Their comments come as many Americans, particularly Trump supporters, continue to deny the dark reality of the Capitol insurrection
Some of America’s most prominent historians gave an urgent warning about the state of American democracy as they gathered on Capitol Hill on Thursday to commemorate the 6 January insurrection.
Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham condemned the attack on the Capitol, which was carried out by a group of former president Donald Trump’s supporters to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
There has been an increase in online extremist content in the past 48 hours, including threats to lawmakers and the President, according to a Department of Homeland Security intelligence memo obtained by CNN.
High-profile Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev, chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, says protesters in Kazakhstan included militants in armed gangs operating in “Middle East, primarily in Afghanistan.”
In a speech at the U.S. Capitol marking one year since the violent insurrection, President Biden stressed that “the way forward is to recognize the truth”: that former President Trump has “created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.” He called for a defense of voting rights and for Americans to unite. Vice President Kamala Harris also spoke about the defense of democracy. Tony Dokoupil anchors CBS News Special Report coverage from Capitol Hill with chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes, congressional correspondent Scott MacFarlane, and chief national affairs and justice correspondent Jeff Pegues.
The @January6thCmte has first-hand testimony that former President Trump sat and watched the assault on the Capitol on live TV, rather than taking immediate action to tell his supporters to stand down and leave the Capitol.
We cannot move on from January 6th without taking action to make sure it never happens again. And that starts by admitting the facts, calling out the lies, & addressing the toxic tribalism plaguing this nation.
Russia News Review | “ISIS – SHMISIS”: Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the Eurasians bros forever! https://russianewsreview.org Pay the militants in Viagra, to keep their wives happy when they return home. And they have a lot of wives, too. That what drives them into ziz suicidal occupation
Russia News Review: “ISIS – SHMISIS”: How Kazakhstan could shift Putin’s calculus on Ukraine | The Powder Keg Of Post-Soviet Central Asia | The Histories of the Human Civilizations are the Histories of Weapons and Wars https://russianewsreview.org
Russia-led alliance troops arrived in Kazakhstan on Thursday after increasingly chaotic and violent protests rocked the nation for days and resulted in dozens of people killed and hundreds injured, according to authorities.n
The troops were deployed as part of a “peacekeeping” force from the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russia-led Eurasian military alliance akin to NATO. The CSTO, composed of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, announced early Thursday that units had arrived and would be conducting operations “stabilizing” the country and protecting “important state and military facilities.”n
Kazakhstan’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, requested CSTO’s assistance late Wednesday evening, describing protesters as “a band of international terrorists.” Nikol Pashinyan, the prime minister of Armenia and the chairman of CSTO’s Security Council, announced later that evening that the organization had accepted Tokayev’s request and that forces would intervene “for a limited period of time.” Pashinyan echoed Tokayev’s rhetoric characterizing protests “as a result of external intervention.”n
The CSTO has not said how many troops are or will be in Kazakhstan.n
When fuel prices spiked, protests spread
The current protests began Sunday in Western Kazakhstan after the government removed a price cap on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) xe2x80x93 the primary fuel used for vehicles in the country xe2x80x94 causing prices to immediately double. On Tuesday, Tokayev announced that the government would institute a new price cap for 180 days, rolling back LPG prices to the 2021 level, but by then protests had spread across the country.n
Clashes between protesters and Kazakh authorities broke out across the country throughout the week, with numerous protests escalating in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. On Wednesday, demonstrators attempted to take over government buildings, police headquarters and district police offices in Almaty and set fire to the prosecutor’s and mayor’s offices there, The New York Times reported. Demonstrators briefly took control of the airport in Almaty, though officials and Russian news agencies have said it has since been cleared.n
Police spokeswoman Saltanat Azirbek said “dozens of attackers were liquidated” in clashes with police, during an interview on state news channel Khabar-24.n
Almaty police said 353 police and security personnel were injured in clashes and 12 killed.n
“It is an undermining of the integrity of the state and most importantly it is an attack on our citizens who are asking me … to help them urgently,” Tokayev said in a televised address Wednesday night.n
“Almaty was attacked, destroyed, vandalized, the residents of Almaty became victims of attacks by terrorists, bandits. Therefore it is our duty … to take all possible actions to protect our state.”n
Tokayev initially appeared to make conciliatory gestures to protesters early Wednesday, instituting the LPG price cap, announcing the resignation of Prime Minister Askar Mamin and his Cabinet, and removing former President Nursultan Nazarbayev xe2x80x94 who led Kazakhstan for 30 years xe2x80x94 from the country’s security council.n
However, by late Wednesday, with protests escalating, the government announced a national state of emergency until Jan. 19, with an overnight curfew. The internet was subsequently shut down nationwide, according to Netblocks, a watchdog organization that monitors internet freedom.n
But fuel prices aren’t the only trigger
While the protests were sparked by fuel prices, many activists and protesters have said the discontent runs much deeper, citing economic precarity, the pandemic and a lack of democratic outlets for redress.n
Mukhtar Umbetov, a rights activist, told the Times that the government “has removed all legal ways to participate in politics” and that people lack representation to solve problems.n
Much ire has been directed toward Nazarbayev, who despite stepping down in 2019 still wields considerable influence in Kazakhstan. Videos posted to social media depicted protesters tearing down a statue of Nazarbayev while shouting “Old man, leave!”n
“Nazarbayev and his family have monopolised all sectors, from banking to roads to gas. These protests are about corruption,” Zauresh Shekenova, a 55-year-old protester in southeast Kazakhstan, told The Guardian.n
“It all started with the increase in gas prices but the real cause of the protests is poor living conditions of people, high prices, joblessness, corruption.” n
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit <a href=”https://www.npr.org” rel=”nofollow”>https://www.npr.org</a>.
