Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on Tuesday that troops of the Moscow-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) would begin a phased withdrawal within two days, with no longer than 10 days.
Why this matters: Tokayev turned to Russia last week when the mass protests turned into violence in what he now claims was a coup attempt against him. Now that order appears to have been largely restored, he is placing loyalists in key positions and calling on foreign “peacekeepers” to withdraw.
- By inviting Russia, Tokayev underscored Moscow’s position as a security guarantor for governance in the region.
- He may also have compromised his country’s sovereignty, although Vladimir Putin has said Russian troops will leave when Tokayev no longer considers them necessary.
Running news: Tokayev, who was fired from cabinet last Wednesday and has continued to clean the house since then, on Tuesday appointed former deputy prime minister Alikhan Smilov as prime minister.
- Powerful intelligence chief Karim Massimov was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of treason and replaced by Yermak Sagimayev, who was responsible for Tokayev’s security, as the head of the State Security Service.
- The most mysterious is that of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the longtime former dictator who gave the presidency to Tokayev in 2019. He has been missing since his removal as the head of the Security Council last week. His spokesperson denied reports that he had fled the country.
- There is a curfew in Almaty from 11 pm to 7 am, but residents have started returning to work, for WSJ, The government says that around 160 people were killed and about 10,000 people arrested during the unrest.
What will happen next: Tokayev has promised an investigation into the “coup attempt” and how “agents of terrorism” were able to obtain weapons and go against him without being exposed by security services.
- Tokayev’s coup claim
- Putin extends his red line in Kazakhstan and Ukraine