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Jan 6, 2022
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Kazakh riot: Shoigu threw paratroopers into Baikonur

In the photo: servicemen during the counter-terrorist operation against participants in the riots.  Protests in Kazakhstan began on January 2 in the cities of Zhanaozen and Aktau, where residents rallied against high fuel prices

In the photo: servicemen during the counter-terrorist operation against participants in the riots. Protests in Kazakhstan began on January 2 in the cities of Zhanaozen and Aktau, where residents rallied against high fuel prices (Photo: Valery Sharifulin / TASS)

The current situation in Kazakhstan could not leave Russia indifferent for a number of reasons, including the presence in this country of a number of Russian military facilities. And they need to be protected not only from the banal looting of a rebellious, but well-organized crowd, but also from possible access to secret technologies and equipment. There is only one cosmodrome Baikonur worth something!

Russia has a whole bunch of military facilities in Kazakhstan. This is, first of all, the 5th State Cosmodrome (as part of Baikonur), a separate transport aviation regiment in Kostanay, a separate radio engineering unit in Priozersk at the Sary-Shagan training ground, there is also the State test range for air defense and missile defense systems, as well as 20 I am a separate measuring station of the Strategic Missile Forces in the village of Novaya Kazanka. They cannot be called military bases in the direct sense of this meaning, there are no offensive types of weapons, and the personnel only have small arms from the security units. But the “stuffing” of the objects is quite serious.

Local law enforcement agencies and special services were mainly involved in the protection of Russian facilities in Kazakhstan. The inner perimeter was under the control of the Russian military, for which a small number of Russian security units were used – more was not needed. In the current situation, when the authorities of Kazakhstan were unable to control the situation, and part of the army went over to the side of the rebels, there was a threat of seizure of Russian military facilities.

Moscow responded promptly to these threats. Last night, a decision was made on the short-term introduction of the Collective Peacekeeping Forces of the CSTO into the territory of Kazakhstan. It was voiced by the President of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, since he is the chairman of the Collective Security Council of this organization in 2022. In addition to Kazakhstan, the Collective Security Treaty Organization includes Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Belarus and Russia. It is clear that the decision was made in the Kremlin. Moscow was the first to send its military units to Kazakhstan, with the wording “with the aim of stabilizing and normalizing the situation in this country”, which corresponds to the 4th article of the Treaty. The real goal is to quickly cover their military facilities on the territory of Kazakhstan.

There are reports that Russia is sending its PMCs to Baikonur to guard the cosmodrome. It is possible that private military companies will subsequently be involved in this process, but the army is able to react much more quickly. Also, as they say, the ink on the signature on the introduction of the CSTO peacekeepers into Kazakhstan had not dried up, and the Russian military transport aircraft with paratroopers on board were already in the air. Reportedly, in the “first wave” is a special forces company of the 76th airborne assault division of the Airborne Forces (Pskov) and a company of the 45th separate special-purpose brigade. The groups of the 2nd and 24th special forces brigades of the Central Military District, as well as the 55th battalion of the mountain brigade of the Central Military District, are also on high alert.

Judging by the fact that Il-76 military transport aircraft and heavy An-124 are used in the transfer of Russian paratroopers to Kazakhstan, armored vehicles are also included in the groups. It is unlikely that the BTA aircraft are heading for the Kostonai airfield – this Kazakh city is located in the north of the country, but the Krainy airfield, which Russia leases from Kazakhstan, is located 6 kilometers from the Baikonur cosmodrome.

No less important is the 10th separate radio engineering center in Priozersk on the shore of Lake Balkhash. The Sary-Shagan test site itself lost its original purpose when it was actively used to test anti-missile weapons and ballistic missiles. Remained the measuring complex of the State test site for air defense and missile defense, which provides fixation of all characteristics of the tested warheads launched from the Kapustin Yar test site.

But the radar station located here is part of the Russian missile attack warning system and provides control of air and outer space from Pakistan, central and western China, and “finishes off” the Indian Ocean.

The 20th separate measuring station of the Strategic Missile Forces in the village of Novaya Kazanka in the North Kazakhstan region was reduced in 2010, but its equipment was partially preserved and operates in the interests of the Russian army.

It is unlikely that the CSTO peacekeeping forces, primarily their Russian component, will take part in hostilities on the territory of Kazakhstan against the protesters. This is the task of local law enforcement and the Kazakh army. As Leonid Kalashnikov, chairman of the State Duma committee on CIS affairs, notes, the peacekeepers will ensure the safety of facilities and infrastructure. He did not specify which ones, however, we are primarily talking about Russian strategic military facilities. It is possible that with the aggravation of the situation in Kazakhstan, the diplomatic missions of Russia in this country will be taken under protection.

What forces can Moscow send to Kazakhstan to protect the safety of its citizens and facilities? A possible dispatch, in addition to the paratroopers who have already flown to Kazakhstan, units of the CSTO CRRF is expected. The Russian component of the Collective Rapid Reaction Forces includes the 31st separate airborne assault brigade (Ulyanovsk) and the 98th airborne division (Ivanovo). They can be reinforced by other units of the Russian Airborne Forces, as well as motorized rifle, engineering and aviation units, as appropriate.

In Kazakhstan itself, the CRRF includes the 37th airborne assault brigade and an operational battalion. Presumably, they are now already involved in suppressing riots in a number of cities in the country. Belarus can present its peacekeepers – the 103rd separate airborne brigade, but the CRRF of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia each includes one battalion. However, none of the leaders of these countries has yet declared their readiness to help Kazakhstan. Only Russia responded promptly – it has something to defend.

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