Kazakh President: Violence an effort to overthrow government

Last week’s fatal unrest in Kazakhstan was termed by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as an attempted coup d’etat.

He told the leaders of an ex-Soviet military alliance that the attack had been orchestrated by a “single centre,” but he did not name the perpetrators.

Kazakhstan has been target of international terrorism, according to Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia who supplied no proof for this assertion.

Russia and other countries have sent troops to Kazakhstan to restore order.

The protests, which were sparked by an increase in petrol prices, evolved into the worst turmoil the country has seen in 30 years of independence. Several hundred people are said to have been killed, including 16 security personnel.

Authorities believe the situation has now settled a week after the violence began, with troops undertaking “clean-up” measures and guarding critical facilities.

A state of emergency has been declared, as well as a curfew throughout the country. According to the Interior Ministry, about 8,000 people have been detained around the country.

The security meetings took place between Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation’s (CSTO) leaders as Kazakhstan observed an official day of mourning for those murdered in the unrest.

“The protestors were joined by armed extremists who had been waiting in the wings. The basic purpose was crystal clear: to undermine the constitutional system, destroy government institutions, and seize power. It was a failed coup attempt” Mr. Tokayev explained.

He claimed that rioters had targeted Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, in order to take control of the country’s southern provinces and capital, Nur-Sultan. He stated that the search for “terrorists” was ongoing and that Kazakhstan will soon provide proof of what had occurred to the international community.

“Well thought and organised and properly managed groups of militants were recruited,” Mr Putin told other leaders via video conference, “including those who evidently completed training in terrorist camps elsewhere.”

“The events in Kazakhstan are neither first nor last last effort by outsiders to intervene in our internal affairs.

“We will not accept a destabilised environment in the country, and we will not allow them to carry out the so-called colour revolutions,” said CSTO.

As the first of around 2,030 Russian-led troops landed in Kazakhstan last week,  Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State questioned Kazakhstan’s choice to request Russian military assistance. Officials in Moscow assured the press that their presence was only temporary.

The Kazakh authorities were urged by Mr. Blinken to uphold law and order while respecting the rights of protestors.

Eleni Kyriakou

Eleni is a journalist and analyst at Parliament Magazine focusing on European News and current affairs. She worked as Press and Communication Office – Greek Embassy in Lisbon and Quattro Books Publications, Canada. She is Multilingual with a good grip of cultures, eye in detail, communicative, effective. She holds Master in degree from York University.