The following is published in

 H. B. Paksoy, Editor

     CENTRAL ASIA READER: The Rediscovery of History 

     (New York/London: M. E. Sharpe, 1994) 201 Pp. + Index. 

          ISBN 1-56324-201-X (Hardcover); ISBN 1-56324-202-8

          (pbk.)  LC CIP DK857.C45 1993  958-dc20


 Alma-Ata, December 1986


 An Echo of the Events of December 1986


 [Translated by Joseph Nissman]

 Attention readers! On this paper are the hope and pain of a

people! To peoples and governments and humanitarian meetings!

To all to whom the ideals of progress are dear! 

 On December 17-18, 1986, events unprecedented in their

antihumanity took place, portrayed by TASS as riots organized

by alcoholics and drug addicts. What in fact occurred was the

organized liquidation of the core population. It was provoked

by the authorities who were attempting to suppress a peaceful

demonstration that was not making the slightest commotion, and

then donned a mask of decency. The orders of the commanders

and the actions of those who executed them were magnificently

coordinated, as if they were expecting an event and had been

prepared in advance. And it is no less amazing that the state,

the party, and a brazenly chauvinistic part of the population

turned out to be on one side. 

 The appointment of [Gennadii] Kolbin as leader of Kazakhstan

served as the cause. At 5 P.M., thirty thousand people, 60

percent of them workers and the rest students, assembled on

Brezhnev Square. 

 The intent of the crowd was democratic. They heard the

complete incompetence of the leadership revealed. It appeared

that it was easier to destroy than to reform earlier ways. As

far as the formal sovereignty and honor of the nation were

concerned, these concepts were not even considered. 

 Placards demanded ``We Demand Self-determination!'' ``To Each

People Its Own Leader!'' ``Never Again 1937!'' ``Put An End To

Great Power Madness!''

 From the very beginning, in order to legitimize

countermeasures, the authorities attempted to stimulate fights

among the demonstrators. Trucks came through the military

cordons distributing free vodka, snacks, and cigarettes filled

with narcotics. The youth did not know that the authorities

had planned reprisals. As was assumed, the conduct of some

among the masses became aggressive and disorders broke out in


 And then the beating of the peaceful crowd began, with

shovels, clubs, steel bars, and cables, which had been

specially prepared by order of the party committee. Soldiers

struck defenseless people on the head, knocked them to the

ground, and kicked them in the genitals. This is why there

were so many casualties among the demonstrators. They died

after their skulls were cracked, or suffered traumas of the

kidney, womb, or glands; there were some struck by bullets.

Many are destined to be cripples for the rest of their lives,

and the women infertile. 

 Fire trucks standing in the frost hit rows of people with

powerful jets of water. People fell down. After every attack

by the soldiers on the demonstrators, seriously wounded or

stunned bodies remained in open areas. Then an ``ambulance''

collected them, drove the casualties into the steppe or

mountains, abandoned them there or buried them; doctors gave

the wounded injections, little children were trampled down by

dogs, and the cries and moans of the wounded were drowned in

the war cry of the commanders and the howling of dogs. 

 December 18 was especially bad because the people were kept

out of the square by force. But thirty thousand people were

out in the streets of the city. Now the people expressed their

anger and indignation about the events that took place that


 The hospitality of the Kazakhs is well known. They truly and

correctly served Russian and Soviet power despite all the

burdens and trials connected with this trust in the Russian

people, especially with the changes of recent times. No one

could have assumed that Moscow would have answered their

peaceful request in this manner. 

 The people at the meeting demanded that the bodies of the

victims be turned over. Without answering, the soldiers

started a battle without any provocation. Whenever the scene

of those days is revived in memory, reason fades. It can never

be forgotten. Human blood was being washed from the square the

entire next day. The customary taste of Kazakh women for

jewelry cost them their lives. Soldiers hacked off fingers

because stones were glistening on them, and ears because of

the gold. 

