MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. Kazakhstan’s friendly policy towards Russia will not change, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev told Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia who presented a high church award to the guest in Moscow.
"Throughout all the years of our independence we have adhered to the following stance: Russia is our great neighbor, ally and trusted partner in all affairs. We have established the Eurasian Economic Union," Nazabayev said. "If we preserve these relations — and we must do that — our friendship, (friendship) between Russia and Kazakhstan, between Russians and Kazakhs is eternal." He noted that "this benefits both the Russian and Kazakh peoples." "And we will always be true to this policy."
He recalled that Kazakhstan’s main religion was Islam and about 20% of the population were Orthodox Christians. "These two pillars of spirituality are the basis of harmony and tolerance in our society," Nazarbayev said. "Throughout the years of our independence we have always supported the equality of relations and respect for all religions." He noted that "we should be proud of" such relations between Orthodox Christians and Muslims as "an island of understanding and stability", especially amid "raging religious and ethnic confrontation" in the world.
Nazarbayev was awarded the Order of St.Sergius of Radonezh in the first degree (of the Russian Orthodox Church) for his contribution to "the development of relations between Kazakhstan and the Russian Orthodox Church and in connection with his 75th birthday.