Startling developments from Kazakhstan: climbing death toll with Russian involvement



Friday, January 7, 2022




(ChinaAid, Midland, TX / Radio Free Asia—January 7, 2022) Casualties continue to climb after five days of protest in Kazakhstan, the largest protest since the founding of Kazakhstan. Sources claim the internet has shut down in the country, limiting communication with the outside world. The President dissolved the government, declared a state of emergency for two weeks and requested aid from China and Russia. Russia sent troops for peacekeeping on Thursday. The situation remains dire, with a climbing death count of innocent civilians. Kazakh authorities reportedly cause destruction and blame protestors.

 

This immense demonstration and ensuing conflict directly resulted from a drastic increase in natural gas prices, but, according to human rights advocate Serikzhan Bilash, the main cause was rooted in a growing discontent for the Kazakhstan government.

 

 

At the time of this article, there remains an unverified number of casualties.

 

According to the Washington Post, President Tokayev ordered a shoot-to-kill order and rejects any attempts at negotiation.

 

As reported by Radio Free Asia in their Chinese publication, hundreds died in a violent clash between demonstrators and Almaty police on Tuesday and Wednesday night.  500 Dead civilians were distributed to two hospitals. Nearly all of this information is absent from current English reporting. 


ChinaAid obtained and translated Radio Free Asia’s reporting to show the dire nature of Kazakhstan. Read the full reports below. 


Notice: Please direct all media inquiries for Serikzhan Bilash to media@chinaaid.org.



Hundreds of people killed and injured in the largest anti-government demonstration since the founding of Kazakhstan

2022-01-06

 

Kazakhstan has seen massive anti-government demonstrations this week, with hundreds of people injured or shot dead in clashes between tens of thousands of protesters and police in Almaty and other cities on Tuesday (January 4) and Wednesday (January 5) night. Serikzhan Bilash, the founder of a Kazakh human rights group, said in an interview with Radio Free Asia that plainclothes officers were deployed to mingle with the protesters, smashed shops and destroyed buildings, and then blamed the protesters. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev dismissed the government and accused the protesters of breaking the law.

 

The largest protests and riots in Kazakhstan since the country's founding broke out this week, with large-scale police clashes in Almaty, the country's largest city, on Tuesday night. President Tokayev accepted his government's resignation early Wednesday morning and declared a two-week "state of emergency" in the Mangistas and Almaty regions, as well as the cities of Almaty and Nur-Sultan. The state of emergency was later extended to all of Kazakhstan until Jan. 19.

 

Kazakh police said eight security personnel were killed in the clashes, and Kazakh media reported that 317 people were injured. The founder of the Kazakh human rights group "Atajurt," Serikzhan Bilash, said in an interview that hundreds of people were killed and injured when military and police were deployed to shoot at demonstrators, and that the bodies of the dead were distributed among two hospitals in Almaty. He also said that the authorities used plainclothes officers to blend in with the crowd of demonstrators to smash shops and destroy buildings, and then blame the demonstrators.

 

The news is that the 7th and 12th largest hospitals in Almaty each had more than 500 people shot or wounded, 200 in one hospital and about 300 in another. “We don't know for sure how many people died," Serikzhan said. The protesters took over the city building and the square, and all the staff of the Almaty city building was evacuated in advance.

 

The dead were shot in the head or chest and were suspected of being shot by gunmen.

 

The government's decision to use the "Arapahoe" in the city of Almaty was made by a group of people who were shot at by soldiers in the square of a stadium and cultural center in the suburbs of Almaty.

 

Video of the demonstration in Almaty shows a large number of bomb-busters and armored vehicles moving through the streets, with protesters throwing rocks and miscellaneous objects at the armored vehicles. Another video shows police firing into the crowd of protesters, with the sound of heavy gunfire ringing through the night sky.

 

Reuters and AFP reporters said the number of people present was estimated at more than 5,000. As the crowd refused to disperse, police used shock bombs and tear gas to prevent hundreds of protesters from entering the mayor's office, and there were unconfirmed reports that police vehicles were on fire in Almaty.

 

Our correspondent called Almaty residents several times, but no one answered the phone.

 

The price of liquefied petroleum gas doubled, sparking protests

 

The massive protests began when residents of the Kazakh cities of Zhanaozen and Aktau protested the doubling of the price of liquefied petroleum gas. The government committee ordered by the president said it was prepared to meet the main demands of the protesters to lower gas prices, but it was too late and the angry public demanded that President Tokayev step down.

