Streets with Kazakhs’ Eyes Filled with a Thirst for Freedom

Streets with Kazakhs’ Eyes Filled with a Thirst for Freedom 


Pages of Zhasaral Kuanyshalin’s daily diary during Kazakhstan’s riots in January: 




My heart ached the entire day. I could not rest. At 3 o’clock in the morning, the burning pain in my chest intensified. Then, the pain intercepted my breath. After I drank captopril and lay down, I felt a little better, but still could not go back to sleep. 




Even during the day, I could not really sleep. Occasionally, however, when the pain either weakened or intensified, I would doze off. Still, no peace… A video showed where Kazakhs massively took to the streets; first in Zhanaozen, and then in other regions. Calls from activist friends from all sides could be heard: “Yeah, come to the Square. Tens of thousands of people have risen. You are needed here.” 


The calls refused to let me lie down. 


With the onset of darkness, I walked outside, onto the sidewalk. Not seeing any guarding “goats” (police officers) around, I caught a taxi on the street. Brother Yerzhan, the young driver recognized me: “To the square, huh?” 




“Sit down,” the young driver said. Along the way, he and I, in unison, urged Nazarbayev and his gangster regime, along with their ancestors, up to the seventh generation. During the next stop at a red light, we heard a guy say the words: “I didn’t think I would meet you like that. If you don’t mind, we’ll take a selfie. Using his phone, the stranger filmed the young driver and me,  


Stopping the car far away from the police cordon in front of Republic Square and dropping me off, Brother Yerzhan, who drove me for free, said goodbye: “I’m going on business right now, but I will definitely join the people. May Allah bless you.” 


While I walked up the street, two young guys caught up, Azamat and Abzal. They also recognized me. Together, we joined the mass of Kazakhs at the Square. 


Many who recognized me among the massive crowd, came up to say hello. 

Soon, the first of the fellow activists met S., who waited for the “goats” to leave at his house before walking 15 kilometers to the Square. Although the jackal-regime turned off the Internet, at least, we had a telephone connection. From calling each other, a decent group of activists gradually gathered. 


I heard a deafening bolt all around as if bombs were exploding. Stun grenades burst with a  kind of punitive squad. Either OMON or SOBR marched in formation. As they beat their shields with batons, clouds of tear gas exploded.  


When we “tasted” the tear gas, tears from our eyes and snot from our noses flowed profusely. We kept coughingFleeing from the gas attack, we ran into a courtyard between the houses. We had just slightly rested when the gas fumes caught up to us. We ran lower again until we found a place with cleaner air. 


On one hand, this experience worked for our benefit. Events are filmed on video. Allah is willing, to pave the way for sanctions. We will deliver concrete evidence of the dictatorial and repressive policy of intimidating the people from the “hearing state” of Tokayev and “democracy in the style of Natsagdorj (Nazarbayev)” to foreign countries, international organizations.  


In addition, I did not notice any fear in the Kazakhs from the Karahorda’s senile actions. Those from Karahorda had already begun to forget the formidable folk uprisings of the times of Zheltoksan, Shanyrak, and Zhanaozen. Now, they panicked in terrible fear, pooped in their pants, and lost the ability to give an account of their actions. On the contrary, I  saw the most encouraging thing I saw on the faces of young and youthful Kazakhs. Their eyes burned with a thirst for freedom. Nevertheless, the faces of those who made up the bulk of the demonstrators reflected only anger and hatred for the hostile regime. I heard from their lips a resolute, “We will not stop!” 


Personally, many years before that day, I previously grew tired of arguing and proving to all kinds of pessimistic “prosecutors” who in every possible way scolded the Kazakhs. They set other peoples as an “example” for our nation, that the Kazakh people, if not better, than no worse than anyone else, will prove that everything has its time—that this time will surely come to us. And now, inshallah, it has arrived! 


Now, the main thing we need to do: take advantage of this situation correctly, achieve the final liberation of the country from the Zhongar Regime, and build the Parliamentary Republic!  


(Internet is not available). 




