Just days before urgent talks between Russia and the United States in Geneva, Switzerland, began Jan. 10, a widespread outbreak of fighting in the Central Asian country of Kazakhstan — including burning the presidential palace — resulted in Russia sending troops to that country to guard strategic buildings. The Jan. 10 talks involve Ukraine and Russia’s demand that NATO’s aggressive expansion toward its borders cease and be reversed.
Along with Russia and Kazakhstan, other former Soviet republics — Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan — are joined in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) alliance that pledges mutual defense against foreign intervention.
U.S. and British spokespeople immediately exploited the events to expand their ongoing anti-Russia propaganda campaign, warning Russia against intervention in Kazakhstan. The charges completely ignored that the Pentagon had just ended 20 years of occupying Afghanistan while waging wars of intervention in Libya, Iraq, Syria and Somalia.
Using the pretext of a “war on terror,” Washington has spent $5.5 trillion on these wars, according to the Brown University Costs of War group.
WW refuses to ignore this recent history of imperialist war-making. We call for countering U.S. propaganda. One should expect anything out of Washington and in the corporate media regarding Kazakhstan to be distorted or outright lies.
The fighting in Kazakhstan, which involved large numbers of people across a vast country and caused much destruction, erupted following a sharp hike in the price of automobile fuel that was understandably unpopular. The government retreated from the price hike, but the demonstrators attacked government buildings, burned cars and seized the airport. Both demonstrators and security forces were killed.
We don’t know all the forces, internal and/or foreign, involved in the upheaval in Kazakhstan. A Kazakh banker and former minister, currently exiled in Britain, claimed to speak for those who revolted. We await explicit charges from the Kazakh government and from CSTO.
But there is much we do know.
The landlocked Kazakhstan has the ninth largest land area in the world, as big as all of Western Europe with long borders with Russia and China. Its extensive territory holds vast mineral resources, including uranium, natural gas and oil reserves. It is home to 19 million people, including more than 3 million of Russian heritage.
The biggest single exploiters of Kazakhstan’s energy resources are U.S.-based monopolies, including Chevron and ExxonMobil, much more than Russia or China. Washington has had a working relationship with the government. The U.S. has no ambassador in Kazakhstan now, but it has many contacts.
Kazakhstan was where China’s president first announced the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, and it is part of that plan. Washington has constantly used diplomatic and economic pressure to sabotage China’s initiative.
In 2013-14, the U.S. aided anti-Russian forces in Ukraine, including openly racist and fascist elements, in staging a coup against the Ukrainian president and bringing in the current anti-Russian regime, destabilizing the region. The U.S. debacle in Afghanistan proved Washington is incapable of controlling events; it is, however, capable of causing misery.
U.S. and EU imperialism have no right to butt into Kazakhstan. Through NATO, the U.S. and EU militaries have already pushed armed forces toward Russia’s borders, absorbing former Soviet allies and even former Soviet republics into the U.S.-led military alliance. The Pentagon has placed nuclear-capable missiles and bomber bases in Europe a half hour from Russian targets.
We demand no U.S. intervention in Kazakhstan, withdrawal of NATO from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics and the dissolution of the NATO aggressive military alliance.