Russia Monitor is a review of the most important events related to Russian internal and external security, as well as its foreign policies.
Date: 10 January 2022
Russian Troops Arrive In Kazakhstan
It is not only about deploying hundreds of Russian military personnel to Kazakhstan, but a great deal of political support the Kremlin threw to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The Kazakh president will pay for it later. In consequence, Kazakhstan is becoming a Russian vassal, being no longer its independent ally.
Moscow took advantage of the Kazakhstan unrest to press on the country and thus to strengthen the Russian posture in former Soviet republics. Tokayev’s move to remove Nursultan Nazarbayev as head of the powerful Security Council measures that Russia will now face a far weaker partner in Kazakhstan. Tokayev would be even a hostage of Moscow given the military support his country received from Russia. Thousands of troops from a Russian-led security alliance arrived in Kazakhstan to consolidate the president’s grip on power against his trusted associates rather than brutally suppressed rallies across the country. Furthermore, deprived of political leaders, the protests were unlikely to oust the regime. Instead, they became a comfortable excuse for Tokayev’s palace coup. It does not seem to be orchestrated beforehand. The presidents of Russia and Kazakhstan looked somewhat surprised when the crisis broke out. A few hours before ousting Nazarbayev and requesting the CSTO to send troops, the Kremlin spokesperson said that Kazakhstan could solve its own problems and it was important that no one interfered. The picture changed drastically after Tokayev took full power and the first Russian troops arrived in the country. Karim Masimov, Kazakhstan’s former intelligence chief and a trusted man of Nazarbayev, has been arrested on suspicion of treason. The Kremlin referred to Kazakhstan reshuffles in a statement saying Putin and Tokayev held a couple of phone talks while Belarus informed Lukashenko had spoken by phone with Nazarbayev. This highlights that now Tokayev is the only reliable partner for Russia. Nazarbayev has not been seen or heard from since the protests began. It was only on January 8 that his spokesperson wrote that Nazarbayev fully supported Tokayev’s policy, urging fellow citizens to back the president.
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