Comparing with Belarus and supporting aggression. How pro-governmental telegram-channels cover events in Kazakhstan

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8 mins

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Protests in Kazakhstan, which began on January 2 in several settlements in the Mangystau region due to the increase in prices for liquefied gas, on Tuesday, January 4, spread to almost all regions of the country. Local authorities unscrewed gas prices back in the western regions, and the Prime Minister was dismissed. But the protesters did not leave the streets. They put forward political demands: change the regime, return to the 1993 Constitution, and hold elections for the heads of each region and city. Comparisons of the situation in Kazakhstan with the Belarusian protests in the summer-autumn of 2020 began on the Internet.

The editors of looked at how the pro-governmental Belarusian telegram-channels and Russian media cover the situation in Kazakhstan.

The Internet almost does not work in Kazakhstan, and security forces use tear gas, stun grenades, and water cannons against protesters. In turn, protesters storm the buildings of local administrations, throw stones at the police, turn over and set cars on fire. Looters appeared in the cities.

Reaction of Belarusian pro-governmental telegram-channels and state media

The main message of pro-governmental telegram-channels, the opinions of invited experts, is a comparison of protests in Belarus and Kazakhstan. The reports include aggression, insults against opposition leaders, bloggers, and independent media. The authors of telegram-channels support a military solution to the current situation, welcome the introduction of CSTO troops into the country, give advice on suppressing dissent.

Zheltiye Slivy

In the telegram-channel «Zheltiye Slivy,» the first message about the protests in Kazakhstan appeared on January 4 at 12:40. In further reports, the authors of the channel compare what is happening on the streets of Kazakhstan with the events in Belarus, note that everything is happening according to the same «manuals,» cite photos and videos comparing some events, sometimes protesters are called «Maidan-minded.»

The channel has many reposts from other pro-governmental telegram-channels. Videos are published, the captions to which reflect the opinion of the authors of the telegram-channel, and do not comment on the ongoing event. Screenshots from telegram channels recognized as extremist are also published, with signatures that allegedly refute this or that information, expose «fakes.» Continuing the comparison of the events with the Belarusian ones, in one of the posts, they write: «So we are waiting in the morning for photos of blue asses, tearful stories of prostitutes and the coming out of women in white with flowers.»

Comparing with Belarus and supporting aggression. How pro-governmental telegram-channels cover events in Kazakhstan

Screenshot from the telegram-channel "Zheltiye Slivy"

In the afternoon of January 5, reposts from pro-Kremlin telegram-channels and media appear in the telegram-channel: RT, Solovyov, and others. In the caption under one of the videos, it is written that the main goal of the «Western hyenas» is not Ukraine, Belarus, or Kazakhstan, but Russia.

In the messages of the telegram-channel, there is often a reference to Poland and other Western countries, which, according to the authors, are to blame for what is happening. Under the video, which shows a column of military special equipment, there is a comment: «We are already coming. This is not fake: the video shows the BTR-82. It’s a pity that we are coming to Nur-Sultan, not Warsaw. But everything has its time». A positive assessment of the introduction of CSTO troops into Kazakhstan is given.

Azaronak. STV

The first message on the topic of protests in Kazakhstan in the telegram-channel of the journalist of the STV TV channel Ryhor Azaronak appeared on Tuesday, January 4 at 15:36. It was a repost from the channel «NEXTY Kazakhstan,» created almost half an hour before the repost. Later, he will make a screenshot from the newly created channel «Punishers of Kazakhstan

Azaronak actively makes reposts from other pro-governmental telegram-channels, but at the same time, publishes his thoughts. He compares protests in Belarus and Kazakhstan, offering options for dealing with protesters: shooting at the door for offensive comments, «burning to the root» of the rebellious media, and others. He supports the work of the security forces to suppress the protest, ridicules the Russian blogger Maxim Katz, calls the situation in Kazakhstan a war.

Comparing with Belarus and supporting aggression. How pro-governmental telegram-channels cover events in Kazakhstan

Screenshot from the telegram-channel "Azaronak. STV"

After midnight, on January 5, Azaronak published «an algorithm for suppressing the color revolution in Belarus.» In it, he cites as an example everything that was done in Belarus to suppress the protest: the harsh defeat of the protesters, the rally of the president’s supporters, the targeted seizure of coordinators, the purge of the state apparatus, and more.

One of the points is: "Complete reformatting of the work of the media in an offensive-radical form."

