The worse the better – How Twitter views Kazakhstan

Various commentators have suggested that I write something about recent events in Kazakhstan. I’ve been loath to do so since my knowledge of the country is very limited, but there are some interesting things to say about what others have been writing on the topic, particularly concerning how it all relates to Russia. Notably, a certain part of the online commentariat has been keen to express indignation that Russia has “invaded” Kazakhstan to suppress a “democratic revolution”.

The rapid spread of violence in Kazakhstan generated hopes in some circles that the mob would topple the “regime” and install a new government that would somehow or other distance the country from Russia. Alternatively, the hope was that “democracy” would arrive in Kazakhstan. With this, another brick in the wall of authoritarianism would collapse, bringing closer the day when it would collapse in Russia too.

All this was somewhat unspoken, but once the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which includes Russia, announced that it would send troops to help restore order in Kazakhstan, and once Kazakh forces took the offensive and began clearing away anti-government protestors, all these hopes were dashed. The Kazakh government isn’t out of the woods yet. Protests continue in several cities, and things could still go horribly wrong. But at the moment it’s looking like the regime will survive. The internet’s keyboard warriors and online regime changers are seriously annoyed and looking for someone to blame. The guilty party is obvious – Russia.

However, despite the headlines in today’s newspapers about Russia sending troops to “quell” the uprising, the Kazakh state’s survial has little to do with the Russians or the CSTO. It seems as if the CSTO contingent in Kazakhstan will amount to no more than about 2,500 troops, which for a country that size is a tiny quantity. The role of the CSTO is largely symbolic – it sends a message to protestors and Kazakh security forces alike that the government isn’t backing down and has powerful external support. That should deter some of the former while putting a bit of steel in the spines of the latter. Perceptions of strength matter in situations like this, and thus the CSTO’s support perhaps makes a slight difference. But the hard work of restoring order belongs largely to the Kazakhs themselves. Whatever the press tells you, “Russia” isn’t “putting down” the uprising.

Nor can it be said that Russia has “invaded” Kazakhstan, as so many have liked to claim this past week on Twitter. Take for instance all these Tweets from the likes of one-time US Ambassador to Moscow Michael McFaul and former Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves:

Various themes repeat themselves in all these: invasion, occupation, the “crushing” of democracy, and comparisons of Russia with Nazi Germany. It is, to be frank, more than a little over the top. You can’t invade, let alone occupy, a country the size of Kazakhstan with only 2,500 troops. Furthermore, the troops are there at the invitation of the internationally recognized government – recognized by us in the West as well as by everybody else. That’s hardly an invasion.

Maybe it’s because I’m a total reactionary, but I’m not too fond of the mob, and I’ve never understood why street protest (accompanied by looting and burning) is associated with democracy. The thing is that all those complaining about the efforts to restore order in Kazakhstan aren’t too fond of the mob either, at least when it starts attacking things that they like. A year ago, McFaul and others were complaining loudly about the crowd that assaulted the Capitol building in Washington DC. And none of those whose Tweets I copied above were to be seen complaining when the Ukrainian military responded to protests in Donbass by firing rockets from aircraft and shells from multiple launch rocket systems.

Somehow, though, people are rather inclined to like the mob when it attacks somebody or something they don’t like. If it’s anti-American, that’s bad. But if rioting and looting damages Russian interests – they’re all for it.

But here’s what really gets me. Do the McFauls and Ilveses truly believe that it would be better for Kazakhstan if the Russians and CSTO didn’t help restore order and the state collapsed? There’s a very real danger of at best anarchy and at worst civil war. How would that help anybody? We’ve seen this scenario before. In Ukraine, revolution led to counter-revolution and bloody violence. In Syria, likewise. And so on. It tends not to turn out well.

But it seems like people don’t care. The attitude appears to be “The worse the better”, as long as the chaos is not at home but on Russia’s borders. Let Kazakhstan descend into anarchy – that’s to be preferred to an order backed by the Russians. Suffice it to say, I don’t agree.

54 thoughts on “The worse the better – How Twitter views Kazakhstan”

    1. Are Curveballs still legal……or is it spitballs I’m thinking of?

      And why do all these post 90’s state upheavals seem to be spitting images of the CIA and MI6’s action plan for Iran in 1953?

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    2. With a convenient rest stop at Biden’s Delaware digs? Yet another marvel of modern DOD engineering.

