Posted 7 января 2022, 15:25

Published 7 января 2022, 15:25

Modified 24 декабря 2022, 22:37

Updated 24 декабря 2022, 22:37

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The situation in Kazakhstan through the eyes of its residents and journalists: blood, fear, hopes...

7 января 2022, 15:25
In rebellious Kazakhstan today, journalists can be beaten to death with baseball bats or stoned.

But, risking their lives, they continue to fulfill their official duty - they write and shoot reports from the streets of the revolted cities, and they call eyewitnesses of the events. Now the center of attention of journalists is the city of Alma-Ata.

Sergey Kron

In Almaty, groups that organized pogroms under the guise of protesters scattered around the city. People who really want change continue to rally. Kazakh journalist Ayan Sharipbayev told about this in a comment to UNIAN agency.

In his opinion, supporters of the authorities could burn the equipment in the city in order to represent the participants in the "gas" protests as terrorists.

- I admit that a person who came to a peaceful rally will not come there with a can of gasoline and the intention to burn something. I am one hundred percent sure that this is a performance by the authorities in order to present normal people as pogromists. Terrorists and extremists, - Sharipbayev said.

At the same time, the journalist noted that at the moment, the groups that were involved in the pogroms have dispersed throughout the city. And those who really want changes are standing on the square, in spite of everything, holding a big banner-poster and hoping that they will be heard. But nobody hears them. Everything is turned off, and the propaganda of the state pretends that they are not there. The poster reads: “Tokayev, we are a peaceful people. Tokayev - take away the troops! Tokayev, we are not terrorists! " The square is thin, maybe 50-60 people maximum, ”the journalist summed up.

There is panic in the city, they are buying up bread, flour and even vegetables

BBC News correspondent Alina Isachenko wrote that the most difficult situation has developed these days in Almaty - gunfire is heard in the city, the Internet is still disconnected, and frightened local residents stand in line for hours in shops to buy the essentials.

According to her, it is not easy to get through to people in Kazakhstan - when you try to dial a number, there are no beeps, in some cases the record is turned on: "This number does not exist." The Air Force managed to talk with a resident of Almaty and Nur-Sultan about the situation in their cities.

“Everyone is in a depressing mood, this is the first time people have come across such a thing. Explosions of noise grenades are heard, the sounds of shootings were heard yesterday, ”says Rasul Zhumaly , a resident of Almaty, political analyst.

As in other cities of Kazakhstan, the city has a curfew: local residents are prohibited from going outside from 11 am to 7 am. According to Rasul, people leave their homes only when absolutely necessary, for example, they go to the nearest store in the yard.

“Everyone is stocking what they can, buying bread, flour, vegetables, dairy products. In shops there are queues for an hour and a half. There are rare passers-by on the streets. About half of the stores are closed altogether. Due to the fact that our Internet is turned off, you can pay only in cash. Here, more than 90 percent of the population uses online payments, so the lack of cash could become a serious problem in the coming days.

Due to the disconnection of the Internet, you can pay in the store only in cash, there are queues at the ATMs.

“Today I myself went to a store near my house, tried to withdraw money, the ATMs were all closed,” Zhumaly continues. - I tried to get into a bank in the center of the city, there is the building of the largest in the country "People's Bank", "Kaspi-Bank" - their branches were destroyed, ATMs were uprooted. There is also a small supermarket with broken windows. So traces of the night pogroms are visible everywhere. "

As a resident of Almaty said, not only state institutions, but also city hospitals are being attacked. The medical staff is forbidden to work, ambulances are set on fire.

In the absence of the Internet, residents of Almaty receive almost all information about what is happening in the country from TV news, where they talk about how President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev is going to restore order in the country.

For many ordinary citizens it was a shock to hear the message of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan about the detention of more than two thousand people in Almaty. The police threatened to kill anyone who refused to "lay down their arms."

The journalists of the AiF-Kazakhstan edition supplemented the picture of what is happening in Almaty:

“When it all began, many townspeople did not even suspect what had really happened. But it soon became clear that something serious was happening, as explosions began to be heard, grenades exploded, with which the police tried to disperse the storming people on Novaya Square near the building of the city administration. They were stun grenades, not war grenades.

The peak of all this action was on Wednesday, January 5th. Thousands of protesters began to flock to Novaya Square and other administrative buildings. At the same time, the police behaved, to put it mildly, strange. I had to observe such, for example, a picture. Policemen with shields, helmets and truncheons were walking along the central avenue of the city. But they walked out of tune, in a crowd, chanting something loudly and drumming with truncheons on their shields.

At the intersection with Dzhambul Street, which is the very center of the city, they stopped and continued to shout something. But soon, as if on command, they began to move almost at a run towards New Square. And behind them was a huge crowd, several thousand people. They were overwhelmingly young people. They also chanted loudly and were very aggressive.

The protesters managed to catch several police officers, whom they began to violently beat. It seemed that the police would simply be killed. Shields and clubs were taken away from them, they were forced to take off their uniforms, but they did not kill.

All shops in the city center are closed. Somewhere explosions are thundering and shots are even heard, moreover, in bursts. Mobile telephony works, so everyone told each other what they saw. They prefer not to leave their houses. When they turned off the Internet, then WhatsApp, they corresponded by text messages and called back on landline phones, who still had them. It became really scary, because what was happening could not be explained.

