[Here we publish a statement by the IWP, the Russian group of the IWL-FI. Right now, president Tokayev of Kazakhstan ordered troops to “fire without warning” against protesters, who he calls “terrorists.” At least 26 people have been murdered by the joint repression of the Kazakh government and the Russian troops sent by Putin. More than 3,700 people have been detained.]
Statement from the Independent Workers’ Party – Russia / January 6, 2022
The insurrection began on January 2nd in the working-class city of Zhanaozen. A spontaneous demonstration by the city’s inhabitants, supported by oil and gas workers, soon spread throughout the country. Popular indignation is directed against poverty and increasing prices for essential goods, especially gas and basic foodstuffs. This is occurring in a country that is rich in natural resources, particularly oil, gas, and uranium. For years, only multinational companies benefited from this wealth, along with a handful of oligarchs and bureaucratic clans led by the de-facto dictator, first president of the Kazakh Republic, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Meanwhile, the people live in poverty, without hope for improvement.
The insurrection shows how fed up the people are with the continuous government of Nazarbayev and his successor, today’s president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. There is no democracy in the country, there is no freedom, not even the minimal liberties of bourgeois democracy.
Why did the uprising start in Zhanaozen? Because this city is the de-facto heart of the oil and gas producing region, where the price of gas to fuel vehicles increased by around 50% in 2021, and now another 100% during the New Year! Zhanaozen is a working city, with its own history of labor struggle. Ten years ago, authorities fired on a demonstration, leaving fifteen dead and many more wounded. Kazakh workers have not forgotten these crimes. Throughout the country, the masses demand better living conditions, the dismissal of Nazarbayev, Tokayev and his government, and an end to Nazarbayev’s cult of personality. In the city of Taldykorgan, a statue of the dictator was toppled!
Popular anger has reached its apex. In some regional capitals, demonstrators have occupied administrative centers and government buildings. In the largest city, Almaty, Kazakhstan’s former capital, the city hall was occupied and then burned to the ground, in a still-unexplained fire. There are videos and reports online of police officers and army soldiers joining the people, or at least refusing to repress the people. In some places, Army units were disarmed by the demonstrators without resistance.
Authorities are terrified. Tokayev has already fired his entire cabinet. He also promised to reduce the gas prices to levels from last Autumn, freeze taxes on water, power, and heat, and introduce state regulation for some particularly important product prices. However, Tokayev has promised to do this for only 180 days. According to the press, he would have even mentioned calling general elections. In an unclear way, the presidency of the Security Council passed from dictator Nazarbayev to president Tokayev. It’s not certain, but it’s possible that there is a struggle within the regime and Nazarbayev has lost power. Or maybe he is only using Tokayev to later put the blame on his shoulders. We do not yet know the entire truth because Kazakh politics is always done behind closed doors. But what is certain is that the authorities are scared, and willing to make some concessions.
During the last twenty-four hours, however, the situation has become much more serious. Numerous reports have appeared about looting in Almaty. It’s more or less natural that this sort of thing happens in these situations, and looters can be stopped by demonstrators with their own self-defense forces. This was the case in Ukraine during Maidan. Today in Kazakhstan there are no looters in Zhanaozen or other cities where protests are taking place, only in Almaty, and nobody knows who these people are. Who has attacked the Almaty airport? Who destroyed the TV station instead of using it to help the people? Those who are fighting against the regime need to find out who these people are. Neither workers nor the people benefit from the looting. It is quite possible that this is a provocation induced by the authorities to justify the repression. The change in how the government media refers to the demonstrators hints toward that – in the morning of January 5th, demonstrators were called demonstrators, while at night they were called “looters” and “rioters”, and on the following day they became “terrorists” and “fighters” who would have come directly from Afghanistan (perhaps, according to the imagination of the authorities, they crossed Kyrgyzstan, Tadjikistan, or China itself…).
In Kazakhstan, the Internet has been taken down, and other media are practically inoperative. The country has implemented a veritable information blackout and there is almost nothing on what is happening. We demand the return of all media in the country! We demand objective information in real-time about events in Kazakhstan, both for the population of the country and the rest of the world! This is particularly important and urgent given the obvious lies and absurdities broadcasted by the official Russian media. No more slander against the legitimate popular protests in Kazakhstan!
Under the pretext of fighting “looters and mutinies”, Tokayev has committed treason on the nation, by calling on Russia and other countries of the ODKB (Collective Security Treaty Organization, an intergovernmental alliance in Eurasia) to send troops to Kazakhstan. There is no external threat to Kazakhstan, nobody is attacking the country. Nazarbayev and Tokayev themselves have driven the people to protest and make only very small concessions and promises no one believes. These politicians should resign, but instead, Tokayev has called on the ODKB to murder the Kazakh people in a situation in which the army and police are joining the revolt.
As the IWL-FI, we openly state that WE ARE AGAINST ANY SORT OF INTERFERENCE ON INDEPENDENT KAZAKHSTAN. Russia has absolutely no right to send its troops there. Any shot fired by a Russian soldier will be a crime and aggression which shames all of Russia. Russian citizens, especially the workers that sustain this country, should place themselves against this criminal attack on Kazakhstan.
Putin is already fighting two wars in Ukraine and Syria. Private Russian military mercenary organizations are already fighting in African countries, supporting coups and dictatorships. A new bloody crime is now being prepared – military intervention in Kazakhstan. Putin feeds an illusion of a “Great Russia”, but nobody needs this “Great Russia” built on blood, shame, and the misery of the common people.
- All support to the uprising of the Kazakh people!
- Out with all Russian troops from Kazakhstan!
- Zero trust in Putin and his regime. No support for his crimes against Kazakhstan and other nations!
- The Kazakh people must decide for themselves how to deal with these criminals, starting with Nazarbayed and Tokayev!