Kazakhstan’s troubled leader called for the aid of a Russian-led military coalition as he declared a nationwide emergency and accepted the resignation of his government amid protests.
Speaking on state television on Wednesday, Kazakh President Kasim-Jomart Tokayev blamed “terrorists” with international backing for a rare wave of violent protests that rocked the Central Asian state in response to a rise in gas prices, and Said he had appealed to the “heads” of the CSTO states, “later members of the Soviet Collective Security Treaty Organization,” to assist Kazakhstan in overcoming this terrorist threat.
In addition to Kazakhstan and Russia, the CSTO includes Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Moscow has provided security assurances to all five other members of the coalition, including contributions to the Joint Collective Rapid Reaction Force and the Collective Rapid Deployment Force to combat drug trafficking and terrorism.
CSTO forces regularly conduct joint exercises, and in October their latest maneuvers were conducted in Tajikistan with a special emphasis on crushing foreign terrorist organizations. Exactly a month ago, another exercise focused on anti-insurgency efforts was held in Kyrgyzstan.
The CSTO, led by a rotating chair, went to Armenia on Monday, where Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has begun talks with Tokayev in response to a Kazakh request for aid.
“In view of the appeal of the President of Kazakhstan, who expects the support of the CSTO in overcoming the established situation in Kazakhstan,” Pashinyan said on Wednesday after a phone call with Tokayev. “As Chairman of the CPC Assembly Security Council, I am starting urgent consultations with the leaders of the CSTO countries.”
The Russian foreign ministry had previously weighed in on the situation in a brief statement that said Moscow was “closely following events in the brotherly neighboring state,” and urged calm.
“We are calling for a peaceful solution to all problems within the framework of the Constitution and the law, and not through street riots and violation of laws,” the statement said. It credited Tokayev’s steps “aimed at stabilizing the situation, with the aim of quickly resolving existing problems, including those inherent in the protesters’ legal demands”.
“We hope that the situation in the country, which has strategic partnership and alliance, brotherhood, humanitarian contacts with Russia, will stabilize as soon as possible,” the ministry said.
Former Senate President Tokayev ascended to the presidency of Kazakhstan in 2019 following the resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev, who led the country for nearly three decades as Kazakhstan’s first president after separating from the Soviet Union in 1990. Tokayev quickly called for a snap election and won. With about 70% of the vote. But the competition has been sparked by ongoing protests at various levels since 2018 in response to the country’s economic status and calls for more political freedom.
But the atmosphere deteriorated sharply on Sunday as gas prices rose suddenly, with protesters taking to the streets in major cities, including the most populous city of Almaty, where state-run Russian media reported that rifles and grenades Armed protesters attacked Tokayev’s house. Leaving it in ruins.
Reached for comment, the Kazakh Embassy in Washington referred newsweek To the recent statements tweeted by Ambassador Yerzhan Ashikbayev.
“President@TokayevKZ “In the aftermath of the violent riots, a nationwide emergency has been declared following the outright defiance of some groups to the legal demands of law enforcement officials,” Ashikbayev wrote. “Taking advantage of deteriorating circumstances, terrorist groups are attacking government and security institutions in several regions of Kazakhstan. We see this as aggression undermining the integrity of the state.”
He also announced that Tokayev had ordered a response to the chaos that has spread in his country since then.
“In view of the large-scale sabotage, looting and attacks on law enforcement officers and civilians, resulting in human casualties, the President is in a position to bring the situation under control.@TokayevKZ launched an anti-terrorist operation,” Ashikbayev said.
Beyond Tokayev’s own residence, protesters attacked and vandalized various state buildings and even vandalized a statue of Nazarbayev in the southeastern city of Taldykorgan. Tokayev has placed the blame on his government, leading to the resignation of his cabinet.
Tokayev further reshuffled his administration, replacing Nazarbayev as chairman of the Kazakhstan Security Council, and promised a strong response to the ongoing chaos in the nation.
This is a developing news. More information will be added as it becomes available.