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Magazine       "Oasis"
No. 20 (20) December 2005
No. 19 (19) December 2005
No. 18 (18) November 2005
№ 17 (17) November 2005
No. 16 (16) October 2005
№ 15 (15) October 2005
No. 14 (14) September 2005
No. 13 (13) September 2005
12 (12) August 2005
11 (11) August 2005
No. 10 (10) July 2005
No. 9 (9) July 2005
No. 8 (8) June 2005
No. 7 (7) June 2005
No 6 (6) May 2005
No 5 (5) May 2005
No. 4 (4) April 2005
No. 3 (3) April 2005
No 2 (2) March 2005
No 1 (1) March 2005
on       journal [PDF]:
Oleg Panfilov,
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Dmitry Alyaev,
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Roman Zyuzin,
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Adil Dzhalilov,

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Lyudmila Burenkova,
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Elena Dorokhova,
Kazakhstan: twenty years later
Anna Stepanenko, Sabirov
The reversal of historical events in attempts of a coup of state power in Kazakhstan begins its countdown in 1986.

Kazakhstan became the first republic to be part of the USSR, where mass disorders took place in recent history. True, then, in fact, there was no attempt at a coup - the protesters had a goal not to overthrow the power of the communists, but to express an attitude about the appointment of a new first secretary from Moscow.

Recall, on December 17, 1986, youth groups appeared on Novaya Ploschad Square in Almaty with banners: “We are for Kazakhstan!”, “Lenin and the party are together!”, “Where are Kunaev?”.

The general opinion was not directly caused by the candidacy of the new leader of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR (CPC), Gennady Kolbin, little known in Kazakhstan, recommended by the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, and the departure of his predecessor, still popular among many residents of the republic, Dinmukhamed Kunaev. And also quickly spread rumors that Kunaev "left" rudely and unceremoniously. Many of the protesters interpreted this as a disregard for the national identity of the Kazakhs, which is why those events are sometimes perceived as the so-called national revolution, the struggle for the independence of the people, or as opposition to Russian chauvinism (even the aura of heroism is attached to the then demonstrators).

The change of the leader of the republic, even for the USSR, most of them practicing the centralized dictatorship, in no case should resemble puppet theater, when by pulling on the appropriate threads you can achieve the desired result without paying attention to the merits of the former "main" hero and relationship to this very hero of the "audience". Eighteen minutes, which lasted for the fifth plenum of the CPC Central Committee on the election of Kolbin, was enough to cause discontent of the very "spectators" - the Kazakh youth, if not idolizing, then the very respected former leader of Kazakhstan Kunaev. Everyone was interested in issues related to the "sudden" resignation of the leader of the Kazakh Communist Party, the reasons and the need for his re-election. Another equally important was the question of why no candidate was proposed for this post, which would be acceptable to the party leaders and did not cause irritation of the masses, in other words, a Kazakh by nationality.

To talk with any other representative of the party elite, except for Kunaev, gathered at the square refused. Kunaev himself refused to go to the demonstrators. As a result, discontent and latent aggression resulted in unrest. From the side of the “rioters”, among whom there were many students from hostels, they began to use sticks and stones. Young people threw their podium and windows of the government building.

A directive was issued from Moscow to conduct a special operation, which provided for the dispersal of protesters with the help of army units, special forces, the police and the KGB. People in body armor with sapper blades and rubber batons “soothed the crowd.”

Investigation of the December events took up the party and government commission headed by the former chairman of the Party Control Committee of the CPSU Central Committee Solomentsev. It was then that phrases appeared about Kazakh nationalism and extremism.

Almost 20 years have passed since then. A lot of investigations were conducted, and appropriate evaluations were given. According to the Kazakhstani political analyst Nurbolat Masanov, the events that took place in December 1986 were spontaneous and not organized. Only after the situation became critical did the Communist Party deliberately organize a harsh suppression of the demonstrators.

It is worth noting that so far those events are shrouded in mystery - who was the instigator, were there any inspirers of the December revolt of 86g? The results of the investigation were not made public, so that, most likely, they would not excite excessive interest among the population of those countries.

The events that took place in the city of Ust-Kamenogorsk (East Kazakhstan) in November 1999 made it possible to look at the problem of nationalism as the driving force of coups in a different perspective. An attempt to overturn the existing state power was undertaken by a citizen of another state, a representative of non-indigenous nationality. Citizen of the Russian Federation Viktor Kazimirchuk, having united a group of young people with the idea of ​​patriotic activity in Kazakhstan, attempted to capture the administration of Ust-Kamenogorsk, organize an insurrection among the Russian population and proclaim the sovereign republic "Russian Earth" in East Kazakhstan. However, this extravagant trick, of course, was quickly suppressed.

The ideas of the convict subsequently for 18 years with the confiscation of Kazimirchuk's property continued as the activities of the leader of the National Bolshevik Party of Russia, the writer Eduard Limonov, who was arrested on April 7, 2001 by officers of the Novosibirsk UFSB and representatives of the National Security Committee of Kazakhstan. The detainee was accused of organizing an illegal armed group, the purpose of which was to overthrow the state system and an attempted coup d'etat in Kazakhstan. Prior to his arrest, Limonov repeatedly considered the possibility of unleashing a large-scale nationalist struggle in the former Soviet republics. And, in particular, he studied the possibility of opening the "front" in Kazakhstan.

Now, assessing those events, we can conclude that in addition to the national factor (more or less hidden opposition of the Russian and Kazakh population), another equally important reason for a possible coup in Kazakhstan may be dissonance in elite groups. Now the opposition, formed from its disgruntled part, is trying to shake up the situation, but all these attempts are not yet convincing enough. However, the very fact of a split of the elite, which began with the departure of ex-premier Akezhan Kazhegeldin and later ex-minister of energy Mukhtar Ablyazov and ex-akim of Pavlodar region Galymzhan Zhakiyanov to the opposition, indicates the presence of space for conflicts. However, many believe that the actual radical stage in political processes was provoked in 2001 by the opposition of big businessmen and the senior son-in-law of President Rakhat Aliyev. It was then that the political movement Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan was created, which united the elite against the “methods” of the then deputy chairman of the National Security Committee, Aliyev. According to some data, the main impulse was the expropriation of the country's largest banks - Kazkomertsbank and TuranAlemBank, however, this information has not yet been confirmed.

Meanwhile, even elite strife is unlikely to be able to destabilize the situation in Kazakhstan to such an extent that they will result in a coup.

Thus, political analyst Andrei Chebotarev expressed an opinion to Oasis that Astana is not as politicized as Tbilisi, Bishkek or Kiev and the current opposition is not able to take steps that may entail significant changes in the existing government.

Analyzing the political situation in Kazakhstan, from the perspective of flower-fruit revolutions that happened in the recent past in the former republics of the USSR: Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, it can be concluded that in the near future Kazakhstan cannot be considered as another arena for a fleeting revolution.

And above all, because the United States, which has made, as is commonly believed, a definite contribution to the transformation of power in the above-mentioned countries, for sure, there is no need to make efforts to change the political life in Kazakhstan.

As you know, there are four main factors of destabilization: religious and ethnic; imbalance of the elite; socio-economic (the gap between classes, the low standard of living of the majority of the population); external intervention. And only a combination of at least two of these factors can cause social cataclysms.

According to the sources of “Oasis” in the special services of the Republic of Kazakhstan, in Kazakhstan at present, none of these factors is formed. Economic growth, the generally cautious linguistic and national policies of Nazarbayev, and the loyalty of the international community so far prevent conflicts between elite groups from developing.
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