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  1. I agree completely professor. One can understand and sympathise deeply with protestors against the cost of living, even some who take very direct action like occupying government buildings. Though, as 6 January 2021 showed that can be deeply frightening and cause for alarm and justified demands for force to be used to restore order. That said when it goes to outright burning the buildings and looting shops then it is clear this is not positive but destructive and in any country the forces of order use quite nasty amounts of force to restore order. Also how many times do we have to see the dictator get overthrown only for something worse to come in its place before we learn the lesson? And one would think 6 January 2021 would make those in the west cheer on crowds assaulting government buildings because they regard the government as ‘fraudulent’ ‘dictatorial’ or whatever more suspicious and hostile to such crowds. 6 January was a dark, dark day that seemed to go on forever. For those Kazakhs not in the street I am sure given the length and duration this feels even worse.

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    1. “6 January was a dark, dark day that seemed to go on forever.”

      Yeah man, it was a thousand times worse than Pearl Harbour and 9-11 combined, the senators and whoever else was sure to be mercilessly slaughtered by the terrorists, armed to the teeth with MK 47, hand grenades, and likely portable atomic weapons, and nail Pelosi to the front door.
      And Hitler/Stalin/PolPot etc. made an appearance as a ghostly specter, warning of dreadful things to come should those rioters, nay, terrorists similar to at least ISIS or worse, incited likely by an FBI agent who managed not be found again and hidden well enough so he cannot spill the beans, not be punished to the utmost by all of them hanged as a warning on the front lawn of the White House.

      And to see those police officers under extreme duress forced to open the doors, to have those louts enter the hallowed halls with their unwashed faces and dirty shoes.. nay, the mind reels, the legs give out, a picture too awful to behold for any right or left thinking so-called democrat.

      You Americans are one breed of fucked up puppies…..

      Get a reality check. And breathe slowly in a bag, you are hyperventilating….

      https://taibbi.substack.com/p/a-tale-of-two-authoritarians

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Those who liberally dish out and applaud violent regime changes left and right but can’t take even a slight whiff at home of that which they’ve dished out, then make the whiff into a mountain and molehills of the dishes they’ve served can deserve no one’s respect.

        9/11 and Pearl Harbor indeed. Are they mad?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. January 6, the worst day in the history of humanity.
        A day that will live in infamy.
        A day when the government of the Greatest Nation on the Planet was overthrown by an idiot wearing a Chewbacca bikini! (LOL)

        Liked by 2 people

      3. January 6, the worst day in the history of crisis actors

        As your pictures depict, ‘Jan 6’ was an orchestrated event involving a mob of petty activists and crisis actors who were ushered into the Capitol for photo opportunities.

        • Everything Wrong With the Capitol Shooting In 21 Minutes Or Less

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      4. continued

        • Ashli Babbitt Shooting Hoax Explained (remove XXX)

        https://www.bitXXXchute.com/video/V8SvHf4D1tYD/

        • CNN-NPR Photo-Journalist Jade Sacker Was Embedded With Antifa Leader John Sullivan (Montage)

        https://www.bitXXXchute.com/video/JTovoAYViYyz/

        And of course Trump reads his lines on cue

        • Trump Calls for Justice for Ashli Babbitt

        https://nworeport.me/2021/08/12/trump-calls-for-justice-for-ashli-babbitt/

        Total theatre – orchestrated by the puppet uniparty called the US Administration – to keep the narrative of division live.

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      5. I stand by it. Watching the US Capitol get stormed like that with a mob threatening to kill lawmakers and overturn the election result through violence would be analogous to watching the State Duma get stormed by a crowd of Navalniks. Further the fact that only local police forces and no federal troops intervened to assist is yet more proof of complicity. So yes, for Americans it was a dark day and as an American it gives me more empathy with the alarm people express when government buildings are stormed and trashed.

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      6. I watched it at the time and I thought it was funny. Well, until a couple of people died, which made it just sad. Up until then it was funny. Well, funny to me at least (tres amusant).
        Here is my take on it, at the time of. My main angle was the Democratic Party baying for massive censorship afterwards, a call that was echoed by the fake Left.
        And so it came to pass. Massive censorship, I mean….

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      7. “I stand by it. Watching the US Capitol get stormed like that with a mob threatening to kill lawmakers and overturn the election result through violence”

        If this is not an exercise in post-irony, dewitt, then, well… By your previous “handshakable” comments, dewitt, I knew there was something rotten. And here we go!

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  2. Anti-Russian Sorosian crapola:

    : https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/01/06/kazakhstan-protests-russia-intervention-troops-ethnic-separatism-secession-ukraine/

    Post-Soviet Russia has recognized Kazakhstan. That doesn’t prevent some Russians from noting that the northern portion of Kazakhstan was in pre-Soviet times considered in southern Siberia, while having a mostly Russian speaking Slav population, which has been mostly ethnic Russian.

    In the post-Soviet era, there’ve been credible claims of what can be called a somewhat soft discrimination against ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan. The discrimination claims include a lack of access to high level government positions.

