The operating checkpoints on the border of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan cannot cope with the influx of people wishing to cross the state border between member countries of the EAEU. This procedure takes at least three hours. At the border crossing “Karasu – Ak-Tilek” the queue is visible half a kilometer before it.
Until June, both cars and buses, as well as multi-ton trucks were allowed to pass through this border crossing. Now it’s just trucks. But so far it has not been possible to eliminate the queues. What is their reason – in the DW report.
“Almost everyone goes to Issyk-Kul”
An official at the Kordai checkpoint on the Kazakh side of the border, who declined to give his name, told DW that the main reason for the huge queues was the start of the holiday season.
“We have had this situation since June, when the requirements for PCR tests were canceled. Very many Kazakhs and especially Russians went on their cars to rest in Issyk-Kul. There are a lot of large buses from Almaty with vacationers, they usually drive up in columns of 5-6 cars. And we are only 30 people working. Somewhere there are the same number of people from the Kyrgyz side,” the captain of the border service of Kazakhstan shared.
Political scientist from Bishkek Igor Shestakov explained the appearance of queues at the border with a large influx of not so much Kazakhs as Russians: “There are noticeably more cars with Russian numbers in Kyrgyzstan. Almost everyone goes to Issyk-Kul.”
Friends with reservations
At the same time, the political scientist noted that a significant role in the difficulties that arise every year when crossing the border between two countriesmembers of the EAEU is mutual distrust between Nur-Sultan and Bishkek.
“Officially, we are friendly allied countries, but when crossing the border it is not particularly visible. There is always a border control with a mandatory question about the purpose of the visit, as well as a thorough customs check. Cargo carriers, who sometimes stand for several days before crossing the border, have especially many problems. Something similar can be observed on the border with Uzbekistan, which is not a member of the Customs Union and the EAEU,” Shestakov added.
People standing in line at the border pay attention to another important reason that contributes to the collapse at checkpoints. “As the tourist season begins, every year there are such queues. Only five cars pass every 15 minutes, on one side the border guards and customs officers check, then on the other – you will lose at least an hour. But this year, after they began to let in without PCR, Another problem has arisen: Almost 80% of those who are standing in line brought from Kazakhstan gasoline,” Roman Nikolaychuk, a small truck driver from Bishkek, told DW.
And a resident of the village of Nizhny Noorus, who introduced himself as Manas, described the reasons for his daily trips to Kazakhstan: “If we transfer our money, then in Kazakhstan the 92nd gasoline costs only 30 soms, which is half the price. Diesel fuel is almost 40 soms in Kazakhstan, we have – 65 each. We are now allowed to carry a full tank and an additional 20 liters in a canister.
According to Manas, since mid-June he has been trying to visit Kazakhstan twice every day, which, in his words, is not prohibited by law. “Maybe it’s wrong, but I decided to take the chance improve the financial situation of your family. I bring the 92nd gasoline, and my sons sell it on the highway for 50 soms. This is a good addition to my salary of 25 thousand soms (305 euros in terms of. – Red.)”, Manas added.
The problem of mass export of fuel to Kyrgyzstan by private vehicles was noticed in Kazakhstan in early June, after several raids on the border by representatives of local media. Then the head of the “Kordai” checkpoint, Lieutenant Colonel Yerlan Nysanov, proposed three points to combat the so-called “gesemschiki” – gasoline carriers who earn on the difference in prices for fuel and lubricants in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
It was about imposing restrictions on crossing the border up to once a day during the tourist season; dividing the queue into tourists and motorists carrying fuel from Kazakhstan; and the introduction of a fuel supply limit in border settlements – no more than 100 liters per car. Judging by the huge queues at the border, Lieutenant Colonel Nysanov’s proposals have not yet been accepted by the authorities.
Gasoline in Kazakhstan fell in price
Meanwhile, according to the Border Service, in June 2022 alone, over 570,000 liters of various fuels were transported from Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan in cars. Judging by what they say in the queues at the border, this irritates the citizens of Kazakhstan, who, in general, positively perceived the decision of the government of the country, which extended the ban on fuel exports from July 12 to January 12, 2023.
Since the probability of such a step the authorities began to speak back in June – simultaneously with the announcement of the preservation of state regulation of prices for liquefied gas – popular brands of gasoline have even fallen in price recently. A liter of AI-92 at most filling stations costs 179 tenge instead of 182, and the price for AI-95 in some cases has decreased from 215 to 207 tenge. That, however, the experts are also explained by the strengthening of the Kazakh currency against the dollar and the euro.