There is a familiar smell to the protests panning out in Kazakhstan. — There is the saying: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
What started on 2 January 2022 in Kazakhstan is a textbook case of Color Revolution.
The additional dimension is that it is also a violent form of proxy war by the USA and its allies against China and Russia.
Let’s look at the circumstantial evidence that proves it is certainly an attempt to do a Color Revolution.
As we remember, the Tulip Revolution that displaced the government of Dr. Askar Akaev in 2005 in Kyrgyzstan, was started by bringing the people from Osh and Jalalabad areas of Ferghana Valley. There was at least a year of building the anger of these people in the so-called health and recreation centres in the rural areas and small cities. These people were brought to Bishkek and they immediately went into a spree of violence, robbery, looting and armed clashes with the law enforcement agencies.
The exact same thing has happened in Kazakhstan where the protesters were brought from small towns and rural areas to wreak havoc with cities especially Almaty. Also, throughout the previous year, there was systematic work to build anger in rural Kazakhstan.
Then, there is the eerie resemblance with the timing of the Ukrainian revolution. The protests broke out in Euromaidan of Kiev on 21 November 2013 just when the then-government of Ukraine decided to suspend the signing of association agreement with the European Union and turned toward Russia. This time, the riots have started just days before the NATO-Russia summit that will take place on 12 January 2022. The initial objective in the Ukrainian protests was to force the government to reject Russia and turn back to EU. In case of Kazakhstan the mindset here is that if Russia comes to the table as Kazakhstan with 7644km of common border with Russia (longest continuous international border in the world) is in turmoil, it will be easy to squeeze concessions from the Polar Bear. Let’s make Russia vulnerable and it will yield, seems the idea. Also, the natural gas delivered to China is through the pipeline that crosses the border at Khorgoz in Kazakhstan. With the way the crowd has been damaging the vital structures there might be the plan at next stage to turn the violence toward the Central-Asia-China gas pipeline thereby disrupting a crucial source of energy supplies to China. As the Ukrainian protests were partly meant to punish Russia, the Kazakhstan protests in great part are meant to punish Russia and China.
The first Color Revolution in the current series was in Yugoslavia in 2000 that resulted in the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević in Belgrade. The crowds chanted a two-word slogan throughout the protests – ‘Gotov je’ which means ‘He is finished.’
Is it just a coincidence that the crowds in Kazakhstan are also chanting a two-word slogan: ‘Shal, ket.’ In the Kazakhstan language it means ‘Old man, go away.’
Another identity mark of Color Revolutions is that no matter what the initial pretext for starting the protests, the spectrum of anger is continuously broadened, and the pawns on the streets are endlessly pumped up to defeat any chance of negotiations.
This is visible in the case of Kazakhstan. By the simplest loop of IF-THEN logic, if the protests started because of sharp rise in the price of LPG, the common fuel for most cars in Kazakhstan, they should have stopped when the government announced to bring the price back to the earlier level. However, the anger was swiftly turned to the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev. This is the classic case of generalizing anger and either coming up with no specific demands or coming up with so many demands that they will be impossible to meet. The purpose is to keep the protests going and make them more violent. The aspiration is not to negotiate but to prolong the violence.
As we saw in the case of Ukrainian Revolution, Vodka was liberally provided to the protesters to keep their minds foggy and offer them the incentive to remain in the Euromaidan. The same is the case with the protests in Kazakhstan. Someone is providing Vodka to the protesters. For many, this could be the main reason to remain on the streets.
Provision of paraphernalia is also a hallmark of Color Revolutions. In Ukraine they provided mini tents, food and alcohol to the protestors, in Kazakhstan they are providing means of transport, food, and alcohol.
It is simply a lawless rampage in the garb of protests.
As a matter of fact, as the Kazakh political scientist Daniyar Ashimbayev has pointed out, the riots, apparently, are of a near-criminal nature. “There is no need to call the participants of the riots in Almaty “protesters”. We see youth gangs, looters, rioters, extremists, hooligans and provocateurs. It is quite obvious to assume the presence of organizers and coordinators. [Apparently] the rioters are being brought back to the scene by shadowy criminal radical groups,” he wrote in his Telegram account.
Although Ashimbayev calls the acts of ‘protestors’ near-criminal in nature, they are actually heinous crimes in the category of terrorism.
The ‘protestors’ have beheaded at least three policemen. This is an act of terrorism. Storming of the Almaty Airport is an act of terrorism. Burning of the buildings and structures of national importance are acts of terrorism. Disruption of railway traffic is an act of terrorism. Looting of shops and public property is terrorism.
The Russian foreign office said on 6 January 2022, “We view the recent developments in this friendly country as externally provoked attempts at disrupting the security and integrity of the state through violent means, including trained and organised armed groups.”