    The post-Soviet Russian government has decided to downplay the criticism of Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan and Russia are involved in the Eurasian Customs Union, Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

    BTW, recent TV footage of the Kazakh president includes bylines in the Cyrillic Kazakh alphabet, along with his speaking in Russian. He asked for CSTO assistance. In turn, the Russian involved CSTO sees itself having a limited role in Kazakhstan.

    Comparatively speaking, the upheaval in Kazakhstan is more indicative of an insurrection, when compared to what happened on January 6, 2020 in Washington DC.

    The above linked article doesn’t note that Kazakhstan isn’t freer than Russia and that Armenia (considered a democracy or one of the more democratically inclined of former Soviet republics) has agreed to send a CSTO contingent to Kazakhstan.

    CSTO hasn’t gotten involved in the Armenian-Azeri dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh on account of that territory not being recognized by any nation (Armenia included) as a part of Armenia.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Easy-peasy. It’s racist to deplore them appropriate foreign “freedom fighters”, who are fighting, you know, “For Our and Your Freedom”(tm).

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  4. Great post and great RT article today. Thanks!

    Reading this passage was especially satisfying:

    “Surely they know better? Indeed, they do. But it suits them to say otherwise. For whatever reason, they have determined that tension with Russia is in their interests, and if the truth gets in the way of that, then the truth be damned.”

    Watching “Don’t look up” & reading comments was similarly satisfying; it’s good to know that a sizable bunch of people look at the US of A and see what I see. So for a brief moment I was like, what if those same people REALLY looked outside, perhaps they’d also see…? But the truth is, they’ll never look.

    Oh well. At least they have enough sense to know that their own “presidents, senators, political science professors, famous publicists and journalists” can lie brazenly, ’cause “lying is their craft”. Perhaps it’s a start? Not too hopeful though…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. and great RT article today
      Indeed. For me, its yesterday’s. 😉

      Very systematical assessment vs Ms. Applebaum’s emotional heat. Not that I cared to take a closer look at her article, considering the quote. 😉

      ********

      By the way, ARTE (French, German public channel) for quite some time now offers the Ukrainian TV series Servant of the People. …

      PR: Evidence of this came earlier this year, when the Ukrainian government closed down several opposition media outlets, and then ordered the arrest of Viktor Medvedchuk, one of the leaders of the most popular political party in Eastern Ukraine, Opposition Platform – For Life (OPFL). This came soon after the OPFL overtook Zelensky’s Servant of the People party in national opinion polls. Unsurprisingly, many felt that that the charges against Medvedchuk were politically motivated.

      Now Zelensky has followed up with an attack on Poroshenko. This happens to correspond with the latter’s European Solidarity party following in OPFL’s steps and overtaking Servant of the People in the polls.Once might be a coincidence. Twice looks more than a little suspicious.

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    2. Lola,

      In his recent ‘RT’ article, as often before, Paul expertly summarises the radical disjunction between the interpretations put on contemporary Russian policy, and specifically contingency planning for the use of military force, and what the ample evidence about the approach which Putin and his top advisers take to its actual employment suggests.

      The piece, which I think everyone should read, is at https://www.rt.com/russia/545385-putin-ukraine-invasion-intentions/.

      Its conclusion, which you quote, seems however to be in tension with the sub-heading. The former reads, ‘Surely they know better? Indeed, they do. But it suits them to say otherwise. For whatever reason, they have determined that tension with Russia is in their interests, and if the truth gets in the way of that, then the truth be damned.’

      The latter suggests that, ‘By imagining Russia to be uniquely evil, Western commentators misread its every move.’

      It does seem to me that if one reads what Applebaum – also her husband Radek Sikorski – write, it raises rather sharply the question of whether the behaviour of the ‘Western politicians and, after them, a crowd of political scientists, journalists and other prostitutes [who] scream about the invasion of Ukraine’ can be adequately explained by mendacity.

      The distinction really is important, because if it can, they may, when ‘push comes to shove’, act reasonably ‘rationally.’ If they are hopelessly imprisoned in fantasy, catastrophic miscalculation becomes quite likely.

      A view rather closer to that of whoever wrote the RT headline was expressed yesterday in a post by Paul Craig Roberts, himself a former senior U.S. government official, headlined ‘Does Russia Understand She Is Dealing with Lunatics?’, which concluded:

      ‘My concern is that there is no one in the Biden regime or the decimated officer ranks of the US military that has five cents worth of intelligence. The people with their hands on US foreign policy are Russophobes with delusions of American omnipotence. Moreover, they believe their own propaganda, which prevents them from understanding the Russian view. I don’t know if the Kremlin is capable of imagining a government as lunatic as the American one. If the Kremlin does not understand they they are dealing with lunatics, the situation could quickly get out of hand.’