 The democratically inclined Russian people were on the side

of the defenseless. They refused to obey the orders of the

commanders, denounced the actions of the authorities, called

off the soldiers and their bloodhounds. One Russian woman

saved the lives of twenty-four Kazakh youths. 

 Now the peaceful affair wound down to its bloody finale. The

ministers---Miroshkin, Kolbin, Meshcheriakov, Kniazev, and

Shuliko as well as Kamalidenov, Mukashev, and Elemisov--led

the mass slaughter. Instead of making the executioners and

their patrons responsible, the authorities today are accusing

the Kazakh people and their patriotically inclined part for

all the losses, but of their own chauvinism, not a word. A

people without rights bears all, and its fawning leaders are

silent and in fear. The real reasons for the uprising: the

chauvinism of the sycophants holding all the key positions,

the forceful assimilation and russification, the elimination

of the language and culture under the guise of

internationalism, the growth in disease and infant mortality,

the denigration of the honor and values of the nation, the

poor way of life of the core population. 

 Representatives of the Kazakh people appeal to all Russians

and non-Russians, communists and noncommunists, believers and

nonbelievers on the planet. Support us! We who are engaged in

an unequal battle against a centuries-old yoke. Our entire

tragedy is connected with this yoke. Now genocide is being

moved from the streets to the quiet offices of the

executioners. But our spirits will not be broken. We will

continue the struggle until full independence is obtained.

This annihilation is taken by us to be gratitude for the blood

of our fathers, shed in the defense of Russian lands, for the

valor of our daughters--heroines of the USSR, younger sisters,

who today are jeered for their honor. 

 Events show that the existing system cannot guarantee smaller

peoples not only sovereignty but even the right to live.

Demand an open trial, accessible to all, of the executioners,

and it will become clear to you with whom you sit down at the

negotiation table, what a blessing your partner will promise

you. We are deprived of rights. 

 People of the world! Fight the violence of red fascism!

Declare the twenty-first century the century of the self-

determination of the peoples of the USSR. This must be the

first condition for good relations with the USSR. And there

should be no talk of peace while there are hundreds of peoples

of the USSR under colonialist tyranny. Demand an international

trial on the Alma Ata events. 

 The dead will not return. Not only we must be aware of the

lessons of these events, but primarily the Russian people, its

progressive strata, must know them also. We are grateful for

this people's help; we consider that whoever knows the value

of national liberty also respects the will of others. 

 Comrade Gorbachev, we value your ideas. Deliver us and

protect us from arbitrary action and lawlessness! Freedom for

Kazakh fighters and prisoners of conscience! 

 General Secretary of the UN! Turn the attention of the

international community of nations to our tragedy, provide our

fighters with representation in the UN! 

 Readers! Do us, the suffering, a good turn of conscience.

Translate this into your language, copy it, hand it out, send

it to international organizations. And may the unmourning

spirit of our fighters preserve you and yours! 


 From Pamphlets on the December [1986] Events


 Evidence of the true scale of the tragedy on the consciences

of the Central Committee, the KGB, and the MVD has been

carefully concealed. We will give certain facts gathered under

difficult circumstances. According to an approximate count,

more than 185 died, 2,000 were seriously wounded (400

soldiers), and 3,000 were arrested, the majority of them

women. All of this was done in such a way that it would go

unnoticed by anyone in the world. 

 Trials are being held in secret. People are invited to the

court, heard, and released. The truth about the deeds

frightens the authorities because they are afraid of the voice

of the world community. More than 2,000 were sentenced as

criminals, of whom two were sentenced to the firing squad, and

three women from the Poshen factory were sentenced to 10-15

years of hard labor. 

