Middle East

Who is Kazakhstan’s anxiety

Kazakhstan occupies a strategically important position between China and Russia, but so far it has been largely out of the eyes of the world.

Despite Kazakhstan’s abundant reserves of fossil fuels, Kazakhstan has become one of the world’s major producers, 75 percent of the country’s population No natural gas is available to warm the house. With the arrival of the New Year, the country has also seen a 100% rise in gas prices for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Recent price increases have offended ordinary Kazakhs and urged them to protest decisions across the country. A country of 19 million people suffers from economic stress, but also faces political pressure from both Russia and China.

Current protests could change the nation of Central Asia, but it is not clear whether the change will make the nation better or worse.

Let’s take a look at some of the major stakeholders involved in the growing anxiety in Kazakhstan.

Kassym-Jomart Tokaev

President Kazakhstan is highly educated and speaks several languages ​​including Russian, Mandarin and English. He has a long diplomatic background and served at the Soviet Union Embassy in Beijing until 1991, until the collapse of the communist state.

Tokaev also served as UN Secretary-General in Geneva in the 2010s. He holds a PhD in Political Science and has authored numerous books on international affairs.

After former President Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned in 2019 following protests, many believe that Tokaev, one of the country’s most prominent diplomats and elites, will be his replacement candidate. I did.

Events in the last few weeks have clearly tested that vision.

At the beginning of the protest, he appeared to be reconciled and demanded the resignation of a government functioning under his leadership. Later, he also suggested reversing price increases and implementing social reforms.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokaev of Kazakhstan is one of the most educated men in the country. But a large protest tests his leadership. (Sputnik / Alexei Nikolsky / Kremlin / Reuters Archive)

However, neither measure worked as protests became larger and more violent throughout the country. In some places, such as Almaty, the country’s largest city and its commercial capital, protesters burned the mayor’s office, Looted restaurants and shops.

Seeing the situation out of control, Tokaev resorted to stricter measures and ordered his army to shoot someone on the street.Without warning “. It’s not clear what effect this will have, as he claims there are several. “20,000 thieves” Alone in Almaty.

Tokaev also invited a Russian-led peacekeeper to the country. In recent years, nationalism in Kazakhstan and Turkey has steadily increased at the expense of Moscow.Russian special forces already Helped the government get rid of Some Kazakh protesters at Almaty Airport.China too Expressed support For Tokaev.

Kazakhstan is a country where many Turkic countries, including Turkiye’s Turkey, have found their essential origins. Think of it as their homeland. As a result, many Turkish nationalists who saw past Soviet rule in Kazakhstan as an unpleasant fact would dislike the existence of Russian-led regional forces under Armenia’s command.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is also the term president of the Turkic Council, Seeking calm “To end the tensions of the country,” expresses solidarity with Kazakhstan.

The organization has also announced its preparations. To help the Kazakhs.

Old man: Nazarbayev

Protesters call Kazakhstan’s 81-year-old leader “Old man”, Slogan to him and his family. Nazarbayev is one of the longest reigning presidents of the early modern period who has led Kazakhstan for 30 years.

Nazarbayev’s character is as complex as the balancing act of having to move back and forth between Russia and China in order to survive in difficult areas.

Kazakhstan is stuck between Russia and China, but it has a large fossil fuel and a large geography. The country's first protest began in Mangystau Province, which has high fossil fuel reserves.

Kazakhstan is stuck between Russia and China, but it has a large fossil fuel and a large geography. The country’s first protest began in Mangystau Province, which has high fossil fuel reserves. (Zeyd Abdullah Alshagouri / TRTWorld)

In light of these political realities, Nazarbayev sought to develop an external political understanding of his policies. Alignment With Russia’s foreign policy while maintaining Internal Kazakh nationalist policy.

His pro-Russian policy aimed to keep Putin’s assertive Russia away, spreading the Turkic identity of Kazakhstan throughout the country, especially in northern Kazakhstan, where many Russians live.

For example, he moved the country’s capital from Almaty, where some of the biggest protests are currently taking place, to the northern city of Astana. The city is also named after his name, Nur-Sultan, and some believe it shows an authoritarian tendency. Since becoming the capital in 1997, Kazakhstan’s population has increased significantly.

When the country became independent in 1991, Astana had a majority in Russia, as the Kazakhs made up only 17% of the city’s population. In 2018, things changed a lot as Kazakhs accounted for nearly 78% of Astana. “The population of Kazakhstan in Almaty has increased from 22 percent to 60 percent.” Joanna Lilith wrote, Almaty-based journalist and author of Dark Shadows: Inside the Secret World of Kazakhstan.

However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Kazakhstan’s economy really deteriorated and brewing tensions increased for the elite of the country, including Tokaev, Nazarbayev and his family, who were accused of becoming rich by corruption.

“Before the pandemic, the economic situation was bad. With the pandemic, things got worse. But there were no attempts to solve the problem. No political reforms have taken place,” Central said. According to Otabek Omonklov, a Uzbek scholar who is an expert in Asian politics.

“The protests were triggered not only by social and economic reasons, but also by political issues. Protesters say the Nazarbayevs should go,” says Omonklov. TRT world. According to scholars, the Nazarbayevs are one of the many largest shareholders of the country’s natural gas and oil reserves.

However, others claim that Nazarbayev was able to survive the difficult regional equations under the pressure of both Russia and China.Political turmoil, on the other hand, could benefit countries like Russia that some hard-line politicians have long had. Requested reunification of Kazakhstan with the Russian Federation.

Who are the protesters?

The hardest part of the equation is pinpointing who the protesters are.

A state of emergency was declared in Almaty after a wave of fierce protests.

A state of emergency was declared in Almaty after a wave of fierce protests. (AFP)

They are blamed Speak arabic Very few countries speak that language.Tokaev Blame Domestic and foreign “provocateur” for protest.

But who are these foreign “provocateurs”? Some say they may be Russians, while others believe they are Americans and their western allies. However, some experts see the real rebellion behind the street protests.

“It looks like a revolution. In particular, it’s not clear that everyone is leading the protests. They seem to have started organically in Mangystau Province, western Kazakhstan. People were furious and furious because of the power outage, “says Matthew Briza, a former ambassador to Azerbaijan. Caspian Sea like Kazakhstan.

Interestingly, the power outage was caused by China’s Bitcoin mining business Move “Large” to Kazakhstan, according to a former US diplomat. “So there was a lot of stress on Kazakhstan’s power system,” says Briza. TRT world.

The match has become brighter due to the increase in the price of LPG.

“In some places people voluntarily rebelled, but in others, some major protesters were detained by the government,” says Omonklov. But even the detained protesters didn’t seem to plan anything prior to the demonstration, he says.

In some areas, armed rebels clashed with Almaty security forces, intensifying protests and raising further questions about who was arming these protesters.

“There are also some signs that some groups and leaders may be behind the protest. The presence of armed groups suggests that there may be people with a particular agenda behind the case. “I do,” says Omonklov.

According to Uzbek scholars, Kazakh security forces have said that ongoing protests have activated several “radical” groups.

Source: TRT World



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