Monday, June 24, 2024

Kazakhstan protests;  What happened behind the scenes?

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By Muhammad Mahdi Noori

Recent street protests in Kazakhstan appear to have erupted in response to a doubling of the price of liquefied natural gas, which is the fuel used by cars;  But the protests quickly escalated into violence, with repression squads taking action, and the authoritarian regime in Kazakhstan suppressing and curbing popular protests with maximum use of force and violence.  The Kazakh government even appealed to the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for assistance.  Kazakh government security forces helped crack down on protesters.

Qasim Jomart Tokayev;  the Kazakh president has repeatedly spoken in various speeches and televised speeches about the involvement of foreign forces in organizing and leading the protests in Kazakhstan, declaring that the protesters are “terrorists”, that they have been trained abroad, have access to weapons and intend to overthrow the coup. 

Mr Tokayev specifically mentioned Afghanistan and the Middle East, and claimed that fighters from those countries had arrived in Kazakhstan to organize anti-government uprisings.

Following him, Imam Ali Rahman;  the Tajik president also called for a security belt around Afghanistan at an extraordinary virtual summit of CSTO leaders, claiming that dozens of terrorist training camps had been set up in northeastern Afghanistan to destabilize Central Asia, with thousands of extremists.  And Islamists are learning vocational training.

In addition, Vladimir Putin;  The Russian president also announced at the same meeting that he would not allow the formation of a “revolution” in Central Asian countries.

However, despite repeated insistence by Kazakh and other Central Asian and Russian leaders on foreign involvement in the recent deadly unrest in Kazakhstan, which is said to have killed tens of people, injured hundreds and arrested thousands more, despite ongoing protests.  The protests have subsided, the protesters have returned to their homes, and large numbers of them have been detained by security forces, and it is unclear what is going on in Kazakhstan’s prisons and detention centers;  But there are clear indications that the insurgency was motivated by various internal factors, including possible external factors, settlements, rivalries, a covert power struggle between rival political factions, and even the possibility that the protests were engineered by the current Kazakh government and security apparatus.  In order to ruthlessly eliminate opposition currents and consolidate authoritarianism and strengthen political unanimity in Kazakh society, there must also be behind these protests and the resulting violence.

A number of senior security officials, members of military and intelligence agencies, various government officials and political activists critical of the government have been arrested following recent violent protests that have killed dozens of people, who may face serious charges, including acting against them.  National security and connection with foreign agents, espionage, betrayal and attempted coup and overthrow are accused and face heavy punishments.

On this account, it is predicted that in the wake of the recent deadly violence and protests, authoritarian states not only in Kazakhstan;  Rather, they seek the pretext throughout Central Asia to suppress opposition and criticism, to restrict the fundamental freedoms of the people, to systematically violate human rights, to recklessly pursue authoritarian, dictatorial and anti-libertarian policies, and to curb any movement for democratic reform.  Order, the prospect of freedom and democracy in this region looks bleakly dusty.

In addition, recent protests in Kazakhstan have allowed powers such as Russia more than ever to expand and deepen their hegemonic dominance over the strategic region, forcing Central Asian governments to pursue policies politically and security-wise, and  Moscow guidelines slow;  what would eventually lead to the resurgence of the disintegrated Soviet Union would make Vladimir Putin’s dream come true.

About the author:

Muhammad Mahdi Hossein Ali Noori is the owner and Director General of Ufuq International News Agency one of the top media outlets in Afghanistan.

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