Yerlan Iskhakov: ‘Republic Day is a majestic symbol that embodied dreams of independence’
“Our people have overcome any challenges at all times”
On 26 October, Consul General of Kazakhstan in Kazan Yerlan Iskhakov held a reception on the occasion of Republic Day of his state. In the Central Asian country itself, the holiday was celebrated the day before, it is timed to the memorable date — the adoption of the declaration of sovereignty of the Kazakh SSR on October 25, 1990.
The ceremony in Kazan opened with the performance of three anthems: Kazakh, Russian, and Tatarstani. Among the guests, there were officials and business representatives of Tatarstan, consuls general of other countries in Kazan.
Welcoming the assembled guests, Yerlan Iskhakov noted that the declaration of state sovereignty marked the historical choice of Kazakhstan, laying a solid foundation for the progressive progress of the country. According to him, the fateful document consolidated the indivisibility and inviolability of the republic, commitment to strengthening national identity, guarantees of citizens' rights and freedoms:
“These fundamental principles are embodied today in the Constitution, laws and strategic course of Kazakhstan. Republic Day is a majestic symbol that has embodied the centuries-old dreams of our people about independence. This holiday reminds us that thanks to unity and solidarity, our people have overcome any challenges and trials at all times. Following the precepts of our ancestors, we preserve and strengthen national unity, honour and protect our sovereignty.”
In his speech, the Consul General also noted the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Kazakhstan: “Since the first days of independence, Kazakhstan has carried out long-term and full-scale cooperation with the Russian Federation. The mood for its further development was confirmed in the inaugural speech of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, and he made his first visit to Moscow. This testifies to the strategic nature of the Russian direction in Kazakhstan's foreign policy.”
Yerlan Iskhakov pointed out that partnership relations in the international arena are an important component of Kazakh-Russian relations. Fruitful cooperation between the countries takes place within the framework of the UN, the CSTO, the SCO and other international organisations, both sides provide mutual support.
“The success of the construction of a new Kazakhstan largely depends on the further strengthening of cooperation with its neighbours — primarily with Russia. Kazakhstan expects to strengthen the presence of Russian capital. Particular attention is paid to the development of joint transport infrastructure, the removal of restrictions that hinder trade and investment exchanges. This is especially true today when international trade is in crisis. Just three weeks ago, Russia announced the start of gas supplies to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. This is a mutually beneficial project that is designed to strengthen the energy security of the region," he stressed.
According to the Consul General, against the background of modern challenges, it is also necessary to accelerate the modernisation of logistics chains, as an example, he cited the North-South route, the trans-Caspian international transport route, the Western China-Western Europe highway.
“Kazakhstan, like a big, beautiful and strong bird, is confidently moving towards its goal”
The trade turnover between Russia and Kazakhstan reached $26 billion last year, while cooperation with the Volga Federal District accounts for about 15% of the total volume of foreign trade relations between the two countries.
“For example, last year the trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Tatarstan amounted to 758 million US dollars. In the first half of this year, mutual trade showed an increase of 40% and has already amounted to $437 million. As you know, investment projects on industrial cooperation are being actively implemented. Thus, projects worth over 1,5 billion US dollars with the companies KAMAZ and Tatneft are planned with Tatarstan," the Consul General of Kazakhstan in Kazan said.
The diplomat added that other regions of the Volga region have also increased their trade turnover with the Central Asian Republic, and also recalled bilateral visits to the district: “We are interested not only in large, but also small and medium-sized businesses.” At the end of his speech, Yerlan Iskhakov announced the decision of President Tokayev to present the award of the Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan to Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan Vasil Shaikhraziev. However, he could not get it — he was on a business trip.
The head of the administration of the rais of the republic, Asgat Safarov, made a response speech from Tatarstan, who read out the appeal of Rustam Minnikhanov to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev:
“Please accept the warm congratulations of the people of Tatarstan and my personal ones on the occasion of Day of the Republic of Kazakhstan! We sincerely wish you, all citizens of the Kazakh state, good health and happiness, inexhaustible energy, creativity and optimism to achieve all your goals for the glory of your country! The past decades have proved how solid the foundation was laid in the foundation of the sovereign statehood of Kazakhstan, which in these difficult times confidently and systematically moves along the path of comprehensive economic and social development!”
Congratulating on his own behalf, Asgat Safarov cited as an example the Tatar proverb that birds are strong with wings, and people are strong with friendship: “We are very glad that Kazakh friends celebrate their state holiday with us. Kazakhstan, like a big, beautiful and strong bird, is confidently moving towards its goal. Tatars and Kazakhs have a very similar culture, a common tradition, a close language, a common religion — this, of course, helps in solving modern problems of socio-economic and cultural development.”
How Republic Day was cancelled and returned in Kazakhstan
The document adopted 33 years ago proclaimed the sovereignty of the country and declared the political and legal foundations of Kazakhstan as an independent state. Despite that the declaration was adopted on December 25, 1990, this day became a holiday only 5 years later, when the president of the country signed a corresponding decree. According to him, the date was declared a national holiday — Day of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
However, in 2009, it was excluded from the calendar of official holidays, and returned only last year. Speaking at the national Kurultai, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev proposed to celebrate this date again. In mid-September 2022, the Kazakh parliament adopted amendments to the law “On Holidays in the Republic of Kazakhstan”. So after 13 years, Kazakhstanis started celebrating this date again, and this is the only national holiday in the republic.
“The return of this holiday was a logical continuation of the political reforms carried out since 2019 and reached a qualitatively new level in 2022. These reforms step by step contribute to the transformation of Kazakhstan's closed political system into an open one. This also concerns the level of interaction between society and the authorities," State Counsellor of Kazakhstan Erlan Karin commented on this event on his social media account.
October 25 again became a holiday in Kazakhstan. On the occasion of the celebration, various official and cultural events were held in the republic, and the day ended with a festive salute.
On the eve of the congratulatory telegram to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted the high level of Russian-Kazakh relations. “I am confident that further strengthening of strategic partnership and alliance, building up constructive cooperation within the CIS, EurAsEC, CSTO, and SCO meets the fundamental interests of our peoples, goes in line with ensuring security and stability on the Eurasian continent," the head of the Russian state said.