Kazakhstan protests seem like West-led 'color revolution': Ex-diplomat
As tens of thousands of Western-funded organizations operate in Kazakhstan, a former Canadian diplomat says the riots could be directed by the West.
The violent, anti-government riots and protests in Kazakhstan already show the classic pattern of a "color revolution" directed and planned by the West, former Canadian diplomat Patrick Armstrong told Sputnik Saturday.
Riots started in Kazakhstan on Tuesday night when thousands of demonstrators took to the street to protest against the surging gas prices in the Central Asian nation. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev then declared a state of emergency in the west of the country and Almaty.
The bodies of two slain police officers were discovered beheaded, indicating the terrorist intention behind the militant armed groups in Almaty.
"Clearly, there are underlying causes that would make people protest. But color revolution organizers take that unrest and direct it, which we see in Kazakhstan; the sudden appearance of armed groups, a 'leader' sitting outside the country, the usual Western NGOs acting over time, [and] demands that involve geopolitical moves away from Russia," Armstrong said.
Kazakhstan has close to 38,000 operational civil society organizations, the majority of which are funded either by the United States or European countries, data from the International Center for Non-Profit Law shows.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are among those active in the Central Asian nation.
The NED had sent some $1 million to at least 20 NGOs in Kazakhstan in 2020. Similarly, the US State Department sent a $750,000 grant to the Support of Freedom Association in Kazakhstan.
The Kazakhstani president accused the armed groups in his country of being trained by foreign powers, saying they had received training abroad and were foreign agents.
The Canadian diplomat highlighted that the timing of the turmoil was "interesting," coming shortly before Russian-US security talks.
"One observes that typical color revolution pattern takes some time to get to the fire-setting and shooting phase - this one got there almost immediately. An attempt by somebody to undermine the talks?" Armstrong wondered.
Former USAID consultant Paolo von Schirach seems to disagree with the prospect of the recent events being a coup or an organized insurrection.
"The truth is that this is a spontaneous revolt of the hungry and the angry," Schirach said while underlining that Kazakhstan was "a potentially rich country endowed with substantial oil and gas reserves and other mineral riches."
After days of unprecedented violence and unrest, President Tokayev said Friday order had mostly been restored in the country.
"Law enforcement forces are working hard. The constitutional order has been mainly restored in all regions," the president clarified.
Ahead of restoring order, the government, currently led by Deputy Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, had tried to fulfill the demands of the demonstrations, making an initiative to lower LPG (liquid petroleum gas) prices, but that failed in calming protests.
President Tokayev had dismissed the government the morning of the demonstrations in a bid to simmer down the situation, which failed as well.