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Astana Economic Forum. Interview with Timur Suleymenov: Cooperation with the EU is a big priority for the Eurasian Union



Interview taken by Razvan Buzatu, from, with Mr. Timur Suleymenov – Member of the Board of Directors on behalf of Kazakhstan of the Eurasian Economic Commission, with the rank of Minister for Economy and Financial Policies.

The Eurasian Economic Commission is a permanent regulatory body with a supranational governing structure of the Belarus-Kazakhstan-Russia Customs Union. It also regulates the activity of the Singlr Economic Space of the Eurasian Economic Community. In 2015, the three countries would establish the Eurasian Economic Union or, simply, the Eurasian Union. Countries that are neighbours are wellcomed, as well as other countires, if they so wish it.  

Timur SuleymenovRazvan Buzatu: Thank you very much for tacking this interview for Calea Europeana. We are based in Romania, we are a website that transmits to the European Union people and citizens messages and information from around the world. I have participated and saw your speech regarding the Eurasian Economic Commission and also the speech in the conference regarding the Eurasian Union, I think it’s an important speech because what happened in the past 10 years is that some of the International Organizations in the Eurasian region have integrated with one another to the point were at this moment you need to convey till 2015 in a Eurasian Economic Union, which resembles basically that what we do at the European Commission, the European Union and European continent. What was the idea behind creating such a union in the Eurasian region?

Timur Suleymenov: Well, you have partly answered your question yourself. You said that we are following your steps, right, the steps of the European Union and basically the values and the goals that drove the European nations together are pretty much the same for us. We share a lot in terms of culture, in terms of heritage, in terms of history, we share the language, because we all speak Russian language and of course the most important factor is economics, the economy. We have interconnected, interlinked economies. We lived more than 70 years within the Soviet Union and prior to that in the Russian Empire and so our economies are interconnected and there is a bigger alliance on supplies from one country to another,  the way the pipes lines are flowing,  the way the roads are built, the way the railways are built, everything is linked, and of course when you have three sets of economic policies, each independent from each other, it’s pretty difficult to coordinate them, it’s pretty difficult to get the benefits that we have without the integration. So, I think it’s the mixture (to come back to your question), the mixture of pure economic needs and the common heritage that we have, which made it easier to move a little faster than you did it in the European Union, because, let’s face it, Belarus and Russia have a lot more in common than, for example, France and Germany, and that relates to Kazakhstan as well. It is easier for us and there are few of us, only 3 at the moment, and that’s why we are moving a little bit faster and, plus, you’ve been a role model for us and we have taken a lot from your success and your mistakes.


RB: Ok, that is very important. How many members do you envisage that the Eurasian Union would have in the future?

TS: Well, we are an open club, if you will, of countries and currently we have 3. Armenia is on the way, we are realizing the road map to the customs union and economic union.  Kyrgyzstan is also on the way; we are all hopping to sign the roadmap for accession on the 30th of May during the Presidential Summit, here in Astana. Of course, the first countries are the immediate neighbors, immediate neighbors from the CIS, the Commonwealth of Independent States, so any country that shares values which wants to be a part of this project is welcomed. It’s hard to tell how many, but I guess it depends on whether or not there is a willingness on their parts.

RB: How do you see the cooperation with the European Union?

TS: Well, it is a big priority for all our countries. The European Union is the biggest trading partner for the Customs Union as a whole, for the Eurasian Economic Union as a whole. Except for Belarus, it is the biggest trading partner for all the countries individually, so the relationship is very high on the agenda of every member country, so, I guess, we view it pretty much in the same way as we view with any other country or trade block. It has to be mutually beneficial. We have to abide by the standards of the WTO (World Trade Organization), liberalize our trade even further. We have been in contact, in negotiations with the European free Trade Association, but for some obvious reasons, these have been halted. In any case, crisis come and go, and the economy always stays in place. So, as I said, in several years time, we need to start at least thinking of liberalizing our trade even further. What it will take to do that, I do not know. But, you have your hands full with the Transatlantic and we have our hands full with finalizing our internal arrangements. So, once that settles, there will be willingness and place for dialogue.

RB: You’ve mentioned the Trans-Atlantic relation that the European Union has with the United States of America. What do you think that this Trans-Atlantic strategic partnership can bring to the Eurasian region? How can it be benefit?

TS: I think maybe it’s too early to say about the effects of the Trans-Atlantic agreement on the Eurasian region. But definitely we are not viewing the current negotiations between America and Europe as any kind of a threat to us. I mean, we welcome it. It is a very good thing. I don’t think that many people from America or Europe know what will be the final text, the final agreement.

