The extended front: Eastern Ukraine and now Kazakhstan-Russia between CSTO, SCO and the USA

The extended front: Eastern Ukraine and now Kazakhstan-Russia between CSTO, SCO and the USA

Russia is threatening to invade eastern Ukraine and is building a threatening scenario of 15,000,000 troops on the border with Ukraine after it has already prevented a regime change. But now a people’s revolution is exploding in Kazakhstan, with the former pro-Russian dictator Nazarbayev leaving the National Security Council, the rebels are no longer limited to the West but are represented nationwide, including in the capital Astana or Nur-Sultan . Putin advisor Rahr said that Asthana is in the hands of the central government, but Almaty and other cities in the hands of the insurgents. Now Russia has called the emergency case for the CSTO and is sending Russian and Belarusian military to Kazakhstan, where it is said to come to a bloody night that will put down the uprising. In addition, the Russian side reports on arms deliveries from abroad, although most of the media report that many Kazakh security forces have  joined the popular revolution and have given their weapons to the rebels. Many questions remain: The Russian view that this is a kind of US coup is forgetting that the protests were triggered by rising gas and energy prices, in which Russia and Gazprom play a major role. Have CIA agents infiltrated the Gazprom headquarters without Putin’s knowledge and want to initiate a regime change for the West? Then this whole CIA coup story  sounds pretty cheap. The fact is that Russia supported the Nursultan Nasarbajev and his corrupt oligarchs as much as its own Russian oligarchs and the resulting impoverished population were fed up with it. There have been protests against the government before, but they were limited to the West and an oil-producing city and the Nursultan Nazarbayev suppressed this with a massacre.And one should not forget: Any security service as instrument of a goverment or some pats of it or some ambititous networks can only be effective, if they can exploit fierce native contradictions in other states or societes where a corrupt. ineffective class exploits the rest of the people. And every lie and fake news also has a real truth core. That is also the point that the globalist Republicans and Demorats brought the USA down by the Iraq war, the financial crisis and neoloberalism which Trump, Putin and Wikeleaks can exploit on the other side.

Today’s protests in Kazakhstan are nationwide, especially in the capital, even though some Western experts believe that they cannot lead to success because they are spontaneous, leaderless and decentralized. At best, one could still speak of a network controlled by US Republicans and Russian hawks who are hoping for an imperial overstrech of Putin and not even that is claimed by the Russian side, even if the most Republicans and Russian hawks want to bleedPutin to death and want to bring about a regime change in Russia. The US side is split between two factions. One wants to appease Russia and hopes for Russian neutrality in the coming Sino-American conflict. The other US side believes that Russia and China are so closely related that you have to fight them both at the same time. Although it would make logic for the Russian hawks, if he people’s revolution in Kazakhstan, in order to remove Russian troops from Eastern Ukraine or, if Putin wants to fight on all fronts, then to bind him and bleed him to death in Belarus, Eastern Ukraine, Georgia, Kazakhstan, perhaps soon in the Near Abroad of Central Asia. In any case, further questions arise: If Russia wants to put down an uprising in Kazakhstan, it must then deploy troops in the aftermath, yes, it may also want to bring back Northern Kazakhstan to its Russian empire which then spreads from Eastern Ukraine, parts of the Baltic States, Georgia and the post-Soviet area, which is rather unlikely , since China advocates the inviolability of the territorial sovereignty of the Central Asian states and Russia is in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with China and the Central Asians.

 Conversely, one wonders whether Russia has learned the lessons from Afghanistan. Former German ambassador to Afghanistan Dr. Seidt once put forward the bold thesis that Putin learned the lesson from Afghanistan not to indulge in new adventures and swampsand quagmires  as the Sovjet Union did in 1979 and the USA afterwards, which he wanted to document with Putin’s engagement in Syria and Libya. Minimal effort, greatest possible benefit .Now the question arises whether Putin is so stupid because of his neo-imperial ideas of a neo-Yalta and a multipolar world with Russia as a great or world power now also to bleed himself in Central Asia, especially since China is militarily cautious . Is Russia the useful idiot of China, who engages militarily into Central Asia with the help of the CSTO and does de facto  the dirty work for China  like the USA did in Afghanistan back then, leaving the military part to the Russians, while China gets the double win by means of the New Silk Road?

Comment: Dr. Seidt criticized the fact that we had shortened his article on Russia’s lessons from Afghanstan very much, which we self-critically admit. In addition, in his opinion, our article lacks an analysis of the ethnic foundations of the conflict in Kazakhstan:

Dear Mr. Ostner:

1. On the bold thesis: You have shortened it a lot! Please read it again, in particular the explanations on the various levels of politics – strategy – operational planning – tactics. And the relationship between offensive and counter-offensive on the various levels.

