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Russia Deploys Armed Forces to Quell Deadly Riots in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan Russia
Protesters in Kazakhstan stormed government buildings. Credit: Video screenshot/YouTube/BBC

Russia, along with other post-Soviet states, has deployed “peace-keeping” forces to stabilize Kazakhstan following deadly protests against a hike in fuel prices.

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) — which includes Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan — decided to send collective “peacekeeping forces” for a “limited” period of time “in view of the threat to national security and the sovereignty of the Republic of Kazakhstan.”

The move follows an appeal from Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev for help from the alliance after unrest broke out across Kazakhstan on Wednesday, including in its largest city, Almaty.

Dozens killed in Kazakhstan clashes

Kazakhstan‘s security forces say they have killed dozens of anti-government rioters after protesters tried to take control of police stations in the city.

Twelve members of the security forces have been killed and 353 injured in the unrest, sparked by a doubling in the cost of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Protests began on Sunday when the government lifted its price cap on LPG, which many people use to fuel their cars, but the unrest has since spread to include political grievances.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has accused foreign-trained “terrorist gangs” of being behind the trouble and has imposed a nationwide state of emergency that includes a curfew and a ban on mass gatherings.

Tokayev said “terrorists” had captured Almaty airport, including five aircraft, and were battling with the military outside the city.

A number of infrastructure facilities in Almaty have been damaged, Tokayev said. He accused the protesters of undermining the “state system” and claimed that “many of them have received military training abroad.”

Until 2019 Kazakhstan was run by President Nazarbayev, whose rule was marked by elements of a personality cult, with statues of him erected across the country and the capital renamed after him.

Most elections in the Central Asian country are won by the ruling party with nearly 100% of the vote and there is no effective political opposition.

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