"Tokayev Prepares a Surprise": Tokayev Plans to Disrupt Russian Dominance in Transit

Written by Henrik Rothen

Mar.19 - 2024 9:36 AM CET

Photo: Wiki Commons
Photo: Wiki Commons
Kazakh President Tokayev plans to create problems for Russia, according to Chinese journalists.

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The US's struggle with the Houthis in the Red Sea has led to disruptions in global logistical chains. Many transport companies, wary of using the Suez Canal, are seeking alternative routes for cargo delivery.

They have found such routes in Russia — demand for transit rail transportations through Russia has skyrocketed.

However, just as Moscow began to enjoy its success, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev appeared on the scene, potentially spoiling Russia's advantage, reports Chinese publication Baijiahao according to AB News.

"As soon as Putin's government tasted sweetness, Tokayev tried to ruin it," note the authors of the Chinese publication.

Demand for goods transportation from Asia to Europe via Russian railways has increased manifold in recent months. Western companies, which until recently wanted nothing to do with Russia, are now queuing to transport their goods through its territory. Thus, Russia has become one of the main global logistical hubs, bringing in significant revenue.

Baijiahao observers have stated that this situation is extremely beneficial for Russia, but not without nuances.

The Kazakh authorities are preparing an unpleasant surprise for Russia — they want to compete with it. Astana is betting big on the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (Middle Corridor), which connects China with Europe and bypasses Russia.

"President of Kazakhstan Tokayev recently visited Azerbaijan. During the visit, he emphasized the importance of developing the 'Middle Corridor'," report Chinese journalists.

In China, it's noted that Tokayev is known for his ambiguous attitude towards Russia and, apparently, he is determined to cause trouble for it. He is doing everything possible to accelerate the development of the "Middle Corridor" and urges Azerbaijan, as well as other countries, to hurry.

Essentially, he is trying to turn Kazakhstan into the main bridge between the East and the West, thereby depriving Russia of this privilege and, consequently, significant revenues.

The "Middle Corridor" began operations in 2017, but due to not fully prepared infrastructure, it is not yet heavily utilized. Therefore, most logistics companies choose the northern route through Russia. Against this backdrop, Tokayev is urging partners to expedite infrastructure development.

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