Outcomes and lessons of Kazakh revolution
Who benefited and who lost after events in Kazakhstan
Life is complicated and one thing we have learned from Kazakh crisis was that Kazakh politics are perhaps even more complicated than Russian politics, since inter-family clan competition there adds yet another dimension that we don't see as much in Russian politics. In Russia there is regional competition, and regions fighting center for control of financial streams. Btw, do you know how Russians define corruption? Corruption is a financial stream managed by other people of which you get no personal benefit ))) But Russian politicians are not born into a regional "clan", through the course of their career they can make lateral and vertical moves and play for different teams while in Kazakhstan belonging to a clan, or how they call it there, Zhus, is something of a permanent nature.
But, going back to protests…
Were 90% of those who took to streets ordinary citizens that had every right to come out and protest miserable conditions which they have reached slowly over the last 10 years? I think the answer is self-evident.
Were among them extremists that trained in mountain camps not far from Almaty which local KNB (equivalent of KGB) either overlooked or even sponsored? That seems to be the case too.
Were among protesters unemployed from neighboring countries that were paid to come and so called "mambets" - village dwellers with little education? There appears to be enough evidence to confirm that.
But the most important question, would Kazakh people be better off if these protests succeeded in overthrowing Tokayev? This is where I have to guess that probably that is not the case. Kazakhs would not be better off as people, like now former head of KNB, Masimov, fired by Tokayev in the midst of protests, were ready to take advantage of turmoil for their own benefit.
I have seen some good analysis of the events in Kazakhstan in Russian press, including article that came out in the "Patriot" newspaper, Zavtra (Tomorrow), https://zavtra.ru/blogs/noch_nad_kazahstanom . Perhaps I'll reprint this article in English translation for political connoisseurs that want to know the entire scoop. If you want to read something like that in English, let me know so I can confirm there is at least some interest.
For those who don't care about minute details as much, here is a high level scoop:
The coup was most likely organized by the part of Nazarbaev clan that didn't agree with Nazarbaev making Tokayev, known more as mediocre diplomat, a president. Masimov, former Prime-minister and, as of recent, former KNB chief, is likely one of the major culprits behind what happened
Current president Tokayev surprised everyone with his decisiveness on the matters of dealing with people's discontent sparked by hike in prices and also dealing with uprising
Taking into account that Russian negotiations with US/NATO/OSCE were about to start on January 10th, Russia turned potentially a very ugly situation for itself (what kind of "red lines" are you talking about if you can't manage situation inside your "red lines"?) into something of an advantage, managing to get all ODKB (CSTO) members to agree to send troops to Kazakhstan and do it in less than 2 days. Obviously they learned something from the events of Ukrainian Maidan of 2014 where because of half-ass measures Russia had suffered the greatest geopolitical defeat since 1991
As an outcome the main beneficiaries of the situation in Kazakhstan are:
Tokayev that continues to consolidate power from Nazarbaev and his people
Russia that has strengthened its position inside of Kazakhstan, the most crucial among post-Soviet republics for control in the Eurasian region
And I have to carefully say that people of Kazakhstan have gotten something out of it too, as current Kazakh authorities will behave now much more carefully with their oppressive policies knowing how easy it is to get their only recently nomadic people to get ignited in violent protest
And finally perhaps ethnic Russians (Russian speaking Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Germans and Jews) will get something out of this situation too, as the glass ceiling they had in terms of taking any position of importance in “ethnocratic” Kazakh society may become penetrable.
Time will tell as we take more distance from current events, but this is a somewhat optimistic interpretation that I have.