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Kazakhstan 2022 - A Color Revolution??

Mass unrest in Kazakhstan was prepared in advance in order to destabilise the situation in the country, and its organisers had foreign backing, according to CIS Executive Commissioner Sergei Lebedev. "It is obvious today that the destructive elements, the bandits were preparing for mass rallies in advance to destabilize the country and had foreign support," Lebedev said. "These provocateurs, guides, and sponsors of the so-called 'colour revolutions' and riots in the CIS these days declare with feigned pride their leading role in criminal acts in the cities of Kazakhstan". Lebedev expressed hope that the situation in the Kazakh city of Almaty will return to normal in the next few weeks.

"Under the guise of spontaneous protests, a wave of unrest broke out... It became clear that the main goal was to undermine the constitutional order and to seize power. We are talking about an attempted coup d'etat," President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said 10 January 2022. "Armed militants who were waiting in the wings joined the protests. The main goal was obvious: the undermining of the constitutional order, the destruction of government institutions and the seizure of power. It was an attempted coup d'etat," the president said.

"The measures taken by the CSTO made it clear that we would not let anyone destabilize the situation at our home and implement so-called color revolution scenarios," Putin said 10 January 2022, referring to several revolutions in post-Soviet countries over the past few decades. "The threat to Kazakhstan's statehood arose not because of spontaneous protests and rallies concerning fuel prices. It is because destructive internal and external forces took advantage of the situation," Putin said.

"Moscow is looking for a hand behind the scenes. The Kremlin does not accept the reality of real protests in Kazakhstan" Melinda Haring, deputy director of the Eurasian Center, said. Russian officials and pro-Kremlin media claimed that the West is behind the scenes of another colour revolution stoked and attempted to scramble Russia's position ahead of the forthcoming US and NATO security talks with Russia. Western diplomats and analysts said the speed with which Russia sent troops to neighboring Kazakhstan to help quell violent demonstrations shows the Kremlin's persistent fear of "color revolutions." They argue that Moscow must have been spooked by the rapid spread of protests in Kazakhstan, long regarded as one of the most stable former Soviet republics.

Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed support for Tokayev, pointing out that China is strongly opposed to "external forces" inspiring a "color revolution". China also expressed its willingness to deepen security cooperation with the Central Asian country and help resist foreign interference.

“We regard the recent events in a friendly country as an attempt, inspired from the outside, to undermine the security and integrity of the state by force, using trained and organised armed formations,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. In the year before the attempted revolution, the US National Endowment for Democracy spent more than $1M in the country, largelly in very samll grants of $50,000. The Russians are convinced that NED is a front for the CIA. A “color revolution” is a term used to describe an attempt, led by well-funded civil society groups and NGOs, to overthrow a government. Some thought the events were much too well organized not to be a “color revolution.”

On 09 January 2022 Kazakhstan’s acting Internal Affairs minister Yerlan Turgumbayev reported highly organised, skilled and disciplined actions by anti government rioters indicating a great deal of planning and organisation: “Across the board, protesters demonstrated their professional skills. Discipline and orderliness were notable in their actions. In the areas where they were situated and before attacks, street video surveillance cameras were disabled. Roadways were barricaded, observers were stationed along the perimeter. They used radios to coordinate their actions,” he said. Turgumbayev emphasised that rioters in Almaty initially outnumbered police and were more heavily armed, stating: “Large groups of protesters in different parts of the city attacked patrol squads. They took control of seven gun shops and seized weapons and ammunition. They seized public transport and municipal vehicles and used them to ram squads of law enforcement. They threw homemade incendiary mixtures and fired guns at police. They burned service vehicles, including fire engines." He added that rioters and insurgents prevented ambulances from entering conflict zones. This followed a prior statement on January 5th that rioters “were better armed and organised [than law enforcement]. Due to their significant numerical advantage, they managed to break through several lines of defence and penetrate the building. Under the onslaught of the large crowd, police were forced to retreat to avoid accidental casualties.”

On 10 January 2022 Russian President Vladimir Putin notably compared the insurgency in Kazakhstan to the methods used to overthrow the Ukrainian government in 2014. “Maidan technologies” were used to support the rioters and share information, akin to those that led to the ousting of the Ukrainian government. Putin strongly implied Western involvement, stressing that the Central Security Treaty Organisation which includes Kazakhstan “would not allow colour revolutions” on its territory.

A number of analysts highlighted the possibility of ‘hybrid warfare’ being organised in Kazakhstan using a Hong Kong model. Others have pointed to consistencies, albeit lesser ones, with Western-backed riots in Sudan, Algeria and Thailand in 2019, Belarus in 2020, and even Syria in 2011, claiming that the Kazakh insurgency represented the latest evolution in Western ‘hybrid warfare’ targeting governments for overthrow.

Brazilian journalist Pepe Escobar claimed that " only a few days before the start of the Russia-US ‘security guarantees’ in Geneva, this color revolution represented a sort of counter-ultimatum – in desperation – by the NATO establishment."

There is no evidence that the United States was involved in the protests in Kazakhstan.

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Page last modified: 21-03-2022 10:29:20 ZULU