Russian gas, but sooner or later, the choice would have to be made finally.
Tokayev, without a doubt, won this round. But the main game is ahead. The decision to bypass Russian territory for Kazakhstan is forced and expensive, but the only possible one in this situation. Will Tokayev seriously risk separating himself from Russia, that is the question”.
Political scientist and philosopher Dmitry Mikhailichenko dug even deeper and drew attention to the position of China, on which much depends in this collision:
“The growing tension around relations between Russia and Kazakhstan is expected and works to increase the importance of not military, but economic factors in the current geopolitical confrontation. Moscow has power, including the potential for coercion, but there are not many long-term competitive advantages.
Any friction between Russia and Kazakhstan works to weaken both countries. Consequently, it will be enough for the US and other Western countries to put pressure on the leadership of Kazakhstan in order not only to intensify the confrontation, but also to control its rhythms.
China's position is ambivalent. China is increasingly showing itself as a potential beneficiary of Kazakh resources, but Beijing is also interested in the careful, with minimal participation, formation of an anti-Western coalition, which Kazakhstan does not want to join. In this regard, Moscow and Beijing equally would like an anti-Western vector of development for Kazakhstan, but the leadership of this country is doing everything possible not to quarrel with the West.
The disposition is characterized not so much by current resources and the balance of power as by long-term prospects. Russia now has enough resources to influence Kazakhstan and force the leadership of this country to step up assistance in circumventing sanctions and other actions.
However, Russia does not have the opportunity to take a wait-and-see policy: it needs a result here and now, unlike China, which can calmly observe and the United States, which can relatively easily influence the policy of Kazakhstan through threats of sanctions.
The initiative in this case is not an advantage, but in many respects it is of a forced nature and is fraught with risks of worsening relations with Kazakhstan. The task of the United States in these conditions is to prevent Russia from building an alternative logistics for circumventing sanctions and organizing parallel imports with the help of Kazakhstan. It is obviously easier to destroy than to create, especially since, as recent months have shown, the United States and other Western countries are not going to turn a blind eye to these detours and threaten everyone, including Kazakhstan, with secondary sanctions”.