Kazakhstan had been a long time partner with Russia and the other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization . During the days of the Soviet Union, the Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in Kazakhstan, was the launch site for many Soviet rocketry and missile projects, including much of the Soviet space program. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan, like many other former Soviet states, joined the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). As a result, Kazakhstan retained ties with the Russian Federation, including an agreement to allow Russia to use the Baikonur Cosmodrome for its own needs. As the economic struggle between East and West began in the 2010s, Kazakhstan began feeling burdened as a nation. Kazakhstan was supplying many agricultural and industrial assets to its allies, while receiving little support beyond market based compensation. Nations that had to be won over by the SCO received much more compensation in order to sweeten the deal.
Kazakhstan's government, speculated by many to be in Russia's pocket, was slow to act on the demands of rapidly growing protests in Almaty and other major cities. In the Winter of 2014-2015, Kazakhstan internalized much of the production that was until then exported to SCO nations. The decrease in oil supply, combined with harsh cold, made for a brutal winter for the Central Asian SCO states. Following that winter, SCO imposed sanctions on Kazakhstan for their failure to meet the contractual export amounts of oil and food. Seeing the weak link in the SCO's economic network, the west's AETU was quick to act, inciting Kazakhs to dissent against the SCO and offering financial support for Kazakhstan's economic independence.
One factor, however, had not as of yet been resolved. Despite Kazakhstan's relative independence from the SCO, Russia continued to use Baikonur as a launch platform for their space program. As a potential war drew closer, Russia launched an increasing amount of militarized satellites from Baikonur, much to the disdain of the Kazakh people who had to accommodate the launches for little pay. Many Baikonur workers and employees went on strike, and the launch facility fell out of operation. On March 30th, Russia, afraid of falling behind on their launch schedule, dispatched troops by cargo plane to the Baikonur facility to restore order. Russian workers were brought in to replace the Kazakh employees that would not return to work. Russia intended to launch a new anti-satellite warfare satellite on April 12th (Cosmonotics Day), which alarmed NATO. NATO strategists were concerned that anti-satellite weaponry would remove their missile shield deterrence.
On April 3rd, the strike grew into a riot and protesters clashed with the Russian troops. Kazakhstan's military surrounded the Baikonur facilityMany Kazakhs across the country were upset at Russia's continued use of the facility at their expense. The United States, after repeated calls for Russia to cancel the launch, initiated a raid on the Baikonur Facility.
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