Widespread protests in Kazakhstan – TTG/

Nazarbayev stepped down from chair of the security council as part of the entire government either being fired or resigning. France 24 is saying his family may have fled the country. Officially the unrest is due to  protests over recent fuel price hikes, but the unrest is throughout the country rather than just in the west where fuel prices really matter. Nazarbayev has not only been the dictator of Kazakhstan since the fall of the USSR, but his family has been seizing control of more and more economic sectors beyond oil and gas. The LPG fuel hike may have just been a convenient catalysts for these protests. 

Tokayev, the current president and long time protege of Nazarbayev, declared a national emergency and is seeking help from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Moscow-backed security alliance, for help quelling the protests that he said were led by terrorists and outside financially motivated conspirators. This is pretty much how the WTO was used throughout its existence. I’m also sure Putin, Tokayev and Nazarbayev are thinking of the Maidan Revolution in this regard… or the Prague Spring.

An interesting aspect in this saga concerns the shutdown of the Kazahk internet. Kazahkstan has become a major destination for bitcoin miners, especially all those miners recently expelled from China. On Tokayev’s orders, the largest telecom provider shuttered the internet to interrupt communications among the opposition’s ranks, but this led to something else. “When the web goes down, miners can’t communicate with the Bitcoin network. The “hash rate,” the random codes that win fresh awards of Bitcoin, collapses. A few hours into the outage, Larry Cermak of the crypto news and research site The Block tweeted that a full 12% of Bitcoin’s worldwide computational power had vanished. His data showed sharp declines for a number of producers with operations in Kazakhstan. The hash rates for many cryptocurrencies fell between 12% and 16%” in a matter of hours. It may not mean much in the long run, but it does show what a haven Kazahkstan has become for these currencies.


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42 Responses to Widespread protests in Kazakhstan – TTG/

  1. Babeltuap says:

    They set fire to the presidential residence and the mayor’s office. Media is saying it’s over the doubling of liquid fuel for cars. Not sure what that means. The report suggest they use some type of alternate blended fuel? No idea.

    The government also shutdown the internet which is absolutely not helping simmer things down. Apparently a decent amount of crypto miners now on unpaid vacation. So drivers, bitcoin miners any anyone else who doesn’t plow a field for a living are likely not shiny happy people right about now. Oh, and Russia said they are sending their “peace corp” calvary…yeah right.

    • zmajcek says:

      Petrol is traditionally very expensive in Europe so many convert their vehicles to run on liquified gas as well. It can cut down fuel cost almost in half. It is also environment friendly.

      • Fred says:


        petrol is epensive because of taxes imposed in Europe. Natural gas vehicles, on an energy efficieny basis, are a lot less efficient than deisel or gas.

        • TTG says:


          I just noticed that looking at my generator booklet. It generates more wattage with gas than propane. Didn’t know that until today.

          • Pat Lang says:

            Mine runs on natural gas.

          • TTG says:


            I planned to run mine on propane since that would alleviate the need to empty the tank before storage. It would have been easier all around. Unfortunately my year old propane tank leaked so I used gas. A full gas tank lasted through the night.

        • zmajcek says:

          even though it is less efficient, the price is so much lower that you still save a lot of money.

          In the case of Kazakhstan, they were paying about
          1.8$ per US Gallon of petrol and just 0.54$ per gallon for LPG. That is a huge difference.

          Then the government decided to double the price of LPG to about 1.07$ per gallon (still well below average LPG price) and the protests started.


    • TTG says:


      That LPG is propane. We use it for vehicle fuel here as well as for gas grills and home heating. Don’t know why its use is so widespread in Kazakhstan.

  2. TTG says:

    UPDATE: Units of the 45th Guards Spetznaz and other airborne units from Ivanovo and Ulyanovsk are being sent to Almaty as the CSTO forces. This is according to RIA Novosti with reference to the RF Ministry of Defense. Some of these units are already on the ground in Kazakhstan. This is equivalent to us sending Ranger units or maybe even SFOD-Delta. Putin definitely is taking this extremely seriously. These demonstrations will be put down hard… at least for a while.

