Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the NATO-Russia talks


The first topic of our conversation with political science professor Gerhard Mangott is the uprising in Kazakhstan. Prof. Mangott explains that a power struggle between retired president Nasarbajew and his successor Toqajew is the most suitable explanation for whats going on in Kazakhstan.

Toqajew´s most important ally in the Collective Security Treaty Organization is Russian President Putin. In general Russia is very much interested that it´s neighbouring countries are politically stable. This is one of the main reasons why Russia quickly deployed 2500 troops to Kazakhstan, mainly to safeguard important governmental buildings. After two weeks these troops were already withdrawn, because the political situation has stabilized.

The second major topic of this interview with Prof. Mangott is the worsening crisis between Russia and Ukraine. Prof. Mangott explains why the ongoing Russia-NATO talks haven’t been very successful so far: Russia is demanding very specific security guarantees, which NATO is unwilling to give, mainly a guarantee that Ukraine will never join NATO. Asked by Alexander Stipsits how likely a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine is going to be Prof. Mangott explains why the chances for a hot war between Russia and Ukraine have increased from 50% to 75% in the past weeks.

Christian Janisch asks Prof. Mangott why Putin seems to be escalating this situation and what Putin thinks he may gain from a military conflict.

It is hard to guess, what the long term play of Putin is – even for an expert on Russian affairs like Prof. Mangott.

Putin most definitely knows that he cannot win a war against NATO in Europe and his own people are not supporting a military conflict. Prof. Mangott makes it clear that in his opinion escalating this conflict would be a significant mistake by Russia and he explains why in the end only Putin and his inner circle know what their actual plan is.

The European Union – although directly affected by any form of conflict in Ukraine – was not part of the NATO-Russia talks. The main reason for their exclusion is that it´s member countries do not speak with one voice on foreign affairs, so Russia and also the USA consider the EU a political dwarf.

So if Russia launches an attack on Ukraine the EU will most probably only react economically by implementing drastic economic sanctions, one possibility could be abandoning the newly built gas pipeline project North Stream 2.

Asked about the relationship between China and Russia and the possible role of China in a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine Prof. Mangott explains that China will not get involved militarily on Russia´s behalf, but that NATO and the European Union need to understand that their current Russia policies will only strengthen the already existing partnership between Russia and China.




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Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the NATO-Russia talks Wolfgang Müller CC BY SA 4.0