Last week’s unrest throughout Kazakhstan was an attempted coup that had been planned in advance, and was not simply a spontaneous protest against rising fuel prices, the country’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev claimed on Monday.
Speaking to an online meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), made up of six former Soviet republics, Tokayev also stated that constitutional order had been restored.
“Kazakhstan has experienced the worst crisis in the history of its 30-year independence,” Tokayev said, claiming that terrorists, “including foreign militants,” had entered the country to cause mayhem.
“Armed militant groups, who had been waiting for their turn, came into action,” he said.
“The main goal has become clear: to undermine the constitutional order, destroy institutions of governance and seize power. We are talking about an attempted coup d’état.”
Protests in Kazakhstan began early last week when large groups of mainly peaceful protestors took to the streets to protest the removal of price controls on liquified petroleum gas, a fuel that many use to power their cars. According to Kazakh officials, these demonstrations were hijacked by terrorists and organized crime groups, which took to the streets with weapons and attacked law enforcement officers.
“There were rallies, and the participants put forward socioeconomic and sociopolitical demands, all of them were heard and fulfilled by the state,” Tokayev said.
The president’s speech to the CSTO came as the situation has become calmer in Kazakhstan, following the deployment of a multinational peacekeeping mission to help the country quell the unrest.
According to Tokayev, the arrival of foreign forces helped recapture Almaty, the country’s largest city, from terrorists.
“I would like to give special thanks to Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin for his understanding and for the quick decision to send a CSTO peacekeeping contingent to Kazakhstan. We have been in constant communication with you, distinguished Vladimir Vladimirovich, since the first days of the terrorist attack on our country,” the Kazakh leader said.