I arrived home at 5 o’clock a.m. and immediately went to bed. Earlier, today long walks and standing too long unraveled an old spinal injury. As a result, no matter how much I tossed and turned, I could not fall asleep. I got up, put on the orthopedic belt, and lay down again. The pain seems to have let up a little. Still no sleep… 


And when he was tormented like thisneither to fall asleep nor eat (he felt sick)somewhere around dinner time M. came and said that 3,000 young people were coming from the region to Almaty, breaking through police cordons. Zh. also asked me to meet them, because, in the case of negotiations with the authorities, it is desirable that a known person, respected by the people, participates in them. Soon, a car drove up with B. inside. We, five people, at my request, had lunch in a canteen along Luganskogo Street, just above Republic Square. The guys at this time called up with T. on the square. We received information that protesters had seized the Almaty City, Akimat and that its building is now on fire. 


We left the dining room and went towards the Square. From that side, we saw a dark thick column of smoke rising to the sky. And when they approached the Square, they heard shots firing in bursts from the side of the burning building. I immediately remembered the same sounds that I heard on the phone on December 16, 2011—the day of the Zhanaozen massacre. I said, “These are the sounds of a machine gun!”  


Seeing me, the people at the Independence Monument parted with warm greetings and gave me the floor. I explained the causes and significance of the popular unrest that began in Zhanaozen and found support in Atyrau, Aktobe, Uralsk, Kyzylorda, Karaganda, and Almaty, then outlined what demands should be made (in short): “The main one is to remove Nazarbayev’s dictatorial regime peacefully, who has been plundering our country for 30 years, and build the Parliamentary Republic. And before that, the current demands right now: stop the provocations of the regime around the Square, fires, pogroms, shooting, establish order, turn on the Internet, give freedom to political prisoners, and observe the strictest discipline among ourselves. 


The people in the Square should not disperse, but, on the contrary, gather here, increasing their numbers. From now on, the fate of the country, the future of Kazakhstan will be decided here. And no matter how long it lasts, now this Square will become our workplace. 


After that, since there was still no Internet, it was extremely necessary to come out  

with a message about the true situation to the people of Kazakhstan and abroad, I went with a group of associates to the building of the Kazakh television. The guys started knocking on the locked door, but it was not open for a long time. Then I took the horn and shouted: “Who is there? We are not hooligans, we came for a peaceful purpose, do not be afraid, open the door.” Sometime later, a man came up from the side of the gate and with the words: “I’m the driver, let’s go, I’ll take you inside,” he led us along. 



We followed him and went through the gate into the courtyard on the right side. Then, with the director of the studio, Saule Zhirenshina, who came out to us and explained that there was no live broadcast now, they entered the building. In the studio, I and about five other people of ours spoke in front of the camera, talking about the situation in Almaty, people’s demands, and other problems. Saule said that she would send the recording to Astana; that it would be released only after it was adjusted there. I told her: “You know your colleagues at KTK, so it would be good if you helped me meet and talk with them.”  


She replied: “No, I do not communicate with them.” She offered me coffee. I thanked her and we parted warmly. (And when Rysbek Sarsenbaev came there 2-3 hours after us, the people who were with him committed a pogrom there, breaking the equipment, robbing the studio, and starting a fire). 


At the time of our return to the Square, there was a conflict with the criminal authority Wild Arman, who appeared there during our absence. He, along with his bandits, forced their way through the crowd to the foot of the Monument. I found myself among them, but my young friends took me aside and said: “Yeah, don’t interfere yet, the people themselves are already making noise that they are provocateurs.” Indeed, Wild Arman tried to speak, but the protesters did not perceive him, so he was soon forced to leave. But he left for a reason – immediately after that, another building on the edge of the Square caught fire. Therefore, I personally have no doubt that the arson of the building of the Almaty, Akimat was also committed with the participation of this or similar sabotage groups of the regime. 


Then on the agenda of the rally was put the question of creating an HQ to manage it. At the suggestion of the people, I was elected as its leader, a list of those who voluntarily entered it was compiled. They also created a squad of volunteers to maintain order, confront provocateurs and hooligans. 


By evening, the information had spread that the President’s residence near the Square had been seized. At the same time, as reported, the soldiers who opened fire during the day wounded several people. This time, it seems they wounded many during the storming of the residence. 


