On Jan. 1st, normally peaceful Kazakhs demonstrated to protest the doubling of gasoline prices. This was in the country’s largest city, Alma Ata (the more recent spelling is Almaty). The Russian Tsars founded the city in the 19th century. Its original name was Verny, “Faithful”; Alma Ata means “Father of Apples”, and it is as graceful and pleasant a place as the bucolic name implies, with snow-capped mountains on the horizon. The dreamlike novels of the Russian writer Yuri Dombrovsky take place there.
The capital of Kazakhstan is Nur-Sultan, at the other, northern end of the country, and is named after the country’s first president after independence from the USSR, the late Nursultan Nazarbayev. He was a Soviet functionary, but his name, Nur Sultan, is devoutly Muslim and means “Sovereign of Light”. Nur-Sultan, used to be Astana, and before that it was Tselinograd, meaning in Russian “City of the Virgin Soil”. Virgin soil alludes to a failed Soviet agricultural project in the bleak, freezing steppes. Modern Nur-Sultan is full of expensive, boldly futuristic buildings financed by Kazakhstan’s considerable oil wealth. It has a university where an old friend of mine teaches. Nothing much has happened there, as far as we know.
The government responded to the protest by returning the price of gasoline back to its previous level. A number of cabinet ministers resigned. The demonstrations continued, however, and became extremely violent preternaturally quickly: police opened fire on the crowds and within less than a week scores were dead, wrecked cars littered the main roads, and several government buildings had been burned down. Reports said several policemen had been decapitated— an all-too-familiar hallmark of Islamist terrorism. The BBC’s reporter on the scene said Alma Ata looked post-apocalyptic. Kazakhstan belongs to a collective security organization with a rotating presidency. It asked for help, and the current chair, Nikol Pashinian, who is Armenia’s chief of state— and one of Vladimir Putin’s least favorite people— approved the request. Russia has sent in crack troops, the, ah, highly capable Spetsnaz.
“President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made the request for assistance,” says the BBC, “after protesters stormed the mayor’s office in Kazakhstan’s largest city… and overran the city’s airport.” Overran the airport of the biggest city in a country the size of Western Europe. Oh, that’s all.
The Biden administration is not amused. “Addressing reporters at a State Department briefing,” the BBC continues, “Mr. Blinken [Biden’s Secretary of State] warned that ‘one lesson of recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave. It would seem to me that the Kazakh authorities and government certainly have the capacity to deal appropriately with protests and to do so in a way that respects the rights of protesters while maintaining law and order. So it’s not clear why they feel the need for any outside assistance. So we’re trying to learn more about it.’ Meanwhile, the US has authorized the departure of some non-essential staff from its consulate in Alma Ata amid safety concerns over the ongoing protests.”
Smashed shop windows, looting, buildings on fire, mayhem, the airport seized by God knows who, all in a matter of a few days. Sound familiar? Yep, the only things missing from the Mostly Peaceful Protests in Kazakhstan are BLM, Antifa, their Democrat shills in Congress (a.k.a. the funny farm), and calls to defund the police.
How dare the Kazakh police shoot at people burning down Kazakhstan’s biggest city? No Justice, No Peace! President Tokayev should be helping the Social Justice Warriors to form transgender collectives to shoplift from Alma-Ata’s department stores. And setting up mobile petting zoos to help Islamist terrorists traumatized by police violence. Aren’t Kazakhs persons of color? Hasn’t anybody LEARNED from Portland, Oregon and elsewhere (Munich, Germany also comes to mind) that the only correct response to coercion is to appease it?
The Russians, strangely, did not accept Secretary Blinken’s tongue lashing about dilatory Russian guests in the house with appropriate contrition. But what else can one expect from toxically male, privileged white people? “If Anthony Blinken loves history lessons so much, then he should take the following into account: “when Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive and not be robbed or raped,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation replied on its Telegram social media channel, adding helpfully, “We are taught this not only by the recent past but by all three hundred years of American statehood.”
That’s courtesy of the 1619 Project. That’s the only way you can come up with a rounded-off figure of three centuries. Drat, the editors of the New York Times must be fuming in their safe space on West 43rd Street. It’s possible of course that 2021 minus 1776 equals 300 if anybody in the class says it does, since everybody must receive a school math prize, even for wrong answers. Math is not about Equations, silly, it’s about Equal Outcomes. The 1619 Project is part of the program to dismantle the country, to ram down our throats the lie that American history is all pillage and rapine. But that’s only for internal consumption, to demoralize and disable our own population. Nobody abroad is supposed to believe it. Otherwise they might stop being our corporate subsidiaries. Oops.