 

In this regard, Serikzhan said that the public has long been dissatisfied with the Kazakh government and that the opposition to the increase in LNG prices is only a trigger for anti-government demonstrations. Serikzhan stated:

 

The people of Kazakhstan are now living in dire straits, especially after the outbreak of the new coronavirus, and initially, there was not even a mask, fever-reducing medicine, painkillers in ordinary pharmacies. Many Kazakhs died because of the lack of fever-reducing medicine. The Kazakhs hated the incompetence, corruption, bureaucracy, and bribery of the government to the core.

 

Kazakhstan government asks for Russian military intervention

 

A spokesman for Almaty International Airport confirmed on Wednesday (5) that the airport was under the control of more than 40 anti-government personnel. On the same day, the Kazakh government asked the Russian-led collective security organization to send more troops to help control the situation in the country. According to Rosatom on Thursday (6), the secretariat of the CSTO said in its comments on the situation in Kazakhstan that it received a request from Kazakhstan that the situation in the country is seen as an invasion by foreign-trained gangs.

 

In an official statement early Thursday morning, State Department spokesman Ned Price said, "The United States is closely following the situation in Kazakhstan, which is an important partner for us. We condemn the violence and destruction of property and call on the government and protesters to exercise restraint. We call on the Kazakhs to respect and protect constitutional mechanisms, human rights, and press freedoms, including the restoration of Internet services. We call on all parties to seek a peaceful resolution to the state of emergency."

 

Kazakhstan, located between China and Russia, is the world's largest inland country and the largest and richest country in Central Asia and has long maintained domestic stability and economic growth through an authoritarian system.

 


 

Anti-government demonstrations erupt in Kazakhstan, killing and injuring hundreds

2022-01-06

 

Kazakhstan has seen massive anti-government demonstrations this week. Large numbers of protesters clashed with police in cities such as Almaty on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Sources indicate that hundreds of people were injured and dozens died as a result of the clashes. Kazakhstan's President Tokayev dissolved the government and said the protesters broke the law. On Thursday, Russia has transported soldiers to Kazakhstan. The Chinese Foreign Ministry considers the clashes in Kazakhstan an "internal affair" and hopes that the social order in Kazakhstan will return to normal.

 

 

The largest protests and riots since the founding of the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan erupted this week, with large-scale police clashes in Almaty, the country's largest city, on Tuesday night (4). The clashes left eight security personnel dead, Kazakh police said. Kazakh media reported that 317 people were injured. President Tokayev accepted his government's resignation early Wednesday (5) and declared a two-week state of emergency in the Mangistas and Almaty regions, as well as the cities of Almaty and Nur-Sultan. Subsequently, the "state of emergency" was extended to the entire territory of Kazakhstan and will last until January 19.

 

 

Video of the demonstration in Almaty shows a large number of bomb-proof vehicles and armored vehicles moving through the streets, and protesters throwing stones and miscellaneous objects at the armored vehicles. Another video shows police firing into the crowd of protesters, with intense gunfire ringing through the night air.

 

U.S. and China make their own statements on the situation in Kazakhstan

 

In response to the outbreak of large-scale clashes in Kazakhstan, State Department spokesman Price said in a statement early Thursday (6): "The United States is closely monitoring the situation in Kazakhstan, a country that is an important partner for us. We condemn the violence and destruction of property and call on the government and protesters to exercise restraint."

 

Later that afternoon, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular news conference that China considers what is happening in Kazakhstan an "internal affair." He said he believes that the Kazakh authorities can properly solve the problem and hopes that the situation in Kazakhstan will soon be stabilized and the social order returned to normal.

 

 

Serikzhan Bilash, founder of the Kazakh human rights organization "Atajurt," told Radio Free Asia in an interview that the authorities had sent military police to shoot at the demonstrators, causing hundreds of deaths and injuries, and the bodies of the dead were placed in two hospitals in Almaty:

 

The news is that the twelfth and seventh-largest hospitals in Almaty have been destroyed. hospitals, each of which had people shot or wounded by guns; more than five hundred, two hundred in one hospital and about three hundred in the other; how many people died, we can't be sure. The marching demonstrators occupied the city hall building and the square, and all the staff of the Almaty city hall building was evacuated in advance, and before the marching demonstrators reached the government building, there was already a fire inside.

 

Serikzhan said that the authorities sent plainclothes officers to blend in with the crowd of demonstrators, smashing stores and destroying buildings to frame the demonstrators.

 

Reuters and AFP reporters, meanwhile, said the number of people present was estimated at more than 5,000. As the crowd refused to disperse, police used shock grenades and tear gas to stop hundreds of protesters from attacking the mayor's office. There were also unconfirmed reports that a police car was on fire in Almaty.

