By Orçun Göktürk
The protests, which began in Kazakhstan following the fuel price hike, have spread throughout the country. Despite the resignation of the government and the declaration of the State of Emergency, acts of violence continue.
We interviewed on the protests and their international dimension Dr. Andrew Korybko, a Moskow-based American expert. Korybko said that ”the traditional US deep state faction opposing Biden is behind the color revolution attempt”. He described Russia’s sending troops to the country as “correct and appropriate decision in accordance with international law.”
Here is our interview with Andrew Korybko.
Can we call the latest ‘protests’ in Kazakhstan a classic Color Revolution attempt?
The latest events are indeed a Color Revolution attempt, but they’re not exactly a classic one. Generally speaking, Color Revolutions don’t intensify so rapidly in the span of just a few short days, let alone after the government fully fulfills the protesters’ original demands like Kazakhstan’s did. What happened in that Central Asian nation is that anti-state elements plotted a Hybrid War coup far in advance of the government’s preplanned removal of fuel subsidies that it implemented as part of its 2019 reforms.
“Hybrid War coup”
This movement sought to exploit the predictable protests that such a move would provoke, but they didn’t expect the government to give in to the apolitical anti-reform protesters’ demands right away. That’s why they exposed their original regime change intent by immediately transitioning their Color Revolution to an Unconventional War by resorting to terrorism instead of waiting a while like it usually takes. It’s also notable that there wasn’t any disproportionate police violence ahead of time either.
It’s often the case that the superficially plausible pretext for the regime change movement’s core organizers to transition their Color Revolution to an Unconventional War is a very forceful police response to increasingly violent protests. That didn’t occur in the Kazakhstani case since the state gave in right away and even extended its re-imposed price control regime to other social goods. Not wanting to have their preplanned protests go to waste, the Hybrid Warriors immediately resorted to terrorism.
This exposed their motives but also caught the state off guard after decisively shifting the strategic dynamics, which explains why the terrorists were able to cause such chaos in less than a day’s time, including the temporary seizure of the Almaty International Airport and burning of multiple government buildings. All of this shows that while the initial anti-reform protests were to a large degree organic despite being unauthorized (and therefore illegal), what came afterwards was preplanned terrorism.
Can the USA, whose hegemony is declining, create a regional instability in Kazakhstan? Is the USA strong enough for this?
Theoretically yes, especially since the US-led West already has an extensive “NGO” influence network embedded all throughout Kazakhstan, but it remains questionable to what degree America is behind the latest spree of urban terrorism in that country. Some speculate that it’s resorting to its typical divide-and-rule policies of exacerbating identity conflicts in third countries as part of its larger proxy war against Russia and China, but the particular context in which this happened raises questions about that.
To explain, the US and Russia will soon begin negotiations on the undeclared US-provoked missile crisis in Europe brought about by NATO’s continual eastward expansion and its plot to deploy strike weapons in Ukraine under the cover of “anti-missile systems”. Those who suspect the US of secretly being behind the Hybrid War on Kazakhstan think that it either did this to pressure Russia to concede on certain aspects of its previously declared red lines in Europe or to simply sabotage these talks.
There’s a different way to interpret everything, though. The Biden Administration has been surprisingly pragmatic towards Russia because the prevailing anti-Chinese faction of the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies that it inherited from Trump as perhaps one of his greatest legacies wants to de-escalate tensions with Russia in Europe in order to redeploy some of the Pentagon’s forces from there to the Asia-Pacific for more aggressively “containing” China.
“Anti-Russian deep state rivals of Biden may want to sabotage U.S.-Russian talks via conflict in Kazakhstan”
Their anti-Russian “deep state” rivals, however, want to sabotage this grand strategy since they regard Russia as the US’ greatest rival for ideological reasons. To that end, they’ve sought to leverage their extensive influence network in the Baltic States, Poland, and Ukraine, but thus far to no avail. It’s therefore possible that they activated their deeply embedded NGO network in Kazakhstan as a last-ditch effort to scuttle these talks by provoking a Hybrid War there right before they’re supposed to start.