    The Ministry of Internal Affairs says 18 security officials have been killed and 748 injured. The Ministry of Health says 10 medical workers injured during protests in Almaty. A lot of weapons were seized by demonstrators yesterday when a large police garrison was occupied.

    A Russian reporter out of Moscow wrote “The RT head says there should be conditions to Russia’s assistance to Kazakhstan, including recognition of Crimea, switching back to Cyrillic, making Russian a state language. Importantly, “not lie to the boss”. The boss likely being Putin. With allies like this who needs enemies.” Nazarbayev has reported called for reunification with Russia, but I’ve only seen this once.

    • JohninMK says:

      Coincidentally those units now dispatched to Kazakhstan are the same as were in Crimea in 2014. They arrived today with EW assets.

      Although Nazarbayev started as an old style Soviet leader he tried to play both sides, perhaps recognising that in the long term any ill gotton gains were safer in the West. So whilst remaining, in terms of the organisations the country was signed up with, firmly in the Russian camp, he set about turning the very large number of Russians there into second class citizens buy reducing the importance of their language and ‘latinising’ the script among others. Elements of this find echos in the Baltics and especially Ukraine.

      He ‘retired’ as president in 2019 but kept control of the Security Council and hence the military, as he and his family asset stripped the country, whilst Tokayev, his hand picked successor, ruled. This couldn’t last and it hasn’t, it looks like Junior has successfully turned against the Old Man.

      Planned and instigated by whom, how organised and why now are fruitful subjects of conjecture on the Internet at the moment.

      The US definitely has fingers in it as this area was fifth and next on a Rand Corp strategy plan, for corralling the Russians, back in 2019. If it was, it may have been a plan pulled forward to put pressure on Putin in next weeks discussions.

      It could also have been the Russians, with Tokayev, getting rid of Nazarbayev with the timing set to boost Putin’s position next week.

      Either way it seems the Russians moved either very quickly or were already in the key positions, the airfields, yesterday, blocking any possible incoming assistance to the rebels. Today its all over bar the shouting and the reckoning.

    • John Credulous says:

      This is a mouse-trap

      And seems familiar:

      Alastair Crooke nailed it:
      On the day of the truly mass protests against the fuel hike, no one was killed. And, on the following day, the protestors almost wholly vanished from the streets. Instead, small groups of pre-prepared, armed and violent activists – not protestors – attacked the strategic hubs of state infrastructure: banks, petro-chemical plants, the gas network, and fuel storage. These hubs were attacked using rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and sub-machine guns. Other groups took out banks (100s of them), armed with guns, swords and iron bars. (One of these latter groups attacked six banks in the space of just one hour.) Nothing here was spontaneous or ‘populist’.

      The security forces reacted militarily – arresting and killing many insurgents. And yes – the internet was shut down. But, not the internal Iranian internet – only the global internet. So, the Iranian equivalent of WhatsApp and Telegraph, and Iranian news channels were still accessible – though the global internet was not. The overseas anger at the external internet shut-down possibly reflected surprise and irritation that Iran had this capability. Likely, it was not a capacity that Iran was thought to possess.

      So what was going on? The Iranian government, it seems, had prior knowledge of plans to stage attacks by ‘activists’, as a part of an (externally formulated and resourced) disruption plan. But that original plan indicated that the start of these actions would take place early next year.

      What seems to have happened is that when the fuel hike protests began, these ‘activists’ were given the go-ahead to ‘seize the moment’. In other words, they activated all their pre-prepared plans prematurely. This was exactly what the Iranian security forces wanted, and had sought. It enabled them to ‘smoke out’ the plot, and to arrest, or kill the ring-leaders.

  3. Sam says:


    Do you see any competition between Putin and Xi to see who gets influence in Kazakhstan? It is a huge mineral producer including uranium and natural gas and it would appear both would like a piece of the action.

    Also, why these demonstrations against the government now? Nazarbayev and his family have been corrupt for a long time and pretty much own the place.

    • TTG says:


      China has made a lot of investments in Kazakhstan. I have no idea if there is any real competition between Putin and Xi for political influence. It’s possible, but I doubt we’ll see it openly.

