Situation update

  • Kazakhstan continues to experience significant nationwide unrest with major disruptive impacts across sectors. As a result, President Tokayev called on the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Russian-dominated regional security bloc, for help in quelling the violence. Some 2,500 Russia troops deployed to Kazakhstan to help secure strategic infrastructure and assist domestic security forces.
  • President Tokayev issued a critical "red-level" terror alert for the country, classifying all protesters as "terrorists" and empowering local security forces to shoot on sight and without warning. The order also allows security forces broad ability to search and seize, block movement, and monitor telecom activity. At least 130 protesters have been killed thus far while at least 20 security personnel have also been killed in the unrest since 04 January. 
  • While the scale of protest activity and violence has reportedly began to diminish outside Almaty, an unknown number of Kazakhstani police and military have joined protesters or been disarmed. Additionally, weapons depots have been looted, raising the specter of heavy violence in the future.
  • The city of Almaty continues to experience unrest and clashes through 07 January, with reports of an explosion in the northeastern part of the city followed by a chemical smell. Additional violence is likely in central Almaty and other parts of the city. 
  • An internet blackout continues in Kazakhstan, along with disruptions to telecom services, making it difficult to confirm government reporting on the situation. All internet-dependent industries continue to face disruptions.
  • Grocery stores, banks, and gas stations continue to experience supply or security issues.
  • Both Almaty International Airport and Nur-Sultan International Airport are reportedly under Russian military control, with no commercial or private flight operations allowed; however, Air Astana will reportedly resume services from Nur-Sultan airport later today, with international flights to Dubai and Moscow and domestic flights to Atyrau, Shymkent and Turkestan. Additional international services to Frankfurt and Kutaisi (Georgia) will resume on 8 January 2022 and to Istanbul on 9 January 2022.

RECOMMENDATIONS

  • As protests and security operations are likely to continue, reconsider travel to Kazakhstan in the near-term.
  • Those who remain in-country should prepare to shelter-in-place as disruptions are likely to continue to basic services amid security operations.
  • Anticipate telecom disruptions or full blackouts for the next several days or weeks.
  • Avoid protest sites in major cities, including Almaty's Arena Stadium, and Astana and Republic Squares, and Nazarbayev and Abay Avenues and Zheltoksan and Timiryazev Streets, Kenesary Khan monument in Nur-Sultan, Arbat in Shymkent and local administrative offices (akimat) and energy infrastructure.

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