      (See https://www.unz.com/proberts/does-russia-understand-she-is-dealing-with-lunatics/ .)

      That of course raises the question of how what is the ‘least worst option’ in dealing with those one has good reason to believe are ‘bonkers.’

      What need to be ‘thought through’ at the moment are the dilemmas created when people who are determined to assume that, as it were, the question is whether a hungry Putin can be ‘deterred’ from indulging in a ‘second helping’ of Ukraine, cannot see that the actions they envisage as counters to this non-existent threat are actually exacerbating real dangers.

      As Paul brings out, one of these is the ‘Saakashvili scenario’, where expectations of Western ‘krysha’ may encourage people in Kiev to do deeply foolhardy things. The other relates to the evidence that the failure of the strategy to bring Ukraine formally into NATO is simply leading to a ‘salami-slicing’ strategy of putting that organisation’s facilities, in particularly missiles, into the country.

      On what might be appropriate counteractions, I see that Mikhail Khodarenok, whose technical military commentary I have read with much profit on ‘RT’, took part in an interesting discussion on the ‘Evening with Vladimir Soloviev’ programme on 28 December.

      A post by Gilbert Doctorow provided a useful partial transcript for those of us who have no Russian.

      (See https://gilbertdoctorow.com/2021/12/31/russian-elites-talk-will-the-negotiations-in-geneva-on-january-10-bring-about-a-roll-back-of-nato/ .)

      The discussion brought out that the agreement between the U.K. and Ukraine which was announced last June, which involves the creation of two naval bases from which missiles could easily be used to target both Crimea and Russia itself, was generally regarded as a ‘salami slice.’

      Accordingly, it seemed sensible to introduce what was said into an interesting discussion on Colonel Lang’s ‘Turcopolier.com’ blog.

      (See https://turcopolier.com/like-in-1914-or-1939-we-may-be-sleepwalking-towards-a-global-war-that-nothing-can-stop/ .)

      I see that in subsequent posts Doctorow has noted that, unusually, what he has written has been translated into Russian, but also that the emphasis has been on the possibility of deploying the capabilities now available to target U.S. coastal cities from the sea. His references to the possibility of ‘surgical strikes’ on the naval bases, which certainly featured in the programme, are omitted.

      My own view, for what little it is worth, is that both Craig Roberts and Doctorow have not grasped that, whatever their limitations, the military people in the U.S. are not totally incompetent at evaluating the ‘military-technical’ issues. And I suspect that a lot of what is important may well happen in ‘back channels’ involving people whose grasp of the dangers is greater than that which comes naturally to people like Tony Blinken or Jake Sullivan.

      A fundamental problem has to do with the ‘return of Karla’ interpretation of Vladimir Putin, rather visibly held not just by Applebaum and Sikorski, but many others.

      Obviously, there is no space here to go into the multiple distortions of reality in the ‘Smiley’ novels. But a material point is that Applebaum and Sikorski are hardly alone in believing that the retreat and collapse of Soviet power was essentially a product of the demonstration of ‘strength’ and ‘will’ involved in the Reagan-era military build-up. Accordingly, they believe the same strategies will work again.

      There is an irony here, on which I touch in my comments on Colonel Lang’s blog. In the ‘Eighties, it was actually the maverick right-wing Tory politician Enoch Powell who thought the kind of views of the ‘Soviet threat’ held by ‘Bullingdon boys’ like Boris Johnson and Radek Sikorski nonsense.

      An important point is that one’s attitude to questions to do with economic and political ‘philosophy’ has some relevance to understanding the history of the Cold War – but much less than is generally assumed.

      It is material that Powell was one of the rather few participants in the discussions in the ‘Eighties who had serious experience of ‘military intelligence’ – at a time when it was concerned with defending the country, rather than military budgets. Other intellectually serious ‘military intelligence’ people, like the figure who most influenced me, Michael MccGwire, the former head of the Soviet naval section of our Defence Intelligence Staff, were also profoundly sceptical about Cold War orthodoxies.

      Some time back, I saw that a typescript he sent me not long after it was finalised, in July 1987, had appeared on the internet. I would be interested in what someone like Khodarenok thought it got right, and wrong.

      (See https://www.ucis.pitt.edu/nceeer/1987-800-05-McGwire.pdf .)

      The fact that a lot of what is conventionally accepted about the Cold War is questionable bears upon issues raised in a discussion on Christmas Day on RT by Kit Klarenberg of the latest ‘tranche’ of materials released by the ‘National Security Archive’ of the – in my view appalling stupid – policies pursued by the Clinton Administration towards Russia.

