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Jen Psaki dismisses Russian claims that US is behind Kazakhstan unrest

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from Callie Patteson | New York Post.


As more violent protests broke out in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki insisted the United States has nothing to do with the unrest in the former Soviet republic, calling rumors to the contrary xe2x80x9ccrazy Russian claims.xe2x80x9dxc2xa0

xe2x80x9cWexe2x80x99re monitoring reports of protests in Kazakhstan. We support calls for calm, for protesters to express themselves peacefully and for authorities to exercise restraint,xe2x80x9d Psaki told reporters during her regular briefing.xc2xa0

xe2x80x9cThere are some crazy Russian claims about the US being behind this. Let me just use this opportunity to convey that as absolutely false, and clearly a part of the standard Russian disinformation playbook.xe2x80x9d

Hours earlier, Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency as government buildings were attacked across the city of Almaty. Soon after, the government of Prime Minister Askar Mamin announced its resignation, but Tokayev said the ministers would remain in their roles until a new cabinet is formed, making it uncertain whether the resignation will have significant effect.

The violent protests were sparked by a significant increase in fuel prices. The price of liquefied gas, mainly used for heating and cooking, doubled to 120 tenge ($0.27) per liter. In Kazakhstan, the minimum wage is 42,500 tenge ($98) per month.xc2xa0

The unrest comes amid growing tensions between Russia and another neighbor, Ukraine.xc2xa0

Throughout 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin pressed NATO and the US to promise not to let Ukraine join the trans-Atlantic alliance xe2x80x94 while simultaneously increasing Russiaxe2x80x99s military presence along its western border.xc2xa0

Putin has repeatedly pushed for the security guarantees, telling President Biden as recently as last month that xe2x80x9cRussia needs legally binding agreementsxe2x80x9d on the requests.xc2xa0

In turn, the US has warned Russia against invading Ukraine xe2x80x94 as many fear a reprise of 2014, when Russia invaded and annexed the province of Crimea.xc2xa0

During a Dec. 30 call between Biden and Putin, the American president xe2x80x9curged Russia to de-escalate tensions with Ukrainexe2x80x9d and warned that xe2x80x9cthe United States and its allies and partners will respond decisively if Russia further invades Ukraine,xe2x80x9d according to Psaki.

Starting Jan. 10, Russia and the US will hold security talks in Geneva to discuss Moscowxe2x80x99s request. NATO will then meet with Russia two days later, followed by another meeting with other European allies on Jan. 13.xc2xa0

xe2x80x9cRussia is very familiar with our positions, which are grounded in the fundamental principles of European security they once agreed to,xe2x80x9d Psaki said Wednesday, xe2x80x9cincluding that borders cannot be redrawn by force, and countries have the sovereign right to determine with whom they associate.xe2x80x9d

xe2x80x9cWe donxe2x80x99t know what next weekxe2x80x99s conversations will bring,xe2x80x9d she added. xe2x80x9cBut our approach to the discussions will be pragmatic, results-oriented, and we believe there are areas we can make progress on with Moscow, make progress on if they come to the table ready to do that. And obviously thatxe2x80x99s the nature of diplomacy.xe2x80x9d

With Post wires

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Opinion: Kazakhstan unrest will curtail Moscow′s aggression | Opinion | DW

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Ongoing mass protests in Kazakhstan have briefly diverted attention away from the biggest geopolitical question that has vexed Europe in recent weeks xe2x80x94whether Russia will wage war against Ukraine.

Although the issue will soon return to the agenda, it has lost urgency in light of the unrest unfolding in Kazakhstan, Russia’s large Central Asian neighbor.

DW correspondent Andrey Gurkov

DW correspondent Andrey Gurkov

A Russian military operation on Ukrainian territory has now become less likely. There are two reasons for this. One is that a Russian military intervention could lead to domestic instability inside Russia similar to the unrest unfolding in Kazakhstan.

The other stems from the fact that Russia must now dedicate much more attention to its southern neighbor, Kazakhstan.

A seemingly stable Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan’s nationwide protests came as a surprise; the fierce clashes and countless fatalities will have rattled Moscow. Until now, Kazakhstan was considered a largely stable country with a dependable government.

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‘2,000 people arrested in Almaty’

Belarus, too, was regarded as a stable country xe2x80x94 until the 2020 revolution and subsequent repression. That two post-Soviet states with similarly authoritarian government structures could experience such instability suggests that Russia should at all costs avoid anything that could spark such developments at home.

Minsk, Almaty, then Moscow?

A large Russian military operation against Ukraine, without a clear objective and scores of dead soldiers, could certainly spark mass unrest within Russia. Especially if the US and EU impose far-reaching sanctions xe2x80x94 as has been threatenedxc2xa0xe2x80x94xc2xa0leading to a sharp rise in the already horrendously high consumer prices and possible supply shortages.

This scenario looks even more menacing against the backdrop of spiking omicron cases and Russia’s seriously overwhelmed health care system.

Domestic fallout

The fact thatxc2xa0thousandsxc2xa0of frustrated Kazakhs are now venting their anger should be a warning to the Kremlin. It should compel Russia to considerxc2xa0the domestic implications of a threatenedxc2xa0or alleged military operation with which it is currently trying toxc2xa0intimidate the US and NATO.

So far, Russia only seems to have weighed up what impactxc2xa0such a movexc2xa0would have onxc2xa0its foreign policy and trade. Given the crisis in Kazakhstan, however, Russia may now also have growing doubts over whether its population would back it.

