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Jan 8, 2022
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General Ivashov: Radical Islamists flee from Kazakhstan to Russia

In the photo: a burning car near the building of the mayor's office (akimat) in Almaty.  Protesters against the rise in fuel prices broke into the akimat building and set it on fire.

In the photo: a burning car near the building of the mayor’s office (akimat) in Almaty. Protesters against the rise in fuel prices broke into the akimat building and set it on fire. (Photo: Valery Sharifulin / TASS)

Despite numerous reports about the beginning of stabilization of the situation in Kazakhstan, the situation in the republic remains difficult. According to Sputnik, on the outskirts of Taldykorgan, automatic fires are heard. From the Almaty region, there are regular reports of shooting in various areas. In the regional center, armed clashes continue, the authorities ask the townspeople to stay at home, to comply with the state of emergency. It is known that the head of the border academy of the KNB of Kazakhstan was killed in the battles. Several dozen armed participants in the riots settled in the office of one of the local TV and radio companies, and gunfire was constantly heard in the office area.

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan, during the anti-terrorist situation, 18 security officials were killed and 748 were injured, the police detained 2,298 participants in the riots. More than 70 militants and 30 looters were detained in Alma-Ata.

Another important point: the militants who have seized weapons are retreating from the cities to the countryside, where, apparently, they hope to get lost. Their unhindered retreat is facilitated by the virtual absence of checkpoints and military cordon in cities. According to Vesti, Islamic radical Islamists are in full swing among the crowd of protesters.

In the opinion President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems Leonid IvashovSuch a radicalization of the protests is understandable.

– With the start of mass protests, in a strange way, Islamist militants, criminals and other dangerous elements were released from the prisons of Kazakhstan. In addition, underground cells of various terrorist organizations, including ISIS *, have raised their heads. And all this led to the fact that the performances acquired the character that we observe.

“SP”: – That is, radical Islamists were not the organizers of the riots? Then who was behind them?

– I think the answer is already being heard. What does the dismissal of the government mean? By this the president Tokayev made it clear who is guilty in his eyes. True, I have an idea that the development of events according to a tough scenario did not take place without his participation.

The fact is that the diarchy established in the republic was not beneficial to anyone: neither Tokayev, nor Nazarbayev and his entourage, nor the population. In essence, it was a dilution of responsibility that did not lead to anything good. Nazarbayev’s shadow hung over the security forces, which greatly irritated Tokayev and his entourage.

In addition, the population of Kazakhstan and part of the elite were greatly irritated by the desire for power on the part of the Nazarbayev family: his granddaughter owns luxury real estate abroad, his daughter was persistently promoted into politics, his son-in-law crushed the banking system … All this played a role in increasing citizens’ discontent.

“SP”: – But the trigger for the dissatisfaction of citizens was a twofold increase in the price of gas …

– At first it was an act of social discontent. Among the demands was a decrease in the retirement age, an increase in salaries and pensions. And the question arises: why immediately, as soon as the first signs of discontent appeared, the country’s leadership did not show wisdom, did not discuss with the people the current situation and possible socio-economic measures? The emphasis was immediately placed on the power option. To some extent, this allowed radical Islamists to come out of the underground.

“SP”: – Now, when all over the republic are cleansing, the militants are leaving the cities. Can some of them penetrate into the territory of Russia?

– I suppose they will penetrate to us, given the length of the border and its transparency in some areas. But counterintelligence and anti-terrorist departments should already be working here.

“SP”: – The introduction of the CSTO peacekeeping forces, including Russian units, suggests that the leadership of our country understands this threat?

– It is not entirely clear to me why the paratroopers were sent, it was more logical to entrust this to the National Guard. Because the tasks to be solved are much closer to her. The chosen power option raises serious doubts in me. Provocations against our guys are not excluded, some foreign media have already planted fakes with unfounded accusations against them.

In the opinion political scientist, President of the Research Center “Institute of the Middle East” Evgeny Satanovsky, Islamists may be behind the tragic events in Kazakhstan and what is happening may be the harbingers of rather harsh events.

– This suggests that a new phase in the existence of the post-Soviet space has begun. It was brewing for some period, and now we can talk about its coming. After the so-called. It was logical to expect an “Arab spring” for a “Central Asian spring,” there were many prerequisites for it. And then she came – with all the ensuing consequences.

“SP”: – Do you consider the introduction of the CSTO peacekeepers justified?

– The Russian leadership (namely, the decision to send or not to send troops depended on its position) understands the current situation and made an adequate decision. They know how to learn from their mistakes and learn from past events.

“SP”: – Will this measure help suppress the centers of radical Islamism in Kazakhstan and prevent its penetration from there into our territory?

– I am sure of this, otherwise why would the Russian political leadership make a decision to send troops? Our military has already proven their ability to act effectively and solve tasks of a wide variety of types. Their actions in Syria (where, as you know, the “Arab spring” has come), in the Crimea perfectly showed this. I have no doubt that this will be demonstrated in Kazakhstan as well.


* “Islamic State” (IS, ISIS) by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of December 29, 2014 was recognized as a terrorist organization, its activities on the territory of Russia.

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