January 10, 2022

Dear Colleagues!

The holding of our extraordinary summit is linked with extreme events: for several days in January, Kazakhstan went through a grave crisis that was the worst in its entire 30-year history of independence. Our organisation has not faced a threat at this level, either.
I would like to thank our Chairman, Nikol Pashinyan for the prompt coordination of the necessary documents. I would also like to convey my special words of gratitude to President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin for the understanding and quick solution of the issue of sending a CSTO peacemaking contingent to Kazakhstan. Mr Putin, we have been in constant contact with you since the first days of the terrorist attack on our country. I am grateful to Alexander Lukashenko, Sadyr Japarov and Emomali Rahmon for the political and even combat fraternity.
Today, we are having a day of nationwide mourning over those killed during the days of tragedy in Kazakhstan. I am sincerely grateful to you for your condolences.
I would like to express my gratitude to CSTO Secretary General Stanislav Zas and the entire cohesive team of the Secretariat and the United Staff of our Organisation.
In fact, this is the first case where the CSTO has used its peacemaking potential in practice to ensure the security, stability and integrity of one of its members. For us, not only the military but also and primarily the moral support of our CSTO partners is of principle importance. All CSTO member states acted as a united front and resolutely supported Kazakhstan’s request.
Now I would like to tell you about the current developments in our country and the events of the past few days. Having a full picture of these events, I can say with responsibility that all the events that have taken place since the beginning of this year are links in the same chain. They are part of a single destructive scenario that has been in preparation for a long time. Investigation will reveal whether these preparations were made over one, two or three years.
Destructive forces made numerous attempts to undermine stability and start a rampage. The state was tested for stability and resistance. All these efforts were cut short resolutely, but the organisers did not abandon their plans and started preparing for armed action. They used public discontent over vehicle fuel prices as a pretext in several regions. Rallies were held, during which protesters advanced socio-economic and socio-political demands.
The state took these demands into account and acted on them. The government withdrew, prices of LPG fuel have been reduced and frozen. We announced the adoption of a package of practical socio-economic measures and a clear-cut plan of socio-political reforms.
But it no longer mattered for the organisers of this aggression against Kazakhstan. Spontaneous rallies were used as a pretext for provoking civil unrest. Religious radicals, criminals, outright thugs, looters and petty hooligans filled the streets as if on cue. Socio-economic and socio-political demands were put on the back burner, they were forgotten. Next followed the hot phase, and armed fighters, who were biding their time, took over.
The main goal of these events became clear – to undermine the constitutional system, destroy governance institutions and seize power. It is obvious now that these armed activities were coordinated from a single centre, and the carefully planned operation entered its decisive phase.
Proof of this is provided by the simultaneous – I repeat, simultaneous – attacks on the buildings of regional governments, law enforcement agencies, pretrial detention centres, strategic facilities, banks, the TV tower and television channels. They seized airports, blocked motorways and railway lines and hindered the operation of ambulances and fire-fighters.
During attacks on military units and checkpoints, the thugs attempted to seize weapons and military equipment. Real fighting went on in Almaty and several other cities. For example, the attack on the Interior Ministry department in Almaty went on for two nights. The police repelled the attacks. Seven armourers’ shops were seized in Almaty alone. These attacks were staged by trained professionals, including snipers armed with special rifles.
The terrorists used special communication equipment and wore military and police uniforms. They cynically used the protesters as human shields. Using their five-fold superiority in terms of numbers, the thugs attacked our police and military personnel, beating them up with extreme brutality, decapitating two of them. There were barbarous attacks on hospitals.
Seeking to stretch the state’s resources, the masterminds organised their attack across a wide front. Their aggression was taking place across 11 regions simultaneously, but their main blow was directed at Almaty. As you know, this is the largest city in Kazakhstan, the country’s financial centre, which also serves as the main transport and communications hub. Losing control of this city would have paved the way to losing the densely populated southern part of the country and then the country in its entirety. Terrorists hoped to stretch thin the law enforcement agencies and then attack the capital of Kazakhstan. We have seen fighters converge on the President’s residence. In fact, this was a real war unleashed by terrorists against our state using various methods.
We had to take unprecedented measures in response. Kazakhstan’s military and law enforcement agencies have succeeded in mobilising themselves, rebuffing the attackers, and taking control of the situation. Unfortunately, this came at a very high cost: there were casualties in the military and law enforcement agencies, as well as among civilians, with 16 members of law enforcement and the military dead and over 1,300 wounded. Unfortunately, there were also civilian casualties, although we have yet to obtain the exact figures.
More than 1,270 businesses were affected across the country, with more than 100 shopping centres and banks looted. The police alone lost about 500 vehicles, either damaged or burnt. The physical damage has been huge, and a special government commission has been tasked with assessing it.
I can tell you in all certainty that terrorists, including foreign fighters, were directly involved in the aggression against Kazakhstan. It was not a coincidence that the criminals attacked morgues at night to collect and drive away with the corpses of their dead accomplices. They also took the corpses of fighters from the battlefield. We know what kind of international terrorists do this: this is how they cover up their tracks. It is obvious that they want to sow chaos in our country to seize power.
In keeping with the resolution of Kazakhstan’s Security Council and based on a comprehensive analysis carried out by the law enforcement agencies and special services, we designated these developments as a terrorist threat and an act of aggression. These developments reached a critical point when criminals took control of Almaty and nine regional capitals. This is when we declared a counter-terrorist operation.
