Russia has stopped paramedics in the wake of violent clashes in Kazakhstan in Central Asia. Moscow responds to the state government’s request for assistance from the Russian-led security coalition in the region. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in a televised address Thursday night that the organization of the Joint Security Agreement (CSTO) should help counter the “terrorist threat.”
The country’s own army has already taken action against protesters, wounded and killed. Tokayev said “terrorist gangs” fought with paratroopers in the city of Almaty.
In addition to Kazakhstan, the CSTO includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Leonid Kalashnikov, head of the Russian State Duma’s committee on affairs in the former Soviet republic, told Russian news agency Interfax that Russia was obliged to assist and that an alliance had been formed. Armenian Prime Minister Nicole Pashinyan has also promised military assistance in the face. Soldiers should be sent for a period of time to “stabilize and restructure the situation in the country.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry has previously called for a peaceful solution. Problems “must be resolved within the framework of constitutional and legal provisions and through dialogue, not through street riots”. “We hope the situation will return to normal soon,” it said. Experts saw Tokaye’s cry for help as a sign that he could no longer trust his army.
Tokayev said in his speech: “This situation threatens the security of all the citizens of Almaty. This cannot be tolerated.” The security forces will act “as hard as possible”. The “gangs” control the vast infrastructure in the country. It is “not a threat, but an undermining of the unity of the state.” Tokayev tried to calm the hot mood. “Do not respond to storm calls to official buildings. It is a crime,” said the incumbent head of state from 2019. At the same time he announced reforms. But it is not conclusive.
The 68-year-old accused the current violence of being “domestic and foreign provocateurs”. He declared a state of emergency in many parts of the country, including Almaty and the capital, Noor-Sultan.
He said the Almaty airport was “liberated” again. A “special operation” began. On Wednesday afternoon, the airport announced that the airport had been evacuated and staff had left the venue. The reason is that the building is occupied by a mob. Several airlines have canceled flights to Almaty, including Lufthansa, which was announced by the airline on Thursday.
Many died and dozens were injured
Earlier, at least eight police officers and members of the National Security Forces were killed in violence in Central Asia. According to the Kazakh media, the Interior Ministry has announced this. A further 317 people were injured.
Fierce clashes broke out between protesters and security forces, especially in the former Alma Atta, the western economic capital of Almaty in the southeastern part of the dictatorial republic. Protesters besieged the city administration and Tokaye’s home in Almaty. Like many public buildings there was a fire. Videos and pictures show police officers using stun grenades against the crowd. But burnt cars were also found there.
It is not clear how many people took part in the protest. It was difficult to get an accurate picture of the situation in the afternoon. Networks shut down – making new encounters more difficult. Many television stations have stopped operating. The information reached the public with due delay. Authorities recently said about 500 people were injured in the western city of Almaty alone, known as Alma Atta until 1993. There were protests in other cities as well. The head of state imposed a state of emergency on the entire republic.
Togolese also ordered price cuts. Many protesters were not satisfied with that. Protests were sparked by rising liquid gas prices at gas stations. Many Kazakh people use liquefied petroleum gas because it is cheaper than gasoline. The government initially justified the higher price with increased demand. Since the beginning of the year, the gas trade has been carried out entirely on energy transfer. Inflation soared, which caused dissatisfaction. The wave of protests spread rapidly across the country. After Tokayo’s election in 2019, there were protests with more than 70 percent approval and hundreds of arrests.
Prime Minister Askar Mamin and his entire government resigned under public pressure on Wednesday. Former Vice President Älichan Smajylow took over the official business. But even with the resignation of the government, the situation did not calm down. It was the largest wave of protests in the former Soviet republic in years.
How Astana became Noor Sultan
For decades, Kazakhstan was ruled by Narsultan Nazarbayev. Now 81, he started as a communist and was secretary general of the Kazakh Soviet Republic. After the fall of the Communist Party in Moscow and elsewhere, he returned to nationalism. He developed nepotism and nepotism and became very rich himself. He sent members of the opposition to prison for several years.
The capital, sealed from the prairie in 1998, was called Astana until two years ago, but was later baptized by Noor-Sultan, the first name of the head of state. Narsultan Nazarbayev ruled dictatorially until 2019, when he handed over the presidency to his self-appointed Tokaye. But even after his official departure, the longtime ruler remained influential. Djokovic has now announced that he has seized the post and thus effectively ousted Nazarbayev.
The largest country with a population of about 18 million is mostly grassland. It contains large deposits of oil, gas and uranium. Nevertheless, Kazakhstan is struggling with mismanagement and poverty, and corruption is rampant. The country borders Russia, China and the former Soviet republics of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
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