With a break of 5 hours, publications in the channel continued. The main message is to pay attention to the successful experience of Belarus in suppressing protests. «There is the CSTO, there is the Belarusian way of suppressing the color revolution. Nursultan Nazarbayev loves his Motherland very much, and he has done a lot for it. And they don’t give away their beloved one», – Azaronak writes. He recalls the events at Tiananmen Square, supports the actions of the Belarusian OMON to suppress the protests of August 9-11, 2020 in Belarus, and supports the use of force to solve the problem.

On the evening of January 6, it became known that Ryhor Azaronak, among other Belarusian journalists, would go to Kazakhstan to cover what was happening. He said: «Belarusians will know what the lawlessness of the color revolution is.»

Lyudmila Gladkaya. SB. Belarus today

Journalist of the publication «SB. Belarus Today» Lyudmila Gladkaya in her telegram-channel actively covers the protests in Kazakhstan. Like her colleagues, she compares the situation on the streets of Kazakhstan with the protests in Belarus, condemns and criticizes the protesters. There are very few messages in which she speaks for herself. Basically, these are reposts from pro-governmental telegram-channels. On Wednesday, there are reposts from Russian propaganda resources: RT, Solovyov.

News from Kazakhstan is mixed with reports about Belarus. Somewhere in the middle of this flood of messages is a letter that talks about the imposition of European sanctions against her and her reaction to it.

Comparing with Belarus and supporting aggression. How pro-governmental telegram-channels cover events in Kazakhstan

Screenshot from the telegram-channel "Lyudmila Gladkaya"
"Why to write new manuals of "color revolutions" if the old ones work," Lyudmila Gladkaya asks.

Publications on her channel are about the fact that the protest is coordinated from the outside, the protesters are wrong and behave aggressively, there are references to the Maidan, empathy for the dead security forces.

As it became known on the evening of January 6, Lyudmila Gladkaya, together with Ryhor Azaronak and «other journalists,» goes to Kazakhstan to show Belarusians and the world what is happening there.

Glavnyi. Tur

On January 4 at 14:33, Igor Tur, the ONT TV channel journalist, wrote the first message about the situation in Kazakhstan in his telegram-channel. There, he writes about the Belarusian protests, about those who and why went there, and makes his conclusion:

"If someone closely follows the events in Kazakhstan today, you will see everything that happened in Belarus in 2020. And what, the Kazakhs themselves are all this? How did it "coincide" with the Belarusians, huh?) Nonsense. A person who in 2022 denies the use of external tools of the color revolution in Belarus in August 2020 is an idiot with whom it makes no sense to have a conversation. No offense."

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Tur makes reposts from pro-governmental channels on the topic of Kazakhstan, from pro-Kremlin journalists, writes about the Belarusian agenda. Sometimes the period between posting messages is less than 20 minutes.

One of his posts is devoted to criticism of President Tokayev, who made concessions to the protesters. «As far as I know, Kazakhstan did not ask for help in a scrupulous study of the Belarusian experience of suppressing the protests of 2020. But in vain,» Tur writes.

Comparing with Belarus and supporting aggression. How pro-governmental telegram-channels cover events in Kazakhstan

Screenshot from the telegram-channel "Glavnyi. Tur"

He compares protesters to terrorists, with whom they do not negotiate; reproaches Tsikhanouskaya and Latushka for their silence on the Kazakh topic; calls on local bloggers and media not to be silent.

On Wednesday at 13:59, Tur writes a small post with the headline «There is a civil war in Kazakhstan.» He is sure that Kazakhstan and the Kazakhs have lost from the current situation. The general motive of the posts in the telegram is support for the forceful resolution of the situation in the country, condemnation of the authorities’ actions.


In the telegram-channel of the Belarusian Telegraph Agency, the first message about the events in Kazakhstan appeared on January 4 at 12:56. This is a screenshot of the workers and the caption that they have gone on strike. BelTA comments: «Kazakhstan on January 4, 2022, is August 17, 2020, in Minsk. Then the extremists wrote the same thing and showed the same thing. Well, except that the names of enterprises and cities were different, but in general – just twin brothers. It’s just amazing how universal manuals are».

