World

Russia sends troops to quell violent demonstrations in neighboring Kazakhstan

Western diplomats and analysts say the speed at which Russia this week sent troops to help quell violent demonstrations in neighboring Kazakhstan is evidence of the Kremlin’s recurring fears of “color revolutions.”

Kazakhstan is seen by many as one of the most stable of the former Soviet countries. The protests, which began in the country’s oil-rich western part of the country, quickly escalated into the worst violence the Central Asian nation reported 30 years ago, fueled by complaints about rising fuel prices and the cost of living. 

Protesters are demanding regime change and the departure of Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and the country’s 81-year-old former leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, who stepped down three years ago after nearly three decades in power but retained the official title was “Leader of the Nation.”

Protesters stormed government buildings and briefly occupied the airport in the country’s largest city of Almaty on Wednesday, and “dozens” of protesters were reported killed in clashes with at least 12 policemen. Videos circulating on social media on Thursday showed Kazakh military units exchanging bullets with armed adversaries in Almaty.

Russia has previously accused Western powers of being behind popular uprisings in the former Soviet states of Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine.  

Maria Zakharova, the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, said unrest was foreign-backed and aimed to “undermine the security and integrity of the state by force, using trained and organized armed formations.”

Konstantin Kosachev, a senator who chairs the foreign affairs committee of Russia’s upper house of parliament, said the protesters included Islamic militants who had fought in Afghanistan. 

“It’s a tense moment in the former Soviet Union, with Russian troops and tanks surrounding Ukraine on three sides. The last thing Moscow wants or needs is legitimate protests in a country it considers to be in its sphere of interest,” said Melinda Haring, of the Atlantic Council, a U.S.-based research organization. “Moscow is looking for a hidden hand. The Kremlin doesn’t accept the protests in Kazakhstan as genuine,” she added.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: BREAKINGDEFENSE.COM

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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