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Kazakh government resigns, President Tokayev appoints new PM

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 5, 2024 3:30 PM 1 min read
The acting Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Roman Sklyar, who was appointed on Feb. 5, 2024, in a photo posted on Aug. 13, 2019. (Office of the Kazakh Prime Minister)
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The Kazakh government under Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov resigned on Feb. 5, and Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev appointed Deputy Prime Minister Roman Sklyar as his acting successor.

The reason for the government's resignation was not immediately clear.

Despite Astana's historically close ties to Moscow, Tokayev has taken a cautious approach to the full-scale war, refusing to recognize the legitimacy of Russia's illegal annexation of Ukrainian territories in 2022.

At the same time, Tokayev has not completely abandoned his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who visited Kazakhstan in November 2023.

"Our strategic partnership is truly forward-looking," Putin commented ahead of the trip and meeting with Tokayev.

Tokayev has said that the country will comply with the sanctions regime against Russia, and Kazakh officials have said the export of military goods to Russia ceased shortly after the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Astana has also received criticism for allowing Moscow to circumvent international sanctions imposed on Russia over its aggression against Ukraine.

Russia, West fight for Kazakhstan as Astana plays both sides
On the surface, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to Kazakhstan on Nov. 9 exuded an air of business as usual. The Russian leader was met at dawn on the tarmac of Astana airport by Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev before being greeted by an official guard of honor. The trip coinci…
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