      (See https://www.rt.com/russia/544396-declassified-documents-us-nato-lie/ )

      When Tony Blinken claims that NATO ‘never promised to admit new members’ he is of course completely right – but misses the central point at issue, which I think is very relevant to what is happening now. At the time, Mikhail Gorbachev made no attempt whatsoever to get the assurances he was given by a whole range of Western leaders put into writing.

      In my view, it was precisely because so many in the West had no understanding at all of the background to Gorbachev’s ‘new thinking’ that they failed to grasp that there were real long-term risks involved in clearly demonstrating that, in trusting the West, he and his advisers were gullible fools.

      At the end of his article, Klarenberg quotes George Kennan, in 1998, arguing that expanding NATO would be the ‘beginning of a new Cold War’, and a ‘tragic mistake’ – both views I very much agreed with then, and do so even more now. However, in the article the author of these remarks is described as ‘formerly a committed ‘cold warrior’, and a key figure in the creation of the alliance.’

      Actually, Kennan spent much of the half-century after his loss of influence at the end of the ‘Forties arguing that the strategy of ‘containment’, as it had evolved, was related to a threat of direct Soviet territorial expansion in which he had never believed – and he always had profound reservations about the notion of a formalised military alliance.

      On this, a central text is the long despatch he sent back from Moscow in September 1952, when he was briefly ambassador there, reproduced at the end of the second volume of his memoirs. Entitled ‘The Soviet Union and the Atlantic Pact’, it was an account of what he called a ‘cosmic misunderstanding’ which had developed between the Cold War adversaries about the significance of each other’s military preparations.

      (See https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB14/doc1.htm )

      It is, I think, of some interest compare what Kennan wrote in 1952 with what MccGwire wrote in 1987.

      In the ‘Atlantic’ piece Paul discusses, Applebaum writes ‘As a nation, the U.S. has also started to forget the most important strategic lesson of the Cold War: Deterrence works.’

      I think in relation to her, Boris Johnson, Tony Blinken, Joe Biden, and many others, the aphorism ‘ It’s not what you don’t know that kills you, it’s what you know for sure that ain’t true’ – which I think came from Mark Twain – is to the point.

      I do hope she and her fellow ‘lunatics’ will not ‘kill us’!

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  5. Eva K Bartlett shared this interview of Marcus Papadopoulos with Kevork Almassian of Syriana Analysis (video embedded). Of several I have viewed this one appeals to me – balanced and insightful.

    • Dr. Marcus Papadopoulos on recent events (attempted colour revolution) in Kazakhstan – In Gaza

    https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2022/01/07/dr-marcus-papadopoulos-and-alexander-mercouris-on-recent-events-attempted-colour-revolution-in-kazakhstan/

    I don’t know what ‘alexander-mercouris’ is doing in the url description – maybe Eva was going to include another link.

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      1. Thank you – yes, I read that …

        Escobar writes:
        “That [the doubling of prices for liquefied gas] was the spark for nationwide protests spanning every latitude from top business hub Almaty to the Caspian Sea ports of Aktau and Atyrau and even the capital Nur-Sultan, formerly Astana.

        The central government was forced to roll back the gas price to the equivalent of 8 rubles a liter. Yet that only prompted the next stage of the protests, demanding lower food prices, an end of the vaccination campaign, a lower retirement age for mothers with many children and – last but not least – regime change, complete with its own slogan: Shal, ket! (“Down with the old man.”)”

        I have read about that very type of thing before – where the masses are mobilised under one pretext (eg equal rights and better working conditions) but the organisers have a completely different agenda in mind – such as regime change. 1905 in Russia comes to mind – Georgy Gapon et al.

        So many layers to this – I wonder how many of the initial crowds that were rallied in Kazakhstan thought they were protesting against the draconian new world order COVID/QR mandates [nobody can remember that this was kindled by ‘The Virus™]).

        … Or

        • Calmer in Kazakhstan- Opposition Banker aka Leader Calls for Western Involvement

        https://thechaoscat.wordpress.com/2022/01/08/calmer-in-kazakhstan-opposition-banker-aka-leader-calls-for-western-involvement

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      2. This reminds me of an old Communist joke from the early 1930’s. American Communists are successfully agitating within a renters strike movement. Eventually, after weeks of struggle, the capitalist landlords come out and issue a statement of surrender to the strikers: “After due consideration, we agree to the demand to lower the rent. We also agree to fix the plumbing and paint all the walls. We will make sure the garbage is collected once a week. The only point we can’t agree to, and not that we don’t want to, but it is simply not within our power to recognize the USSR.”