The White House press secretary Jen Psaki quickly replied, “There are some crazy Russian claims about the U.S. being behind this, so let me just use this opportunity to convey that as absolutely false and clearly a part of the standard Russian disinformation playbook we’ve seen a lot of in past years.”
The circumstantial evidence is on the side of the Russian foreign office.
Moreover, the draft agreement presented by Russia for the Russia-NATO security pact, ahead of the meeting that will take place in Brussels on 12 January 2022, has article 7 that says: The Parties that are member States of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization shall not conduct any military activity on the territory of Ukraine as well as other States in the Eastern Europe, in the South Caucasus and in Central Asia.
Also, according to Russian Foreign ministry, “the non-expansion of NATO and preventing the deployment of weapons systems near the Russian border that threaten Russia’s security will be front and centre during the upcoming talks with the United States and NATO”.
The connection between the Kazakh protests and this article in the draft agreement presented by Russia is that violent protests aka Color Revolution is a roundabout method of military intervention because the aims are the same: toppling a sitting government through violence and replacing it with a puppet regime.
The CSTO is sending a contingent of member countries to Kazakhstan. According to the press release of CSTO, “The main tasks of the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces will be the protection of important state and military facilities, assistance to the law enforcement forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan in stabilizing the situation and returning it to the legal field.”
OilCapital has published a lengthy analytical report that sheds some light on the anatomy of the ‘protests’ in Kazakhstan.
The analysis, titled Political Lighter Found for Kazakhstan is available at this link – https://oilcapital.ru/article/general/06-01-2022/dlya-kazahstana-nashli-politicheskuyu-zazhigalku
It has some convincing arguments.
Commenting on the LPG market in Kazakhstan, OilCapital says that chronic shortage of LPG for motorists was especially aggravated in 2021, since the number of vehicles switched to liquefied gas almost doubled from 2019 to 2021 – from 139,990 units to 313,373 units.
It says that even though the price of LPG doubled from nearly 15 cents to about 30 cents, it was still the cheapest in the region. In the neighbouring Russia where the per capita GDP is only slightly higher than Kazakhstan, the price is at least double and in Ukraine even more.
The OilCapital, citing the TV speech of the president of Kazkahstan, says that crowds of militant elements beat up military personnel, paraded them naked through the streets, raped women and robbed shops.
It says further that some video clips circulating on the social media are actually from February 2014 during a protest action on the Maidan in Kiev. They are being presented as scenes from Kazakhstan protests.
As to who is orchestrating the violent unrest in Kazakhstan, there are various speculations. Some blame it on the rich Kazakhs abroad, mainly in the UK. Some think that the show is being directed from Ukraine. Some want to argue that the internal tussle among some super rich individuals and families within Kazakhstan could partially be the reason for such swift and massive protests.
As any student of street power knows, the crowds can gather spontaneously, chant some slogans and perhaps commit some violence but they cannot continue for days together without any central planning and leadership.
Regardless of who is the author of this atrocity, there is also the need to see that considerable damage is being caused to the economy of Kazakhstan.
The output from Tengiz oil field, the largest in Kazakhstan, has been adjusted downward because of logistics problems. About 700000 barrels of oil comes from this field daily.
Kazakhstan is the second largest centre for bitcoin mining since last year. Because of Internet disruptions in Kazakhstan, the Hash rate has dropped by more than 16%. Hash rate is a key measure of how much computing power is required to support the network and to create bitcoin. It means that while the bitcoin miners in Kazakhstan will lose, their competitors in other countries will gain during this period of disorder. Also, the bitcoin has lost about 8% of its value.
Kazakhstan’s 2045 dollar bond has fallen by as much as 1 cent and neared 20-month lows.
The retail banking system and cash vending machines have come to a halt for now and this will interrupt consumer supply chain.
There are also intangible damages such as probable loss in investor confidence though it is too early to contemplate that.
What we can say with certainty is that Kazakhstan is facing an attempted Color Revolution.
The things should hopefully normalize within the next few days if the government continues to exercise patience and tact rather than answering violence with violence.
It would be of utmost importance to avoid any direct confrontation between the street crowds and CSTO contingent.
This unpleasant situation will go away, one way or the other, but its causes will remain behind. — There are two components to this: 1. Genuine grievances of the people, and 2. The declared goal of Joe Biden to confront China and Russia.
The genuine grievances of the people can be addressed as and when the government decides to do so; the earlier, the better.
The American intentions to confront China and Russia will keep sending shock waves to different parts of the world.
Central Asia must brace for more surprises. Forewarned is forearmed. /// nCa, 7 January 2022