Thirty years ago, the Soviet Union collapsed in a largely bloodless way.xc2xa0But events in recent years have proved that bloodlessness to be only temporary.xc2xa0Russiaxe2x80x99s war against Ukrainexe2x80x94with fourteen thousand Ukrainian fatalities thus far (and more in the offing if Moscow sends an invasion force of one hundred thousand into the country)xe2x80x94is the major proof. Its brief 2008 conflict in Georgia, meanwhile, caused some twenty thousand deaths.
Sadly, the unrest in Kazakhstan may provide additional evidence. As of Thursday, dozens have been reported dead as clashes between protesters and police intensified.
The crisis in the Central Asian former Soviet republic fuses geopolitical issues across Eurasia, from Moscowxe2x80x99s efforts to cow the West and subjugate Ukraine to its delicate relationship with Chinaxe2x80x94andxc2xa0the implications are enormous.xc2xa0Itxe2x80x99s a happy surprise that this region has been largely stable since the end of the Tajik civil war in the late 1990s.xc2xa0It has proved to be a buffer for major players Russia, China, and India, as well as lesser but still important powers such as Pakistan and Iran.xc2xa0But the instability in Kazakhstan offers opportunities for these states to enhance their position in Central Asia, and they are seizing them.
Besieged Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has asked the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Russian-led military alliance, to help restore order.xc2xa0Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is the rotating head of the group, has announced it will send troops.xc2xa0This is significant for two reasons.xc2xa0First, Russian President Vladimir Putinxe2x80x99s goal of restoring Russian influence in the post-Soviet space is not limited to Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova;xc2xa0Tokayevxe2x80x99s invitation gives Moscow the chance to do just that in Central Asiaxe2x80x99s richest country. Second, Tokayev had another option: the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), led by China but which also includes Russia.xc2xa0Despite growing cooperation between Moscow and Beijing in opposing US policies globally, the two are competitors in Central Asia.xc2xa0
Putinxc2xa0infamously said at Lake Seliger in 2014 that Kazakhstan was an artificial country created by its first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, and its population understands the importance of close relations with Russia.xc2xa0Ethnic Russians comprise 18 percent of the countryxe2x80x99s population, and theyxe2x80x94along with more than 60 percent of Kazakhstanxe2x80x99s hydrocarbon resourcesxe2x80x94are concentrated in the north, not far from the Russian border. Since Putinxe2x80x99s remark, Kremlin allies have called for the xe2x80x9creturnxe2x80x9d of northern Kazakhstan to Russia. Meanwhile, China has its own territorial pretensions on the country.
Itxe2x80x99s safe to assume that the CSTO decision was in fact Putinxe2x80x99s decision.xc2xa0This means that he considered it more important to strengthen Moscowxe2x80x99s position in Kazakhstan than to accommodate China.xc2xa0While this is not likely to have an immediate, visible impact on Russiaxe2x80x99s relations with China, itxe2x80x99s a message to Beijing that there are limits to Moscowxe2x80x99s acceptance of junior-partner status in their bilateral relationship. Over time, this will shape the relationship.