It will most likely make Russia even less inclined to wage an actual military campaign, rather than a mere propaganda campaign, against Ukraine.xc2xa0

The Kremlin must devote more energy to assisting Kazakhstan. It is, after all, one of Russia’s few real allies, and an integration partner in the post-Soviet sphere and on the international stage.

  • Scores of protesters on the streets of Almaty

    In pictures: Kazakhstan protests escalate

    Mass protests hit streets

    Protests were first triggered by a dramatic rise in the price of fuel. Within a matter of days, the unrest spread throughout the oil-and-gas-rich former Soviet republic of 18 million, morphing into a broad, anti-government protest wave.

  • An archive picture of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, taken in November 2019.n

    In pictures: Kazakhstan protests escalate

    Leadership under pressure

    To placate protesters, fuel prices were cut. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev (pictured above in 2019) on Wednesday dismissed the government. Countrywide protests, however, continue unabated.

  • Soldiers deployed in central Almatyn

    In pictures: Kazakhstan protests escalate

    Military deployed to Almaty

    President Tokayev has announced a state of emergency, leading to nationwide nighttime curfews, limits to where people may move and a ban on gatherings. Tokayev has also called on the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led military alliance, to provide help.

  • Protesters stand in front of a burning police car

    In pictures: Kazakhstan protests escalate

    Pent-up anger, large-scale destruction

    On Wednesday, thousands of people stormed the city hall and other government buildings in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s most populous city and commercial center. Several government buildings reportedly went up in flames. Protesters also briefly took control of Almaty airport.

  • A police officer aims his rifle in Almaty

    In pictures: Kazakhstan protests escalate

    Casualties and fatalities

    According to government reports, at least 18 security offices have been killed. Authorities also say “dozens of attackers” have been “eliminated,” meaning scores of civilians have been killed as well. Over 1,000 people have reportedly been injured. Almost 400 were sent to hospitals around the country for treatment, according to Deputy Health Minister Azhar Guiniyat.

  • Armed paratroopers stand guard in Almaty

    In pictures: Kazakhstan protests escalate

    Rare unrest

    Large-scale protests are unusual in Kazakhstan, which remains under authoritarian rule. President Tokayev, who succeeded long-time ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev in 2019, faces the gravest crisis of his tenure. The 81-year-old Nazarbayev is said to retain considerable influence in the country, and is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • Russian paratroopers boarding a plane

    In pictures: Kazakhstan protests escalate

    Russian troops dispatched

    Russia has already sent paratroopers (pictured here departing from near Moscow) as part of a wider CSTO peacekeeping mission. Other CSTO member states include Kazakhstan, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Authorities have said foreign troops will help protect key state and military sites.

    Author: Philipp Bxc3xb6ll

Russia to focus on Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan finds itself undergoing major changes. Moscow must now dedicate considerable attention, effort and time to influencing this difficult and complex political process xe2x80x94 especially now that Russia has dispatched troops to Kazakhstan at the request of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev for an indefinite period.

The move could have unpredictable consequences. Several days ago, nobody would have expected this development.

Kremlin will avoid fighting on two fronts

If Russia gives in to the illusory idea of “taking back” Ukraine, it will risk “losing” Kazakhstan. Doing so would also burden the Russian military and populace with a “two-front campaign.”

One would expect the Russian leadership to be sufficiently pragmatic and show enough political survival instinct to throwxc2xa0out such an idea.

Even so, Moscow may continue conjuring up the specter of a major war against Ukraine in the hopes of securing big concessions in upcoming negations with the West.

This commentaryxc2xa0was originally written in German

The News And Times Blog

The Guardian view on Kazakhstan’s unrest: danger ahead | Editorial – Tweets Review


  1.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    The authoritarian leader of Kazakhstan said Friday that he had authorized the nation’s security forces to “fire without warning” against protesters…“They need to be destroyed and this will be done,” President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said. 


  2. Kazakh leader on protest ‘militants’, thanks Putin  via @YouTube


  3. Yeni Akit: Казахстан признает Крым за военную помощь из России 

    View image on Twitter

  4.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Every so often we see what people really think of their dictators. Then they’re silenced again.


  5.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    The EU alas has botched two Russian invasions already: Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014.

    France held the EU Presidency in 2008 as well so in 2022 will be under special scrutiny, at least this side of the EU and should be everywhere.

    Back then (1/x) 


  6.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Your daily reminder that and is illegally occupying Crimea. 14,000 Ukrainians have died in Putin’s invasion of Donbas and attempted conquest of Ukraine. He thinks it’s all a funny joke. No one is laughing at Putin’s antics and the ensuing Kremlin comedy.

    View image on Twitter

  7.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    Марк Шагал. «Русская свадьба». 1909 г. Собрание фонда Эмиля Бюрле. Цюрих. Швейцария.

    View image on Twitter

  8.  Michael Novakhov Retweeted

    We are ready

    View image on Twitter

The News And Times Blog

EU Leadership Says ‘No Solution’ To Russia-Ukraine Tensions ‘Without Europe’


The European Commission chief and the EU’s new French leadership have stressed the need for European involvement as Russia and the West continue to square off diplomatically over the possible threat of escalated conflict in Ukraine.


275289 Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

The post Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty: EU Leadership Says ‘No Solution’ To Russia-Ukraine Tensions ‘Without Europe’ first appeared on Russia News Review.

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EU’s von der Leyen says Europe must be involved in Ukraine talks • FRANCE 24 English  Oakland News Now

NATO weighs Russia’s security offer to end Ukraine standoff  WPLG Local 10

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