Kazakhstan turned to the CSTO for assistance, which proved to be extremely timely. When the fighters learned that three cargo planes had arrived in the country’s capital, they gave up on their plan to seize the President’s residence. This enabled us to send more forces to Almaty and recapture the city from the hands of the terrorists.
To date, in accordance with the Collective Security Council’s decision, the CSTO Collective Peacekeeping Forces of 2,030 troops and 250 pieces of equipment have been deployed in the Republic of Kazakhstan and have begun to fulfil their assigned tasks. They are protecting and ensuring the security of airports, military depots and other strategic facilities. We will later hear the CSTO Secretary General’s report on the situation and progress.
As I have said, this is the first CSTO peacekeeping mission. I am sure that the organisation will gain useful, positive experience, will analyse problem areas, draw appropriate conclusions, and make adjustments to its regulatory documents.
Overall, I would like to emphasise that the CSTO has shown its relevance and effectiveness as a high-profile military-political organisation, an operational mechanism to ensure the stability and security of our states.
The recent events have actually become a turning point in the organisation’s development; the CSTO has acquired new qualities as a strong international institution. The threats faced by Kazakhstan are common to the entire collective security space; therefore, it is important for us to further strengthen the organisation’s powerful potential, and Kazakhstan will contribute to this.
One of the possible recommendations may be to optimise crisis response time. We must also make and approve the Collective Security Council and other bodies’ decisions more efficiently.
It is also important to ensure maximum political support for the decision to use the CSTO peacekeeping forces, especially from the United Nations and other major international platforms, leading media outlets and think tanks from different countries.
We can see already that the legitimacy of deploying the CSTO forces in Kazakhstan is being questioned. This is happening due to a lack of reliable information and a misunderstanding of the entire situation. In some cases, the international community, including foreign media, seems to entertain entirely incorrect interpretations of both the use of CSTO forces and the overall situation in Kazakhstan.
Despite the available evidence, some sources are claiming that the Kazakhstani authorities are cracking down on a peaceful protest. This is absolute misinformation. We have never used and will not use armed force against peaceful demonstrators.
Being aware of this, those behind the attack on Kazakhstan have orchestrated several waves of aggression. Early on, as I mentioned, peaceful protests took place. Then, political rallies were held in Almaty among other places, after which armed militants rushed into the city from three directions like a huge pack of hyenas. At first, they pretended to be peaceful demonstrators and misled the law enforcement units and even city residents, and what followed will probably go down in history as the Almaty tragedy.
In the meantime, the UN Charter recognises each state’s inalienable right to individual – I stress – or collective self-defence in the event of an armed attack from outside.
Soon, after the preliminary investigation is complete, we will present additional evidence to the international community that corroborates the preparation and holding of a terrorist aggression against our country.
As we are seeing, individual media outlets and public institutions continue to plant false information based on fabrications and unverified facts. I am confident that international organisations, including the UN, the OSCE, the SCO, and the CIS, as well as international humanitarian organisations, are interested in a full and impartial investigation into the illegal actions of terrorists, criminals, and wrongdoers.
At the same time, we should not jump to hasty conclusions. I thank everyone, who from the very beginning remained confident that Kazakhstan would overcome this difficult stage in our modern history. This is particularly true of the CSTO. I am convinced that acting jointly, we will make the temporary deployment of CSTO peacekeeping efforts in Kazakhstan as safe and effective as possible. The truth of the matter is that the CSTO peacekeeping contingent’s mission was extremely effective and useful.
I think this is a lesson that Kazakhstan must learn, but I think it will be useful for all CSTO member states as well. In no case should we allow an information vacuum to be filled by instigators or ill-wishers. Unfortunately, this is still the case in Kazakhstan.
In these circumstances, our recent decision to establish the institution of a CSTO Secretary General Special Envoy for peacekeeping activities has confirmed its relevance.
I would like to make it clear that we will be firm in defending the right of the people of Kazakhstan to freely express their will and to engage in an open dialogue with the authorities. At the same time, we will crack down on any forms of violent extremism and even more so on any hostilities in Kazakhstan like the ones that have been taking place over the past few days. We will not tolerate any attacks against Kazakhstan’s state sovereignty or territorial integrity.
Let me assure you that Kazakhstan will firmly abide by its international commitments.
Friends, colleagues,
We have restored constitutional order in Kazakhstan and averted dangerous threats to the country’s security. As part of the counterterrorist operation, we are working to identify those who were involved in the crimes.
As of today, the police have detained some eight thousand people. The law enforcement agencies and the special services are about to verify whether they were involved in terrorist acts, killings, looting or other crimes. We have confiscated 116 weapons.
This is an ongoing operation, and since the fighters on the run are using new tactics to conceal themselves by wearing civilian clothes, shaving their beards, etc., we are also making the necessary adjustments to the way we operate. We have a lot of work ahead of us and have even reached out to veterans from the law enforcement agencies and the military to assist us in these efforts. All state agencies are working hard to bring the country back to normal.
Tomorrow I will submit my proposals on the new cabinet to parliament and will set forth specific objectives for overcoming urgent socioeconomic challenges. The large-scale counterterrorist operation will end soon, and with it, the successful and effective mission by the CSTO forces will also end.
Most importantly, we need to prevent events of this kind from repeating across our collective security space. I think that this is our core mission for the near future. Kazakhstan is ready to move in this direction and will always stand by its allies.
Thank you for your attention.