Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared five aircraft had been hijacked and Almaty Airport was seized and occupied by “terrorists” as civil unrest spreads through the nation. The latest reports indicate the government has regained control of the airport.
Almaty Airport Seized By Protestors – Now Back Under Government Control
Liquified petroleum gas prices dramatically rose on January 1st after long-term price caps were lifted. The sudden doubling of prices sparked civil unrest across the nation and has led to massive street protests.
VIDEO: 🇰🇿 Thousands take to the streets of Kazakhstan’s largest city #Almaty, marching towards the main city administration building after a night of unprecedented unrest across the Central Asian nation that followed an energy price hike pic.twitter.com/K5OI5T3u5i
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) January 5, 2022
-The #US department has urged its fellow citizens in Kazakhstan to avoid going outside
-Almaty International Airport is under lockdown
-U.S. Consulate General closed to visitors
-Many government buildings are on fire#KazakhstanProtests pic.twitter.com/3htXQWMHpq
— Global.TV (@GlobalTelevsion) January 6, 2022
In Almaty, the largest city and commercial hub of Kazakhstan, those protests have spiraled out-of-control and led to looting and vandalism. According to Kazakh authorities, protestors are also occupying Almaty International Airport.
Almaty Intl. Airport pic.twitter.com/urx7kFwDen
— Jascha Carolov (@JCarolov) January 6, 2022
Speaking on state TV, Tokayev noted:
“Terrorist gangs are seizing large infrastructure facilities, in particular in the Almaty airport, five planes, including foreign planes. Almaty has been attacked, destroyed and vandalized.”
Overnight, however, reports from Russian news agency TASS suggest the government has regained control of the airport.
Appealing to members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Tokayev pleaded for aid in helping to restore order. The CSTO is a military alliance formed after the Soviet Union collapsed and includes:
The CSTO, via the Armenian president, has indicated it will send “peacekeeping” troops in to quell violence and restore order.
While the sudden rise in petroleum prices may be directly to blame, the civil unrest is also linked to the ongoing presence of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev in the daily affairs of the nation. Nazarbayev led Kazakhstan from 1990 to 2019 as president and remained the Chairman of the Security Council of Kazakhstan until yesterday. Many cynically believed he continued to call the shots despite relinquishing the presidential title.
In an attempt to restore order, President Tokayev removed Nazarbayev from his role as Chairman of the Security Council. The entire presidential cabinet has also resigned. Internet throughout the country has also been shut down.
Russia has accused the USA of sending in foreign agents to stoke civil unrest while the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki explicitly denied such accusations.
Civil unrest continues in Kazakhstan and Almaty Airport, at least for a time, was taken over by protestors the government has dubbed terrorists.
Speaking personally, I visited Kazakhstan in 2011 and view it as a highly corrupt country…I was forced to bribe my way out at the very airport in Almaty. As Thomas Jefferson said, “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing.” I condemn burning cars and looting buildings no matter how just the cause, but I’m rather sympathetic to the idea that reforms are needed that go well beyond rising oil prices.
> Read More: Bribing My Way Out of Kazakhstan