(NewsReady.com) – Russian strongman Vladimir Putin says his armed forces have defeated a “terrorist uprising” in neighboring Kazakhstan. Just hours later, he’s already using the incident to increase Russia’s influence on its “Near abroad.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory on Monday in defending Kazakhstan from what he described as a foreign-backed terrorist uprising, and promised leaders of other ex-Soviet states that a Moscow-led alliance would protect them too.
— Newsmax (@newsmax) January 10, 2022
Starting on January 2, rising gasoline prices in Kazakhstan, an oil-rich former Soviet republic in central Asia, sparked violent protests against the country’s ruler. Several days of rioting left up to 164 dead after President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered troops to open fire on protesters.
The violence initiated a rapid response from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led alliance of former Soviet states. On January 6, the CSTO agreed to send a peacekeeping force to Kazakhstan. What actually turned up was a full regiment of 2,500 paratroopers from a Russian Guards airborne division.
On January 11, President Putin announced the “peacekeeping mission” had been successful, and the unrest, which Putin insists was a terrorist uprising backed by foreigners, had been defeated. He also promised that the CSTO would protect its other member states if necessary, and that’s the real message Putin is sending.
While some former Soviet republics have worked hard to build themselves into democracies, others have gradually slid back into authoritarianism. The six CSTO member states – Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and the dominant member Russia – are all either authoritarian or heading that way fast. Now, the Russian president is warning their people that the Russian military can crush any pro-democracy uprising.
Putin cracked down hard on the Kazakh protesters, and he did it with stunning speed. Anyone with dreams of repeating last decade’s “color revolutions” knows Russian paratroopers could be heading his way within hours. That’s a message that won’t be disregarded.
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