As can be gathered from recent materials by Asia Times, CNN, and The National Interest, among others, adversarial media forces are claiming that President Tokayev carried out an anti-Chinese coup with Russian military support.
The US-led Western information warfare narrative about the CSTO’s limited peacekeeping mission in Kazakhstan that was requested by its internationally recognized government following an unprecedented explosion of urban terrorism there last week is quickly coalescing. As can be gathered from recent materials by Asia Times, CNN, and The National Interest, among others, adversarial media forces are claiming that President Tokayev carried out an anti-Chinese coup with Russian military support. This warped interpretation is predicated on a superficial explanation of events that dishonestly leaves out some crucial contexts in order to spin a strategically self-serving narrative that checks off all the West’s most politically convenient boxes so to speak.
In a nutshell, these outlets believe that President Tokayev took advantage of violent protests in order to make a power play against former President Nazarbayev and the faction that’s allegedly loyal to him within that country’s permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”). There’s even innuendo that might have had a role in organizing the latest unrest himself exactly as similarly adversarial media forces speculated about Turkish President Erdogan during the failed summer 2016 coup against him in order to carry out a so-called “self-coup”. These ill-intended observers that are actually more akin to geopolitical provocateurs claim that Russia helped him due to concerns about China’s growing influence in Central Asia. This is a grossly inaccurate assessment of the latest events.
What actually happened is that a long-planned Color Revolution that was timed to coincide with the government’s preplanned removal of fuel subsidies was launched as a cover for disguising an Unconventional War against the state. It remains unclear exactly who orchestrated this terrorist campaign but it’s beginning to look likely that some of the Kazakhstani elite played a role in the latest events after former Prime Minister and chief of the National Security Committee Karim Masimov was detained on suspicion of treason alongside several other unnamed individuals. The US’ subversive anti-Russian “deep state” faction might also have provided some assistance to domestic collaborators in a desperate last-ditch attempt to sabotage the US-Russian security talks in Europe.
This interpretation explains why the Color Revolution was ordered to transform into an Unconventional War despite the first-mentioned’s anti-reform movement achieving their political goal almost right away after the state quickly reimposed price controls on fuel and even extended them to cover other social commodities and utilities following the government’s resignation. That would have ordinarily been the end of it if this was genuinely a mass protest movement in its entirety, but its near-instantaneous transformation into an Unconventional War reveals that the Color Revolution was just a cover for an anti-state coup that most likely involved treasonous elements of the elite who could have even received some unclear degree of foreign support. Their goal was to overthrow President Tokayev but they failed.
That country’s internationally recognized government requested its CSTO mutual defense allies’ support to guard strategic facilities so as to enable its security forces to concentrate more fully on the anti-terrorist dimension of the conflict. Russia and the other members’ decision to carry out this limited mission was meant to help the Kazakhstani authorities restore the constitutional rule of law and thus safeguard the country’s territorial integrity. The government’s fall in the face of this terrorist-driven regime change campaign could have created a black hole of chaos in the heart of Central Asia that certainly would have catalyzed much more serious security challenges for the broader region, including within Russia’s own borders if it led to large-scale refugee influxes and/or terrorist infiltration.
China’s security would also have been threatened since its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) borders Hybrid War-victimized Kazakhstan. The Russian-led CSTO’s limited peacekeeping mission therefore doesn’t contradict Chinese interests but perfectly complements them, which is why it’s patently ridiculous to speculate that President Putin was motivated by any anti-Chinese geostrategic considerations in approving this operation. It’ll only involve several thousand troops who’ll remain in Kazakhstan for a short period according to official estimates and will leave the moment that the authorities feel comfortable enough with the security situation after fully regaining control of the country. It doesn’t involve any territorial changes or political quid pro quos, let alone anti-Chinese ones.
Nevertheless, it’s politically convenient for adversarial media forces to recklessly speculate otherwise since they very desperately want to drive a wedge between the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership that serves as the most powerful engine of the emerging Multipolar World Order. There’s also a soft power interest in misportraying Russia’s regional security operation as being driven by “imperialist” motivations since this conforms with what the global public has already been preconditioned by the US-led Western Mainstream Media’s years-long information warfare campaign about that country to seemingly expect. It doesn’t matter that this claim is utterly devoid of substance since similar such narratives are purely about perception management and not factually compelling arguments.
Those who propagate the literal conspiracy theory that President Putin plotted some kind of anti-Chinese coup with his Kazakhstani counterpart are either ignorant of two particular contexts or are deliberately omitting them from their materials in order to mislead their audience. The first is that the Hybrid War of Terror on Kazakhstan occurred during the middle of Russia’s 10-day New Year’s holiday season and right before Orthodox Christmas during the time when the entire country is on break for the most part, including the majority of its “deep state” apart from the military of course. It completely caught the Kremlin off guard since its intelligence services once again failed to anticipate yet another regional regime change crisis. This crisis literally happened at the most inconvenient time for its officials.
The second pertinent context is that all of this occurred in the run-up to the highly sensitive US-Russian talks for de-escalating the undeclared US-provoked missile crisis in Europe. Russia is already under tremendous multifaceted American pressure, especially in the soft power realm with particular respect to the continually debunked claims that it’s either plotting to “invade” Ukraine or supposedly already has, so it wouldn’t want to open up a whole new can of worms by “invading” Kazakhstan as part of some far-reaching anti-Chinese power play in Central Asia and thus risk complicating the upcoming talks any more than they already are. The Kremlin has actually done its utmost to signal that it’s on its “best behavior” ahead of these negotiations in order to avoid distracting its American counterparts.
These interconnected observations are crucial to consider when interpreting the latest chain of events. They discredit the self-serving narrative that this was a long-planned anti-Chinese power play that amounted to a Russian-backed coup buffeted by an imperialist invasion of Kazakhstan and predicated on the false flag basis that President Tokayev might have had something to do with the latest violence against his own government. The reality is altogether different since this was actually an attempted coup against that country’s incumbent leader that was advanced through terrorist means by a treasonous elite in potential collusion with foreign forces, but it was narrowly thwarted by the CSTO’s limited peacekeeping mission that also served China’s regional security interests as well.