The unrest in Kazakhstan has been contained. There is no doubt that it was an attempt for Color Revolution with the aim of toppling the government in Kazakhstan and the aspiration that it would spread to Russia.
The challenge now, not just for Kazakhstan but the entire region, is to identify the causes and factors that led to this unrest and how to take preventive steps to avoid such occurrences in the future.
We need to wait for the official report from the government of Kazakhstan to understand the anatomy of this uprising but in the mean time here are some points that could be helpful for Central Asia:
The first thing to register and remember is that the USA and its allies will continue to consider Central Asia as the convenient space for their proxy combat against Russia and China. They definitely don’t want any of these tussles to take place in their own territories and they are wary of the consequences if they try to trigger such events directly in the territories of Russia or China.
The thinking, apparently, is that by inducing Color Revolutions in Central Asia and bringing in the regimes hostile to Russia and China, the USA and its allies can achieve nearly the same objectives they would hope to accomplish by direct confrontation with Russia and China. The additional bonus, for them, would be the control of the natural resources and trade-transportation networks of the region.
The good news for Central Asia is that the USA and its allies approach the task with barren imagination, relying on the old templates and outsourcing the dirty work to inept contractors.
For instance, about 20000 persons were brought to Almaty to unleash violence, poorly disguised as protesters.
Here is the explanation.
Let’s recall that about 5000 people were brought from smaller cities and villages to Bishkek to start the Tulip Revolution against the government of Askar Akaev in 2005. At that time the population of Kyrgyzstan was about 5 million. It means that 1000 ‘protesters’ for every million of total population were sufficient to topple the sitting government.
The current population of Kazakhstan is nearly 20 million. If we look at the success of the Tulip Revolution, how many people should we bring to Almaty to topple the Kazakh government? Yes. 20000.
What is the source of this ‘magic number’? Why 1000 : 1000000?
The explanation is in the guerilla style tactics for paralyzing and eventually toppling a sitting government. It is considered that a well trained group of 10 persons can paralyze the government of an area where the population is around one million. Also, a well trained mob of 1000 can create conditions for toppling the administration of an area with population of one million.
That is why roughly 20000 persons were brought to Almaty.
The other methods of guerilla style assault on the civil government were also used.
The mobs targeted the government offices and the buildings that were vital for running the administration. The purpose was to frighten the employees from coming to office and thereby bringing to halt the working of the government.
The ATMs were targeted to deny the people the access to cash. These days people don’t keep lot of cash at home; they draw from the nearby ATM whatever cash they need for their daily grocery shopping. With the absence of a terminal to draw cash, it was expected by the planners that the general population will also come out on the streets in anger and frustration.
The transportation infrastructure was targeted. The roads and railway lines were blocked. The Almaty airport was stormed. The purpose was to cut off cities from each other and disrupt the supply chain.
The backbone of the economy, the oil and gas industry was targeted.
The features we have mentioned so far are taken directly from the old template of the Color Revolutions.
However, this time we have noticed two new elements. Both are equally disturbing and alarming.
The first is the involvement of ISIS in the violence. At present it is just what we think and we will need to wait for the official report from Kazakhstan to add some degree of certainty to this assertion.
While speaking of ISIS, it must be underlined that there is nothing Islamic about the Islamic State (ISIS). It is an American enterprise. This is not hypothesis. It has been proven in Afghanistan.
The second is that there was the objective of starting inter-ethnic violence in Kazakhstan. We have our own observations on this and we will not elaborate further on this for now. Nevertheless, there are credible indications that attempts were made to start inter-ethnic fighting.
The funding and logistics were mysterious. Just for Almaty alone, if the crowd of nearly 20000 should remain on the streets, it means the expense of about USD 5 per day per person for their food. Add to that the liberally distributed alcohol and facilities to spend the night in some kind of shelter. We are talking of the expenditure of nearly half a million dollars a day. Add further the expenses in all the other places where the ‘protests’ took place. — Who was spending about a million dollars a day to dislodge the government in Kazakhstan? Who was choreographing the entire spectacle?
It was an authentic version of Color Revolution. They even came up with a name for it – Kazakh Spring.
Now let’s look at some steps the Central Asian countries can take to avoid such occurrences in the future.
The first and foremost is, of course, to remain abreast of the grievances and complaints of the population and to address them in a timely manner. A happy and contented population is the best protection against any Color Revolution.
In addition, there are several measures that can be taken but the catchword is that instead of generalization, each preventive action must be accurately specific. A blanket approach would be counter-productive.
One of the necessary things to do is to review the scope and activities of NGOs receiving foreign funding, directly or indirectly.
Not all foreign-funded NGOs are harmful to the society and the country but enough of them have caused mischief in Central Asia to warrant a suspicious glance at all of them.
