Russian-led Alliance In Kazakhstan As Police Kill Dozens


By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

ALMATY (Worthy News) – A Russian-led alliance dispatches peacekeepers to Kazakhstan after the country’s president asked for help in controlling anti-government , which killed dozens.

Angry protestors stormed city hall in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, footage obtained by Worthy News showed, and appeared to fire at protestors.

A police spokesperson said that dozens of attackers were, in her words, “liquidated.”
Authorities also say that a least a dozen police officers were killed in the unrest, and hundreds of people were injured.

One police officer was reportedly found beheaded amid signs that the escalating clashes pose a growing challenge to authoritarian rule in the Central Asian nation.

Demonstrators also broke into and burned other public buildings, including the presidential residence.

The airports in Almaty and two other cities have been shut. In addition, service was severely interrupted for the second day on Thursday, blocking access to Kazakh news sites.

FUEL HIKES

The protests were initially sparked by a New Year’s Day near-doubling prices for a type of liquefied gas widely used as vehicle fuel in the -producing country.
Wider discontent

However, the protests increasingly reflect wider discontent in a country that the same party has ruled since gaining independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev pledged to quell the unrest, which he blamed on “ bands,” and asked a -led military alliance for help. “Calls to attack civilian and military offices are completely illegal,” President Tokayev said.

And he added: “It is a crime that will be punished. Power will not fall. What we need is not conflict but mutual trust and dialogue.”

Amid the turmoil, Tokayev fired his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev as head of the country’s security council and accepted the government’s resignation.

It seemed a fall from grace for Nazarbayev, who ruled his nation with an iron fist for nearly three decades and whose family controls much of Kazakhstan’s economy.

PEACEKEEPERS ARRIVING

The new interim head of government, Alikhan Smayilov, and the new State Secretary, Erlan Karin, are seen as part of a new generation of well-educated technocrats. But they, too, failed to halt the unrest.

Now peacekeepers are expected of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.

Yet protestors show no intention of ending their frustration over authoritarian leaders. “The time has come together under one banner,” a man shouted, applauded by crowds. “So, let’s go Kazakhs.”

For now, protests continue despite a crackdown in the -majority country of nearly 20 million people.

Marie Dumoulin, Director of the Wider Europe program at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), a think tank, says the conflict could impact U.S.-Russia relations.

“These developments will probably have an impact on upcoming U.S. Russian talks, with some Russian media outlets already portraying the protests as a “color revolution” manufactured by the West,” she told Worthy News.

TALKS

“Western countries should be careful not to fall into the trap of a geopolitical reading of these events. And pay more attention to local dynamics, which are key to understanding what is going on,” Dumoulin added.

With Russian forces on the way, the Kazakhstan conflict was expected to impact upcoming U.S.-talks in Geneva, Switzerland.

The January 9-10 talks were to focus on about 100,000 Russian troops massing along Ukraine’s borders amid fears of a possible Russian invasion there.

Moscow denies immediate plans to invade but says it wants to ensure that the U.S.-led military alliance will not expand further eastwards into Ukraine.

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