And this brings us to Moscowxe2x80x99s current buildup of approximately one hundred thousand troops on and near Ukrainexe2x80x99s border, as well as its efforts to squeeze concessions out of the United States, NATO, the European Union, and Ukraine with the threat of a major conventional offensive.xc2xa0He is threatening this invasion because his nearly eight-year hybrid war against Ukraine has failed to achieve its objective: to prevent the countryxe2x80x99s westward drift. But Putinxe2x80x99s current focus on Ukraine is not meant to come at the expense of his other geopolitical objectives in Eurasia.xc2xa0To the extent possible, he would like to restore Kremlin influence across the territory of the former Soviet Union.xc2xa0In some placesxe2x80x94Crimea, and perhaps northern Kazakhstanxe2x80x94that means Moscow seizing and annexing territory.xc2xa0In other places, it means ensuring national-security and economic policies consistent with Kremlin interests.
The unrest in Kazakhstan poses a question for Putin:xc2xa0Should he continue his intimidation campaign on his western flank, or should he address the dangers to his south?xc2xa0Or can he do both? At the moment, Putin is trying to have his cake and eat it too.xc2xa0Maybe the CSTO can impose order and restore Tokayevxe2x80x99s government without significantly reducing Russian forces on Ukrainexe2x80x99s border.xc2xa0That is certainly the Kremlin preference, because its long military buildup and threats to Ukraine have produced talks with the United States, NATO, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe that might achieve some concessions on issues such as limiting NATO enlargement and the Alliancexe2x80x99s activities in Eastern Europe, or the Minsk talks on ending Moscowxe2x80x99s war in the Donbas region of Ukraine.xc2xa0He would prefer not to reduce the pressure.xc2xa0xc2xa0
Yet if the initial CSTO deployment fails, Putin may face a dilemma. Moscowxe2x80x99s pre-buildup situation in Ukraine was a stalemate;xc2xa0in Kazakhstan, Moscowxe2x80x99s position in Central Asia would deteriorate if a popular revolt produces a reform-minded government, or if Tokayev calls on China and the SCO for help to stay in power.xc2xa0The question then becomes: Would Putin pull troops from Ukrainexe2x80x99s border to deal with disorder in Kazakhstan and enhance Russiaxe2x80x99s standing in Central Asia?xc2xa0Doing so certainly entails less risk than launching a major conventional military offensive in Ukraine.xc2xa0Putin could easily explain standing down temporarilyxc2xa0in the west to secure a new trophy in the south.xc2xa0And that still would not preclude a third buildup of Russian forces on Ukrainexe2x80x99s border.
The stakes for Putin are large in both Kazakhstan and Ukrainexe2x80x94but it may prove difficult for the arch opportunist to successfully attend to both at the same time.
John Herbst is the senior director of the Atlantic Councilxe2x80x99s Eurasia Center and former US ambassador to Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
Image: Troops guard the main square in Almaty, Kazakhstan, where hundreds of people protested against the government, January 6, 2022. Photo by Mariya Gordeyeva/File Photo/REUTERS
Amid Kazakhstan upheaval ‘Leader of Nation’ Nursultan Nazarbayev reportedly leaves country ‘for medical reasons’
nNazarbayev is a hate figure for many involved in the Kazakhstan protests, with chants of “Leave old man!” heard across the country.n
nBy bne IntelIiNewsnJanuary 6, 2022n
Nursultan Nazarbayev, who bestrode Kazakhstan as the nationxe2x80x99s president for the first 29 years of its post-Soviet independence and bears the title of xe2x80x9cElbasyxe2x80x9d, or xe2x80x9cLeader of the Nationxe2x80x9d, may have departed the country amid the convulsions of its unrest. The 81-year-old Nazarbayev has been the main hate figure for protesters angry at the inequitable distribution of Kazakhstanxe2x80x99s great oil riches over the years, with the chant of xe2x80x9cShal ket!xe2x80x9d or xe2x80x9cLeave, old man!xe2x80x9d heard at many of the demonstrations since the start of the crisis.
On January 5 xe2x80x93 a day that saw Kazkh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stripped Nazarbayev of his role as head of the State Security Committee, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB xe2x80x93 a private plane of Nazarbayev’s daughter Dinara and her husband, oligarch Timur Kulibayev, reportedly departed for Kyrgyzstan, with otherxc2xa0Nazarbayev familyxc2xa0members possibly on board. Alexey Venediktov, editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow radio, referred to a source in the Russian Foreign Ministry in breaking news of the plane’s departure, though it was unclear if the ex-president himself was on board. Nazarbayev was reported as ready to leave Kazakhstan xe2x80x9cfor medical treatmentxe2x80x9d.
