Russia’s Ministry of Defense reported that Antonov Ilyushin Il-76 ‘Ruslan’ military transport planes of Russia’s Aerospace Force with Russian peacekeepers from the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) have arrived at the Chkalovsky airfield in the Moscow Region from Kazakhstan. The personnel have started unloading armaments, military hardware and equipment. Upon the completion of a welcome back ceremony, the personnel will conduct a march to their permanent base. The first six planes with Russian peacekeepers arrived at the Severny airfield in Ivanovo in central Russia from Kazakhstan.
Protests erupted in several Kazakh cities on January 2, escalating into mass riots with government buildings getting ransacked in several cities, primarily in Almaty, a few days later. The ensuing violence left thousands of people injured, with fatalities also being reported. Subsequently, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev turned to the Collective Security Treaty Organization requesting assistance from the Russia-led bloc. As a result, peacekeepers were deployed to Kazakhstan. Law and order was restored to all of the country’s regions.
The Ilyushin Il-76 (NATO reporting name: Candid) is a multi-purpose, fixed-wing, four-engine turbofan strategic airlifter designed by the Soviet Union’s Ilyushin design bureau. It was first planned as a commercial freighter in 1967, as a replacement for the Antonov An-12. It was designed to deliver heavy machinery to remote, poorly served areas. Military versions of the Il-76 have been widely used in Europe, Asia and Africa, including use as an aerial refueling tanker or command center. The Il-76 has seen extensive service as a commercial freighter for ramp-delivered cargo, especially for outsized or heavy items unable to be otherwise carried.
The Kazakh president said that the post-Soviet security bloc’s forces played a crucial role in stabilizing the situation in Kazakhstan and called their mission successful. On January 13, the CSTO began the pullout of its peacekeeping contingent from the Central Asian republic. The CSTO is an intergovernmental military alliance in Eurasia that consists of select post-Soviet states. On 15 May 1992, six post-Soviet states belonging to the Commonwealth of Independent States—Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—signed the Collective Security Treaty (also referred to as the Tashkent Pact or Tashkent Treaty).