What’s Going on in Kazakhstan?

Earlier this year in January, the president of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, requested assistance from the Russian-led military alliance of the Collective Security Treaty Organization to calm the streets of the largest city in Kazakhstan—Almaty.

The streets erupted with protests against the rise of gas prices. 

Statue of former Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev before it was toppled by protesters.

These protests morphed into violence, with armed rioters and government forces fighting against each other. On January 5th and 6th, tension grew stronger as protesters demolished the statue of Nursultan Nazarbayev (former president of Kazakhstan), along with setting the mayor of Almaty’s office on fire and raiding the Almaty International Airport. 

Over 2,000 troops from the Collective Security Treaty Organization deployed to Kazakhstan on Thursday, January 6th, to help gain control of Almaty. With orders from Tokayev to “shoot to kill without warning,” the troops forcibly quelled the protests. According to Kazakh authorities, dozens of protesters were killed, and over 8,000 protesters were detained. 

In a televised address to the public, when asked about the possibility of talking with the protesters, Tokayev stated, “What negotiations could there be with criminals and murderers.” Tokayev also said that the protest was done by “foreign-sponsored terrorists,” which was backed by Putin.

US secretary of state, Anthony Blinken addressing the press.

Many western countries have expressed their concerns about Russia involving themselves with Kazakhstan. They are worried about Russia over-staying their welcome in Kazakhstan. United States Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, said, “One lesson in recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave.”

But, as of late, Russian-led troops have begun leaving the country. With photos from Russian state news station TASS, showing troops boarding planes.

The streets of Kazakhstan are scarred with violence and killings that only time will heal.

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