"Add Kazakhstan to the list of former Soviet republics whose independence is
now being threatened by Russia. Russian leader Vladimir Putin is using a
similar playbook in Kazakhstan to one that he has used over almost a decade to
threaten the sovereignty of Ukraine.
What began as protests over rising fuel prices on Jan. 2, 2021, quickly
escalated into violent clashes on the streets of Kazakhstan. On Jan. 5,
Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, a firm ally of Putin’s, requested
support from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, of which Putin’s
Russian Federation is the leading member. Russia has responded decisively by
sending paratroopers, special operations troops and equipment as part of a
nearly 3,000-strong force to Kazakhstan.
Tokayev explained his request by claiming that protesters are really “a band of
terrorists” trained abroad. On Jan. 7, Tokayev escalated the conflict: “I have
given the order to law enforcement and the army to shoot to kill without
warning,” Tokayev said.
As a scholar of post-Soviet Ukraine, Russia’s involvement in Kazakhstan looks
very familiar to me. It’s similar to what happened in Ukraine beginning in
2014, when peaceful protesters were met with violence by the government and a
protest grew into a revolution that ultimately overthrew the Russian-backed
leadership of the country."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics