Over 150 people joined a Jan. 15 rally outside the White House organized by Free Kazakhs in solidarity with popular strikes and protests demanding political and social rights against the dictatorial government in Kazakhstan. The capitalist rulers there have ruled the vast mineral-wealthy country with an iron fist since independence was gained out of the disintegrating Soviet Union in 1991. U.S. oil bosses have huge investments there.
The regime used deadly repression, killing and injuring hundreds, and was backed by a military intervention by over 2,000 Russian-led troops that began Jan. 6. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had appealed to Moscow for help in crushing the protests. As the protests have been throttled for now, these forces are withdrawing. But Moscow has reasserted its authority over the Central Asian republic, which Russian President Vladimir Putin regards as part of Russia’s “sphere of influence.”