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  6. Nice job, Professor. I wasn’t really following the Kazakh events that closely, not due to lack of interest, but more due to lack of time. When events happen in a place I don’t know enough about, sometimes it can get confusing, which side should I support? The protesters? The government?

    If I get really lazy, all I have to do is read what the U.S. government shills are saying in their tweets. For example, once they start whining about how the police should “respect the rights of the protesters” and not beat them up too much, then you get a pretty good idea who the U.S. is supporting. And then I would just support the other side.

    It’s the lazy man’s litmus test!

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  7. One can not say anything about the protesters before one knows what they stand for and how they are organized.

    Seemingly riotous protesters are rather common in for example Latin America, where they tend to be organized by Indian organizations, for example in Ecuador (they call it Levantamiento, I suppose one can google for that). There were also a lot of riots in a lot of countries in the late 1900s and early 2000s when governments had announced that they gave in to IMF’s demands for cuts in the budgets. In most cases these riots were organized by churches or housewives’ organizations, because cuts in government budgets would necessarily cut hard into poor peoples’ budgets too.

    I don’t know what the riots in Kazakhstan are about. I suppose we will have to wait for some research having been done.

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    1. CGTN featured a Frederick Emerich, who teaches at KIMEP University in Almaty.

      He confirmed the mob violence against law enforcement, young military conscripts and government buildings.

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  8. … after lunch continuation:

    You can read about IMF riots in John Walton & David Seddon: Free markets and food riots. In fact, you can read about them in their 18th century version already in E.P. Thompson: Customs in common.

    The point is that in a society with scant democratic institutions riots may be the only way to response at all. It is an insult to talk about “mobs”.

    Even in socalled democratic societies it may be the only way. I myself took part in a riot, as a petty organizer, in 1971, in one of the most “democratic” societies that has existed at least the last few hundred years. But in this case there was no other institutionalized way. It was about the wrecking of a public park following upon the wrecking of a whole 17th century town core in Stockholm, Sweden. All political parties had decided on it thirty years in advance and would consider it as a loss of face to change.

    Of course the mayor talked about a “mob” too – but a majority of Stockholmers agreed with us, and the mayor had to resign. What I want to emphasize is that one can’t have any opinion before one has studied the case.

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  9. I drove through Kazakhstan 10 years ago, from the South-West corner (Kara-Bogaz) to Petropavl. I must say, it did feel problematic. Huge
    discotheques and posh restaurants with massive neon lighting in the cities, big SUVs, well dressed women, rich, vibrant life. And people outside the cities who sometimes looked starving.

    I don’t find this sort of troubles surprising. Who organize them and for what purpose, I don’t think we know that yet.

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  10. I would rather say – now after coffee break – that a government that gets such big protests as now in Kazakhstan probably deserves it.

    One story here: The ruffian Gustav I of Sweden, king in the 16th century, got a revolt on him in the 1540s; a whole province rose against him. Of course it was one of these tax revolts that happened here and there in the 16th and 17th centuries. Well, Gustav hired German mercenaries to put it down and executed a few revolt leaders. But then he came up with something really creative: he invited peasants from all over the country as a fourth estate in the parliament, where king and peasants could discuss about further taxes.

    It was not only an empty promise. It happened afterwards quite often that the government backed down from unpopular taxes. But the peasants never took to arms again (with exception of 1742 when they rose against an unpopular war that had been decided without peasant participation).

    And that was in a poor, backward country, which according to politologists like e.g. Charles Tilly: Capital, coercion and European states, would never afford inclusion and cooption of popular demands.

    Which is an illustration to my thesis: riots happen when there are no institutional way of dealing with discontents.

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  11. From what I gather, there were two phases. One when protesters actually achieved what they originally asked for, the next step went far beyond that.
    This step seemed to be well organized, and seemed to have resulted in a lot of personal and property damage and is reminiscent of many of the US-instigated color revolutions.

    Anyone here not remembering the original protest in Kiev 2013, when suddenly police and protesters were shot from particular vantage points after Yanukovich had instructed his security forces to hold back with their response, even after firefighters and police suffered from Molotow attacks against persons?

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    1. It is of course always possible to hide in a crowd and do things the crowd never intended to do.

      But that is also likelier to happen, and to succeed, if the government – the forces of “order” – behaves repressive towards the crowd.

      People are likely to feel solidary with other people who are treated as oneself. If the police shoot at you, you are likely to feel solidary with people who shoot at the police. Whatever difference there may otherwise be.

      I maintain that if a government has trouble with riots it probably deserves it.

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      1. Do you deny that very often foreign influences to further a far different agenda can be the driver?

