Kazakh President Tokayev Speaks about January Events in State of the Nation Address

NUR-SULTAN – The tragic events that shook Kazakhstan in early January 2022 were the first issue raised by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in his state-of-the-nation address delivered during the plenary session of the Parliament on Wednesday. 

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev delivers a state of the nation address. Photo credit: akorda.kz

President Tokayev began his address by expressing condolences to victims of the tragic events and vowing to bring to justice those who are guilty of fomenting the violent unrest. According to him, nearly 2,000 were detained.

“Many citizens were released, while those who had committed serious crimes would be fully accountable to the law. To do otherwise means betraying the memory of the innocent victims,” Tokayev told the session that gathered deputies, the acting government, representatives of NGOs and the media. 

He reiterated that it was a large-scale and well-coordination action with the ultimate goal of seizing the power. 

“There were well-known people who tried to make a coup. Senior officials betrayed the state. They prevented law enforcement agencies from acting in accordance with the law, and gave false information to the government about the situation in the cities,” he said.

He also acknowledged the use of torture by some law enforcement officers, saying that “such barbaric middle age manifestations are contrary to the principles of any progressive society.”

While the investigation into the involvement of security forces in a coup attempt is ongoing and confidential, the nation remains firm in its commitment to reforms. Tokayev said that many of the announced reforms have been in the making long before the unrest. 

“Many people thought that there would be a setback that we would start tightening the screws and reduce the pace of modernization. But we will not turn from our path, and on the contrary, we will accelerate the systemic changes in all spheres of life. Our country needs radical reforms, otherwise, it will stagnate,” he told the gathering. 

He acknowledged that the January events “damaged Kazakhstan’s international reputation” but pledged it would be rebuilt by “hard work.”

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