      The rise in LPG prices was just a convenient trigger for demonstrations. The discontent was widespread and deep and Nazarbayev’s continued theft was not slowing down.

  4. Mark Logan says:

    Looks a bit like “resource curse”. Not that different from Nigeria or some Latin American s-holes. The cash flow is mainly at the top end so a few wealthy people horde the profits while their people live on next to nothing. A stack of tinder looking for a spark.

    Putin should look to replace the current leadership with someone a bit less greedy, or maybe just less Marie Antionette-like. For the moment, the crowd does not appear to have any leadership or ideology, so maybe the best first move would be to quickly lower the fuel prices, which could do more towards getting that crowd at least temporarily settled than all the door-kickers and head-knockers in the world. Seems the average Kazakh has to make do with $600 a month, and the pics show snow on the ground.
    Simple desperation may be their primary motivation.


  5. Marlene says:

    There are videos of unamarked vehicles handing out weapons to the “protesters”.

    “Protesters” against gas price do not usually destroy a city, airport, surround hospitals, and loot banks and stores.

    Then it is the beheading of some policemen who fallen in the hnads of these “protesters”.

    This is an interesting testimony under Alexander Mercouris analysis by what it seems a local guy:

    “I’d love to be this optimistic about ending the colour revolution era, too, but I think they might try weaker links than Kazakhstan. Besides, I think what Kazakhstan has faced, apart from having been likely to evolve into a colour revolution until this morning, is nothing short of a massive terrorist attack by well organized armed gangs who suddenly came out from behind the backs of the protesters on January, 4. The attackers are reported to have good combat skills and tactics. They attack in groups of five with a commander inside each and obey orders of such commanders. They captured huge buildings in a matter of minutes. The Riot police and the military have been having a hard time fighting them and have been attacked themselves multiple times sustaining casualties. Individuals who came from Afghanistan have been found among the attackers captured by the military.
    It could also be seen by the magnitude of vandalism Alma-Ata and some other cities have gone through and the mutilations caused to the corpses of the few unlucky officers who had been captured and killed, that most of the armed attackers and looters were not locals and many were not even from Kazakhstan.
    Well I’m not eyewitnessing any of this myself being in Russia, this is what I so far know from our media who have their or local reporters on places, including live inverviews of eyewitnesses and raw footages, and I can provide links to whatever I’ve said.
    Quite predictably, according to 100% of the MSM in the West, these are just protests of weary and angry Kazakh people that somehow and somewhere went over the top and are being brutally stamped out by the dictatorship. Oh and by Vladimir Putin from today on, of course, because “he fears democracy”. BBC et al. have long amazed me by their knowledge as to what Putin fears or thinks or plans doing.”

    • TTG says:


      You are right. These violent protests across the country weren’t just over fuel prices. This has been brewing for years under a kleptocratic autocracy. The autocracy will probably continue. Maybe the kleptocracy will be lessened.

      • Marlene says:

        Well, by reading lat post by Riley Waggaman I just decided that as he asks, I have no dog in this fight.

        It seems that Kazakhstan had just become Schwabistan.

        I only fear for the people there.

        I suspected from minute one that this could be a way to demonize coming protests against vaccine mandates and the misery coming.

        Wondering whether similar events will take place in every European country as soon as protests go growing in size, that from the back it will arrive a wave of heavily armed “refugees” or , as it is the the fashion now, “Afghan translators”…

      • Pat Lang says:

        Are the kleptocrats on the right?

        • TTG says:


          The kleptocrats in Kazakhstan are Nazarbayev, his family and his cronies. They’re also the autocrats and communists before that. As autocrats, I consider them on the right.

  6. Leith says:

    Armenia and Belarus reportedly also sent troops to Kazakhstan. What about Kyrgyzstan. are they sending troops. They are also in the CSTO? And they may have the most to lose as the Kazakh/Kyrgyz border looks to be less than 30 clicks from Almaty where the rioting is.

    • TTG says:


      Belarussian troops arrived in 5 Il-76 transports. Haven’t heard about the others. Kyrgyzstan had some serious unrest in 2020 after elections. Haven’t heard anything since then.

