President of Kazakhstan refuses to accept Russian order of merit

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, who is currently attending the 25th St Petersburg International Economic Forum, has refused to accept the Order of Alexander Nevsky, reports Radio Svoboda.

The Order of Alexander Nevsky was most likely supposed to be awarded to Tokayev on Friday. But he would not accept it. This could be taken as an affront towards Putin, but in a statement issued by the Kazakh leader’s press office, President Tokayev has decided to refuse to accept any such honours while in office. He has already refused to accept an order from the government of Kyrgyzstan for the same reasons.

The Order of Alexander Nevsky is awarded to Russian citizens who have served in civil service positions for at least 20 years and have made a meritorious contribution to Russia. It can also be awarded to prominent politicians, public figures, or businesspeople from abroad.

Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov now says that there were never plans to give Tokayev the Order.

In spite of the Russian help in quelling unrest in his country earlier this year, Tokayev had stated that his administration has no intention to recognise the pro-Russian separatist republic in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas.