Russian troops are operational and control key points in Kazakhstan after a week of violence

ALMATY.- Russian troops took control of key strategic positions in Kazakhstan, with a fully operational contingent after being called to the rescue by the Kazakh government amid a wave of protests and repression that left 164 people dead.

The Russian contingent was deployed among other sites in the vicinity of Almaty, the most populous city in Kazakhstan, axis of violence that was unleashed in this former Soviet republic from a series of demonstrations over the price of gas.

The arrival of the Russians, who traveled at the request of the government of Kazakhstan, was a confirmation of the influence that Moscow maintains in this immense ex-Soviet republic of Central Asia, 30 years after the fall of the USSR.

“Russian peacekeeping units of the Collective Security Treaty Organization are conducting maneuvers at Almaty airport to train emergency prevention”explained the Russian Defense Ministry after the landing.

A Kazakh uniformed man reduces a protester at gunpoint in Almaty
A Kazakh uniformed man reduces a protester at gunpoint in AlmatyVasily Krestyaninov – AP

The Kremlin did not specify figures of the deployment, but said that they will continue with the flights to transfer troops to Almaty and confirmed that they took positions in the vicinity of the most important infrastructures in the country.

In this regard, the Russian ambassador to Kazakhstan, Alexei Borodavkin, warned in statements to the TASS news agency that “Whoever tries to bite us or our friends will lose teeth.”

Borodavkin denounced a “tragedy” in a “friend, even brother” country. “Some organized and planned militias have tried to undermine the internal political stability of Kazakhstan and in the long term to destabilize the southern border of our country,” he said.

The unrest in Kazakhstan caused 164 deaths and some 2,000 injuries, according to the latest official data., while authorities say they have arrested nearly 6,000 people linked to these bloody riots that shook the largest country in the region throughout the week.

Lethal order

Refusing any dialogue with the protesters, the president, Kassym Jomart Tokayevm, had authorized the security forces to “shoot to kill” on Friday.

More than 100 of those deaths would have been registered in Almaty, according to figures from the Ministry of Health. Until now, official sources have confirmed the deaths of 26 protesters (“armed criminals”, according to the government’s name), as well as 16 members of the security forces.

In total, some 5,800 people were arrested, “among which there are many foreigners,” the Kazakh presidency said in a statement, without providing further details. “The situation stabilized throughout the country,” despite the fact that the security forces continue to carry out “cleaning” operations, the government added. following a crisis meeting called by President Tokayev.

Kazakhstan, a country of 19 million people rich in hydrocarbons, was rocked by unprecedented unrest since its independence in 1989.

A bus burned in the city of Almaty due to the violent incidents of the week
A bus burned in the city of Almaty due to the violent incidents of the weekVladimir Tretyakov – NUR.KZ

The protest began last Sunday in the interior of the country due to the increase in gas prices, and the cost of living in general, to spread to large cities, including Almaty, where riots broke out and the police fired live bullets at the protesters.

According to the Kazakh Ministry of the Interior, quoted by the local press, the material damage was estimated at about 200 million dollars. Always according to the government, more than 100 companies and banks were looted and some 400 vehicles destroyed in the incidents of the week.

On Saturday, the former director of the intelligence services, Karim Massimov, the first important figure arrested, was arrested on suspicion of “high treason”. The local airport will remain closed “until the situation stabilizes,” the authorities indicated.

In addition to the rising cost of living, the figure of former President Nursultán Nazarbayev, who ruled with an iron fist from 1989 to 2019, is at the heart of the protesters’ anger.

In the traditional Sunday prayer of the Angelus, in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis called for “dialogue” in this country, praying for “the dead and their families.”

The Kazakh crisis also caused more tensions between Russia and the United States, in a context of difficult relations between the two powers.

AFP, DPA and Reuters agencies

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Helen Hernandez is our best writer. Helen writes about social news and celebrity gossip. She loves watching movies since childhood. Email: Phone : +1 281-333-2229

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