      • Leith says:

        TTG –

        According to Eurasianet Kyrgyzstan sent 150, mostly officers & warrants from the Scorpion 25th Special Forces Brigade. No junior enlisted. BTW Kyrgyzstan had a much more serious unrest in 2010 during the Melon Revolution. Casualty figures are closely held but some claim more than 2000 died.

        Interesting that Colonel-General Serdyukov commanding the CSTO forces is the same guy that commanded in 2014 during the annexation of the Crimea. A rising star, I wonder if he is related to Anatoly Serdyukov who was Shoigu’s predecessor as MOD? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrey_Serdyukov

        I tend to agree that the beheadings may be propaganda. The photos of the looted shops seem to say it was more about street gangs than terrorists. I believe there are a couple of hundred thousand Uighurs who fled Xinjiang living in and around Almaty. They are poor and probably jumped at the chance to participate in the looting, but on the other hand there could be some terrorists among them. And I recall a month or two ago the Taliban expelled a group of Uighur Talibs from Afghanistan at the request of China. So did those ex-Taliban Uighurs end up in Kazakhistan?

        There are many calling it international terrorists, including Putin. And Senator Konstantin Kosachev, who is Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Russian Duma’s Upper House said protesters in Kazakhstan included militants drawn from the ranks of armed gangs operating in “the Middle East, primarily in Afghanistan.” Others in the Duma claim involvement by the Islamic State group.

    • Marlene says:

      Kyrgyz troops will only be involved in security if official buildings and facilities but will not engage in street fight.

      Probably so that to not cause future grudges.

  7. English Outsider says:

    TTG – are many of the Jihadis who fought in Syria managing to get to the Stans?

    An old survey finds they have difficulty – “Existing evidence suggests that a mass return to Central Asia remains unlikely, largely due to local authorities’ heavy-handed policies.42 Our tally from earlier this year, based on open sources, showed only about 300 returnees to all five countries combined, not including non-combatant family members.4”


    A more recent mention of those allowed back indicates it’s more the family members who are allowed back in rather than the fighters, and not many of those. “Since 2018, Kazakhstan has repatriated a total of 609 citizens, mostly women and children, from Syria who are Islamic State (ISIS) suspects or relatives. According to media reports, of those repatriated, 31 men and 12 women have been convicted of participating in a terrorist organization.”


    But the beheadings in Kazakhstan, and the trick of arming themselves by taking weapons from the local security forces, are reminiscent of Syria. Is there a stronger radical Islam component to the recent disturbances than is being reported?

    • TTG says:


      I don’t think there is much of a returning jihadi problem in Kazakhstan or any of the Central Asian countries. They retain much of the border control and internal movement control from the USSR days. I knew someone from Turkmenistan who told me about the draconian population control measures put in place when Covid-19 first reared it head in early 2020. No one could come into the country or move about the country. The Kazakhstan government has always prided themselves on the stability of their country as in tight control of the population.

      I’m also not yet convinced of the reality of the beheadings. Sounds more like propaganda to paint the protesters as violent criminals who need to be shot on sight as Tokayev has just ordered. The videos I’ve seen of police-protestor interactions seem far milder than some in our own streets despite the known destruction and deaths in Almaty.

  8. Marlene says:

    I have read the communiquee by President Tokayev to the population and some sentences smells a lot of rat of flase flag operation to then have ground for to crush anti-digital ID and anti-vaccine mandates activists and protesters and social media through which they contact each other, and even have the opportunity to shot them in the streets or at their homes without warning…Also calling to the population to denounce anyone they feel suspicious…

    From now on, any turmoil provoked by infiltrated agents in any peaceful demonstration could end in peaceful people being terminated.

    If it were to restore Constitution, he would have talked about derogating vaccine mandates, one of the claims of the at first peaceful protesters…Of this he says nothing.

  9. Marlene says:

    Interesting about the Tokayev communiquee to the people of Kazakhstan and my theory of the false flag operation is that amongst the acknoledgments., he is thanking Turkey, of all countries…

    For the useful jihadis I guess…..