 

Serikzhan said military personnel opened fire on demonstrators from the countryside at a gymnasium and cultural center square in Almaty's suburban Alatau district. The video shows dozens of bodies laid out in a local hospital, each with bullet holes in the forehead or heart, some covered in blood.

 

Our correspondent made several calls to residents of Almaty, but their calls were never answered.

 

The mass protest originated from residents of the Kazakh cities of Zhanaozen and Aktau protesting against the increase in the price of liquefied petroleum gas. The government commission ordered by the Kazakh president said it was ready to meet the main demand of the protesters and lower the gas prices. But it was too late, and angry people demanded that President Tokayev step down.

 

In response, Serikzhan said that the public has long been dissatisfied with the Kazakh government, and opposition to the increase in LNG prices was the trigger for the anti-government demonstrations:

Kazakh people are now living in deep water, especially after the outbreak of the new coronavirus epidemic, initially, in ordinary pharmacies there was not even a mask, fever-reducing drugs are not available, painkillers are not available. Many Kazakhs died because of the lack of fever medicine, and the Kazakhs have come to hate the government's incompetence, corruption, and bureaucratic embezzlement to the extreme.

 

CSCE announces it has sent troops to Kazakhstan for peacekeeping

 

A spokesman for Almaty International Airport confirmed on January 5 local time that the airport was under the control of more than 40 anti-government personnel. On the same day, the Kazakh government asked the Russian-led Collective Security Organization (CSTO) for additional troops to assist in controlling the situation in the country regarding the current domestic situation.

 

On the morning of the 6th, the CSTO announced that it had sent to Kazakhstan a peacekeeping force consisting of Russian, Belarusian, Armenian, Tajik, and Kyrgyz troops. According to the CSCE Secretariat, some military transport aircraft of the Russian Air Force transported Russian peacekeeping troops to Kazakhstan.

 

According to Vissin, a current affairs commentator who follows the international situation, this protest launched by the population of Kazakhstan is different from the color revolutions that took place in the former Soviet Union and in the Middle East and North Africa.

 

“It is taking place in the 'Belt and Road' region, which can be called the 'Belt and Road Revolution,'" she told the station. “To a different extent, it has to do with China's support and strengthening of the authoritarian regime there. The Haaretz government is unable to accommodate and listen to the population more, denying them political participation and even strengthening its authoritarian rule. That's what makes a revolution in these countries by the people ostensibly for livelihood issues, but actually against the strengthening of authoritarian rule."

 

For this large-scale protest demonstration, the Chinese Embassy in Kazakhstan, on the other hand, reminded Chinese citizens in Kazakhstan to enhance their awareness of precautions, reduce unnecessary outings and do a good job of safety protection.

 

 

Reporter: Qiao Long Editor: Wen Xiaoping, He Ping Web Editor: Ruizhe

 


 

The situation in Kazakhstan affects the big plan of the Belt and Road China's energy corridor has changed

2022-01-06

 

A sharp rise in fuel prices in the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan has sparked days of demonstrations and large-scale clashes. Kazakhstan plays a key role in China's "One Belt, One Road" project. How will this conflict affect China-Kazakhstan relations and the development of "One Belt, One Road"? Some scholars have pointed out that when demonstrations break out in Central Asia, China is usually more worried about the local "Belt and Road" investment projects and whether these demonstrations will then lead to anti-China sentiment there.

 

In Kazakhstan, a sharp increase in the price of liquefied natural gas from New Year's Day triggered days of demonstrations that turned into large-scale violent clashes. In Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, demonstrators stormed government facilities. A state of emergency was declared in the capital and other places, and a curfew was imposed. Sources say the Internet is down across the country, and telephone communications have been cut off extensively.

 

Chinese Foreign Ministry: What happens in Kazakhstan is an internal affair of Kazakhstan

 

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded to the incident on Thursday, saying that China believes that what is happening in Kazakhstan is an internal affair of the country and believes that the Kazakh authorities can properly solve the problem.

 

Wang Wenbin:

 

China and Kazakhstan are friendly neighbors and permanent comprehensive strategic partners. China believes that the current happenings in Kazakhstan are an internal affair of the country and believes that the Kazakh authorities can properly solve the problem, and hopes that the situation in Kazakhstan can be stabilized as soon as possible and social order returned to normal.

