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Russian troops intervene in protest-roiled Kazakhstan, where security forces have killed dozens of demonstrators

The stakes are especially high for Russia, effectively the leader of the alliance, as its presence risks alienating a public that is demanding a change in Kazakhstan’s regime but has yet to show any anti-Russian sentiment.

Russian troops landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday after the Central Asian country’s president asked for help to quell sweeping anti-government protests — a major test of a Moscow-led military alliance as the Kremlin deepened its role in the crisis, the Washington Post reports.

“Dozens” of demonstrators were killed, a Kazakh official said, as local security forces tried to put down protests that began with outrage over a fuel price increase but have grown into a challenge to a political system largely unchanged since the end of the Soviet Union three decades ago.

It is the first time the Collective Security Treaty Organization, founded after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and composed of six former members, has agreed to deploy “peacekeepers” to aid a member country. Although the bloc has long been seen as Russia’s answer to NATO, its first joint action is ending a domestic protest rather than combating an attack from an external force.

Overall, the alliance dispatched about 2,500 peacekeepers to Kazakhstan, the group’s secretary general, Stanislav Zas, told the Russian state new agency RIA. The report did not give a breakdown on nationalities.

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