Kazakhstan included in list of “middle powers”

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The Berlin Foundation for Science and Politics (SWP) has included Kazakhstan for the first time in the list of "middle powers" alongside Turkey, Israel, India, Saudi Arabia, and other countries, totaling 12, Avesta reports.

"Middle powers" refer to states that play a significant role in the global political and economic arena. According to the Foundation's experts, all these countries share a primary focus on economic development, an emphasis on security and stability, as well as a pursuit of strategic autonomy and "multifacetedness."

According to the Foundation's analysts, Kazakhstan notably stands out among Central Asian states due to its foreign policy, making it a key player in the region.

The calculation of Kazakhstan's foreign policy, in their view, lies in restraining the influence of Russia and China through a wide range of external relations and maximum maneuvering space. Simultaneously, relations with regional hegemonic states are utilized to counter Western intervention when undesirable, typically involving the promotion of democracy and human rights policies.

In Kazakhstan's economy, the goal of external policy diversification has been most clearly demonstrated. Unlike neighboring Central Asian markets, Kazakhstan opened up to Western investors in the 1990s, primarily to explore its rich oil reserves, according to the Foundation.

As a result, the EU is the largest foreign investor in Kazakhstan, and with a 40% share in external trade, it is the country's most crucial economic partner, surpassing China and Russia, according to the research.

According to the SWP, the Ukrainian conflict has given Kazakhstan a new impetus for diversification. This is evident in the new transport routes being established by the authorities of the republic. In their pursuit of diversification, they rely not only on the Chinese "Silk Road" but also on the EU's "Global Gateways" strategy. In this regard, the republic asserts its geographical and historical role as a "bridge between East and West."

Finally, the authors of the study note that liberal principles are more firmly rooted in Kazakhstan than in neighboring countries.

The Berlin Foundation for Science and Politics (SWP) is one of the largest think tanks in Europe specializing in the study of security policy, international, and European politics. Based on its independent research, it advises the Bundestag and the Federal Government of Germany.

The Foundation also provides its services to decision-makers in international organizations such as the EU, NATO, and the UN. SWP has around 200 employees and collaborates with invited researchers, fellows, and interns.


February 15, 2024