2. You don´t write anything about the ethnic foundations of development in KAS. It’s not about democracy or autocracy. It’s about the feeling that at least two Kazakh hordes, especially in the west and south of the country, have been exploited by the Nazarbayev clan. Which is probably true! But: Nazarbayev and his clan belong to the so-called „gates(Toren) „, that is to say, the descendants of Genghis Khan of Mongolian origin, who for centuries have been considered legitimized to rule by the three Kazakh hordes of Turkic origin. The current resentment against the „gates“(Toren) can be instrumentalized from outside, e.g. by the Gülen movement, which was very popular with business people of Turkic origin in Kazakhstan. Against this background, isn’t Moscow’s reaction, according to my thesis, the classic counter-offensive at the operational level that was to be expected? Many greetings

Hans-Ulrich Seidt

Dear Mr. Ostner, Of course, ethnicity, in this case belonging to one of the three hordes or to the two leadership clans superimposed on the hordes, is closely related to social marginalization or privilege. The current rebellion results from this connection. A look at the map shows its importance, which goes far beyond the KAS. The far west still belongs to Eastern Europe, the east borders on China. Eurasian heartland!

Best regards HUS

Dear Dr Seidt,

I can accept the concept of  ethnicity. Hordes sounds like archaic savages, barbarians, Genghis Khan, Mongol storms and cavalry armies. Strangely enough, no newspaper mentions the connection with ethnicity; mostly only the Russian-speaking minority in the north is mentioned. regards

Ralf Ostner

Dear Mr. Ostner,

the Ordas or Hordes are the traditional clan associations of the Mongols and Turkic peoples. The Manchus were still divided into such associations. As a sinologist, you know that for sure! Also think of the well-known „Golden Horde“. The association with Genghis Khan, the Mongol storm and his cavalry armies, which came to Liegnitz in 1241, is not far away, but unfortunately, according to today’s understanding, it is politically incorrect. The Russian-speaking minority in northern Kazakhstan is well known, but not the social structure of the Turkic peoples and their distribution in the area extending far into the Russian Federation. This has to do with the appalling decline in education in our society. In the 19th century and well into the middle of the 20th century, large parts of the German educated bourgeoisie were aware of these geographical and ethnographic relationships. A fine example of this Eurasian horizon is the novel “Der weite Ritt” by the now forgotten author Fritz Steuben, who still found an audience in the mid-1950s. But ask a normal educated citizen today what he understands by Turan? Take a look on the map to see exactly where eastern Ukraine is and where western Kazakhstan with the Tengis gas fields. And then look which Russian city is geostrategically in the middle between the two areas mentioned. Then you realize the drama and tragedy that was associated with this Eurasian perspective and remains associated for the Russians.

Many greetings

Your Hans-Ulrich Seidt

Dear Dr. Seidt,

 It is entirely possible that it might be a question of the decline in education and political correctness, but at the same time also the question of whether the social structure and the clan or „horde“ structures have not changed since then. Perhaps the influence of modernity is also overestimated, as it was with the Globalization euphoria of the 90s and 2000s. The situation is similar with the Balkans. My generation only knew Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union as supposed entities. Our grandfathers and maybe even fathers knew about Croats, Bosnia, Serbs and other ethnic groups, but we were not aware of them. The Yugoslav war and the collapse of the SU were the actual lesson then, because before you only knew Yugoslavs and Soviet people or at best Russians. A lot of knowledge was lost. But I believe that the so-called educational collapse is also connected with an idealism of the future and progress at the universities of that time, that was ahistorical and said history was simply the past and they enjoyed a certain futurism, be it at Rand or as it is expressed in the programmatic book “The End of the History” of Fukuyama. There is also to fear that due to the post-colonial, post-modern generation of gender studies, including cancel culture, this trend will accelerate, although there is a certain polarization here. Critical whiteness as a catchphrase for the cultural war that is currently taking place

However, it may also have been due to the Eurocentricity of the educational content at that time, catalyzed by the humanistic education that Oswald Spengler criticized in his “The Decline of the Occident”, that the history of non-European peoples was hardly or hardly known.  Postmodern studies revive a certain historical knowledge, but unfortunately this is narrowed again, especially from a gender and minority perspective, and is only perceived as a story of the angry white man, especially since traditional terms are now also subjected to a politically correct general inventory and one very quickly becomes accused of racism. I think you are making an interesting point that the conflict is perhaps not really about the contradiction between democracy and authoritarism, but more about an ethnic, tribal or clan conflict or just a “horde” conflict. The exclusion of this aspect and Fukuyama’s naive belief in democratization as the “End of history” already led to disaster in Afghanistan and Iraq. Conversely, however, there is also the risk of an absolutization and a false assumption of eternal historical continuities. Most of the time, the development of society structures are dialectical processes. In addition, you also write that, admittedly, very little seems to be known about the tribal structures of the Turkic peoples there. Wasn’t there any scientific research on this topic or was it considered unimportant?