 More than 700 have disappeared without a trace. The

disappearance of people today is a normal occurrence in

Kazakhstan: 212 are missing from KazSU, 6 from ZhenPI, 30 from

SKhI, 23 from AZBI, 26 from AKhBK, 6 from Poshen, and 10 from

the meatpacking plant.... The Kazakhs in Suzak Raion demanded

from Kolbin that the bodies of their children be found and

turned over. Ninety-two bodies were turned over that had been

secretly buried under the supervision of the KGB. 

 According to incomplete sources, there were seventeen victims

from Panfilov Raion, two from Tyulkibass (of which one was

German), two from Lenger, three from Saryagach, two from Yany-

Kurgan, two from Dzhalagach, three from Kazalin, and six from


 More than 500 workers and students were discharged or

expelled; 139 communists were expelled from the CPSU. More

than 100 were discharged from the ranks of the KGB and MVD,

including eight ranking officers, allegedly for sympathizing

with the rebels. More than 1,000 demonstrators are in holding

cells, including some who were not involved. The seriously

wounded are in need of medical aid, but it is refused them as

enemies of the people. 

 The arrests are continuing; they are torturing and beating

prisoners, and women are being attacked and raped. On the

whole, those suffering for the cause are labor leaders,

Komsomol activists, veterans of Afghanistan, and honored

scholars. The chauvinists mock the graves of the Kazakhs, and

the demonstrations have continued throughout Kazakhstan and

most military units. Many Kazakh soldiers have committed

suicide as a mark of protest. 


 The Kayrat Society


 P.S. Today the people of Kazakhstan are demanding a public

trial of those guilty of violence against the demonstrators:

Procurator-General Elemesov, judge of the Supreme Court of the

Kazakh SSR Aytmukhambetov, and chairman of the Kazakh SSR KGB



 From the Kazakh Public Committee for the Rights of Man


 In spite of the opinion of members of the commission, the

Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh SSR dissolved the Commission for

the Study of the December 1986 Events in Alma Ata at the

request of the party leadership of the republic, even though

it had not completed its work. It is good that the Supreme

Soviet, in the second point of its decree, decided to turn to

the Central Committee of the CPSU with a request for the

removal of the formulation ``manifestation of Kazakh

nationalism'' in the evaluation of the events. Consequently,

the question raised about the December events from the very

beginning was not for nothing. There is no such thing as

taking glasnost halfway--it must be taken right to the end!

But as we see, the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh SSR in the

fourth point of its decree entrusted the examination of the

complaints and declarations of the citizens to the Procurator

of the Kazakh SSR, the Supreme Court, the MVD, the KGB, the

Ministry of Education of the Kazakh SSR, and the leaders of

the Alma Ata operation--that is, the same people who were

guilty of the violence against the demonstrators in December

1986. As they say, they have punished the fish by throwing it

into the river. In order to preserve the appearance of

objectivity and justice, they created a working group of seven

to supervise the fulfillment of the given decree and exercise

all the authority of the former commission; it is headed by

USSR People's Deputy M. Shakhanov. Why? Because the commission

almost revealed the perpetrators of the crime. Because a

certain circle of people in the high echelons of authority in

the republic did not want to allow the work of the commission

to proceed to its logical end--the recognition of the use of

force against the people themselves. The reasons behind this

are clear: the majority of the leadership of those days are

still sitting comfortably in their chairs or have even been

promoted higher. And the people know this. A true, just, clear

evaluation of the events of December 1986 and their

consequences might have surfaced. The lies and half-truths in

the republic press today only excite the people. Of the

ninety-nine people tried for taking part in the December

events, eighty-eight have been pardoned and eleven are still

being detained in prison. Thus, on the basis of what we have

said, we ask that the question on the creation of an

independent commission composed of people's deputies of the

USSR---representatives of Kazakhstan and other republics--to

study the December 1986 events in Alma Ata be put before the

Third Session of People's Deputies of the USSR. 


 M. Imanbayev

 Responsible Secretary,

 Kazakhstan Public Committee for the Rights of Man

This counter has been placed here on 25 February 1999

Site hosted by Build your free website today!