        Of course riots can be deserved if the government does not respond. In this case it did, but then the demands increased and were quite suddenly, and seemingly well organized, supported by violent actors.

        There is also the agenda behind it – whose interest are furthered by the riots? How often are actually regressive forces, that support the ruling elites, behind those?

        Not to acknowledge that those riots are often used to further the interests of foreign players is a bit naive in view of the evidence of any so called colour revolutions.

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      2. To Peter Moritz: As I said, other parties can hide in a crowd and do things the crowd has no intention to do.

        And in case of police violence against the crowd, the crowd may support those who hide if they take to the offensive.

        But the government still deserves what it get.

        Another story from the world history: It happened, when Lázaro Cárdenas was governor of Michoacán, that there was a peasant uprising, probably a part of the socalled Cristeros uprisings. Cárdenas went to the area together with a secretary, announced that he would be at a certain square at a certain time and answer to the people. At the time and place, there were thousands of peasants claiming for their rights. Cárdenas made a short speech, in the local language, and told that he was only governor but would do what he could, and asked those who had complaints to tell the secretary. That was that, no further revolt. And I am sure he did what he could, because he was to become the most popular president in Mexican history.

        In the case of Kazakhstan, there is long-term discontent about people being poorer and poorer while incomes from oil and gas run into the country. I doubt the government has done anything to this, since it will take time even if it wants to. Which is doubtful.

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  12. Sorry to post off topic.
    @dewittbourchier is a fine example of the lack of proportion, awareness of history, even recent one, that seems so prevalent in many US citizens mostly engaged in navel-gazing.

    We have a Blinken guy who pretends to be a diplomat accusing Russia of “once invited, they do not leave the house easily”.
    And that from the representative of a Nation that spent years upon years in Vietnam, that destroyed Iraq and spent years upon years here, that helped Islamists in Syria, etc, managed to stay in the house of Afghans wreaking havoc for almost 20 years. And this, to put it politely, arsehole, mouthes off against Russia that left Georgia within days after cleaning up the mess Saakhashvili made.

    @dewittbourchier really seems to think that January 6 was some sort of turning point for US democracy, (that never really existed but was always the playground of the oligarchs).
    He totally seems to be unaware that what was left of this democracy died many deaths, with the involvement in the Vietnam war based on the lie of the Golf of Tonkin incident, on the wrong side of history against an anti-colonial force, with the lies that led to engagement in Iraq, with the attack against Panama, Cuba, Grenada, the support for the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan, the help to create ISIS, even earlier after WW2 with helping German Nazis to escape justice in Germany, then the era under McCarthy, is engagement in the Korean war destroying basically the country completely. Continue with the lies and unacceptable ultimatums that led to the attacks against Serbia, the falsehoods that led to the putsch in Ukraine and then end, but not finished by a long shot, with the sanctions against Iran by lying about the state of its nuclear program.

    History might not exist for the USA citizen, but those affected by its violent actions, occupations, and attacks will remember.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure, it was beyond outrageous for a jerk like Blinkie to accuse Russians of being uninvited guests. I liked Maria Zakharova’s reply, in which she listed various victims of American intrusion, including the entire indigenous population of American Indians! Good for her. I wish she would have added, “Plus, you lynched Negroes”, but I reckon that goes under a different category. Although it sort of fits, because Americans, after raiding Africa for slaves, never really left that continent either.

      It would not be untoward also to add that Blinkie himself is a Zionist (not being anti-Semitic here, calling out his Zionism, not his Jewishness!). A troupe well supported by the U.S. government and also known for marching into other peoples homes uninvited, and then staying forever. “This is my house now.” In other words, Blinkie has no moral standing to lecture anybody, least of all Russia.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Would’ve been better to just point out the greater number of US forces around the world when compared to Russia, adding that:

        – the Iraqi parliament has asked for US troops to leave Iraq on more than one occasion.

        – US troops in Syria uninvited

        – movement in Okinawa seeking for US forces to leave there.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. What aside from the help for NAZIS through various ratlines gets swept under the rug is the behaviour of the US with regards to German companies and their NAZI owners.
    After the war had ended, and the POWs returned, they were the ones who in collectives reestablished production of the Krupp, Thyssen, Qandt, and many other factories, whose owners had been accused of collaboration with the NAZIS and human rights abuses and were standing trial.
    As soon as those “socialist” experiments were detected, rather swiftly the US released those criminal owners who were reestablished in their positions, despite their abhorrent record employing POWs and civilians from occupied territories as slave labor.
    The USA never had any problems at all with dictators, tyrants, torturers as long as they were doing that in support of US geopolitics or material interests.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yes, it is inevitable that some people might be upset by their lifestyle, the rise of prices and corrupt government, and ask for assistance, sometimes even international, it is only natural. It is only natural none of the “energy price spike” has triggered any unrest in NATO-occupied European countries – their existing forms of “protest” is very much managed by the same cohorts that cause those problems, and it’s rather unfortunate that solving them has nothing to do with democratic process.

