UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Kazakhstan 2022 - An Attempted Coup??

The events in Kazakhstan were the result of confrontation among local elites, including at the level of the country's law enforcement agencies, because the training of many thousands of militants could not be overlooked, Honorary President of the International Association of Veterans of the Alpha Anti-Terror Unit Sergei Goncharov told RIA Novosti. President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev said that 20,000 bandits had attacked Alma-Ata alone, and it is "critically important" to understand why the state "slept through" the underground training of militant sleeping cells. "Whether the Kazakhstani state" has overslept "the training of militants -" this is an absolutely clear statement of the question, "Goncharov emphasized. The likelihood of not noticing the formation of a large number of underground cells is only "a small fraction of a percent", added the agency's interlocutor.

According to him, what happened in Kazakhstan is "literally a rebellion." "This is a clash of elites against the backdrop of protest sentiments that have accumulated in Kazakhstan," he added. And such opposition, apparently, took place at the level of the authorities and law enforcement agencies of Kazakhstan, Goncharov said.

Professional groups of Islamist militants, and not civilians, are behind the unrest in Kazakhstan, according to Russian political scientist and orientalist Yevgeny Satanovsky. "Kazakhstan is the most valuable territory for organizing unrest on the pattern of the Ukrainian" Maidan "or what did not happen with the seizure of power in Belarus," the expert said 07 January 2022 on the air of the Russia 24 TV channel. The political scientist drew attention to the fact that the so-called "peaceful" protesters have the skill of conducting street battles, they coordinate their actions throughout the country. According to Satanovsky, they did not face the security forces the way ordinary residents of Kazakhstan would do.

One of the theories making the rounds was that those who were armed and presumably looting were members of organized criminal groups that thrived under Nazarbaev’s government and were perhaps unleashed to counter any attempt at removing Nazarbaev and his inner circle from power. That suggestion tied Nazarbaev’s nefarious brother Bolat and also Nazarbaev’s nephew, Samat Abish (the son of Nazarbaev’s deceased brother Satybaldy), who ess the deputy KNB head, to organizing the armed groups. Abish was reportedly sacked on January 5 but according to the KNB press service on January 8 he was still at his post. His apparent reinstatement has fueled speculation that despite the reports, Nazarbaev still retained power.

Akezhan Kazhegeldin, who was prime minister in the 1990s under Nazarbaev before going into self-exile, said he believed there was a “conspiracy” against Toqaev by the security forces -- which might explain why Toqaev sought help from the CSTO, having lost trust in his own security forces. Kazhegeldin questioned why local law-enforcement officials failed to implement the nationwide curfew that had been imposed and asked “how is it that the KNB [building] in Almaty was plundered and weapons fell into the hands of unknown people?”

A video of a visit by Toqaev and Nazarbaev to Moscow on December 27 showed Nazarbaev to be quite frail, leading some to believe that supporters of the first Kazakh president believe he is close to death and were using the opportunity presented by the unrest to try and oust Toqaev. Others said for the same reason that it was Toqaev’s people who acted in an attempt to increase their power before Nazarbaev died.

“The cause of the chaos in Kazakhstan are not protests but a desperate power struggle between the [political elite] clans,” @dan_ferghana wrote pointing towards current president Tokayev versus Nazarbayev's nephews Samat Abish and Kairat Satybaldy.

Tokayev dismissed Azamat Abdymomunov, Deputy Secretary of the Security Council. "By the order of the head of state, Abdymomunov Azamat Kurmanbekovich was relieved of his post as deputy secretary of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan," the press service of the head of state said 08 January 2022.

The former head of Kazakhstan's domestic intelligence agency was arrested on suspicion of high treason, the National Security Committee said 08 January 2022. Karim Masimov was fired earlier in the week as protests raged across the country. Authorities said Masimov and several other officials have been detained. The protests had also prompted President Tokayev to remove his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev as head of the Security Council. Masimov, a close ally of the 81-year-old Nazarbayev, had twice been prime minister. He also served as head of the presidential administration.

A former aide to Kazakhstan’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, said the crisis had been prompted by a number of high-ranking officials, including security officers, whom he accused of “betraying” the nation. The aide, Ermukhamet Ertysbayev, who also once served as the culture minister, described the violent riots as a “coup attempt” and an “armed insurrection” that would have been impossible without there having been “treason by top government and law enforcement officials.” He did not name any individual in particular, however.

Internal Affairs minister Yerlan Turgumbayev said 09 January 2022 "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”.

Turgumbayev said that on 5 January 2022 a highly organized group of about 20,000 people concentrated in the centre of Almaty in an attempt to take control of the city administration building. “They were better armed and organized [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,” the minister said.

Fred Weir reported that no movement has claimed responsibility for the uprising, and no set of unified demands or discernible leaders emerged from the turmoil. These highly unusual circumstances that are hard to square with an organized rebellion, Galym Ageleulov, head of the independent human rights group Liberty, told the Christian Science Monitor from Almaty. “I think what happened was that a peaceful civil meeting of people who are tired of authoritarian government got used by elites in their internal struggles,” he says. “It was a spontaneous upsurge without leaders because there is no permitted legal opposition, and civil activism is not able to grow.... At some point in the protests, police abandoned their positions and left the streets to bandit formations, and they proceeded to loot the city. Bandits don’t make declarations,” he adds. “What we need here is a new government, one that people can trust. We need reforms and honest elections. Instead, they shuffle a few people at the top, like a deck of cards.”

According to former Minister of Internal Affairs and State Security, Lt Gen Felix Kulov, Massimov and Samir Abish, the nephew of recently ousted Kazakh Security Council Chairman Nursultan Nazarbayev, were up to their necks in supervising ‘secret’ units of ‘bearded men’ during the riots. The KNB was directly subordinated to Nazarbayev, who until last week was the chairman of the Security Council. When Tokayev understood the mechanics of the coup, he demoted both Massimov and Samat Abish. Then Nazarbayev ‘voluntarily’ resigned from his life-long chairmanship of the Security Council. Abish then got this post, promising to stop the ‘bearded men,’ and then to resign.

Toqaev on January 11 suggested for the first time that there was an internal power struggle in Kazakhstan, saying that "under the country's first president, very lucrative companies and internationally known rich people appeared." He said "The time has come to give people what belongs to them, to provide help systemically. The government must look into such companies to define what their contributions to the For Kazakhstan's People Fund should be", chiding the nation's oligarchs who have "diminished competition" in the country.

What seems to have happened is that Tokayev took advantage of the protests to launch his own coup to remove himself from under Nazarbayev’s thumb. The CSTO presence was a token of support for Tokayev to encourage the rest of the Kazakh elite, and especially the security forces.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

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