The president of Kazakhstan has called the protesters “terrorists”. Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote: “external forces”Focused on“ transformation ”. Some believe that violence in central Asia is a powerful force for good.
Undoubtedly the protests in Kazakhstan, which killed 164 people and left about 8,000 people arrested, began last week in a remote city with only a few hundred demonstrators.
Then came the protests. Within days, a growing number of people from all over the country were demanding political reform. Violence, the seizure of international airports, and the eviction of civilian homes, prompted the Russian government to call on the military to end the violence.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the president of Kazakhstan, approved a petition to Moscow stating that the violence was a “one-off coup” run by “one man. [command] in the middle. “
“The first protesters were the main protesters. . .[but]connected with young people from abroad. . . the poor are not happy about the huge differences in Kazakhstan, ”said Evgeny Zhovtis, a human rights activist in Almaty.
The first demonstration started in the small town of Zhanaozen on the local issue: double the price of fossil fuels, well-selected oil in western Kazakhstan where there is a lot of energy.
More than 1,000 kilometers southwest of Nur-Sultan’s capital, Zhanaozen is a national human rights abuser after police killed 14 oil workers who staged a protest rally in 2011.
The widespread protests soon led to other demands – in particular, the removal of former Nursultan Nazarbayev and his family from their past positions and the seizure of property. Critics chanted “The old man is out!”, Referring to the 81-year-old dictator who ruled Kazakhstan for 30 years until he handed over the presidency to Tokayev in 2019.
Tokayev agreed to the demands of the protesters. He removed his ministers, changed the price of oil, and removed Nazarbayev from office as head of the Security Council.
However what happened in Almaty – the capital of Kazakhstan until Nazarbayev was transferred to another city later. renamed after him – continued the spiral out of control.
With the peace process seen to be restored over the weekend, the government tried to differentiate between the oil protests and the violence that took place.
We heard it all[their demands]. . . but this did not mean anything, “Tokayev said on Monday.
Yet his theory that premeditated violence is inconsistent with most incidents, experts say.
For one thing, the protesters did not have clear leaders or shared their interests – further dissatisfaction with Nazarbayev, criticized Mukhtar Ablyazov, a former prisoner in France.
“In a world of power no one can [protest] leaders because they are destroyed, ”he said. “People were tired of Nazarbayev, things got worse.”
Almaty was also the site of a natural explosion. The country’s largest city is an important destination for migrants, has grown exponentially, and is known as the center of demonstrations, say Alexander Gabuev and Temur Umarov of the Carnegie Moscow Center.
“Obviously, there were a lot of angry guys who had nothing to lose. . . a revolution in violence, ”they wrote in a recent analysis.
Tokayev said the protests were carried out by “religious, terrorist, criminal, terrorist and petty terrorists.”
In fact, local bloggers and TV newscasts indicate that some of the protesters came to the buses in preparation groups. Some say he was paid. Social media also shows people stealing police equipment and removing weapons from vehicles.
“It got out of hand,” Zhovtis said, adding that Islamic radicals, which he said were scarce in the southwest of the country, may have taken action.
But claims by Kazakh officials that these “terrorists” were sent from abroad do not agree with strong evidence. Tokayev also said that the “terrorists” took the bodies of their comrades who had fallen into the mortuary at night. “This is how they make their way,” he said.
The story of Vikram Ruzakhunov illustrates how difficult it is to discern the motives of opposers. A well-known pianist from Kyrgyzstan appeared on Kazakh TV last week with bruises on his face, admitting that he had accepted $ 200 to take part in the violence. But when Kazakhstan released Ruzakhunov on Monday, he told reporters after arriving in his home country that he had accepted the lies and hoped to return him.
Some analysts believe the source of the problem is a dispute between Tokayev and his successor, Nazarbayev, who has not been seen since the protests.
Almaty disputes erupted around the Altyn Orda market, which is said to be overseen by Nazarbayev’s brother, Bolat. Tokayev also fired a major intelligence operation in the country Karim Massimov, a close friend of Nazarbayev.
“It came as no surprise that Tokayev’s first move was to oust Massimov,” says George Voloshin, a researcher at Paris-based consultancy Aperio. “What we see is fighting for power.”
However some inside Nazarbayev do not appear to have been affected yet. The reason Massimov may have fallen into this trap, says Simon Glancy, founder of Strategic Solutions consultancy, in Almaty.
“Obviously some negotiations are going on,” Glancy said. In any case, Nazarbayev is no longer a major political party. “
Tokayev called for a military alliance led by Moscow, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, stating this.
Voloshin believes Tokayev needs help because he did not know whether Kazakhstan’s special forces would take his side after Massimov’s ouster, due to the way they stood when protesters set fire to the Almaty presidential palace. Tokayev pointed out that the intervention of other countries was a valid reason for allowing CSTO to enter into a domestic dispute.
As Alexander Lukasjenko, the strongest President of Belarus, also pointed out, foreign intervention would not be possible without domestic dissatisfaction.
“One thing you have to understand is that external things are not just enough. You have to see the inside behind them,” Lukashenko he tells CSTO Monday.