    But if the mob that attacked cities, ransacked the streets, burned the buildings and stormed the police departments – are still called “protesters” (much less peaceful ones) or at least “democratic” or “revolutionaries”, then I want Pentagon to be assaulted and looted, Capitol to be torched, and Washington monument to be blown up sky high (on the same day) – before US has any right to declare that it has been attacked by some sort of malicious force. I know that Hollywood likes to produce power fantasies like that, but what do they feel about something like a real thing?

    Revolutions are called such because they change something very drastically, usually the government or society, but colored “revolutions” are never known to achieve anything revolutionary except complete, gradual and cheerful degradation of almost all civil order, rule of law and political action. If a telephone scam has the same purpose and a result as such revolution and has about the same chance to succeed, then I can can’t really see the difference except in sheer scale and audacity.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When ‘color revolutions’ become as transparent as they are today, it’s difficult to identify the precise color at hand.

        Like

  15. Ye shall know them by their coordinating website:

    According to this piece (reporter Valentin Zhukov), the Kazakh protesters were relying on the same internet feed (to coordinate the protests) as previously were the Belorussian colour revolutionaries. Namely, the Polish channel NEXTA which the reporter claims is connected with Polish secret services.

    Another fairly reliable litmus test: If the Polish government supports the protesters, then they can’t be the good guys!

    Like

    1. The Poles are always concocting new dishes for the Russians.

      Yesterday it was keel_over kielbasa. Today it’s pasta alla nexta_is_a_pesta.

      Like

  16. RE: Sanctions in the works.

    Biden shoots at Russia, kills Boeing.

    CNN: “The White House and senior officials are also discussing potential export control measures that could halt Russia’s ability to import smartphones, key aircraft and automobile components”

    Boeing: “Boeing and VSMPO-AVISMA (Russia) Agree on Titanium Supplies (from Russia) and Technology Collaboration for Years to Come. Nov 15, 2021”

    Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Russian titanium producer VSMPO-AVISMA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) affirming that VSMPO-AVISMA will remain the largest titanium supplier for current and future Boeing commercial airplanes.

    Under the MOU signed by company leaders at the Dubai Airshow, Boeing and VSMPO-AVISMA will work together to:

    1) Increase utilization of their Russia-based Ural Boeing Manufacturing (UBM) joint venture;

    2) Increase R&D investment and continue to develop new titanium alloys and technologies;

    3) Explore new opportunities to expand VSMPO-AVISMA’s role producing titanium parts and components beyond raw material or forging, for current and future Boeing commercial airplanes.

    Like

    1. Boeing has been buying titanium and components from VSMPO for over 20 years. If that supply chain is cut, could very well be a major blow to an already shaky Boeing.

      Like

  17. Jan Wiklund sez:

    “To Peter Moritz: As I said, other parties can hide in a crowd and do things the crowd has no intention to do…

    …But the government still deserves what it get.”

    If you have a “crowd” (or a “mob”) protesting then you’ve already lost. Yeah, I know – it’s cool and “personally empowering” narrative-wise to spin for the intended auditory – petite-bourgeois political amoebas, who operate on childish notions of “state is always at fault” and “FREEEEEDOOOOOM!!!!111!!!”.

    “Mobs” and “crowds” accomplish jack shit. Doesn’t matter what the people making them up intentionally intended (usually it’s a variation of “For Everything Good, Against Everything Bad”).

    If you fail to self-organize, so that you have both a coherent list of demands and strict internal discipline to arrive to the rally point not as a “crowd”, but as a clearly united body, and then conduct your “airing of grievances” in the organized manner, no one will take you seriously – “the Regime” first of all. And it would be right. No Liberal God would smite it for such insolence against the Holy Freedom, no matter how you think “the Regime” is in the wrong and your side is in the moral right.

    Immanent feature of the internal discipline and organization is the ability to police your ranks, preventing starting of the violence and destruction of the property, as well as the ability to notice and neutralize would be provocateurs.

    In short, you must not just demonstrate, but have the ability to exercise powers of the State. So that even in case of utter chaos and collapse of the order you and your organization could provide it, thus supplanting the State.

    This last notion is what blows out the collective peanut-sized minds of the petite-bourgeois political amoebas in the Civilized World, who can’t progress further from the “mainstream Leftism” de-jour in the Net, and instead over-rely on sloganeering and idealism.

    Like

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