 

 

 

China and Kazakhstan have had close relations since 2013 when the "One Belt, One Road" was launched

 

Three days ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping exchanged congratulatory messages with Kazakhstan's first President Nazarbayev and current President Tokaev to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In his congratulatory telegram, Xi spoke highly of Nazarbayev's firm policy of friendship with China and his outstanding contribution to the development of relations between the two countries and the deepening of cooperation in building the "Belt and Road"; he also pointed out to Tokayev that China and Kazakhstan are friendly neighbors and permanent comprehensive strategic partners, and he believes in the deepening of mutual political trust between the two countries.

 

In fact, Kazakhstan has a pivotal role in the process of China's "One Belt, One Road". In September 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Kazakhstan and proposed to jointly build the "Silk Road Economic Belt". Xi even said, "China and Kazakhstan are friends for life."

 

Chinese scholars: China may worry about the impact of the "Belt and Road" investment projects

 

However, the outbreak of large-scale conflict in Kazakhstan will affect the development of China's "Belt and Road"? The Chinese are usually more worried about the local "Belt and Road" investment projects when demonstrations break out in Central Asia, and whether these demonstrations will then trigger local anti-China sentiment, according to Sun Chaoqun, a researcher at the Hong Kong Institute of International Studies.

 

Sun Chaoqun:

 

In 2019, there was also a demonstration in Kyrgyzstan, and there was also an incident where [protesters] burned down a Chinese-invested factory. In the case of Kazakhstan this time, China may worry whether those people will take the opportunity to carry out anti-China activities. China has also invested a lot of resources in Kazakhstan, such as oil, gas, and uranium for nuclear power generation, many of which are imported from Kazakhstan to China. China will also be concerned about whether the demonstrations will affect the supply of resource chains in Central Asia, etc.

 

Sun Chaoqun added that China's concerns about the demonstrations in Kazakhstan may be limited to the economic aspect for the time being, and in terms of the impact of the current situation on border areas such as Xinjiang, he believes that China need not worry too much in this regard as the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) promptly sent troops to assist at the request of Kazakhstan's President Tokayev.

 

Sun Chaoqun:

 

From the current situation are seen, Russia is still dominant in this area, the work is still accounted for more. The situation now is that the military division of labor in Central Asia (region) is more favorable to Russia, and in the economic field, that is, investment, trade, and economy, etc., is more favorable to China. If based on Moscow's military security commitment to Kazakhstan, actually China may not need to worry in this regard.

 

Human Rights Leader: Kazakh Disruption of Internet Communications Equals Disruption of Outside Contact with Xinjiang

 

The leader of human rights in Xinjiang, who has long been concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang, told us that Almaty, Kazakhstan, is only 300 kilometers away from Xinjiang, which plays the role of a "window" to the situation in Xinjiang. The information is not only available in Kazakhstan, but also in Xinjiang.

 

“If Kazakhstan moves towards democracy, she will likely have to interrupt the supply of oil and gas pipelines to China," Serikzhan said. “So far, Kazakhstan has provided China with the safest and most secure oil and gas. Once Russian troops are stationed in Kazakhstan, it is tantamount to losing our independent state and reverting to the Russian colonial era."

 

Back in 2013, at the beginning of the Belt and Road Initiative, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) acquired Kazakhstan's largest oil field, Kashagan, for $5 billion, and in 2017, China entered into an agreement with Kazakhstan's National Oil and Gas Company (KazMunaiGas). KazMunaiGas) reached a cooperation agreement in which Kazakhstan pledged to export 5 billion meters of natural gas to China annually, from which Kazakhstan would receive a total revenue of up to $1 billion. According to mainland Chinese media statistics, as of 2017, China's cumulative investment in Kazakhstan has reached $42.8 billion, making China the second-largest trading partner of Kazakhstan.

 

 

Reporter: Liu Aoran, Huang Chunmei Editor: Wen Xiaoping Web Editor: Rizhe

 


 

Russia and other countries send troops to Kazakhstan to suppress people and stop color revolutions, China has mixed feelings

2022-01-07

 

The situation in Kazakhstan remains dire. Sources say many innocent civilians have been machine-gunned, but our correspondent was unable to independently verify this, and the exact number of dead and wounded is unknown. Kazakhstan's president calls the protesters terrorists. Official media reported that Belarus and other countries have been involved in quelling the riots, but did not mention that Russian soldiers have been involved in the crackdown. Scholars believe that the Russian military presence in Kazakhstan may affect Chinese interests.

