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Kazakh Group Urges Nazarbaev To Probe Deadly 1986 Protests

The 1986 protests in central Almaty, on what was then called New Square, attracted thousands of students and young people.
ASTANA -- Some of the participants from a deadly mass protest in December 1986 in Kazakhstan are urging President Nursultan Nazarbaev to investigate the event and to officially recognize it as a "rebellion," RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Representatives of the political movement Zheltoqsan Aqiqat (The Truth Of December) said on March 24 that they had collected more than 80,000 signatures in support of their call for the investigation.

From December 16-19, 1986, thousands of students and young workers held a protest at the central square in Almaty against Moscow's appointment of the new head of the then-Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, Gennady Kolbin, a non-Kazakh who had never before worked in the Kazakh Republic.

During a special military operation called Blizzard, special OMON troops and soldiers were used to suppress the protest, killing dozens of people and injuring many more.

Other participants in the protests were expelled from universities and prosecuted by the government.

Those who participated in the December 1986 protests are calling for the government to include several of them as well as parliament and cabinet members, party officials, and civic group officials on the new committee they want Nazarbaev to form to investigate the protests.

Nazarbaev was chairman of the Kazakh Republic's Council of Ministers at the time of "Zheltoqsan protests" and many people hold him responsible for the violent suppression of the demonstrations.