There’s a word in Hebrew and Yiddish, chutzpah, which means sheer nerve. The classic example is the man who kills his parents and then throws himself on the mercy of the court, pleading that he’s an orphan. Since Anthony Blinken is a fellow Jew, I’m sure he knows the word. Even if he attends a Reform synagogue.
But the Secretary of State’s comments about the insurrection in Kazakhstan and that country’s attempt to restore order go way beyond chutzpah. Through the spring and summer of 2020, insurrectionists did an Alma Ata on one American city after another, and the Democrat deep state planned it all, funded the seditious domestic terrorists, a.k.a. BLM and Antifa, and cheered them on. On Jan. 6th, 2021, President Trump told his supporters at a rally outside the White House to demonstrate peacefully at the Capitol and to obey the law. If that’s not incitement to violence, then I don’t know what is. A minority of them rioted and forced their way into the people’s house. How dare you enter your own house! Mind you, some of those rioters were agents provocateurs.
And then what did they do there? Why, they took selfies! They clowned around! Insurrection! A knife at the throat of democracy (as Joe Demosthenes Biden put it the other day). Whom did they kill? Nobody. Zero. Zilch. But so what. Suspend habeas corpus. Throw ’em in solitary confinement after knocking out their teeth, and keep ’em there for months, making sure they don’t get stuff like medical treatment. After all, we can’t afford to be half-assed about this: Jan. 6th was worse than 9/11. No, worse than the Civil War. No, worse than the Holocaust. No, worse than Attila the Hun, the Mongol hordes, and the Black Plague. And besides, AOC’s upset about it. Boo hoo hoo. Now THAT’S an insurrection!
And who’s behind it? Need one even ask? Them Russians, that’s who. Misha, the big bad Russian bear. The Red dog. “Once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave,” says Tony Blinken. THIS is America’s chief DIPLOMAT? Nothing like a pointless ethnic insult at a time when the political situation in Europe is delicate, to say the least. And forget about history. In the last three decades, here are the houses that the Russian army has left, without firing a shot: Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, East Germany, and Bulgaria. Fourteen of the fifteen former Republics of the USSR are now independent of Russia. Three of those are in NATO and have American soldiers stationed in them.
But history be damned. Kazakhstan’s biggest city looks post-apocalyptic, Kazakh law enforcement is overwhelmed, and the Kazakhs ask for help. Inappropriate, intones Anthony Blinken, undiplomatically insulting and provoking the Russians while ignoring of course the elephant in the room: when America suffered a real, violent insurrection, the Democrats supported it. When Republicans demonstrated, Democrats clamped down on them as insurgents, domestic terrorists, etc. Never mind the historical absurdity of his remark. Russians don’t leave the house? They’ve been leaving one house after another.
But I want to close, gentle reader, with some helpful advice.
Be warned! Know what you’re getting into if you invite a Russian into your house. Imagine this nightmare scenario. Ding-dong, goes the doorbell. Welcome, Mr. Nabokov! He takes his shoes off in the vestibule, puts on a pair of slightly tatty slippers, and stuffs his comfy fur hat into the sleeve of an old-fashioned overcoat. The invasion commences with a nice glass of tea with lemon in the kitchen. A little dish of preserves. And would you like a cookie? Mmm, vatrushki. But beware, that’s just their sneaky ploy, because after munching on pastry, it’s conversation. Russkie style. What is love? What is suffering? What do you think the meaning of life is? Crafty Russians. They deploy their Commie, I mean, Eastern Orthodox, secret weapon. Literature. Dostoyevsky. Tolstoy. Maybe a few lines of Pushkin. And that’s only the beginning. Out comes the guitar. Bardic songs by Bulat Okudzhava or Vladimir Vysotsky: “Mozart plays an old violin.” “A musician in the forest plays a waltz.” “A family have their picture taken in front of the Pushkin monument.” “My Gypsy song.” Something soulful and thoughtful. How duplicitous. Wouldn’t one much prefer a tuneful gangsta ode about sniffing coke and fuckin’ dat bitch? Or worse, it’s classical music. Watch out for that Tchaikovsky. Prokofiev. Shostakovich. Just say no to “Peter and the Wolf”. And before innocent little Johnny knows it, he’s hooked. Proposing toasts to friends and reading books, instead of holing up in his room glued to social media on his phone. Going for walks on Tverskaya street, along the Fontanka, in the park— with his parents! And afterwards, a family dinner. Black bread. Pirozhki. Borscht. Pickled mushrooms. Salade Olivier. And tea again, and more conversation, and then walking the family’s guests to the Metro station late in the evening. Hugs and kisses. Russians in the house. Under the bed. In the garden. What’s next, lighting candles in a church before an icon of Christ and His Mother looking into your eyes sadly, full of love, against the golden background of the radiance of heaven? I ask you. Wake up, America! My God, what’s the world coming to.