 

Demonstrations and violence erupted in Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. At the request of the Kazakh president, the Russian government sent paratroopers to help quell the unrest. Almaty police said Thursday that from the previous night to early Thursday morning, dozens of rioters had been killed, eighteen members of the security forces had died, two of whom were beheaded, and police had made more than 2,000 arrests. On Thursday, Russian airborne troops and armored fighting vehicles, and other equipment sent to Kazakhstan arrived. Russia is leading this "peacekeeping operation" with the CIS Collective Security and Defense Treaty Organization (CSTO), with Russian troops reportedly numbering about 5,000.

 

 

Nurbek, a resident of Kazakhstan, told Radio Free Asia at noon Friday that several members of the Kazakh human rights organization, including its head Bekzati, were taken away by police for several hours and have been released. He said the mass protests began on Tuesday:

 

On the night of the 4th, it was all government people, not protesters, who were vandalizing and looting in Almaty. An eyewitness named Nurguri said that the government people wore civilian clothes to do the looting, and on the 5th they opened fire, and on the 6th people died. On the 6th, Russian soldiers came. Yesterday on TV news Kazakh President Tokayev said that there were Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Belarusian soldiers. But it didn't say Russia, there must be Russian soldiers.

 

Radio Free Asia could not independently confirm eyewitness accounts.

 

 

 

Kazakh president qualifies it as a terrorist activity

 

Currently, Kazakh military personnel have regained control of Almaty International Airport, which was seized earlier by dozens of protesters. On Thursday evening, armed clashes resumed in Almaty's main square. The founder of the Kazakh human rights organization Atajurt, Serikzhan Bilash, told Radio Free Asia that Russian troops entered the country and partially changed into Kazakh military uniforms to participate in the crackdown.

 

Russian-led security forces have entered Kazakhstan. The President of Kazakhstan has qualified this as a terrorist activity. The President of Kazakhstan says it is incitement by foreign forces. The news of 00:00 a.m. Almaty time on Friday, January 7, in the Ural region, located in the westernmost part of Kazakhstan, arrested many Kazakhs, who participated in the demonstration and whose whereabouts are unknown. "Selkhejian accused the authorities of machine-gunning the demonstrators: "The authors of the demonstration were machine-gunned as if an order had been given from above to shoot to kill. So they (the military) machine-gunned from a distance.

 

A video posted by Kazakhs on social media showed demonstrators being fired upon intensively in a square, with panicked calls from those filming the video. Reuters reporters heard explosions and gunfire, while military vehicles and dozens of soldiers marched in. TASS quoted eyewitnesses as saying that people were killed and others were wounded in the new gun battle.

 

In response to the volatile situation in Kazakhstan, Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, posted an article on Weibo on Thursday evening titled "Staging Kazakhstan's ‘Color Revolution’: Why Did the U.S. and West Win This Time?” The article writes that it cannot be ruled out that the U.S. and other Western forces have injected energy into the color revolution in Kazakhstan, and such an examination must be an important perspective for developing countries to analyze the political turmoil. According to the article, the Western-style democracy is actually an irresponsible system, political parties are frequently rotated, the people have no place to spread their anger, change the government, all the responsibilities are disconnected, epidemic deaths, economic setbacks the people, and the new government may be worse.

 

 

Russia's military presence in Kazakhstan could harm China's interests

China is a major investor in Kazakhstan, and its "Belt and Road" initiative has made Kazakhstan the first stop on the way to Europe. Kazakhstan, which became independent from the former Soviet Union, maintains close ties with Russia and China in Asian geopolitics.

 

Scholar Mr. Kei believes that China's influence on Kazakhstan will be weakened after the entry of Russian and other countries' troops into Kazakhstan to quell the riots this time. This revolution in Kazakhstan may end in failure, he told the station.

 

This revolution in Kazakhstan is more likely to end in failure because the only hope it had of even succeeding was extinguished when the Russian army went in. China is now very worried, with mixed feelings. They have a belt and a road in Kazakhstan, but Russia goes into Kazakhstan and some of its (China's) interests are scooped up.

 

Kazakhstan is rich in uranium, capable of producing 40 percent of the world's uranium, and a large part of Russia's main raw material for nuclear energy comes from Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan is also one of the world's largest centers of cryptocurrency mining. Currently, most of the country is off the grid, and bitcoin mining is interrupted, resulting in huge economic losses.

 

 

Reporter: Qiao Long Editor: Xu Shutting Web Editor: Ruizhe





China Aid exposes abuses to stand in solidarity with the persecuted and promote religious freedom, human rights, and rule of law. If you wish to partner with us in helping those persecuted by the Chinese government, please click the button below to make a charitable donation.



ChinaAid Media Team
Cell: +1 (432) 553-1080 | Office: +1 (432) 689-6985 | Other: +1 (888) 889-7757
Email: media@chinaaid.org
For more information, click here