What’s going on in the former Soviet Russia republic of Kazakhstan?
For the sixth day since January 2, anti-government violence continues in a nation sharing a 4,750 mile-long northern border with Russia, as well an 1,100 mile southeastern border with China.
What allegedly erupted over high fuel prices continues even after Kazakh President, Kassym-Jomart Tokaev promised to lower prices.
According to the country’s Mir-24 TV, gun battles were ongoing in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city on Thursday.
Continuing overnight, reportedly they’re ongoing early Friday.
Explosions were reported in central Almaty. The city’s airport is temporarily closed.
Are US dirty hands involved?
Is what appeared to be spontaneous public anger over a legitimate grievance something else entirely?
Is what’s going on the latest US color revolution attempt against a nation free from its control?
Were elements involved in violence supplied with guns, explosives and perhaps other weapons externally?
A nationwide state of emergency remains in force.
International Affairs Committee chairman of Russia’s lower house State Duma Leonid Slutsky said the following:
“Peaceful protest has its own limits and cannot be accompanied by vandalism, arson, looting, intimidation of the population and armed rebellion against the legitimate authorities.”
“And to make matters worse — blocking hospitals and beheading law enforcement officers.”
“We have already witnessed this, including in Syria and Iraq, this is a clear pattern of external terrorist intervention.”
A peacekeeping force from neighboring states is “the only possible and right way to normalize the situation in Kazakhstan as well as to ensure the general stability in the region.”
“We cannot accept rampant terrorism and armed aggression on the streets of a fraternal country where many of our compatriots still have their relatives, parents, brothers and sister.”
On Thursday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the following:
Peacekeepers from Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) countries are heading to Kazakhstan in response to Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev’s request for help.
They’re from CSTO member states Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
Coming for a limited time to “stabiliz(e) and normaliz(e) the situation in the country,” their deployment complies with “Article 4 of the Collective Security Treaty of May 15, 1992.”
It stipulates that “in case of aggression…against any (CSTO) member state, other member states shall immediately provide necessary support and aid, including military assistance, at the request of said member state.”
Moscow “support(s) adoption of urgent measures amidst the rapidly deteriorating internal political situation and surge of violence in Kazakhstan.”
“We view the recent developments in this friendly country as externally provoked attempts at disrupting the security and integrity of the state through violent means, including by trained and organized armed groups.”
“(I)f necessary, further effective measures” will follow to assist Kazakhstan’s “counter-terrorism operation, (including) securing (of) all critical infrastructure facilities and their operations.”
According to Kazakhstan’s Interior Ministry, over 3,000 people were detained for involvement in violence against the state.
Over 1,000 casualties were reported, including 26 armed gunmen killed.
President Tokayev’s press service said that “counterterror(ism) operation(s)” began.
“(S)ecurity forces are working hard.”
“The constitutional order has been mostly restored in (most parts) of the country. Regional authorities are controlling the situation.”
On Friday, Tokayev will address the nation on national television.
On Friday, Kazakhstan’s state broadcaster Khabar 24 reported that Russian peacekeepers and internal security forces control Almaty’s airport, city administrative facilities and regional police headquarters.
On Friday, rioters barricaded themselves inside Mir TV’s building, according to Khabar-24 television.
On Thursday, Russia’s upper house Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matvienko said days of violence in Kazakhstan “threat(ens) (the country and regional) security.”
CSTO Secretary-General Stanislav Zas said peacekeepers began arriving on Thursday.
Deployment will be completed on Friday.
They include “airborne troops, special operations forces and special forces.”
Their mission involves protection of “the most important government, strategic facilities.”
It’s “providing assistance in maintaining public order so that people can feel safe.”
If needed, force will be used against armed gangs involved in stoking violence, said Zas.
At this time, “Kazakh security forces are managing (things). It is hard for them, of course, so they need some help.”
On Friday, Tokayev estimated that around 20,000 armed rioters attacked Almaty alone.
He ordered Kazakh military and law enforcement personnel to open fire on them as necessary, adding:
They were trained and directed by one center.
If refuse to surrender, they’ll be eliminated, he said.
While unclear at this time, what’s going on may have US dirty hands all over events playing out.
It comes ahead of Russian and Biden regime delegations scheduled to meet in Geneva on Monday to discuss security guarantees sought by Moscow.
No matter what’s officially reported about discussions ahead, there’s virtually no chance of a positive outcome.