In order to suppress a mass terrorist attack on the state authorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan in early January, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev requested assistance from member countries of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization).

Assistance was promptly provided, primarily by the law enforcement and armed forces of Russia.

Such a decision by President Tokayev sparked mixed reactions from the Kazakhstani public.

Critics point out that by seeking help from Russia, Mr. Tokayev has put himself in a position of indebtedness to Putin. Putin is not someone who misses an opportunity to extract maximum benefit from the dependent position of a neighbor, partner, or anyone else.

Once the counter-terrorism operation concludes and life returns to normal, addressing political, economic, and financial matters, Putin may turn to Tokayev, for example, requesting support in the fight against American and European sanctions. Kazakhstan would be compelled to vote for Russia in all international organizations, thereby worsening its relations with the West.

Alternatively, Putin may propose integrating Russian businesses into Kazakhstan’s economy. For instance, transferring the e-government system under the management of Sberbank of Russia or constructing a nuclear power plant in Kazakhstan using Russian equipment and specialists. Refusing such proposals would be extremely difficult for Tokayev.

The most dangerous scenario for Kazakhstan in repaying this moral debt would be if a armed conflict were to erupt between Russia and Ukraine (which is discussed seriously at the highest international levels), Kazakhstan would then be obligated within the CSTO framework to send its armed forces to support Russia. This would mean participating in a war between NATO and Russia on Russia’s side, which looks like a predictably suicidal move.

However, Tokayev’s decision to involve the CSTO has garnered many supporters.

They have one strong argument, which is quite weighty: without allied forces, terrorists could have carried out a coup and seized power in the country.

Who are these terrorists? What forces are they? It is still unknown.

Perhaps they are Islamists who would attempt to establish a religious state in Kazakhstan. Or perhaps they are mercenaries of high-ranking officials attempting a “palace coup.” At this point, it’s unclear. But one thing is obvious: in both cases, there would have been far more human casualties. And this outweighs all arguments against Tokayev’s decision.

That is, of course, if President of Kazakhstan did not overestimate the strength of the terrorists.

Or if this entire operation (including the current situation) was not someone’s well-thought-out and executed plan.

The truth will soon be revealed anyway.

Let’s see who was right.

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