Unfortunately, we also heard talk of human casualties. All these events, which I recounted in the form of a brief overview 0f constant walking during the day, and the consequences of a sleepless night took a heavy toll on me. Noticing I appeared extremely tired, my friends suggested: “Yeah, you can rest at home, on the Square until we manage this. Around 18:30, y friends took me home. I hurriedly ate, looked through some papers, and at 22:30 went to bed. 


(Internet is not available). 




Waking up at 03:50, I felt slightly rested. Turns out the internet had come back onTaking advantage of this opportunity, I wrote the above post. However, when I wanted to post it at 04:20, the Internet disappeared again. Afterward, I could not sleep. 


At 09:40 S. called: “How are you? Can you come to the Square?” 


“The pressure is high, “ I said. “I took the medicine, but I will go.” At 11 o’clock the cars of S. and G. arrived with six activists. 


 We stopped at the Zhetysu stronghold of the police to find out Aset’s current condition. He had been incarcerated for 15 days. When A. entered there, a police  officer said: “Don’t worry about him, everything will be fine.” 



We arrived at the Square. There are not enough people today. Yesterday, about 10 thousand attended. Now, the total t does not even reach a thousand. There are many titushki and bearded men among them. Nightly acts of intimidation committed, as they said, by the Wild Arman gang and other criminal groups influenced the small number of protesters. In addition, pogroms, looting (mainly trading establishments), and shootings occurred. When we arrived, six elders from the protesters were negotiating with the military, who lined up opposite the APCs (Armored Personnel Carrier). I joined them. Their commander told us: “We know that you are peaceful people, that it was not you who set fire (pointing to the burning Akimat). In general, we have no claims against you.” 


Yesterday, however, a group of young people stole a lot of weapons from the police arsenals. Do not let them into your environment. If they open fire on us, you understand, we will be forced to respond. Beware of this.”  


We, of course, fully agreed with him. (Later, we learned that this detachment had returned to its base. I hoped that today the military side would not pose any danger for the protesters. Nevertheless, I will not hide,  


I worried about the rumors that, “At the invitation of Tokayev, several planes landed at the Almaty airport from Russia, full of military personnel with armored vehicles. There, I experienced a conflict with the well-known SEXOT Murat Yessengazy, a man responsible for the death of Aron Atabek, who until now was not even close to the Square. Now, having barely jumped out here like a devil out of a snuffbox, he managed,  to “create a headquarters,” and “become” its “leader.” Thus, he began to drive wedges into the close-knit ranks of the people, naturally, on the instructions of the KNB, protesters showed unanimity, however, declaring: “We recognize only Uncle Zhasaral as the head of the headquarters!” 


Previously, I spoke several times in front of people, and since, due to the microphone’s problems, I had to shout. I strained my throat and lost my voice. He also spoke on the amplified microphone of a fire truck standing on the Square. For the first time in these days, he gave an interview in Russian to journalists from the Euro news agency, the German editorial office of the Kazakh radio (an old acquaintance of Weisskopf). A young Kazakh blogger promised to quickly release the interview when he found Internet. I asked all of them to help break through the information blockade of the Regime and expose the shameless lies and slander spread by Tokayev about us. 



So far, we have no yurt, no column, no Internet, which we constantly wonder about. 

Trying to keep warm today, colder than yesterday, I mingled with those sitting around the two fires in the Square. 


At about 5:30 p.m., S. said: “Jacquet, you are cold and probably tired. Let’s go and warm up at home,” S.  took me away with several activists. Along the way, he gave a lengthy interview to Asylkhan Mamashuly, a correspondent for Azattyk radio, waiting on one of the streets. We drank tea and warmed ourselves in the house of N. As I felt my blood pressure rising, I asked N to measure it for me. Again 190. 



I drank the medicine and asked to be taken home. Someone says that E. would drive up in his car. Having waited, we left together with N. I arrived home at 20:30. 


My mobile phone is out of order. 


Unfortunately, at 10:30 p.m., we heard alarming news: “Black-faced” men invited by Tokayev from Russia with armored vehicles and attacked those on the Square. They injured and killed many protesters and other people. 



In the afternoon, giving an interview to a young Kazakh woman, I received an emergency message by phone that the attackers also opened fire in Semey and shed the blood of peaceful people. Authorities determined to preserve their 30-year dictatorial-police regime, the damned power of Nazarbayev. With the hands of Tokayev, the Regime repeats the Zhanaozen Massacre on an even larger scale—this started bloody suppression of peaceful protests of innocent Kazakhs! 


