What is the Collective Security Treaty by which Russia sent troops to Kazakhstan?

The rise in the price of gas in Kazakhstan sparked protests that began on January 2 and sparked violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement officials on Thursday, leaving dozens of protesters and police dead, hundreds injured and thousands detained.

The doubling of the price of fuel was just the spark that lit the fuse of accumulated social discontent, according to analysts.

The demonstration that sparked the latest crisis took place in the dusty western oil city of Zhanaozen. Resentments have long raged in the area over the feeling that the region’s energy riches have not been fairly distributed among the local population. In 2011, police shot dead at least 15 people in the city protesting in support of oil workers fired after a strike, reported Associated Press.

The government of Kazakhstan has requested the support of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), which leads Russia together with six of the former 15 Soviet republics, of which Kazakhstan is also a part.

Russia sent paratroopers to Kazakhstan on Thursday to help quell the revolt.

What is the OTSC?

The CSTO is a political and military agreement signed by six countries and promoted by Russia. The list is completed by Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The memorandum of creation emerged in 2000, but the antecedents date back to the immediate collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when the countries created a kind of supportive alliance.

The CSTO constitution letter reaffirms the commitment of the participating States to “refrain from the use and threat of force.”

It also prohibits signatory countries from joining other military alliances or state groups.

At present they maintain links of joint military training and assistance in security matters.

What is the situation in Kazakhstan?

Kazakhstan is located in Central Asia, Russia’s immediate neighbor. It is the ninth country in the world with the largest land area – 2.72 million square kilometers, equivalent to the size of Western Europe – and since 1997 its capital is Almaty, where the protests began.

Of the five Central Asian republics that gained their independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan is the largest and the richest. Oil, gas and mineral deposits are part of the natural resources of this country, which also promotes tourism, the manufacture of textiles and livestock.

But while Kazakhstan’s natural riches have helped it cultivate a strong middle class, as well as a substantial cohort of ultra-wealthy tycoons, financial difficulties are widespread. The median monthly salary is just under $ 600.

Kazakhstan sells most of its oil exports to China and is a key strategic ally of Moscow.

How have the US and the EU reacted?

A day before leaving the government, the former president of Kazakhstan, Kasim Yomart Tokáyev, requested the help of the CSTO, promising to firmly assume the protection of the country’s strategic objectives, such as airports, military bases and police barracks, under siege. by the massive demonstrations.

The organization, led by the Russians, acted immediately.

“In accordance with the decision of the CSTO Collective Security Council approved on January 6, a peace contingent was sent to Kazakhstan for a limited period of time (…) in order to stabilize and normalize the situation”, CSTO reported, Interfax news agency reported.

Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy, affirmed this Thursday that the level of internal conflict and the sending of foreign troops to the country is cause for alert.

It is of “great concern about the development of the situation in Kazakhstan. Foreign military aid reminds us of situations that should be avoided,” he said on Twitter, when the dispatch of “peacekeepers” to Kazakhstan by Russia was made public.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed on Thursday to Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tileuberdi, “the full support of the United States for Kazakhstan’s constitutional institutions and freedom of the media, and called for a peaceful solution to the crisis and respectful of human rights, “reported the State Department.

Kazakhstan has been ruled, according to government detractors, by a single elite for decades, and by the Nur Otan party, which has taken over all instances of power in the country.

One of the proposals of the ousted president Yomart Tokáyev, after replacing in 2019 his predecessor of the same party, Nursultán Nazarbayev, who was in the presidential chair for almost two decades, was to promote the development of democracy and multi-partyism in the Asian country. .

Those were considered the first presidential elections in Kazakhstan since its independence, it reported. AFP.

* With report from AP and Reuters

Connect with the Voice of America! Subscribe to our channel Youtube and activate notifications, or, follow us on social networks: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.