If that’s the case, then they’ll likely fail with their goal because the Russian-led CSTO agreed to a limited peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan and the planned talks are still going ahead as scheduled. This means that Russia doesn’t consider the events in that neighboring nation to be part of any plot hatched by the Biden Administration, or at least not its prevailing anti-Chinese “deep state” faction. Even if the anti-Russian one is involved, the Kremlin might not blame Biden since it knows what they’re trying to do.
The situation is still very fluid though and subsequent statements might add further clarity that changes this assessment, but the interpretation that was articulated in this answer carries with it consistent logic which explains some of the earlier events leading up to these talks. At the time of writing, however, the analysis seems to stand. The Biden Administration’s ruling anti-Chinese faction doesn’t seem to have been behind this Hybrid War even if subversive anti-Russian “deep state” elements played a role.
What do you think about sending troops to the country under the leadership of Russia?
The Russian-led CSTO agreed to a limited peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan between the hours of Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. It’s guaranteed to neutralize the terrorist forces that unexpectedly attempted to take over Kazakhstan. The purpose is to assist the national security forces with their ongoing operations and to maintain peace in the aftermath while the country recovers. It’s fully in line with international law and will bolster regional security.
How do you think China will react to the last developments in Kazakhstan?
China participates in the SCO alongside Kazakhstan and Russia, and as such, it also shares their views that terrorism, separatism, and extremism constitute shared threats to their greater region. There’s no doubt that China supports the democratically elected and legitimate Kazakhstani government led by President Tokayev and wants to see peace and stability return to this fraternal country as soon as possible. The last thing that China wants is a Hybrid War next to its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
What is your expectation for the next phases of conflict?
The next phase of the Hybrid War on Kazakhstan will likely seek to discredit the security services during their anti-terrorist operations that were conducted while the country experienced its internet blackout. Service was shut off not to “cover up the state’s crimes against humanity” like hostile forces might predictably allege, but to prevent the terrorists from coordinating more swarm attacks via social media and other apps like they’ve been known to do across the world in recent times.
Other elements of this information warfare campaign will likely attempt to provoke identity tensions in this diverse nation between the majority Kazakhs and minority Russians and Uzbeks. There’ll also be an effort to discredit the Russian-led CSTO peacekeeping mission as “anti-democratic” and “imperialistic”. Hostile forces will try to misportray them as “occupiers” in order to encourage acts of terrorism against them and their allies on false “national liberation”/”patriotic” pretexts.
It’s possible that some countries might even threaten targeted sanctions against some Kazakhstani officials and members of the security services, but doing so would immediately ruin their relations with this geostrategically positioned state that figures prominently in Western policymaking for the region. This is evidenced by its leading role in the US’ “Strategy for Central Asia 2019-2025” for engaging with Central Asia through “economic diplomacy” in order to help its countries “balance” Russia and China.
Any potential sanctions won’t serve the US’ strategic goals and would actually be counterproductive from its perspective since they’d ensure that Kazakhstan moves even closer to its two Great Power neighbors contrary to what the US wants it to do. Nevertheless, the US’ anti-Russian “deep state” faction might be so blinded by its ideological hatred for the Kremlin that it doesn’t realize this and could end up feverishly promoting such a scenario despite it working against their own interests.
Lessons from Kazakhstan
Having warned about all of this, the most likely forecast is that the situation will soon stabilize and that Kazakhstan will serve to teach several lessons.
First, Hybrid Wars can happen at literally any time, and it’s usually too late to stop them from destroying their targeted cities once they finally go live even if they’re only active for less than a day as was witnessed by Almaty’s example. Second, this necessitates more proactive intelligence work to preemptively identify and thwart such threats.
Third, the Russian-led CSTO limited peacekeeping mission will show this Great Power’s responsible role as Central Asia’s top security stakeholder.
Fourth, its success will reassure other countries that they can rely on the Kremlin during their darkest hours of need, which might influence those that are considering “balancing” between it and the West to rethink their strategy.
And finally, Russia’s economic and financial efforts in supporting Kazakhstan’s recovery will further improve its international reputation.