Kill Without Warning: Kazakhstan Heading Toward Humanitarian Crisis

by Eli Mshomi
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Kazakhstan is facing political instability with rising protests as Russian troops have landed in the country to maintain the so-called law and order.

The city of Almaty is the home of political violence these days, and the decree of the president of the country, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, to shoot protesters without warning is promising to fuel the crisis even further.

Kazakhstan’s President who issued a shoot before warning decree backtracked from his words and reversed the course, however the damage has been done in creating a sense of terror among the masses.

This comes at a time when the United States and Russia talks on Ukraine are on the horizon, and the matter is unnerving the situation further between two nuclear-armed countries.

America has already indicated that it is watching Russian action in Kazakhstan, measuring possible human rights violations.

Kazakhstan's former president Nursultan Nazarbayev ruled the country for three decades and has led the nation into chaos which is the primary reason for protests today.

Kazakhstan’s former president Nursultan Nazarbayev ruled the country for three decades and has led the nation into chaos which is the primary reason for protests today.

Kazakhstan’s Crisis: Russia is Silencing Narratives in its Former Land

The latest round of protests was sparked by the significant rise in fuel prices; however, they have been turned into anti-government demonstrations, fueled by the ineptness of the former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who led the country to chaos for three decades.

This time, the hand-picked successor of Nazarbayev has sacked the government of the country amid the fuel price hike while inviting Russian troops to quell the protests.

And with the arrival of Russian troops came the Russian model of curbing protests as well, where anti-government narratives are suppressed vehemently and mercilessly.

While the protestors captured many government buildings, however, the so-called Russian-led peace-keeping mission has successfully managed to take those buildings back, hence re-establishing the writ of the state in most of the regions.

But, curbing protests forcefully will only serve the purpose of momentary normalcy, as the country can boil over again once Russian forces leave.

Similarly, Russian actions are supposedly curbing fundamental human rights of voting public opinion against the government.

The now-reversed orders of Kazakhstan’s president to shoot protesters without warning depicted the tyranny of the rule which he is trying to pursue in the country.

Russia got a chance of extending its regional  involvement, and with Ukraine already in hot waters, Kazakhstan provides Russia a new battlefield.

Russia got a chance of extending its regional involvement, and with Ukraine already in hot waters, Kazakhstan provides Russia a new battlefield.

Will the United States Successfully Deter Russia on Ukraine and Kazakhstan Matters Together?
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These are some of the reasons why the United States has already voiced its concerns about the possible human rights violation which Russia could follow in the country. 

Being the forces of a non-democratic country, Russian forces are trained to keep the opposite narrative silent, and they are successfully applying the same model in Kazakhstan.

Thus the US should keep a close eye on the happenings and redefine the agenda of its upcoming talks with Russia.

For instance, instead of just debating on the Ukraine crisis, the US can include Kazakhstan human rights abuses in the talks and interlink the two matters so that any Russian demands must not be entertained until it stops pursuing hegemony in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan’s protests are long withstanding and will serve the purpose of agitating political tensions in the upcoming future as well.

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The country has long remained the most stable former member of the Soviet Union; however, after three decades of its independence, the fuel prices protests have resulted in almost 750 injuries, 18 killings, including two people who have their heads cut off.

The US should embrace diplomatic doctrines to initiate talks with the government of Kazakhstan and provide them with the assistance needed to mitigate the protests that could outbreak again.

This is not only important to help stabilize the country but also necessary to curb the rising ambitions of Russia, which is expanding its outreach on a daily basis.

Final Thoughts

If Russia is given a free hand, it will undeniably perceive it as a signal to invade its neighboring countries, especially Ukraine, which is already seeing mammoth challenges.

But as violent elements in Kazakhstan have started taking advantage of the insatiable political order and taking laws into their hands by firing on state authorities, Kazakhstan’s president will have all the reasons to oppress the peaceful protestors as well, whose voices are not being heard at the international level.

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