RB: What do you think it will happen with the other international organizations in the Eurasian region when in 2015 the Eurasian Union will become functional? And by the other organizations I mean: the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Russia-Belarus Customs Union, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian Economic Community. What do you think will happen with them?

TS: Well, the Customs Union between Russia and Belarus is fully integrated in the Customs Union for the troika. And the Eurasian Economic Community has been partially integrated in the Customs Union with some of our functions and it will be dissolved, because there is no longer need for it. Because we have clear functions and we took it one step further. So, with respect to the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), it will remain in place, because it is a perfect dialogue between 9 countries, and we have to have that, we have the free trade agreement within the CIS. With respect to the security arrangements, of course, they will be in place. They are not being affected by the economic union in any way.

RB: How do you decide? What is mechanism of decision making and decision taking in the future Eurasian Union?

TS: We have a two tier system. We have the Council, which is like in the European Union, is at Deputy Prime-Minister level. So, in the Council we have 3 deputy prime ministers who represent the countries and, then, we have the Board, a member of which I am. There are 9 of us, 3 from each country and each member has one vote; the same for the Council.

RB: And the vote is by unanimity?

TS: In the Council it has to be unanimous, and in the Board it is qualified majority, 6 out of 9. And we have a special document which defines what decisions are to be taken by the Council and what decisions are to be taken by the Commission (the Board). So, the more sensitive stuff which can affect the countries harder is to be taken first at the Board level and then to the Council, with consensus. But, the Board has some direct responsibilities. So, the decisions they take are to be realized, not implemented, in the countries directly, without ratification.

RB: What are the economic fields that you envisage the cooperation between the member states and the future member states?

TS: Well, transport is very important, because we have vast landmass. We are right in between China, India and Europe, so, transport, of course, is a high priority to us. Energy is also very high priority to us. In terms of agriculture: it is one of the sectors that can be competitive on the global stage. I think that if we unite our efforts it can bear some dividends for us.

RB: One final question. What message does the Astana Economic Forum wants to transmit to the world, because, for three days, Astana is the centre of the world. What message do you think you want to send to the world?

TS: I think there is a very good saying by our President. He has always insisted that economy comes first and that politics comes second. So, in many ways, they are interdependent, politics and economics, but, in many ways, the bad politics is influenced by bad economics. So, if we join our efforts in improving the investment plan, business plan and the lives of our citizens, then, there will be no room for bad policy making in terms of politics. So, economy first, politics second. That’s the message.

RB: Mister Minister, thank you very much for your time.






Svyatoslav Anatolyevich Timashev. Collective Nobel Peace Prize 2007 – Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation



Svyatoslav A. Timashev is a member of the Interstate Council on the issue of “heavy reliability pipelines”, a member of the Scientific Council and the Dissertation Council, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the editorial boards of domestic and foreign journals and a founding member of the International Association for design reliability and safety.

sSvyatoslav A. Timashev, a Russian citizen, was awarded a collective Nobel Peace Prize for developing methods of CO2 sequestration from the earth’s atmosphere and its disposal, together with a group of scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who together formed the International Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Department of Environmental Protection in 2007.

For his achievements, Svyatoslav Anatolyevich was awarded the VSNTO (All-Soviet Union Council of Technical Society) (1969), the medal “For Valorous Labour” (1970), the Expert Public Education Badge (1984), a COMADEM Magazine prize for the best publication in 2000, and was dubbed Knight of Justice – Commander of the Sovereign Order of the Orthodox Hospitaller Knights of St. John of Jerusalem.

S.A. Timashev shaped a new direction in the theory of reliability of large mechanical systems, solved the problem of optimization of the critical systems operation in multi-level governance class. He is the holder of nine copyright patents and author of more than 250 publications, including 19 monographs.

Svyatoslav Anatolyevich created software systems for the optimal management of the operation of oil and gas pipelines, three generations of industrial electronic systems of vibration protection, vibration diagnostics, tribodiagnostics and monitoring of energy machinery and equipment and is the founder of a new section in the theory of reliability monitoring.

He developed the scientific bases of the theory and a fundamentally new method for optimizing the operation of a complex object by the criteria of reliability and safety, as problems of multilevel governance of stochastic processes of degradation and recovery. These systems are used successfully in the Russian oil and gas industry, aviation, heavy engineering, metallurgy and other industries, as well as in university educational laboratories.