But the most alarming time came when it got dark. According to various estimates, from 300 to 400 stores were looted. Near one of the houses, about 15 people literally sawed up an ATM for several hours. Calling the police was useless. Either they did not answer the calls, or they promised to come, but no one came. And these 15 marauders simply did not pay attention to the reality around them and concentrated and persistently tried to open the ATM. They even brought a saw-grinder and sawed something there. Finally, after a long and hard work, they opened it and began to divide the money, almost getting in a fight, shoving bundles of banknotes into their pockets. "

According to an eyewitness, the day before, residents in the city, having turned off the light, sat in their apartments as quietly as possible - fear literally suppressed everyone. At night, they turned on the Internet, and everyone listened to President Tokayev's appeal to the nation that he turned to the CSTO countries for help.

Rumors persist in the city that the ex-president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, is about to leave the country. And that before the protesters seized this airport, several airplanes allegedly flew out of the Almaty airport, ”eyewitnesses told AiF-Kazakhstan.

All these days the city was tormented by a crowd of drunken, stoned people

Independent Siberian journalist Alexander Silchenko , whose family is now in Almaty, according to his parents, told what is happening in the city and why he is afraid for his relatives:

- All these days the city was tormented not by Protestants, not by indignant crowds of people, but by pogromists. No, I will not say that these are pre-prepared extremists, who have one goal: to inflict the greatest damage on manpower, without hesitation of means. This is just a crowd of rabid, probably drunk and smoky people from different parts of the country who felt impunity. We felt that there was no power. No police. And if there is, then they do not have an order to resist by any means and forces the angry protesters. They were simply kicked out into the street and said nothing. And the rabid crowd did not cost anything to disarm the police, turn over and set fire to a couple of patrol cars, and then, smelling blood, go to storm the administrative buildings and the airport.

This crowd has no leader, no common opinion, no common goal. They just smash, steal and try to shed blood. Unfortunately, they can only be stopped by force. Not because there is no point in talking to such people. And because they themselves will not want any conversations. They simply will not give up a sense of impunity and power.

“At night, they say, they tried to storm a military school here. And somewhere else the paratroopers were directly fighting a natural battle, ”my mother recounts the rumors that are passed from mouth to mouth. These rumors are indirectly confirmed, but I have not yet seen official statements from the authorities.

In an instant, the largest and most developed city of Kazakhstan was at the mercy of pogromists and marauders. In an instant, the police, military, order and security were gone in my hometown. Now the worst thing for me is that weapons in the hands of raging people can become a pretext for aggravating a national conflict, and then a large number of innocent people can die. And it will no longer be a matter of economics, politics and clan wars. It will be about rivers of blood, for which no one will ultimately take responsibility for it, ”said Siberian journalist Alexander Silchenko.

There is no army, there are marauders in the streets, food is running out

Journalists of the portal phoned a Russian resident of Almaty, Yekaterina Bobrova (name has been changed), who told about the situation in the country:

- Of course, everyone is tired of Nazarbayev ... He has been in power since Soviet times, nothing is decided without his knowledge. He and his gang ran his nose all over the place, and no one could do anything about it. Everyone was boiling. And when prices increased, of course, for people it was the last straw ...

But we thought that everything would end very quickly: people would come out, rally and disperse, even at first they did not pay attention to what was happening. Then the explosions of smoke grenades began, they were heard everywhere, then we were on our guard. But it was even funny that neither the police nor the army could do anything. But when the airport was captured, it became scary. Only then did the understanding come that everything is serious.

Now, after what we have seen, we do not even know if we have an army, or if those sluggish actions are all that the authorities are capable of here.

If you are told that the central square of the city has been cleared, then this is not so! I live near it, and neither today, nor yesterday, no one cleaned it, people are standing there, and since 10 am new ones have pulled up. I filmed it all this morning. Watsapp would work, could send it, but there is no Internet in all of Almaty.

Our family has their own shop here. At half past five in the morning our neighbors called us, they say: your store is being bombed. No private security, no police, no one. When we arrived, all we had to do was to hammer everything up with boards. We are waiting for this to end, but there is still no army! One gets the impression that the police are no longer in the city. All night long they robbed shops, burned down the akimat, seized the presidential residence, burned down and destroyed the prosecutor's office.

We are afraid that food shortages may begin in the near future. In the meantime, small private shops are responsible for providing residents with food, but their reserves are not unlimited! The city is in a state of siege, but more and more protesters appear.

Here, the Kazakh protesters have no slogans against the Russians. But there are no Russians among them either. The words that they are against the Russians or for banning the Russian language are nonsense. Nobody demanded that. All their demands are social: lower prices, return the retirement age, raise wages. No aggression towards the Russians, at least for now ...

But all the same, in order not to get caught up in the distribution, we try to stay away from them and go around those streets where rallies are taking place.

If Russian troops or anyone else comes here, I think it will be possible to restore at least some order. Unfortunately, it seems that it is impossible to cope with Tokayev on his own, - complained a resident of Almaty Ekaterina Bobrova.