Katze is out in Kazakhstan, who’s the Kapellmeister?

By Mahika Ming | Published: 2:00 AM Jan 15 2022
FT Katze is out in Kazakhstan, who’s the Kapellmeister?

By Mahika Ming

Kazakhstan is a Central Asian Republic and member of the former Soviet Russia (USSR). During WWII when the Japanese Army was occupying parts of Great China, there is evidence to prove that Unit 731 of the Japanese Imperial Army was using Chinese peasants as laboratory rats to test their biological weapons being developed. The bond between the Kazakhstan people and the Chinese people became much stronger during that time, since the Chinese masses who couldn’t suffer the brutality under the Japanese Imperial Army, fled to Kazakhstan for safety, which was already under the protection of the powerful USSR at the time. 

Few thousand years before WWII, the envoy road or the ancient Silk Road was passing Kazakhstan heading towards the Persian Empire. China-Kazakh relations therefore, are very old and strong and are much stronger at present with the Metal Camels of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) transporting the cascading prosperity of the socialist China towards the Central Asian region. The longest railroads of the world, which start in China, pass through Kazakhstan and many other Central Asian Republics before they reach their destinations in Europe and the Middle East.

With the BRI, Kazakhstan has got economic expansion opportunities as never before. So far, China and Kazakhstan have been enjoying the benefits of win-win cooperation due to trade activity and cultural exchanges as well. China-Kazakh cultural bonds also go back many centuries, starting with the ancient Silk Road passing the WWII Japanese cruelties and the present BRI success stories. Therefore, Kazakhstan is a very strong partner of the BRI.       

Kapellmeister

What looked like spontaneous protest waves, unrest broke out demonstrating against the fuel price hikes in the large Central Asian Republic in January 2022. Kazakhstan gained Independence from the USSR in 1991 and became a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States which came into effect after the fall of the USSR. According to many analysts, it has become clear that the ultimate objective was to undermine the constitutional order and seize power in an attempted coup d’etat. 

The Arab Spring, which started around 2010, which must have been orchestrated by experts faraway, managed to topple many strong economies in the region, and as a result many millions of Arabs and others are still suffering. The violation of human rights during these spring time activities has never been discussed or addressed to do justice to those who suffered. The protests in Kazakhstan were destabilising the region, where Russia and the USA are competing for influence. 

The organised nature of the spontaneous riots was interestingly visible and should be studied by Sri Lankans rather than enjoy watching laymen and others giving voice cuts on how to run the economy and the country.  As part of the CIS defence relations, Russia-led military intervention enabled the legitimate government of Kazakhstan to restore law and order. It is believed to be the biggest crisis to rock Kazakhstan since it gained independence in 1991.

The Government of Kazakhstan blamed foreign trained “bandits and terrorists” for this destruction judging by the modus operandi. However, with the added support of more than 2,000 troops and 250 units of military hardware, Kazakhstan was able to halt the violence which resulted in the burning of the municipal hall of Almaty, which is the largest city in the country. Another group was able to take over the airport from government control, which shows how organised and camouflaged the protestors were. 

The BRI will celebrate one decade in 12 months. So far, it has been the lifeline of many Nations, despite their size, during the Covid pandemic. The USA offered an alternative to the BRI in 2017 along with Japan, India and Australia during President Trump’s visit to Okinawa. The world is experiencing an economic crisis and therefore, it is natural for an expert orchestrator to organise activity to hit at the BRI and its partners to block the world rallying around China to come out of it. 

Guter Freund

China is a powerful neighbour of Kazakhstan. When China was weak and suffering under Japanese occupation, Kazakh people helped Chinese masses. As always, China has not forgotten the old friend in this crisis and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a teleconference with his Kazakh counterpart Mukhtar Tleuberdi, assured firm support to peace-loving Kazakh patriots to maintain stability and quell violence. Chinese Leader Xi Jinping has also extended his support to his Kazakh counterpart, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev for his ‘decisive and strong initiative’ against the unrest, reminding that the Chinese Government and people will stand firmly together with the Kazakh Government and people.

China is the first country which donated fighter planes to strengthen the Sri Lanka Air Force in the 1970s. As in Sri Lanka, where China supported the law enforcement agencies to defeat one of the most organised terrorist outfits of the world (LTTE), China is working with Kazakhstan in far greater ways. As they are neighbours and strong BRI partners, China will be helping to step up cooperation in law enforcement and security measures to preserve the safety of both political systems and ruling powers. During WWII, Kazakh people protected Chinese nationals fleeing Japanese occupiers. 

Kazakh leaders have reassured the Chinese leaders that the security of foreign institutions, personnel including Chinese nationals and foreign investment will be ensured and that they will fulfil international obligations and agreements. This is a good lesson for any country who wishes to attract foreign investors. Sri Lankans may remember that even after President Sirisena suspended the Port City project, China donated more than 100 high-powered jeeps to the Sri Lanka Police and a fully-equipped hospital for kidney treatment in Polonnaruwa on his request. 

Sri Lankans should know more than many, as China had been supporting the country in fighting famine since 1952, defeating terrorism since it was introduced by the JVP in 1971, and to recover from the pandemic to restart the economic engine with millions of free doses of the Covid vaccine. The agreements entered into and the assured support during the recent visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi explains it very clearly. 

The most recent grants according to official sources include technical support in many sectors amounting to more than 800 million yuan and nearly 2,000 housing units for the Colombo District among other things. Sri Lankans experimented with the rainbow revolution, thinking many colours will be better. In time to come, Sri Lankans will have to focus more on opposing the penetration and interference from outside parties who may come with fuel issues. Any sorts of ‘colour revolution’ schemes should not blind Sri Lankans, as Foreign Minister Wang Yi has stressed with Kazakh leaders.

By Mahika Ming | Published: 2:00 AM Jan 15 2022

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