Mass protests spiraled out of control in Kazakhstan last week. The government appealed to the Russian-led military coalition, the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Then that sent troops to the resource-rich country. Russian soldiers, among other things, took part in the restoration of the airport in the city of Almaty.
On Friday, Blinken said Washington was wondering why the Kazakh government had requested military assistance from abroad. He noted that Kazakhstan may remain linked to Russian aides for a long time to come. He described it as “a lesson from the recent past.”
Moscow reacted angrily to this. The Russian ministry said Blinkin was apparently trying to make a “nice joke about the tragic events in Kazakhstan” and mocked the CSTO’s “completely legitimate” response to the request for help.
“If Anthony Blinken is so fond of history lessons, we have another lesson here: When Americans are in your house, it can be hard to survive,” the ministry quipped. In a statement he cited, among others, Native Americans, Vietnamese, and Iraqis, as examples of peoples who would have experienced this.
Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a long telephone conversation with his counterpart in Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. According to the Kremlin, he briefed Putin “in detail” on the situation in his country. The leaders agreed to keep in touch with each other and hold the CSTO conference soon.
Some experts suspect that Tokayev appealed to the Russians because he could not rely on his own security services. Meanwhile, unrest in Kazakhstan has claimed at least 40 lives, state media reported on Saturday. Authorities say they have arrested at least 4,400 people.
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