May 27, 2023

May 17 marks the 70th anniversary of the President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, a politician and statesman who heads the state with which Russia has the closest and good neighborly relations. On the eve of the anniversary of the Kazakh leader, the magazine Profile recalled his most interesting statements that characterize Tokayev not only as an experienced politician, but also as a well-read and witty person who understands the beauty and power of words.

“My life motto is to work hard”

Thus, 20 years ago, in a conversation with journalists from Caravan, the future president of Kazakhstan for the first time named his life credo.

“There was no big blood during the “divorce”, everything happened quite civilized”

So in 2004, in an interview with RIA Novosti, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev figuratively assessed the consequences of the collapse of the Soviet Union. At that time, the politician headed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan for the second time.

“Kazakhstan, like China, is an Asian country, so it’s pointless to talk about Westernization”

One of Tokayev’s most recent quotes comes from a recent interview with China Central Television ahead of a state visit to China. So succinctly and, by the way, in English, the President of Kazakhstan assessed the geopolitical development of the largest Central Asian state, adding that “we have our own path of development.”

“Akims must walk”

A phrase spoken in April 2023 at a meeting on socio-economic development. Then Tokayev criticized the arrangement of Kazakh cities, including the capital, noting that there are cities in Eastern Europe that look very decent with much smaller budgets. As a result, the president urged the heads of municipalities to literally walk, studying reality, certainly not from the window of an official car.

“Be gentle, but tough. Ultimately fair.”

An appeal to the people of Kazakhstan at the session of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan to rebuff manifestations of radicalism, extremism and separatism. Many, having heard this phrase, remembered Lyolik’s remark from the “Diamond Hand”: “I will beat gently, but strongly.”

“Any position is temporary, but the people are eternal”

A real aphorism uttered by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev during his inauguration in November 2022. Neither subtract nor add.

“The forecast that the 21st century will be the century of Asia has become a reality today”

The words spoken by Tokayev in October 2022 at the opening of the VI summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Astana. By the way, this phrase echoes the forecast of an outstanding political figure in recent world history, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres. In Overcoming, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev writes that he was struck by the philosophical mindset of the Israeli politician. In 1995, during a walk with Tokayev in Alma-Ata, Peres prophesied: “Kazakhstan will be the surprise of the century.”

“There are people who confuse Hegel with Babel, but they have a huge amount of business in one hand”

The most discussed quote of the head of Kazakhstan, said by him at a meeting with entrepreneurs. The President stated that the colossal concentration of business in the hands of people who do not have even the minimum baggage of professional knowledge, and the simultaneous absence of the opportunity to do business among people capable of entrepreneurship is the most dangerous trend. Then the philosopher Hegel and the writer Babel went to the top of the search engines (Kazakhstani businessmen, therefore, really did not know who all these people were), but in fact this tongue twister sounds like this: “Do not confuse Gogol with Hegel, Hegel with Bebel, Bebel with Babel, Babel with a cable, a cable with a dog…”, well, then it’s already indecent.

“I do not accept the word “transit”, I do not consider myself a transit passenger”

This is what Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said when he was elected President of Kazakhstan in 2019. In the same interview, he emphasized, continuing to play with the “transit” theme, that he was not going to “transfer to another plane or train”, but would serve all the people without exception.

“I hope everyone is convinced that the formula “Plato is my friend, but the truth is dearer” for me has a key, target value”

A phrase spoken after the tragic events of January 2022. The President of Kazakhstan, in his rather harsh speech addressed to the elite, stated that “the interests of the state are higher for me than good relations with anyone,” and for the good of the state, he is ready to make “very difficult decisions” both now and in the future.

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