    Putin is aboard this operation in full…highly likely..as he needs to crush the opposition ot vaccine mandates and QR cattle tag at home too…Valentina Matviyenko, that gerontocrat who remains ther since Soviet times, have stated that to achieve herd immunity the 100% of the population must be vaccinated…Such science luminaire..

  10. Marlene says:

    Know the situation in Kazakhstan before “protests” and “jihadi attack”..


  11. Jim says:

    The Saker just posted statement from/summary of, from, the Russian Federation Colonel General [and commander of the Russian Airborne Troops] Andrey Nikolaevich Serdyukov

    1. Citizens of Alma-Ata are urged to stay indoors and observe the state of emergency until the remaining militants are shot. Given the ongoing shooting, this is in the interests of the citizens themselves. Authorities warn that trained guerrilla snipers are operating in the city. More than 3,000 people have been arrested and dozens killed. There are still corpses on the streets which have not been removed.

    2. Tokayev announced that the operation in Alma-Ata will continue until all militants have been exterminated. Concerning the question whether the protesters or not, everything is simple here – a group of unidentified people has been carrying on organized firing squad with the police, guards and the army of Kazakhstan, who have been suffering losses in killed and wounded for three days now. Accordingly, the main task is the physical destruction of the enemy who has occupied part of the center of the city. Some of the militants, who are lucky, will simply be captured, followed by a conviction. The rest will be destroyed. . . .

    4. The CSTO grouping in Kazakhstan is commanded by Lieutenant General Serdyukov. All Russian units sent to Kazakhstan have practical combat experience. . . .

    5. Regarding the operations of the grouping. The Russian military is already at the airport of Alma-Ata and controls it in conjunction with the local military. . . .The sane protesters in the cities, where there were no pogroms, are likely to be simply negotiated with.

    [[Source: Telegram ColonelCassad Channel (Boris Rozhin)]]

    This is at



  12. Fred says:

    “Eurasia Democracy Initiative” the number two link on google is our old friends at the National Endownment for Democracy. The man interviewed by Al Jezera, Mr Zalmayev, has a razor thin bio on the dubiously reliable wiki, but has apparently been involved in the do goodering regionally for years.

    “The Kremin has always backed using force against peaceful protestors”
    Thanks Mr. Z, that explains hauling Pussy Riot out of that church and summarily, oh, wait, never mind. Wrong Kremlin action.

    So this nation borders Russia and China and we have a borg apparatus that is still intent on inflicting damage on the former, and lord knows what on the latter. What are the chances some aprt of this is a ‘color revolution’, insigated or not, by NED and the like?

  13. Babeltuap says:

    Apparently it was not about fuel prices according to this report. They were denied withdrawals from banks without proof of vaccination. It was the final tipping point that pushed it over the edge. The source is getting his intel from alt sources so it’s probably 100% true.


    • Marlene says:

      Indeed, main tipping point was the harsh Covid measures to come into effect from January 5 on. That is why such a crowd was seen in the streets.

      Hence the Russians to the crushing and scaring of dissent, since they face the same problem at home, as they face all other governments in the globe.

      Only the Chinese have got domesticated enough through already generations under social credit system.

      You see that the EU and the current US administrations only complained in low voice and mumbling whatever on human rights none in the EU are currently respecting, thus, what to say, there are rabid dogs being thrown to the protesters in the Netherlands and peaceful people beat the shit out…

      That in Kazakhstan escalated to shoot without warning, on the alibi there are terrorists involved ( which they are, of course, since apart from the war on the peoples there is a war for power and control of espheres of influence..), only means the hunting season is open.
      Death people will never be able to prove they were no IS terrorists…

  14. Barbara Ann says:

    A nugget of interesting news from Kazakhstan. TASS reports “Kazakh health ministry denies reports about seizure of military biological lab near Almaty”. It quotes the ministry as saying “The facility is being protected”.

    M K Bhadrakumar has an article up about the news and suspects the ‘protectors’ may be those Russian-led CSTO forces. The facility is apparently one of a string of bio weapon labs funded by the Pentagon. If accurate this seems to be a Big Deal.


