And the Tengiz oil extracting business became the main «torchlight» that pointed the way to the oil future of Kazakhstan.
«Our joint venture with Chevron is already producing 2 million tons of oil. The deposits equal those in Alaska», said Nazarbayev to Clinton
Then, the President of Kazakhstan asked his US colleague for urgent help. Unfortunately, the content of the request remains unknown — the phrase was painted over by the Library censors who thought it to be a state secret. Although, considering that it was Nazarbayev's phrase that was painted over, it was done on Kazakhstan's request.
Anyway, the vigilance of the American censors was strictly «to check the box». According to the remaining parts of the phrases and Clinton's answers (untouched by the censors), it is not difficult to see that Nursultan Nazarbayev was complaining about Russia's position re the oil transit from Tengiz.
Most likely, he was talking about the construction of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium Tengiz-Astrakhan-Novorossiysk export pipeline system. To build it, Kazakhstan and Oman signed an agreement in 1992. Russia joint the project immediately after, but then the process slowed down.
«We will have 200 million tons of oil in the near future. We need only 18 million for domestic needs», complained Nazarbayev (this part of his phrase was preserved). Thus, the fate of the remaining 180 mln of the Tengiz oil was put into question.
The dialogue that followed allows us to reconstruct not only the essence of Nazarbayev's complaint but the explanation of the Russian position.
Clinton: «Why is Russia doing this?»
Nazarbayev: «Political pressure».
Clinton: «Why wouldn't it be good for them? They could charge you for use of the pipeline».
Nazarbayev's answer to this short remark was long and is painted over by the censors. It is hard to say — whether the money was not the reason, or it was the very scheme of the distribution of this money down the chain of the interested parties. We assume the former judging by the rest of the dialogue.
Clinton: «Do you think he doesn't want to talk or is it that others don't want him to talk to you?»
Nazarbayev: «He's too busy».
Then comes Clinton's extended comment and question.
«I have a question about Russia's behavior on the pipeline and the space launch facility. Do they sometimes do this because it is in their interests, or do they just do it to prove their influence? Maybe we need to try to fill Russia's need to feel important constructively. There are many other touchy issues. This touches on the whole question of Russia's actions in the region outside its borders including Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh. Every time I meet with him (Yeltsin), the issue comes up in ten different ways. How can we influence Russia? It would complicate our lives a lot if a man like Zhirinovsky took over».
Nazarbayev's answer was extremely short. However, it is impossible to restore it since Clinton's reaction that was just as laconic was painted over as well. However, the censors preserved an entire passage by Nazarbayev in which the President gives a comprehensive account of the Kazakhstan-Russia relationships. It is all the more interesting to study this assessment made while conversing with a third party.
Nazarbayev: «In reference to what you mentioned about Russia, Kazakhstan must find a way to coexist with Russia. In 1961 (possibly a mistake and he was talking about 1861 — kz.expert), the Russian army completed the colonization of Kazakhstan. Since then our people have lived together. There are many mixed marriages, and Russians have lived in the same communities with Kazakhs. All the sons were taught by the parents to go to Russian schools otherwise, they would have no future. Throughout history, most of the danger was thought to come from China. No one has a problem if Russia decides to play a peacekeeping role similar to the U.S. For example, the British empire led to peace and stability in Asia, and Asia flourished».