Russian President Vladimir Putin credited his forces with helping restore order and preserve Kazakhstan’s authoritarian regime, after a week of what he described as a terrorist uprising backed by foreign powers turmoil.
Shops have begun to reopen as traffic returns to Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, Reuters reported. Cleaners are continuing to clear debris from the streets, which are still littered with burned-out cars, after security forces clashed with anti-government protesters last week.
For the first time since Wednesday, the internet was on for hours. Meanwhile, the area near the mayor’s office is under the control of security forces. Reuters said police searched the car at checkpoints.
Last week, Russian paratroopers were sent to Kazakhstan to lead a regional peacekeeping mission to protect “strategic installations” after violent demonstrations that resulted in the looting and burning of public buildings. More than 140 protesters are believed to have been killed and thousands more detained in fighting between government forces and demonstrators in cities across the country.
The deployment of Russian troops to Kazakhstan comes as Moscow has been engaged in a tense standoff with the West over the massing of troops along its border with Ukraine. While Kazakhstan’s President Kassim-Jomart Tokayev claimed on Monday that the protests were being driven by unidentified foreign agitators, the first demonstrations in western Kazakhstan focused on a sharp rise in fuel prices and quickly spread to other cities in this vast Central Asian country.
On Monday, Putin accepted the Kazakh regime’s description of the protests and praised the government’s apparent victory in cracking down on the unrest.
“Of course, we know that what happened in Kazakhstan is not the first and not the last attempt to interfere in our country’s internal affairs from outside,” Putin said, according to Reuters.
Moscow has stated that they will provide military assistance to other leaders of the former Soviet Union facing similar uprisings. Mr. Putin stated at the virtual summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (a coalition of former Soviet Union states that dispatched Russian and allied forces to Kazakhstan) that the mission in Kazakhstan prevented “a complete deterioration of the internal situation” there and prevented terrorists. Robbers “and other criminals”.