Kazakhstan Adopts New Military Doctrine

President Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a decree, on September 29, adopting Kazakhstan’s new Military Doctrine. The document outlines key priorities in military security for the Central Asian republic. Interestingly, the doctrine itself received almost no public attention inside Kazakhstan. Several mass media outlets published short briefs, citing passages from the introduction to the presidential decree. To date, neither the president nor the minister of defense have commented or made public statements in reference to the document.

Whereas the previous military doctrine (2011) focused more on countering violent extremism and terrorism, the newly adopted version puts greater emphasis on armed conflict along the border and measures to mitigate it. In this regard, Kazakhstan is very much emulating Belarus, a Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) partner, which modified its own military doctrine in 2016. Even though the Kazakhstani document does not precisely identify any major conflicts that could pose a threat, it significantly shifts the rhetoric and logic of country’s security agenda.

The overall tone of Astana’s new military doctrine has a geopolitical background. The text is full of Cold War confrontation between global and regional powers for spheres of influence, the arms race, increased tensions, a certain country’s desire to change the existing world order, and militarization of the region that could easily be attributed more to Moscow. However, the main difference is that Russia’s current military doctrine makes clear whom the Kremlin considers an ally and who is an enemy, while the Kazakhstani document is rather blurry on those counts.

Full text is available  here.

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