The threat of US sanctions blocked the flow of goods flowing to Russia through the republics of the former USSR.
Kazakhstan, the Kremlin’s largest trading partner in the post-Soviet space, has closed its borders for parallel imports to Russia, Vladimir Matyagin, head of the Gruzavtotrans association, told Izvestia.
“The country creates difficulties at the border for such products, the border was actually closed to suppliers,” Matyagin said.
The decision was made after a delegation of US officials headed by Assistant Undersecretary of the Treasury Elizabeth Rosenberg visited Astana in early May. They held meetings with both government representatives and top managers of private companies, during which they warned of secondary sanctions – that is, measures for violating the sanctions regime.
“The risk is growing both in relation to the Republic of Kazakhstan, and in relation to companies and banks,” Rosenberg said after the visit, adding that the consequences “may arise in connection with the help of the Russian Federation in evading sanctions and export control measures.”
The US signal appears to have been heard in Astana. And now Russian cargo carriers with goods of parallel imports have begun to travel around Kazakhstan, Matyagin said. According to him, now deliveries go through China, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia.
At the end of 2022, Kazakhstan increased the supply of goods to Russia by 25% and became one of the major “hubs” for parallel imports, the total volume of which was estimated by the Russian government at $20 billion.
For example, the export of washing machines to the Russian Federation amounted to almost 100 thousand units per year, although in 2021 it was completely absent. Deliveries of modern semiconductors from Kazakhstan jumped more than 300 times – up to $3.7 million in monetary terms.
In addition to the “stick”, however, Western officials also prepared “carrots” for Kazakhstan, hoping to deprive the Kremlin of the last relatively loyal partners in the former USSR.
According to Politico, the EU has developed a plan to strengthen ties with Astana and is considering, among other things, expanding air links and closer contacts at the level of senior officials.
Source: Moscow Times