As far as the social media is concerned, the answer is in allowing more access to the people rather than restricting the access. This sounds rather counter intuitive but it is true. — If the government clamps down on the social media, the people generally find some other way.
Instead of blocking the social media, it is advisable to increase the strength of the organization that is responsible for protecting the interests of the country in the cyber space. More people with contemporary media skills should be hired to join the conversation. They should not only monitor the flow of the conversation but also contribute, just like any other member of the group, to steer the conversation in a positive direction.
Allowing more access to the social media will also help identify the pockets or blocks of any particular line of thought. For instance, if a conversation is going in a particular direction that could be a source of concern, the geography of that line of thought can be determined by looking at the IP addresses.
Together with allowing more access to the social media, it would be greatly helpful to encourage the vloggers who are creating positive content. This can be done by volunteers who can like and share the constructive videos, thereby bringing them to the top of the selection of videos offered by the social media platform to the viewers.
It is also of use for the Central Asian authorities to register that people want a few things when they take to surfing the net for the video they want to watch. They say: Inform me. Entertain me. Surprise me. Make me laugh. Make me think. Make me feel part of a group.
The organization responsible for monitoring the surfing habits of the people should also keep in mind that the people normally lock into a certain pattern; they return more for what they like. This insight can be put to affirmative use.
A crucial area is the integrity of the supply chain. In simple terms, the supply chain consists of two elements: 1. The availability of the essential items for the consumers; 2. The means of transportation and distribution from the source to the consumer.
Central Asia doesn’t have any serious problems in the maintenance of the supply chain but, as a safety measure, it is important to plan alternative sources of supply and means of transportation.
To further strengthen the supply chain, Central Asian countries can continue their newly started preference for sourcing goods and services in the immediate neighbourhood. This is an excellent idea and must be pursued with vigor.
The utilities such as electricity, gas, water are also reliably provided to the population without any serious interruptions. While the region is switching to the digital systems, there is the risk of creating vulnerabilities like the possibility of hacking of the system or remotely triggered disruption. Options should be built within the system to automatically switch to local or manual control in such cases.
Pretending that religion doesn’t exist is not the solution. The absence of truthful religious education creates the vacuum in which the extremist ideologies thrive. There is the need to provide the religious education under the official patronage. For this, a small, standard textbook can be prepared to give the essential knowledge to the youth.
These are just some of the issues that must be kept under consideration but the centrality belongs to the fact that this is the dawn of the multi-polar world where the balance of power is shifting from one hemisphere to the other. The USA and its allies will fight tooth and nail and use every possible tactic to maintain the status quo.
In the economic sphere, the Europe and USA are not in the same corner any more. By remaining glued to the hip of the USA, the Europe will be harming its own interests. There is some recognition of this fact already. Central Asia can use this by creating win-win partnerships with Europe on bilateral and multilateral basis. There more there is economic co-dependence between Central Asia and Europe the less there would be the space for Color Revolutions. If the USA is ideologically and economically isolated, it will lose the appetite for Color Revolutions.
Quite separately, there is another aspect of these attempts for Color Revolutions that is almost entirely overlooked. — The way these Color Revolutions are designed, they promote disrespect for elders. It tears across the whole fabric of the Central Asian society.
Contrary to the west, in Central Asia the family is the basic unit of the society. There are concentric circles: The interests of the individual are surrounded by the interests of the family, and the interests of the family are surrounded by the interests of the country.
Even when an attempt for the Color Revolution fails, it damages this primary structure.
To wrap up, it must be said that the root cause of the Color Revolutions or any other form of unrest in Central Asia is the American resentment for the rise of China and Russia.
The people, particularly the younger people, who get swayed by the American propaganda and lay their lives for the wrong cause must comprehend that the facts tell their own story.
They must be reminded that the USA is the country with the largest per capita prison population in the world. The death penalty in the USA is still in force. It is a country with very large homeless population and more than half of the total population is just one paycheck away from homelessness. It is the USA that refuses to take responsibility for its war crimes. The average American is stuck in the quicksand of mortgage and other loans. It is in the USA where hate crimes against ethnic and religious minorities take place at alarming rate. Every other day someone opens fire in a pub or a school. The USA is the dynamo for porn including child porn. Actually, the list is endless.
When the Americans come to Central Asia to trigger a Color Revolution, do they say that even though we imprison most people in the world, we kill some of them, we let a significant number of our people sleep on the streets, we keep our people chained to mortgages and loans, we foster hate against ethnic and religious minorities, we go on shooting sprees frequently in the shopping malls and schools, and we provide porn to the world but you should ignore all of this and just go out and topple your own government?
Instead of putting their own house in order, the Americans prefer to put other people’s houses in disorder.
In addition to addressing the genuine problems and grievances of the people, it is fundamentally the question of Perception Management. This should be at the heart of the preparations for preventing any future attempts for Color Revolutions in this region. /// nCa, 13 January 2022