Kind regards

Ralf Ostner

Now we have to defend our own article. The main subject were the international and geopoliical effects of the mass protests in Kazahstan , the effects on Putn´s theat against Ukraine and East Europe, also in connection with the Russian- Chinese axis., whether Putin wants to annex the Russian influenced North Kazhastan to be included in his alleged  neoimperial mindset of a Greater Russia as center of an Eurasain Union in a multipolar world as a great power, Therefore we asked if Putin can manage it and has learned the lessons from Afghanistan which Dr. Seidt described in his article or will produce an imperial overstrech or if Western or other powers could be interested in such a scenario.However we never claimed that we were producing a deeper analysis of the Kazhastan conflict as many informations are just missing. It is hard to distinguish what are external forces in the Kazhastan conflict, what are the internal forces and as everybody is speculating, we didn´t want to be another source of speculation. Maybe the Gülen movement, Erdogan, the MI 6 , the CIA was involved, but this also could be an excuse for the eroding regime in Kazhastan, which wants to have a pretext for the intervention of Russia and the CSTO. The CSTO can theoretically only be deployed, if an foreign aggression destablizes the allies and maybe they invent a foreign influence just to have an accuse for their own failures and collapse of the system.On the other side it is also interesting  that many experts think that the contrarictions within the Kazhastan society have been accumalted in the last decade, that most Kazthans don´t like the SCO and CSTO and Russian influence anymore,that they only waited for a spark which was the fuel prices rise to start a rebellion. And there might be a bright spectrum between democratic forces, nationalists, clans affiliated interests and roups or the whole mixture and interrealtions of it. Well we don´t know. If Dr. Seidt critizises our article that we were missing the alleged ethnic background of the conflict, we agree to some degree as we had another topic, however, the question is, if you can analyze the conflict only in terms of hordes, clans or democratic forces. Propably it will be a dialetical mixture of all . On the one side , there seems to be this ethnic background of clans and hordes, however the people of Central Asia were also influenced by Western modernization ideas and some sort of Enlightment. Also the Kazhtans as the Monogilans are living now mainly in big cities and are not any more the horse riding nomadic hordes of the past, even if some of them are moving from the cities in the summer times to the countryside.  Therefore the society and family structure might have changed, but on the other side not to the degree as Western modernizers, globalist, apologets of the “End of History” and democratiztaion fanactics claimed. The three hordes existed and will also influence the structure of Kazhastan, however, the Zuhze´s and clans that one wants derive from that might not that be clear. Clans is also used often in an inflationary manner for everything which is from the Orient . And even some articles speak of the „Putin clan“ and Kazhastan clans to make comparisons between both. That is just rubbish. This use of the term clans is missing any concretization. Putin has no clan,he has just one daughter maybe networks or you can see him as the new Silowiki class or heritage of the old Russia-whatever that means in this hybrid between Stalin and the Tzars. Manchu clans are things of the past as first the Manchurians don´t govern China anymore and even the nowaday Manchu or also Chinese clans or extended family structures are things of the past, especially after Deng´s  one- child policy. Today´s Mongols whether in Inner or Outer Mongolia live in cities and their birth rate and family structure has also changed like in the rest of Central Asia However we don´t want to doubt that old traditional thought and structures still prevail in opposition to modernization and the  main question is if such a modernization has really taken place in Central Asia. Or also the Greater Middle East. And it might be more a sort of polarization between the alleged modernity and the alleged identities of history which brings no end of history as hoped for in Fukuyma´s End of History. However we want to repost an article by a Kazhstan professor about the clan system in his country from 1998 which gives more details. However, all those so called clan and hordes experts have not explained in detail how this Zhuze, hordes and clan systems works in reality and in the real conflict in Kazhastan at the moment. Nobody, also not Dr. Seidt explains who the opposing clans and hordes are which would incite this mass protests and the only thing which is for sure is that it is against the Nasaradjev clan, but who and what other clans were inciting this mass protest is unclear.On the other side of the extreme globalist and democraticzation fanatics of the Frankfurt school will see in these mass protests the term clan or hordes only as analysis category of angry white men and racist Orientalists. However, there are many creative ways how to define a clan and say nothing as the following examples show with the exception of the Jamestown/Prism publication:

Behind the Kazakhstan affair is a clan war

The Kazakhstan Connection, which has put Swiss politicians and lobbyists under pressure, is a side effect of a feud among the Kazakh elite.The background to the Markwalder case. Markus Häfliger, Bern, May 15, 2015, 5.30 a.m.