Comparing with Belarus and supporting aggression. How pro-governmental telegram-channels cover events in Kazakhstan

Screenshot from the telegram-channel "BELTA"

The telegram-channel is dominated by news about events in Belarus. On the topic of Kazakhstan, experts Alexei Dzermant, Oleg Gaidukevich , and others are given the floor here. The news is presented briefly, without value judgments and emotions: about the government’s resignation, the introduction of the state of emergency, Tokayev’s appeal, the number of victims, the seizure of the airport, the request for assistance from the CSTO, and others.

By noon on January 5, the number of reports on the situation in Kazakhstan increases. There is information that the protests are coordinated from outside, that manuals from Belarus are distributed in local telegram-channels, links to RT, RIA Novosti, and others appear.

Reaction of Russian state media

Russian state media on January 4, 5 and 6, in its statements, as a rule, presents information dryly, without emotions, and briefly. Emotions, appeals, accusations against the West, and reproaches against the authorities of Kazakhstan can be found in the publications of expert opinions. The events in Belarus and Kazakhstan are not compared here.

RT in Russian

On January 4, at 15:20, a post appeared in the telegram-channel of Russia Today, which briefly describes the course of the third day of protests in Kazakhstan. A lot of international and Russian news is published. By the evening of this day, the number of reports of protests in Kazakhstan increases: there are videos, comments on what is happening about clashes between protesters and the police, about disruptions in the work of instant messengers, about the appeal of President Tokayev. Late in the evening and in the morning of January 5, the topic of Kazakhstan is the main topic of messages in the telegram-channel.

On the morning of January 5, a rewriting of the Postpravda telegram-channel appears on the channel, which states that the protests are the result of the intervention of external forces and the result of the activities of «numerous non-governmental non-profit organizations.» Further, the opinion of the war correspondent Semyon Pegov is published, who calls what is happening in Kazakhstan the Maidan, mentions ISIS and the possible religious-radical bias of the protests. Further, other expert opinions are published, the essence of which is similar: protests are coordinated from the outside, the Kazakh authorities are retreating under the onslaught of protesters, and this is dangerous. On the morning of January 6, Semyon Pegov notes that numerous foreign NGOs are behind the protest in his comment for RT. He also mentions the role of the NEXTA telegram-channel in the Belarusian protests and adds that Polish special services may be behind this channel. And expert Sergey Kolyasnikov, in his comment notes that «systematic training of thousands of young men and women of Kazakhstan, the core of the Kazakh nation, is in the United States. And for the money of Kazakhstan» – is one of the factors in the emergence of protests. The expert also gives a reference to the events in Armenia and Ukraine.

The publication quotes Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin: «It is important that no one interferes from the outside.» Later it will be known that President Tokayev asked for the help of the CSTO.

Comparing with Belarus and supporting aggression. How pro-governmental telegram-channels cover events in Kazakhstan

Screenshot from the telegram-channel "RT in Russian"

News from Kazakhstan is published, as a rule, restrained and briefly, but in large quantities: photos and videos, officials’ comments, statements by politicians, sometimes with reference to other media — SputnikKZ, RIA News, and others. Sometimes in the comments under the video, in which it is difficult to talk about what is happening confidently, the words «allegedly,» «possibly,» «presumably,» etc., are used.

On Wednesday, January 5 at 23:20, a repost from Margarita Simonyan‘s channel appears in the channel, in which she calls on Russia to help Kazakhstan, but under certain conditions: recognize the Crimea, return the Cyrillic alphabet and Russian as the state language, and others.

Sputnik Near abroad

The telegram-channel «Sputnik Near Abroad» in the morning of January 4 at 10:36 published a post about workers’ strike at the Tengiz oil and gas field in Kazakhstan. In the channel, there are reposts from the video channel «Sputnik Kazakhstan.»

On Wednesday and Thursday, the main topic on the channel is protests in Kazakhstan: the government’s resignation, the introduction of a state of emergency in the capital, the course of protests in different cities and places, Tokayev’s appeals, official statements by politicians and others.

On Wednesday at 13:26, a screenshot of the message of the Deputy of the Verkhovnaya Rada from the ruling party is published with the following comment: «The situation in Kazakhstan is welcomed in Ukraine.»

Comparing with Belarus and supporting aggression. How pro-governmental telegram-channels cover events in Kazakhstan

Screenshot from the telegram-channel "Sputnik Near abroad"

On the afternoon of January 5, a post appears with the headline «Are there signs of a color revolution in Kazakhstan?». In it, political scientist and historian Armen Gasparyan emphasizes that peaceful protesters beat police officers, and the contacts of protest coordinators are registered in Ukraine. The question is also asked about the commonalities between the protests in Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.

