Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Is this a turning point?

I wasn't expecting Tokayev to openly turn on his predecessor like this, or make such a strong statement about corruption. The Kazakhstani power structure is held up by the rich oligarchs. I do not know if Tokayev can really survive if he actually takes them on, especially when he lacks much public support. But maybe this is an attempt to get public support? Most likely the "layer of wealthy people" Tokayev slammed just meant the ones still in the Nazarbayev camp and he will turn a blind eye to his oligarchs. I'd love to be wrong though. 

It's also really interesting that Tokayev is publicly announcing a deadline for the withdrawal of CSTO forces from Kazakhstan, and that the deadline is so soon. He said withdrawal would begin in 2 days and end within 10 days. Considering that they all arrived in less than two days after Tokayev asked for CSTO intervention, so I don't see why a fast deadline is logistically unrealistic. I'm guessing he made that statement this soon because the international commentary about the consequences for Russian intervention have influenced him. (all that talk about making himself dependent on Russia, and how Russians, once invited, never leave).

I'm really curious if Russia complies with Kokayev's deadline. The Russians have said they will stay until Tokayev says the mission is over. I guess there is some wiggle room in Tokayev's withdrawal deadline since he said that CSTO forces will leave within ten days, without specifying that Russian or all foreign forces will go. So this could just mean that the small token forces that Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan allegedly contributed will go and the Russians will just remove their CSTO insignia and stay.

It also raises the question about what happens if the military forces do leave but anti-government protests keep going. Why is Tokayev so confident this is over?