Analysts will now ponder what will become of the Nazarbayev clan and their vast wealth built up across swathes of the Kazakh economy, Central Asia’s largest. Tokayev also fired Nazarbayev’s nephew as No. 2 at the State Security Committee, with the turmoil giving him an opportunity to make, at least in public, a clean break from his predecessor, who handpicked Tokayev to succeed him in early 2019 and has been widely seen by Kazakhs as exercising sometimes decisive power from the shadows during the Tokayev administration.
Axc2xa0bne IntelliNewsxc2xa0correspondent in Almaty said there was speculation that Tokayev was also replacing other key officials with loyalists and that the outcome of the turmoil might even eventually be described as a “coup”. He noted that the TV channel run by Nazarbayevxe2x80x99s daughter Dariga, KTK, had gone off air and stopped broadcasting. Nazarbayevxe2x80x99s website, elbasy.kz, was, meanwhile, down on the morning of January 6.
Reshaped establishment may lick its lips
Whatever reshaped Kazakh establishment emerges out of the carnage presently seen in the country may lick its lips at the prospect of taking over Nazarbayev and Kulibayev assets.
A December 2020 RFE/RL feature entitled xe2x80x9cBig Houses, Deep Pockets xe2x80x93The Nazarbayev Familyxe2x80x99s Opulent Offshore Real Estate Empirexe2x80x9d xe2x80x93 offers one look at some of what is at stake. RFE/RL identified at least $785mn in European and US real estate purchases made by Nazarbayevxe2x80x99s family members and their in-laws in six countries over a 20-year span.xc2xa0
n nNazarbayev’s son-in-law and oligarch Timur Kulibayev (Image: UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office). n nThe feature noted: xe2x80x9cProminent among those [family members] is Kulibayev, who has been dogged for years by accusations that his wealth, mainly from his work in the oil and gas industry, derives from his familial relations. The Financial Times on December 2 said it had uncovered a secret scheme that allegedly channelled tens of millions of dollars from contracts related to a massive gas pipeline to China to Kulibayev.xe2x80x9d
Former Communist boss Nazarbayev is well-known to former UK prime minister Sir Tony Blair. In 2014, Blair’s role in advising countries with poor human rights records came under scrutiny after he gave Nazarbayev advice on how to avoid his image being tarnished by the killing of civilian protesters by police in the oil town of Zhanaozen.xc2xa0The former British Labour Party leader’s consultancy,xc2xa0Tony Blairxc2xa0Associates, signedxc2xa0a multi-million-pound deal to advise Kazakhstan’s leadership under Nazarbayev on good governance, just months after Nazarbayev was controversially re-elected with 96% of the vote and weeks before the massacre.
If Nazarbayev, born in a rural town near largest Kazakh city Almaty in July 1940,xc2xa0has departed Kazakhstan for good, there will be big speculation as to where he, and family members, will make their new home.
Favourite destination Russia
Russia is a favourite destination for autocratic leaders fleeing their countries. In 2014 ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych flew to Russia on a private jet just before the crowds gathered in central Kyivxe2x80x99s Maidan Square marched to his private residence to arrest him. xc2xa0
Asxc2xa0bne IntelliNewsxc2xa0reportedxc2xa0at the time, embarrassingly Yanukovych used a private jet charted from a company belonging to his replacement, former president Petro Poroshenko, to escape justice. xc2xa0
Yanukovych took several members of his elite with him as well as reportedly millions of dollars in cash. When protesters arrived at his purpose-built Mezhyhirya they found an Aladdinxe2x80x99s cave of treasure, including a private zoo with ostriches and even a loaf of bread made out of solid gold (which later disappeared).
During times of uncertainty it is usual for leading political and business figures to absent themselves from their country xe2x80x93 just in case. When Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was arrested in October 2013 by Russian authorities many of Russiaxe2x80x99s top oligarchs flew abroad just before the arrest to ensure they didn’t get caught up in a general sweep-up of oligarchs or fall victim to machinations of their rivals to use the situation to take out other oligarchs by persuading the security services to add more names to the list, according toxc2xa0bne IntelliNewsxc2xa0sources speaking at the time.
Likewise, following the US pullout from Afghanistan last summer, then Afghan president Ashraf Ghani fled his country with helicopters full of cash, abandoning thousands of regular citizens that were thronging the airport, asxc2xa0reportedxc2xa0byxc2xa0this publication at the time.
Ghani escaped the capital only hours after the Taliban appeared outside Kabul, taking a plane to the Tajik capital of Dushanbe before flying on to the Uzbek capital Tashkent, from where he headed to the Middle East, according to some reports. Ghani reportedly arrived at the airport with so many bags of money that he could not get them all into the helicopter and left at least one bag of cash on the tarmac as he fled.