From protests to terrorist attacks. Chronology of events in Kazakhstan
People in Kazakhstan will never forget the first week of 2022. The country experienced the worst shock in the history of Independence. Experts, political scientists and historians will be figuring out what happened and how the tragedy could have been prevented. We will try to create the entire timeline of recent events.
On January 2, peaceful protests erupted in western Kazakhstan over a sharp rise in gas prices. The demands of the protesters were heard and fulfilled by the authorities, but unrest could not be avoided. On January 5, the aggression swept 11 regions of the country at once. But the hardest hit city was Almaty. Criminal gangs set fire to the mayor’s office and other administrative buildings, destroyed infrastructure facilities, looted shops, and seized the airport. At this time, roads and railways were shut down, the work of ambulances and firefighters was blocked. Even then it became clear that this was a terrorist attack and all actions were coordinated from one center. The only purpose of what was happening was the seizure of power.
“I have no doubt that it was a terrorist attack. A well-organized and prepared act of aggression against Kazakhstan with the participation of foreign militants. They are mostly from Central Asian countries, including Afghanistan. There were also militants from the Middle East. The goal was to form a zone of controlled chaos in Kazakhstan forward by forceful seizure of power. That is why, the counter terrorism operation has been launched in Kazakhstan,” said Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan.
According to official information, terrorists in Almaty used firearms against civilians. Amateur footage shows the moment of organized delivery of rifles with shotguns. The militants take weapons directly from the trunk of a car.
In the evening of January 5, the Head of State appeals to the leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, as the situation in the country requires tough decisions. The main goal is to stop the terrorists, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stressed. According to him, among the extremists there are many professional militants trained in special camps, including foreign nationals.
“Relying on the collective security treaty, today I turned to the heads of the CSTO member states to provide assistance to Kazakhstan in overcoming this terrorist threat. In fact, this is no longer a threat, this is an undermining of the integrity of the state, and most importantly, this is an attack on our citizens who ask me, as the head of state, to urgently help them,” added Kazakh President.
The CSTO Council responded to the request of Kazakhstan. Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Tajikistan sent peacekeeping forces to the country. In total, more than 2,000 militaries and 250 units of equipment arrived in Kazakhstan. The contingent was engaged in the guard of strategic facilities in Almaty, Nur-Sultan and other regions of the country.
“A coordinated and externally supported hybrid attack against this country with the direct participation of armed terrorist gangs, apparently trained in terrorist camps abroad and clearly having experience in military operations in the hot spots of the planet, led to tragic consequences in Kazakhstan. The country essentially faced the aggression of international terrorism, which threatened to undermine the constitutional order, destroy the institutions of government, and seize power,” said Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson, Russian Foreign Ministry.
The next day, on January 6, a special investigative group from the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Kazakh Interior Ministry and the National Security Committee was engaged in clarifying the causes and identifying those responsible for the riots in Almaty. The security forces were ordered to increase combat readiness and support the families of the deceased. Members of police, the NSC, the National Guard, and several cadets of departmental educational institutions were killed in riots in Kazakhstan.
The President makes a decisive speech, giving order to shoot to kill terrorists and extremists without any warning. When it comes to the life and safety of Kazakh people, there simply cannot be any other way out, he said.
“There are some calls abroad for the parties to negotiate to resolve problems peacefully. What nonsense! What kind of talks can take place with criminals, with murderers?” added Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of Kazakhstan.
Monday, January 10, was declared a day of national mourning for the deceased.
Heads of many states, representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations expressed words of support and condolences to the families of those killed in terrorist actions in the country.
“The violence and destruction faced by the citizens of Almaty over the past week has been shocking. Other cities have also suffered violent attacks. On this National Day of Mourning, on behalf of HM Government I send my deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who have tragically lost their lives. We with Kazakhstan as it recovers from these devastating events,” said Kathy Leach, British Ambassador to Kazakhstan.
We deeply regret the incidents and deaths in Kazakhstan. Peace and stability in Kazakhstan are our top priorities. Turkey will always be on the side of Kazakhstan,” said Ibrahim Kalin, Turkish Presidential spokesperson.
On January 11, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev addressed the Mazhilis with a new set of instructions to the Government. The new Cabinet was announced at the same time.
“Now I want to tell you, dear compatriots, that I am proud of you. Despite the provocations, destructive appeals, you remained faithful to the law and your country,” said Kazakh President.
Kazakhstan is gradually returning to the normal life. However, law enforcement officers conduct counter-terrorism operations on sites. The CSTO peacekeeping contingent successfully completed its mission and began to leave the country on January 13.
Translation by Saniya Sakenova
Editing by Saule Mukhamejanova