Notice that Kazakhstan is over 5000 kilometers from Switzerland. And yet the conditions in this country are having an impact that is currently shaking Swiss domestic politics. Several politicians and lobbyists got involved in the Kazakh clashes. This Kazakhstan connection became public due to e-mails that were published on the Internet (see additional article). Behind all of this lies a feud that has raged among the Kazakh elite for years. On the one hand there are the family clan of head of state Nazarbayev and the Kazakh judiciary, on the other hand politicians and oligarchs who were once close to Nazarbayev but who criticize him today. Several of them have fled Kazakhstan in recent years. Switzerland came into play because one of them, Viktor Khrapunov, chose Geneva as the destination for his escape. Ablyazov, Aliyev, Khrapunov The most prominent Kazakh in exile is Mukhtar Ablyazov, a very rich businessman and the most weighty critic of the regime. Among other things, he financed an opposition TV station. Ablyazov was once head of the Kazakh bank BTA, which faltered during the financial crisis and was nationalized. The Kazakh judiciary accuses him of embezzling several billion Swiss francs. In 2013 he was arrested while on the run in France; since then his extradition proceedings have been running. Another dissident, Nazarbayev’s son-in-law Rachat Aliyev, was found hanged in a Viennese prison cell in February 2015. Compared to Ablyazov, 67-year-old Viktor Khrapunov is a smaller fish, but he was also a high-ranking official in Kazakhstan. Among other things, he served as minister and mayor of the city of Almaty. His wife Leila was a businesswoman. During the post-Soviet period in the Wild West, the Khrapunovs made their fortunes. After arriving in Switzerland, she and her son did real estate deals on Lake Geneva. In 2011, the „balance sheet“ estimated her fortune at 300 to 400 million francs – a figure that, according to Chrapunov, is far too high. Ablyazov and Khrapunov have family ties: Khrapunov’s son has married Ablyazov’s daughter. According to the Khrapunovs, this connection is a major reason why they fell out of favor with Nazarbayev. In Geneva, the Khrapunovs have a B permit with flat-rate tax agreements. In addition, they have submitted an asylum application that is still pending. „Our friend the dictator“ After his arrival in Switzerland, Khrapunov began to express himself more and more critical of the head of state, who was confirmed in office on April 26, 2015 with 97.7 percent of the votes. Khrapunov even wrote a book that was also published in German under the title „Nazarbayev – our friend, the dictator“. The Kazakh judiciary, in turn, accuses Khrapunov of embezzling at least $ 250 million. In February 2012, Kazakhstan asked Switzerland for legal assistance. Based on this, the Geneva public prosecutor opened money laundering proceedings that continue to this day. In addition, Kazakhstan has also sued the Khrapunovs in the United States. The Federal Office of Justice rejected an extradition request in 2014, referring to the problematic human rights situation in Kazakhstan. Khrapunov stresses that he is innocent and argues that the criminal proceedings are the backbone of his criticism of the system. Kazakhstan is spending millions on the lawsuits against Ablyazov, Khrapunov and other Kazakhs in exile. In several Western countries, the state has not only hired the most expensive lawyers. In addition, lobby specialists were commissioned to unofficially exert pressure on the authorities in the respective countries. In Switzerland, the following law firms and agencies have or had mandates from Kazakhstan: the Zurich law firm Homburger, former ambassador Thomas Borer, the PR agency Burson-Marsteller and the private intelligence service Arcanum. But the Kazakh dissidents also have decorated lawyers and advisers. Chrapunow hired Lalive, one of the top addresses among Geneva law firms, and the PR consultant Marc Comina. The Geneva lawyer and FDP national councilor Christian Lüscher also has a legal mandate from the Khrapunovs.


Publication: Prism Volume: 4 Issue: 3

February 6, 1998 08:00 AM Age: 24 years

Clans and the Kremlin. Causes of the events in Kazakhstan

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