Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on Saturday discussed restoring “order” in Kazakhstan following days of violence and unrest, as several high-profile officials were detained on suspicion of treason.Tokayev told Putin the situation in his country was “progressing on the way to stabilization” and expressed his “appreciation” for the deployment of a Russia-led military bloc to Kazakhstan to try and control violence on the streets, the Kremlin said in a statement on Saturday.Meanwhile, former head of Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee Karim Massimov and some other unnamed officials have been detained on suspicion of treason, the country’s National Security Committee announced, according to state media Khabar 24 on Saturday.
Violent protests in Kazakhstan in recent days have seen the government resign and the declaration of a state of emergency as troops from a Russia-led military alliance head to the Central Asian country to help quell the unrest. Dozens have been killed, hundreds injured and thousands of protesters detained.
It’s the biggest challenge yet to autocratic Tokayev’s rule, with initial public anger over a spike in fuel prices expanding to wider discontent with the government over corruption, living standards, poverty, and unemployment in the oil-rich, former Soviet nation, human rights organizations report. On January 5, protesters reportedly stormed the airport in the country’s biggest city, Almaty, forcibly entered government buildings, and set fire to the city’s main administration office, local media reported. There were also reports of deadly clashes with police and military, a nationwide internet blackout, and buildings damaged in three major cities.