 (23:40. No internet).  




All night long, my spine hurt. My blood pressure jumped. The cold bothered me. I only fell asleep in the morning. At about 13:00-14:00, A. woke up: “Zh. came, asked [me] to get dressed and go out. “The house is being tapped,he said: “They don’t listen, let Has come in” (my mobile phone does not work). When Has entered, we talked about the current situation. Then he offered to write an appeal to the people of Kazakhstan and international organizations, collect the signatures of famous politicians, public figures, activists, and send them abroad.  


I agreed, but, as my head spun, I felt sick. My spine ached I sniffed, and said: “You write, and I will lie down.” 


J. finished the text at about 3 p.m. and read it to me. Lying in bed, I approved, signed the manuscript, and a clean sheet. Zh. wished: “Get well soon.” When he told me goodbye, I said,  “Keep in touch with me through your home phone.” After that, I got up, ate broth, drank tea, and lay down again. I am “living” in a state of semi-drowsiness. 


At 19:10, I called J. He said:  


We just gathered here. Sh. made an important addition to the appeal about the authorities not allowing the persecution of innocent citizens allegedly for “extremism” and “terrorism.” They typed the text into the computer. My friends signed it. You are listed first. , Sh. will bring the document for you to sign. Sh. said he would come in an hour. 


At 19:40, we received information that authorities arrested Wild Arman. His people, reproaching them for his lack of pride, admitted that he distributed weapons to them. Officials quite possibly only did this to “calm down” the people, because Wild Arman had repeatedly been “arrested.” Authorities previously arrested, and then released him as if nothing had happened.  



When Sh. arrived at 8 p.m., I signed two copies of the appeal. Before leaving, Sh. warned: “Jacquet, the Regime can commit a provocation against you as it did with Aaronit will kill some policemen next to you and accuse you of murder. Therefore, it will be right not to go anywhere yet.” 


“Okay,” I said. To widen the resonance, the appeal should be quickly translated into Russian and English, and then distributed. ” 


I am now tired of the last four days’ insomnia even more than the ailments. I am noticeably weakened by this. True, when in intensive care with the coronavirus, I did not sleep for four days in a row. Then,  I didn’t sleep a wink at all. Now, I still occasionally forget to take a short nap. And thank God… 


(Internet is not available). 




This night has been good for me. As I lay down about 24 hours ago, I slept until 6 a.m. True, I wanted to sleep for a couple more hours, but could not. Yet from six hours of sleep, I feel much better. I still have a cold, and the pressure on my spine still bothers me, but not like yesterday … 


We do not have Internet, so I organized and put what I wrote as part of my archive. Until now, I did not have time to write. At 3:00 p.m., we learned that Masimov, Baibek, and Tleukhan, charged with Treason, had been transferred from house arrest to a pre-trial detention center. Reports also note that information exists about an assassination attempt on Tokayev. 


At 1 p.m. S. called: “Jacquet, don’t go anywhere to invite anyone other than our people. Shooting is still going on in the city. Soldiers and police shoot at anyone who approaches the Square. Don’t leave the house.” 



At 14:00, Zhongar’s press secretary, Aidos Ukibay, circulated a message: “Nazarbayev is in Nur-Sultan. He said that he was with Tokayev.” 


 May you perish, Bastard Zhongar! 


At 2:35 p.m., I called Zh. He said: “We gathered with men. Before that, we agreed with Yerkin Rakishev to sign the appeal. Police came to them, there Baltash, Bapi, and others sitting. They said, ‘Here is the signature of Kuanyshalin, we will not sign!’” 


This surprised me: “Didn’t you know that those men are political prostitutes, bedding with the Regime?! Damn, their signatures are needed! You did not have to contact them at all. Keep this in mind.”  


“Okay, I’ll learn…  It would be nice to involve more activists to collect more signatures.”  


“I will tell you, I will. Now we need to speed things up. Time is precious for us.” 


