Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday issued its most definitive and biting criticisms of the unfolding crisis just its its south, in the large former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan, which it should be remembered is the size of Europe in terms of land mass.
Echoing statements this week from embattled strongman Kazakh president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who has labeled the raging and increasingly violent fuel price hike protests and riots as “terroristic” in nature and inspired by “outside” forces, Russia has described a “foreign-inspired attempt to use armed and trained groups of people” to overthrow the legitimate government.
“We consider the recent events in a friendly country to be a foreign-inspired attempt to use armed and trained groups of people forcibly to undermine the security and integrity of the state“, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.
“She stressed that Russia is interested in reinstating the status quo in Kazakhstan, and will assist Kazakh authorities in stopping the violence,” Russian media further cited her as saying.
Earlier in the day relatively small deployments of Russian paratroopers were filmed boarding military transport aircraft. This after the regional Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) alliance authorized a peace-keeping force on the ground. As we noted previously, there’s nothing so far to suggest that the Kremlin is deploying a very large force – also as it likely has its eyes still focused on the Ukraine crisis 2.0 and NATO eastward expansion.
A number of Western observers have noted the unlikelihood of Russia getting too bogged down the Kazakhstan situation. Given the expanse of the protests and unrest, any significant deployment and crackdown against the rioting would require a huge military and logistical effort.
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