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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, Switzerland Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meet with President Joe Biden in Geneva, Switzerland, June 16, 2021 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

Putin Has Turned Russia Into Autocracy’s Defender of Last Resort

Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022

There’s much that remains unknown about the violent turmoil that has engulfed Kazakhstan in recent days. But one clear fact has emerged from the mayhem: Vladimir Putin’s political doctrine has a new, now openly displayed centerpiece. On Monday, as the Russian president declared Kazakhstan’s crisis essentially resolved following a military intervention by Kremlin-led troops, he also announced the new policy. It amounts to a vow by Russia to protect autocratic rulers in former Soviet Republics when they face popular unrest.

According to Putin, the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization—a security alliance formed by a subset of post-Soviet states in 1992—had helped Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to “normalize the situation” and “restore order.” Putin also repeated claims by Tokayev and the Kremlin that had blamed the violence on nefarious foreign actors, a common Kremlin talking point in response to domestic upheaval. “The events in Kazakhstan aren’t the first and will be far from the last attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of our states,” Putin said. ...

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