    • TTG says:

      Barbara Ann,

      Could be an interesting episode, but I doubt it will end up being as sinister as it first appears. I’m more interested in the story surrounding Karim Masimov. He was fired as prime minister and then arrested for treason. He was a high rolling linguist, spook, well-connected banker, political heavyweight and possible next ruler of Kazakhstan. Not anymore. Given his position, I’m sure he was targeted for recruitment by the CIA. If there’s something to the treason charge, they may have succeeded in recruiting him.

      Of course the arrest for treason and all the official government stories of six waves of foreign terrorists and such could just be the way they’ve decided to spin this. For instance, this “Wild Arman” chap has been touted as a ringleader of the terrorist assaults on the government. I have my doubts.

      This is from the BBC Central Asian editor: “Expecting in the coming days to hear a lot more about this character, Wild Arman (Arman Dzhumageldiyev), who appears to have been a leading ringleader in the violence in Almaty. He has been under arrest since Friday He is generally spoken about as a criminal authority, but he is much more than just that. He has popular social media accounts, he runs charities, but also operates financial pyramids. A colorful character in short. In a bizarre episode, he broadcast a live stream some time Friday morning accusing Kyrgyz people of carrying out looting in Almaty. Social media in Kyrgyzstan reacted furiously”

      A longtime journalist in Almaty describes this character as follows: “Wild Arman is a “red criminal” (красный/подментованный), controlled and used by the KNB and police as informant, agent provocateur, distractor and for beating. In the past, he was used for some dirty work, including to attack civil activists. Now he was used for violent actions in Almaty. He was also the bodyguard of Nazarbayev’s daughter, Dariga Nazarbayeva, the regime uses him to hide its own crimes against civilians, and to evade responsibility.”

  15. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    TTG and others,

    I have run across another set of perspectives in a post over at Zerohedge worthy of some serious consideration:


    Some fairly important Russian interests are at risk, as noted in the article. Given all of the other highly provocative actions against Russian interests and sovereignty, that this may be a continuation, perhaps with collaboration with Islamist elements from the region, and particularly from Afghanistan, with CIA or MI-6 assistance, cannot be dismissed out of hand.

    Recall that President Putin has bluntly stated that, in the event of certain hostile provocations, asymmetric responses are on the table.

    This were well to take heed of; but, as Kipling put it, “The fool’s burnt finger comes wabbling back to the fire”. That finger got burnt in Ossetia, and again in the Donbass, and then in Syria, each time being thwarted. So why not go for the gusto in Kazakhstan, where Russian interests are directly threatened? In such a manner reason fools.

    • Barbara Ann says:


      The Gods of Copybook Headings sure feel close at hand.

      If you are interested here is a good explanation of some of the more obscure references in the poem related to its contemporary context.

      Now that I come to re-read it again, it strikes me that Aldous Huxley may have gotten the title for his Brave New World not directly from Shakespeare, but from this 1919 poem’s final verse.

      • JerseyJeffersonian says:

        Thank you, Barbara Ann, there are certainly passages in that poem that are obscure in their meanings to me, so I will definitely avail myself of your recommended link so as to better understand the thrust of Kipling’s work.

  16. TTG says:


    You just posted a comment on the connection between Hunter Biden and Karim Massimov. It disappeared when I attempted to publish it. Please send it again. It was an important comment. TTG

  17. Sam says:

    Lithuania wins microchip windfall from Taiwan in China clash

    Lithuania’s showdown with China over Taiwan is poised to deliver an unexpected windfall to the small Baltic nation that France and Germany could only dream of: investment in microchip manufacturing.

    Europe is a laggard in the all-important semiconductor industry and a key plank of the EU’s industrial strategy — intended to keep Europe in the economic big league with rivals such as China and the U.S. — is a drive for microchip production. Although EU bigwigs have sought co-operation with heavyweight (and democratic) Asian players in the electronics sector such as Taiwan and South Korea, their overtures have so far yielded little.


    Taiwan using it’s semiconductor muscle to reward a supporter against CCP extortion.

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