After a few days of violence, the security forces appeared to have regained control of Kazakhstan’s main cities because the Russian-backed president said he ordered his troops Shoot Suppress the national uprising.
after one day Moscow sent troops To quell the protests, the police patrolled the ruined streets of Almaty on Friday, but some gunshots could still be heard.
In the worst violent incident that the former Soviet Republic has experienced in its 30 years of independence, dozens of people died and public buildings across Kazakhstan were looted and burned.
The President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev blamed the riots on foreign trained terrorists, but did not provide evidence.
Tokayev, 68, said in a televised speech: “The militants did not put down their weapons. They continue to commit crimes or are preparing for crimes.”
“Whoever does not surrender will perish. I have ordered the law enforcement agencies and the army to shoot and kill people without any warning.”
This Demonstration Initially in response to rising fuel prices, it later evolved into a broad campaign against the government and former President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Nazarbayev is 81 years old and reigns in any former Soviet Union country. The longest ruler until the transfer of the presidency to Tokayev in 2019.
It is generally believed that his family has retained influence in the special capital Nur Sultan named after him.
Robin Forestier-Walker from Al Jazeera in Georgia said that Tokayev’s televised speech included “very aggressive…combat talk.”
“For those who protest and demand democratic reforms…and reform the country to help them and ordinary people enjoy the benefits they should derive from Kazakhstan’s oil-rich economy, they have little sympathy,” Forestier said. -Walker.
Maxim Suchikov, a non-resident expert of the Moscow-based Russian International Affairs Committee, said that both the scale and the The violent nature of the riots Show that the actors involved are “mixed.”
“This includes some people who are really dissatisfied, but it also includes some troops that have received advanced training according to the leaders of Kazakhstan,” Suchikov told Al Jazeera in Moscow, the Russian capital.
The Russian army ensures the safety of the airport
The Kremlin said on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had several phone calls with Tokayev during the crisis to discuss the situation.
Moscow said more than 70 planes are transporting Russian troops to Kazakhstan, and these planes are now helping to control Almaty’s main airport, which was recaptured from protesters on Thursday.
As Russia and the United States prepare for talks on the Ukrainian crisis next week, and at a time when relations between East and West are highly tense, the uprising prompted Moscow to intervene in military affairs.
Moscow’s rapid deployment showed that Putin was prepared to use force to maintain his influence in the former Soviet Union. At the same time, he shocked the West by gathering troops near Ukraine, which occupied Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
The mission is under the umbrella of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which is composed of Russia and the five former Soviet Union states. The organization stated that its troop strength is approximately 2,500.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken warned that it will be difficult for Kazakhstan to reduce Russia’s influence after inviting the military to quell the unrest.
“I think a lesson in recent history is that once Russians enter your house, it is sometimes difficult to get them to leave,” Brinken told reporters.
‘We heard the explosion’
Armored personnel carriers and the army occupied the main square in Almaty, where new gunfire was heard on Friday.
According to reports, riots have also occurred in other cities, but the Internet has been shut down since Wednesday, so it is difficult to determine the level of violence.
An eyewitness told Reuters that in the city of Aktau on the Caspian Sea in western Kazakhstan, about 500 protesters gathered peacefully in front of a government building on Friday, demanding Tokayev’s resignation.
Protesters in Almaty appear to come mainly from the impoverished suburbs of the city or surrounding towns and villages. The violence shocked the city’s Kazakhs, who were accustomed to comparing their country with the more repressive and turbulent neighboring countries of the former Soviet Union and Central Asia.
“I was scared when I heard the explosion at night,” a woman named Kulalai told Reuters. “Knowing that young people are dying is heartbreaking. This is clearly planned…maybe our government has relaxed a bit.”
In a state that barely tolerates political opposition, the high-profile leaders of the protest movement did not appear to make any formal demands.
The Ministry of the Interior stated that 26 “armed criminals” had “Liquidation“And 18 police and National Guard members were killed. These figures seem to have not been updated since Thursday. National television reported more than 3,800 arrests.