All these works have received wide domestic and international recognition, as evidenced by the election of S.A. Timashev as a member of the RF Academy of Quality Problems, a member of the Washington Academy of Sciences (USA) and the Fulbright Academy of Science and Technology (USA).

On July 26 the laureate S.A. Timashev celebrates his 79th birthday and the 58th anniversary of the start of science teaching career. He was born in Harbin, northeastern China, one of the main transit points for trade with Russia. He graduated with distinction from the Ural Federal University (formerly the Ural Polytechnic Institute).

From 1987 to the present time Professor Timashev has been the head of the Reliability Laboratory of the Engineering Complex Problem Division at IMET UNC AN SSSR.  He is also Director and Academic Advisor at the Science and Engineering Center “Reliability and service life of large systems of machines” at UNC AN SSSR.







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VIDEO Astana Economic Forum. Interview with Eric Maskin: Kazakhstan can be a force for modernization in the Eurasian region



Interview taken by Razvan Buzatu, from, with Professor Eric Maskin, PhD, Nobel Laureate for Economics, Adams University Professor at Harvard University.

He is renown at international level for laying the foundation of mechanism design theory. During his career, he contributed to game theory, contract theory, social choice theory, political economy as well as other areas of economics.  

maskin caleaeuropeana


Razvan Buzatu: Professor Maskin, thank you very much for accepting this discussion for Calea Europeana. First of all: why Astana?

Eric Maskin: Well Astana is now holding one of the big economic forums in the world so it’s a natural place for people who are interested in issues of our time to meet. So, I’m glad to be one of the many participants.

RB: Well, Astana these three or four days is becoming the center of the world, right, and speaking about economics and how the world works at this moment, how do you see Kazakhstan involved in the global economy?

EM: Kazakhstan has an interesting position economically and geographically. It’s close enough to Europe so that it has close ties there, but it’s also close to the Far East and given its pivotal location we can expect great things from Kazakhstan in the future.

RB: Do you think that it can play a regional role in the Eurasian region?

EM: I hope it does. Kazakhstan seems to be forward looking, progressive country and I think it can be a force for modernization in the Eurasian region.

RB: Professor Maskin you’ve designed a well known design mechanism theory, and I was wondering if you can share with us a little bit of your thoughts on how can design mechanism theory, involving also Kazakhstan, can have positive implications on the European Union economy and Eurasian economy.

EM: Well, mechanism design theory is all about how do you create the institutions for aligning incentives. Of course, each country has its own goals which are not necessarily exactly in alignment with other countries’ goals and it is the function of international institutions to reconcile possible conflicts, this could be done through international organizations, through treaties, through political unification, but mechanism design teaches us that is not enough to, say, write a treaty, say, to promote trade, but the treaty has to be written with care to make sure that all the countries who are going to be signing this treaty actually benefit from it and that may involve a series of concessions on both sides, concessions about giving something up but the benefits from conceding is that now you have an international institution which enables you to take more from other countries.

RB: Very interesting, I was talking a little bit earlier with the Deputy Director General of the World Trade Organization, and he said that the new Bali Package that they established in December last year was a negotiation and was a break through, it was basically a new step forward for the WTO in terms of negotiating between India and China and also Cuba and USA, and also USA and India, so they reached to some sort of an agreement, some sort of compromise so that they can benefit economically; in this sense it resembles a lot with the design mechanism theory.

EM: It does in deed and in fact I think that the principles from the theory have now permeated people’s conciseness enough so that when these treaties are hammered out mechanism design theory plays a role.

RB: I will go now to the other side of the world: I believe you know very well what happened in Ukraine at the end of last year and the begging of this year. How do you see mechanism design theory, using mechanism design theory, in establishing a balance in the actors that are involved and are interested in what the path of Ukraine will be in the future.

EM: That’s a very difficult question, if I knew how to solve the problem of Ukraine I would be able to perform miracles so I don’t have any magic bullets for solving the Ukraine problem. All I can say is that we know from theory that the answer to conflicts is not typically the way of isolation and I would be worried if as a result of the tension in the Ukraine, if Russia for example became more isolated from the rest of the world and from Europe in particular to the extent that the countries continue to communicate with one another, continue to trade with one another, continue to cooperate with one another, that’s the way that the international tensions are resolved. Breaking of communication, breaking of trade I’m afraid that’s the risk of heightening tensions even further so I very much hope that the isolation doesn’t occur.