The publication also quotes Margarita Simonyan about the training of Kazakh students in the United States: «But what was the trick of the Kazakhs at state expense to train a potential fifth column, I do not understand» and about the conditions in which Russia is ready to help.


The telegram-channel Mash writes about the protests in Kazakhstan on January 4 at 18:09. News from protest Kazakhstan here alternates with entertainment content and news of Russia.

On Wednesday, January 5, the topic of Kazakhstan was one of the main ones on the channel. News reports, Tokayev’s appeals, and eyewitness videos are published here. As a rule, the messages are informational in nature, value judgments are more common in comments on ambiguous videos.

Comparing with Belarus and supporting aggression. How pro-governmental telegram-channels cover events in Kazakhstan

Screenshot from the telegram-channel "Mash"

For example, in a comment to one of the videos, the authors of the telegram-channel give an assessment of its author, who confused 2020 with 2022, and write: «When you celebrated New Year too actively.»


On Tuesday, January 4, at 16:58 in the telegram-channel of the TASS News Agency, a post appeared about the appeal of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, to the protesters. In it, the politician asks not to follow the calls of «destructive persons.» Later, the opinion of expert Stanislav Pritchin is published here, where he calls on the country’s authorities to engage in dialogue with the protesters. TASS cites a message about the importance of dialogue with protesters from the OSCE.

On January 5, TASS published a statement by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: «We are closely following the events in the fraternal neighboring country. We stand for a peaceful solution of all problems within the framework of the constitutional and legal field and dialogue, and not via street orders and violation of the law». In addition, TASS quotes Anatoly Glaz, the representative of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which he notes that his department considers it important «to stabilize the situation in Kazakhstan and stop the riots, and hopes that the Kazakh leadership will cope with this. History has convincingly proved that the path of coups and revolutions does not lead to anything good«.

On the morning of January 6, TASS writes that the collective peacekeeping forces of the CSTO, which included the Russian Airborne Forces, were sent to Kazakhstan.

Messages about Kazakhstan in the channel are informative, without value judgments and emotions.

RIA News

The message about the detention of participants in an unauthorized rally in Nur-Sultan appeared in the RIA Newsagency on January 4 at 15:42. It reports that people opposed the doubling of prices for liquefied gas. By the evening, a post appears with summary information about what is happening in Kazakhstan and about restrictions due to the curfew.

On the afternoon of January 5, RIA News reports the words of Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, about possible assistance to Kazakhstan: «We are convinced that our Kazakh friends can independently solve their internal problems. According to him, it is important that no one interferes from the outside».

Comparing with Belarus and supporting aggression. How pro-governmental telegram-channels cover events in Kazakhstan

Screenshot from the telegram-channel "RIA News"

The publication cites the words of Ramzan Kadyrov about the situation in Kazakhstan and the request not to follow the lead of provocateurs: «War never leads to good, war destroys, destroys and kills … I ask those who are at the head of these protests to stop. Fear the Almighty, you will be responsible for this in the next world».

On the evening of January 5, RIA Novosti quoted Tokayev: «Near Alma-Ata, there is now a stubborn battle of terrorist gangs with airborne units of the Ministry of Defense.» And then it quotes Konstantin Zatulin, the head of the State Duma cabinet for CIS affairs: «Russia should immediately consider Tokayev’s appeal for help – not intervene at random, but understand what will be the best way for the stabilization.»

On the morning of January 6, Leonid Kalashnikov‘s statement appears, in which he calls groups of protesters «gangs» and mentions the Baikonur cosmodrome: «There is also Baikonur and other structures that need to be guarded against such gangs and, if necessary, protected. That’s why the CSTO exists – not only protection against external attack, but also against such factors».

The topic of protests in Kazakhstan is one of the key ones. The publication informs about what is happening, cites photos and videos from the scene, quotes politicians, but does not invite experts to assess the situation.

What does it mean?

As can be seen from our review, the Russian (pro-Kremlin) media in the first days of the protests in Kazakhstan covered this topic rather restrainedly, unlike their Belarusian colleagues. Belarusian pro-governmental telegram-channels from the first days began to insult the protesters, calling them «scum» and «extremists.»

In presenting information about the introduction of CSTO troops into Kazakhstan, the rhetoric varies from neutral to more and frankly approving from the pro-state media.

Belarusian state media and pro-governmental telegram-channels actively repost Russian colleagues.

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