Kazakhstan Turns to Russia to Put Off Anti-Government Protests

Russia sent paratroopers to Kazakhstan as part of an international peacekeeping effort after Kazakh President Kassym Tokayev appealed for intervention from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance of former Soviet republics Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.

Tokayev blames “foreign terrorists” for the protests, which was ignited by high fuel prices and has become the country’s largest since its independence in 1991.

Armored personnel carriers and troops entered Almaty’s main square where hundreds of protestors gathered against the government for the third day.

The protests began as price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) has soared. LPG is generally used by the poor to fuel their cars. It has since turned into anti-government protests, an outcome of three decades of resentment against former President Nursultan Nazarbayev and his handpicked successor Kassym Tokayev.

Nazarbayev stepped down in 2019 to leave the office to his successor Tokayev, but the  81 year old former president remains a political force from the background, with he and his family believed to control much of Central Asia’s largest economy.

President Tokayev has claimed protestors were seizing buildings, infrastructure and weapons. Tokayev ordered protection for foreign embassies and businesses. Kazakhstan’s reputation for stability helped attract billions of dollars of foreign investment in the country’s lucrative resources of oil, gas and metals.

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