RB: Thank you very much. The theory is that the trade, at the trade level, in the Ukraine nothing has stopped but at the political level there are tensions. How do you see these things going hand in hand because some of them said “listen, it’s a real crisis” and at the trade level they say “we know it’s a crisis but we are still functioning”.

maskin2EM: “still functioning” for the time being. I think that unless they improve politically there is bound to be an economic cost in a longer term. Eventually, there can be lags either way. Economics lead politics or the other way around but not indefinitely, ultimately the two go together.

RB: Can we use the game theory and the Nash equilibrium with your theory, integrated? Is that possible?

EM: Well in fact, my theory, mechanism design, is part of game theory and uses game theoretic tools like Nash equilibrium as part of its analysis.

RB: And do you think they should be used integrated?

EM: Absolutely!

RB: How do you think we can do that?

EM: How can we apply them to…

RB: a certain event around the world, any kind of event?

RB: Use the 3 theories integrated to find a possible solution, not the solution, to an event in the world.

EM: Well, the first thing is to try to make precise what the goals of each of the parties are, but to recognize that there will always be some uncertainty about that. In games theoretic term these are games of incomplete information “I may know my goals, but I will never know your goals completely so I have to recognize that I’m operating in a situation of uncertainty. But game theory has developed tools to study interactions under uncertainty. On top of that, one way of resolving uncertainty is through a mechanism which is just an institution for international interaction. So that I think is the integration that you are calling for. Looking at the initial situation which involves a conflict of interests which is not completely understood because of the incomplete information, but layering on top of that an international mechanism, a treaty, for example or a trade agreement which brings the various parties closer together in agreement in their interests.

RB: One last question if I may? Do you see the European Union as a global actor? Like becoming the United States of Europe?

EM: I hope it will move in that direction. The European Union has successfully integrated some of its economic policy, namely the monetary side, if it can work on its other side of economic policy, namely the fiscal policy, and integrate that, I think it has a chance of having a comparable force with the USA on the global scene, but without that kind of fiscal integration I’m afraid that it will never quite have its act together.

RB: Well professor Maskin, thank you very much for taking the time to talk to us. I’m Razvan Buzatu, for Calea Europeana, from Astana.






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“Journalism education: from theory to practice” – I International Summit of Journalism “G-Global: World of the XXI century”



In the course of the VII Astana Economic Forum and the II World Anti-Crisis Conference “Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists” Association and “Success K” media agencyorganized a panel session on “Journalism education: from theory to practice” as part of the I International Summit of Journalism “G-Global: World of the XXI century”.

rp_Astana_symbol_-300x224.jpgThe session discussed the issues of how to organize cooperation between journalists and experts in other fields such as IT, statistics, graphic and interactive design in education, and how to transfer this experience in journalism.

The event was attended by Co-Director of National Security Journalism Initiative & Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, Timothy McNulty; Director General of the Channel 7, Aziza Shuzeeva; Professor, Head of the Media Communication and history of Kazakhstan Department,Aygul Niyazgulova; Managing editor of Caspian Publishing House, Charles Van Der Liu; Director of the media school at “Kazmedia center”, Dana Rysmuhamedova; Editor-in-chief, “Finanz und Wirtschaft”, Martin Gollmer; Director of Radio “Astana”,Gulmira Karakozov. The session was moderated by the Chairman of the Board RTRC “Kazakhstan” Nurjan Mukhamedzhanova.

Most people think that it is not necessary to get a special education to become a journalist. As in case that no one will be able to do the surgery except a surgeon, no one can know better the professional tricks of historian, economist, lawyer and journalist, – shared an opinion Gulmira Karakozov, Director of Radio “Astana”, in the course of the session. Therefore, I strongly against this majority opinion. In 2005, Kazakhstan had 19 high school faculties, branches and departments that prepared professionals in journalism, and half of them belonged to the philological and historical faculties. I would like to say, the capability of journalists who were trained by linguists or historians, and taught in accordance with tutorials on journalism will not be high. This is a stumbling block in the preparation of professional journalists. Students must be  taught by a person who has experience practicing in the field of journalism, – she stressed.

Recall, a purpose of the I International Summit of Journalism “G-Global: World of the XXI century” was creation of an information platform for interaction of economics, global journalism and latest technologies.

First, in Astana well-known media persons, bright bloggers, leaders and representatives of the world’s largest media holdings, website developers, website editors, newspapers and magazines  editors, scientists, who demonstrate their achievements in the media, media tools and technologies, tried and tested skills in building information business and economic knowledge in the field of journalism brought together.




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