The Hybrid War of Terror on Kazakhstan failed to accomplish its regime change goal, but Ablyazov still hopes to profit from it regardless.
Fugitive Kazakhstani businessman Mukhtar Ablyazov, who fled his country to escape prosecution for financial crimes and now lives in France after receiving refugee status there, told Reuters that he considers himself to be the leader of his country’s so-called “opposition” forces. In reality, he’s just a power-hungry opportunistic criminal who’s seeking to exploit the Hybrid War of Terror on Kazakhstan for self-serving reasons.
His exclusive interview requires a free registered account to be read but can be accessed without one at this site that republished it here. What follows is a collection of his quotes, after which his words will be analyzed to help observers better understand his motives:
“If [the West doesn’t get involved], then Kazakhstan will turn into Belarus and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will methodically impose his programme – the recreation of a structure like the Soviet Union…Kazakhstan is now in geopolitical play. Russia has already entered, sent in troops. CSTO is Russia. This is an occupation by Russia.
I see myself as the leader of the opposition. Every day the protesters call me and ask: ‘What should we do? We are standing here: What should we do?’…The West should tear Kazakhstan away from Russia. The West must help so that Putin cannot occupy this country, the West must help civil society elect its leaders so that the country can choose its path, a democratic path like in the West.”
Reuters also reported that “He said he was ready to fly into Kazakhstan to head a provisional government if the protests escalated and said his activists were awaiting him.” It’s therefore clear that he’s trying to take advantage of this crisis in order to replace President Tokayev.
Analyzing his words, his modus operandi is to fearmonger about Russia’s strategic intentions in leading the CSTO’s limited peacekeeping mission that was requested by Kazakhstan’s internationally recognized government and is therefore entirely legal in terms of international law. Ablyazov propagated one of the predicted narratives of the US-led Western Mainstream Media’s information warfare campaign against this intervention by claiming that President Putin wants to recreate the Soviet Union.
This is patently false since no political borders will be changed as a result of the CSTO’s operation. The Russian-led bloc also isn’t “occupying” Kazakhstan like Ablyazov claims either since its forces are only tasked with guarding strategic infrastructure (including government buildings) and not carrying out typical law enforcement activities that’ll remain the responsibility of the host country’s police forces. Still, ridiculously asserting otherwise is intended to generate significant media attention.
That’s the entire point too since Ablyazov is trying to rehabilitate his terrible reputation by presenting himself as the leader of the Kazakhstani “opposition”. Readers should be reminded, however, that the country is actually under attack by terrorists who killed members of the security services (even beheading at least two of them), seized and burned down multiple government buildings, and even briefly took over the country’s top airport. Those aren’t the acts of “opposition forces”, but terrorists.
President Tokayev even said so himself in his address to the nation on Friday. He described the terrorist threat facing his country in detail, revealing that over 20,000 armed and highly trained sleeper cell terrorists – including foreign ones — attacked Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city. President Tokayev also blamed so-called “do-gooder activists” (i.e. actual opposition forces) of holding unauthorized/illegal rallies for the purpose of distracting the security services from tackling the ongoing terrorist threat.
It’s indeed possible that Ablyazov played a role in orchestrating the latest events considering that he previously called for more “protests”, though it remains unclear to what extent he masterminded this entire Hybrid War. More likely than not, he maintains some contact with a few of the ringleaders but his purpose is mostly to function as a symbolic leader of the Color Revolution face of the Unconventional War that was unleashed against Kazakhstan.
His banned “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan” wants to turn the country’s presidential republic into a parliamentary one, the objective of which can be used by the West to “legitimize” the ongoing Hybrid War. It also helps Ablyazov’s self-interested cause that he openly requested Western meddling into Kazakhstan’s internal affairs since this signals that he’ll willingly do their bidding if he isn’t already. Nevertheless, what he’s asking for is nothing but a political fantasy that’s unlikely to materialize.
Not only is it impossible for the West to militarily intervene like he seems to be implying, but “tearing Kazakhstan away from Russia” would be counterproductive for that country’s objective interests. Their economies are intertwined through their joint membership in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and they’re also mutual defense allies through the CSTO. Their nearly 5,000-mile-long border also ensures that they have an enduring interest in maintaining excellent ties with one another.
“Decoupling” Kazakhstan from Russia is therefore practically impossible, but talking about it is meant to generate positive Western Mainstream Media attention for Ablyazov’s self-interested cause of opportunistically exploiting the Hybrid War of Terror on Kazakhstan in an attempt to propel himself into power. This criminal is also just preaching to the choir when saying that “the West must help civil society elect its leaders” since Kazakhstan is already deeply infiltrated by US-led Western “NGOs”.
It was these groups that cultivated significant anti-state sentiment there over the years in order to precondition members of the public into at the very least passively supporting the preplanned Hybrid War of Terror on Kazakhstan. President Tokayev hinted at this when condemning what he described as the “specialists trained in ideological sabotage” who played a crucial role in the current conflict. Ablyazov already knows this but is playing dumb for perception management reasons.
Everything that he’s doing is predicated on presenting himself as the leader of Kazakhstan’s “opposition forces”. The fugitive businessman probably isn’t under any illusions that he’ll succeed in seizing power but most likely hopes that this artificially manufactured role could prove profitable if he’s patronized by the West (in the event that he isn’t already). For instance, they might pay him to make media appearances and speak at think tank conferences under the title of “Kazakhstan’s opposition leader”.
He could also receive regular payments to continue functioning in this role as a controlled form of mostly symbolic pressure against his country’s government, with his regime change rhetoric being amplified whenever it’s “politically convenient” for the US-led West to do so. After all, it’s unrealistic to expect foreign forces to propel him into power, especially after the CSTO’s limited peacekeeping mission there that’s aimed at advancing the “democratic security” goal of “regime reinforcement”.
With all of this insight in mind, there shouldn’t be any question that Ablyazov is just a power-hungry opportunistic criminal, not the “opposition leader” that he falsely presents himself as being for self-interested reasons. There’s no chance that he’ll topple President Tokayev even though he’ll probably remain a thorn in his side from time to time. The Hybrid War of Terror on Kazakhstan failed to accomplish its regime change goal, but Ablyazov still hopes to profit from it regardless.