Immediate instructions for  A. activists”  


If the Internet remains disabled throughout Tokayev’s State of Emergency, i.e., until the 19th, things are bad. In general, no matter what happens, normal States do not deprive the people of the Internet. Only dictatorial-police-repressive regimes like ours are capable of this to deprive “extremists” of the opportunity to publish the truth about what is happening. Authorities want to spread “beneficial” reports only to themselves, one-sided information, in other words, disinformation. Since the Internet shutdown in Kazakhstan, this policy has been implemented. 


(Internet is not available). 




At 2:35 p.m. B. called: “I saw Aydos Sarym on TV who said: As soon as we celebrate the Day of Sorrow, the promptly created Investigative Committee will immediately begin work. 


He will expose all the culprits,” B. said, “Nobody, be it bloggers, singers, artists, writers, poets, scientists, academics, who spoke on social networks, Facebook, will be saved by any evasions. Every person will answer before the law: Thus, this Bastard voiced the mass repressions being prepared by the regime against all dissidents. 


(Internet is not available). 




At 20:10, I prepared a one-page statement: “To the attention of all Kazakhstanis and the international community—A Mass Witch Hunt is Coming in Kazakhstan.” God willing, I will publish information as soon as the Internet service returns. If not, I will tell my friends. 




The Internet turned on. Posted a statement on Facebook. 


To the attention of all Kazakhstanis and the world community: A Mass Witch Hunt is Coming to Kazakhstan 


Happening now: At the beginning of 2022 in Kazakhstan, particularly in Almaty, almost one to one bear the signs of the Zheltoksan uprising of 1986, the Shanyrak tragedy of 2006, and the Zhanaozen massacre of 2011. In that, and in another, and in the third, and in the fourth cases, because the people could no longer tolerate the first Soviet, and then Nazarbayev Regimes’ arbitrariness and lawlessness that they took to the streets and squares of Kazakhstan to protest. In that, and in another, and in the third, as well as in the fourth cases, the dictatorial regimes racked their brains to address the simple demands the people presented. They did not seek an objective solution to the people’s simple demands, but over one single problem sought ways to suppress peaceful protestors. They were determined to present them as “guilty” in whatever they did, as well as utilize different provocations to accuse the innocent.  


The provocations of the regime, for example, in Zhanaozen consisted of setting fires to a New Year tree, a yurt on the square, the building of the city administration, and the office of Uzenmunaigas. Affronts also included disguised police officers, the KNB, and their henchmen from criminal elements robbing shops, boutiques, and ATMs around the Square. Government media, as well as President Nazarbayev, presented what happened as “the atrocities of drunken strikers.” For seven months, those attacks had never in any way violated the law. 


Suddenly, things went crazy. 


On the “basis” of this shameless disinformation, as well as the “clearing” of Kazakhstan from the systemic opposition in general. as such under the guise of “extremists,”  

 trials occurred over the oil workers and the leader of the Alga! V. Kozlov.  


The same thing occurred today around the rallies in Almaty: Disguised thugs of the special services and their henchmen from the criminal world like Wild Arman of the city administration building on Republic Square and the Presidential residence nearby, ignited fires. They also looted and fired weapons throughout the city. These violent acts, unilaterally presented through all the State media through President Tokayev, who hurried to invite the army of a foreign State, Russia, to Kazakhstan as “outrages of protesting extremists and terrorists!” Moreover, in current, critical conditions,   authorities have completely deprived those who have nothing to do with authorities’  atrocities, of the opportunity to tell the people of Kazakhstan and the world community the truth about what is happening. This evolved as Karaorda prudently disconnected the Internet, apparently for the entire “State of Emergency” declared until January 19. 


Meanwhile, the “deputy” of the false parliament, Aidos Sarym, previously a “fiery oppositionist,” an assistant to the opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbaev (may he rest in peace), now is the Hawk of the Regime. He spoke on TV with threats against all dissidents. He stated that “After the Day of Mourning, the promptly created Investigative Committee which will identify all the perpetrators, will begin to work. 


And no one, be it bloggers, singers, artists, writers, poets, scientists, academics, etc., will be saved by any evasions. Authorities will be held each person accountable.” No statement would have been aired without approval “from above,” especially any freely voiced report on TV. 


In other words, the Shout of Karaorda has announced the coming Witch Hunt! 



~ Zhasaral Kuanyshalin, a public figure  (11.01.2022) 

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