In Kazakhstan, the so-called “counter-terrorist” operation has been continuing for many days now and is far from being finished. Even according to the official data, the total number of the detainees already constitutes about ten thousands.
However, one should not trust this data since it is produced by the siloviks themselves and is based on the documents compiled by them. Note that, in most cases, the detainees have neither lawyers nor the opportunity to contact their relatives and ask for help.
Therefore, these ten thousands should be combined with the greater by several fold number of Kazakh and foreign citizens stopped and interrogated by the siloviks who had also studied the photos and videos on their smartphones. Note that the siloviks used physical force or even forced the detainees to pay for their release.
Judging by the posts on social networks, such practice has been widely employed in the current January. Yes, the people had been released and, therefore, they didn’t make the statistics, but the fact that repressions did take place is evident.
In view of this, the number of the affected (regardless of whether the authorities had reasons for detaining them) already constitutes tens of thousands of people. Add to them the relatives and friends, the deceased and the arrested, and the number of those with yet another reason not to love the Kazakh authorities will surpass 100 thousands following the results of the January “explosion” of the protest sentiments.
Note that a significant part of the latter will consist of the residents of Almaty and the Almaty region.
Based on our knowledge of how the “super-presidential” vertical behaves towards the citizens suspected of disloyalty, we at KZ.expert believe that, soon, the country will have tens of thousands of social outcasts.
And many of them will have to survive, in the literal sense of this word, since their usual problems such as lack of employment, steady income, housing accommodations will be overlapped with the official and unofficial restrictions, the pressure exerted on them and their relatives, the inability to get loans, to open bank accounts, to make payments and so on.
For this reason, we can say with certainty that today’s despotism on the part of the authoritarian political system and the “super-presidential” vertical (regardless of who personifies it – Nursultan Nazarbayev or Kassym-Jomart Tokayev) will invariably increase the number of the protest-minded citizens by several times.
We also believe that the number of those capable of not only resisting the siloviks or attacking governmental buildings but of uniting the groups of the like-minded persons and managing the process is going to grow. Why? Because many people will soon graduate from the school of hate in Kazakh penitentiaries. And if, nowadays, the list of the extremists and terrorists contains from one two thousand people, then, in five years, their number is likely to surpass ten.
At the same time, we must keep in mind that each of the three main groups of the January “explosion” will have its own road to Golgotha and back.
Those who participated in the peaceful protests and acted based on their principles have a better chance for “survival”. Not so much because President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev got concerned about their fate as due to the fact that they may count on support of the civil society.
Of course, mostly, this support will be given on social networks, but even that is plenty. Akorda and the Library are so concerned about whole world watching the events in Kazakhstan and are so afraid that the country’s image will be destroyed irreparably that they will respond to the complaints of the relatives and the requests of the lawyers (albeit unwillingly and with moans and groans).
The second part of the detainees and the future prisoners consists of those who directly participated in the attacks against the siloviks and the seizures of the governmental buildings, those who used weapons and led the looters.
Most of these people will also “survive”, relatively successfully, since they did not record or photograph their actions and prevented others from doing so. Therefore, finding them and proving their guilt will be much harder than proving the guilt of the persons who recorded everything they saw and who were unlucky enough to end up in the hands of the siloviks.
In our opinion, even if they do go to prison, these people will not experience big problems either while serving their time or afterwards. Due to that simple reason that they will always have the support of their associates and allies.
Moreover, it is these people that, lately, have been dominating the Kazakh penitentiaries because they tend to team up and get ready to defend their interests in the fight against the prison administration and other inmates. And, by the way, they often defeat the latter.
The major part of the future prisoners will consist of those who participated in the robbing of the seized governmental buildings as well as the malls, the shops, the eating establishments and the Almaty airport.
It is this group of people that, in our opinion, is going to be most vulnerable to the despotism of the siloviks and, therefore, is more likely to end up behind bars.
And when it happens, they are going to have a very hard time since they are terrorists only on paper. In order to survive, they will have to choose between becoming a regular inmate bullied by prison guards and other prisoners or to join the supporters of the radical religious sects. Those very sects that turned the peaceful protests into an armed conflict with the authorities.
We are not going to predict how many supporters the radicals will obtain but clearly no less than thousands.
As a result, in a few years, say starting from 2025, the country will have the two “armies” of those whom the authoritarian political system and the “super-presidential” vertical have seasoned with, first, a wave of the unabashed repressions and, second, with time served in prison. We are talking about the supporters of the peaceful protests and the supporters of the radical actions.
With that, it is very important to remember that Kazakhstan is located at the heart of the continent and there are no nearby states where people persecuted by the authorities for political reasons can find asylum relatively easily.
Take, for instance, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan where Kazakhs are definitely not welcome. Or Kyrgyzstan where they will be in danger since the Kazakh secret service feels rather at home there. They may be allowed to enter Russia but they won’t be granted asylum.
Even Ukraine that, after the 2014 revolution, seems to have turned to the West and democracy, does not welcome Kazakh political refugees. For instance, the most famous of them, former leader of the Alga party Vladimir Kozlov, has not been able to receive asylum there for more than two years. Either the Kazakh money has a lot of weight in Ukraine or Kiev does not want to quarrel with Akorda. There is, of course, the Republic of Georgia but one cannot survive there without money, either.
All this tells us that Akorda won’t be able to solve the problem of the excess of the proactive citizens the Belorussian way – via exiling them or stimulating them to emigrate.
This, in its turn, means that, by repeating the repressions it conducted in 2011-2012 in Zhanaozen, the “super-presidential” vertical is now planting a bomb that is bound to explode. Just like the bomb planted ten years ago has exploded this January.