Almaty: We Shall Overcome!

At the start of 2022, Kazakhstan experienced unprecedented violence never seen since its independence. Much of the international community and media focused their attention on the country, sadly, for a tragic reason.

Yet it might be worth recalling the events that took place in the United States less than two years ago, when large chunks of the country, the world’s leading economy and military power, was engulfed in the unrest following murder of George Floyd, which led to massive looting and rioting. Although unrelated, on Jan. 6, 2021, exactly a year prior to the unrest in Kazakhstan, the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. was attacked and seized by violent mobs.

Five people died during the attacks on the U.S. Capitol, while at least 19 were killed during the George Floyd protests in 2020. More than 14,000 protesters were detained, and a strict curfew was in effect in more than 200 cities. Heavily armed American National Guard and army units were utilized during the protests in many cities.

It is also worth noting that the events that led to the Capitol riots can also be described as a power struggle between the elites of the United States, predominantly with the involvement of former U.S. President Donald Trump. President Joe Biden declared those who stormed the Capitol to be domestic terrorists. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and other law-enforcement agencies also considered it an act of domestic terrorism. Because the objective of the attackers was to prevent a legitimate president-elect from assuming office, the attack was widely regarded as an insurrection or attempted coup d’état. Subsequently, a separate intelligence agency was created in the United States to combat such extremists.

These events took place just a year ago in the richest and most advanced country in the world that positions itself as the leader of the democratic world.

As such, it can be concluded that what happened in our country could happen elsewhere too. It is important for the citizens of Kazakhstan not to fall into despair and feel sorry for the nation. The unrest was massive and dangerous, particularly in Almaty. But the city is already rising from the ashes like a Phoenix bird, and there is every chance that it will be better and more beautiful than before.

Despite the temporary difficulties, Kazakhstan has been, remains and will be the most advanced country in Central Asia for the foreseeable future, while Almaty was, is, and will be the richest city in the region.

In this regard, our request for temporary military support from the Collective Security Treaty Organization was not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength. Kazakhstan is not Syria or Libya that were left on their own to face troubles. We have reliable friends ready to help. In return, Kazakhstan will also always be ready to come to the rescue without hesitation when called upon.

Kazakhstan definitely needs reforms, which I hope will be gradually implemented. Yet practically every country in the world requires them, including the United States, where economic and social problems led to riots and violence. Elsewhere, protests take place regularly too, calling for governments to implement socio-economic changes.

Ultimately, Kazakhstan will continue to develop and excel. As such, I continue to believe in my country and my people. 

The author is an Almaty-based political analyst.

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