Embassy of Kazakhstan in Latvia: Information on the latest developments in Kazakhstan

The latest developments, current situation and further plans in Kazakhstan.
08.01.2022. Embassy of Kazakhstan in Latvia
 
Burabay National Park in Akmola region, Kazakhstan ©Juris Paiders

Background

  • On January 2, 2022 some demonstrations took place in Western Kazakhstan. The main demand was to cut the gas prices.
  • President stated that the right to a peaceful assembly is an integral part of any just and democratic society. Thus upon the instruction of the President, the Government has responded quickly to the concerns of the citizens and introduced a package of social support measures.
  • All concerns voiced during the peaceful demonstrations were heard and addressed. There were no clashes between police and civilians. Police did not use any force.
  • Regretfully, peaceful demonstrations in Almaty were hijacked by terrorist groups trained outside the country seeking to undermine the law and order in the country. Their criminal activities caused riots, looting, rape and mass violence.
  • In view of the sharp aggravation of the situation, President Tokayev has assumed the office of the Chair of the Security Council of Kazakhstan.
  • To prevent the social unrest, President dissolved the Government and declared the state of emergency until the situation fully stabilizes.

Current situation on the ground

  • The introduction of a state of emergency is yielding results. Constitutional legality is being restored throughout the country.
  • But terrorists continue to damage state and private property and use weapons against citizens in Almaty, and the cities of Kyzylorda and Taraz.
  • In this situation, President ordered law enforcement agencies to act promptly and without hesitation.
  • Currently, the situation in the capital of Kazakhstan, Nur-Sultan, as well as in Shymkent, Akmola, Kyzylorda, Pavlodar, North Kazakhstan and Turkestan regions is stable.
  • There are limitations on the use of internet while the anti-terrorist operations are ongoing. However, banking apps are operational. There is no food shortage. And all social and medical services are available to the public.

Nature of the protests

  • Protests in Western Kazakhstan were of an economic nature. Demands of the peaceful protesters were studied by the Government and satisfied in a due course in line with the concept of a listening state.
  • On the contrary, criminal groups in Almaty used peaceful protests as a platform to advance their own violent agenda and escalate riots, looting and unlawful actions. They did not voice any concerns or demands but rather aimed at a violent seizure of power.
  • Almaty was attacked by nearly 20 thousand armed groups and terrorists trained outside of the country. They have destroyed the administrative offices and military sites, captured the airport, and took hostage of foreign passenger and cargo airplanes. This shows the high level of preparedness and coordination of the perpetrators.

Losses and damages:

  • No protest or demonstration in a democratic society can justify the attacks and killings of law enforcement officers. According to the latest data, 18 law enforcement officers were killed by the so-called protestors, but in fact they are extremists and terrorists.
  • 748 police officers and military personnel of the National guard, 1,000 civilians were injured and up to 400
  • The financial damage as a result of looting and riots is estimated at about 200 million US dollars.

CSTO deployment

  • On January 6, President ordered to launch a counter-terrorism operation to deal with the national security threats, protect lives and property of citizens.
  • In this situation, President Tokayev sent formal request to the member states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization to provide necessary assistance in conducting counter-terrorist operation.
  • Peacekeeping troops comprising of multinational forces of CSTO member states were deployed and will remain temporary until the stabilization of the situation in Kazakhstan.
  • The legal framework for deployment of CSTO collective peacekeeping forces is based on Articles 2 and 4 of the «Treaty on Collective Security», the «Agreement on Peacekeeping Activities» and military assistance request by the President of Kazakhstan.
  • Collective peacekeeping troops were deployed on a temporary basis and the time frame will depend on the situation in the country and at the discretion of the leadership of Kazakhstan.
  • The total number of the CSTO collective peacekeeping forces are around 2,500.
  • CSTO peacekeeping troops are not involved in the elimination of militant groups and terrorists. Their main tasks are protection of strategic sites and administrative buildings.

Key takeaways from President Tokayev’s Video Address of January 7, 2022

  • The anti-terrorist operation continues in the country.
  • Large-scale and well-coordinated work is being carried.
  • The situation in the cities of Almaty, Aktobe and Almaty region stabilized.
  • There are calls made by foreign partners to negotiate for a peaceful solution of the problems. We had to deal with armed and trained bandits, both local and foreign. Therefore, there will be no negotiation with terrorists.

Lessons to learn

  • Tragic events in our country highlight the problems of democracy and human rights in a new way. As stated by President Tokayev, only law and order can guarantee wellbeing of all civilized states, including Kazakhstan.
  • As recent tragedy in Almaty demonstrates, violence and anarchy, unlawful actions of band groups and terrorists not only undermine the security of civilians but also lead to violation of fundamental human rights.

Further actions

  • There is a lot of work and learning from the tragic lessons ahead.
  • There is a lot of speculation in the international media on the “shoot to kill” directive that is clearly taken out of the context. Do you negotiate with terrorists that undermine public law and order and threaten lives of civilian population? Is there any country in the world that has done so? Why expect such measures from Kazakhstan? We are doing our best to protect our people and the exaggerated allegations are not helping.
  • In these difficult times, we expect our partners to stay by our side. In an increasingly technopolar world with its new risks and challenges this situation has a potential to repeat anywhere.
  • President Tokayev ordered the law enforcement agencies to form an investigative group to reveal the root causes of the situation.
  • We need to train our law enforcement agencies and military personnel to fight against the new threats and challenges. We are ready to work with our international partners to exchange experience and learn from the best practices.
  • Democracy is a work in progress and we continue learning from experience. Kazakhstan remains committed to protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms.
  • We have come a long way to build our state from the scratch. And will do all it takes to protect our democracy and our people from any unlawful interference both at home and abroad.
  • President Tokayev is planning to attend the plenary at the lower chamber of Parliament, Mazhilis on January 11 where first action plan is expected to be announced.

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