A Russian tourist who was stuck in Kazakhstan during the riots told how he survived five days in Alma-Ata and how he managed to return to his homeland. He shared the details of his journey with Izvestia.
A resident of Kazan, Alexander Runov, flew to Alma-Ata on January 5. Upon arrival, the traveler already knew about the state of emergency in Kazakhstan, but at first he did not notice anything critical. The man mistook the riots for peaceful protests and rallies, but later, seeing people with truncheons and rebar on the streets, he became wary and decided to return to Russia early.
When Runov arrived at the airport, the first wave of protesters had already been there, who kicked all employees out of their jobs. The passengers gathered at the exit hoped for the arrival of the police or the army and a speedy resolution of the situation, but out of fear of the protesters with truncheons, they soon had to flee.
“They first told everyone to go to the hotel, then get out, and they themselves went towards the terminal. Later, heaps of people began to drive up there. Cars were thrown at the airport, in front of us they rolled up the numbers and rushed to the terminal. Then it was already scary. We left the territory of the airport literally in the bushes, watched from there, ”- the Russian described the arrival of the second wave of protesters.
The tourist said that in a critical situation, citizens of Kazakhstan of Russian origin came to their aid – they helped the traveler and several other Russian families to get to hotels or relatives in the city, provided food and kept in touch. Runov spent several days at the hotel without leaving his room.
“Everything that could be beaten was shattered. Bus stops, banks, payment terminals – they were ripped up, uprooted – showcases, cell phone stores. Among those with whom we spoke, there were ordinary people from the service sector, without huge salaries, who were probably also dissatisfied with something, but they showed only sincerity and kindness. And I can’t imagine what kind of forces could have contributed to such a manifestation of aggression, ”the Russian shared his impressions.
On January 10, Runov managed to leave Kazakhstan on board the first export flight of the Ministry of Defense. According to the tourist, thanks to the CSTO military, the situation at the airport was clearly organized, and, despite the cramped conditions of the military transport aircraft, the Russians flew safely to the Chkalovsky airfield near Moscow.
Earlier in January, a Russian stranded at the Alma-Ata airport described the evacuation with the phrase “like in a movie.” According to the passenger, he and his wife and two children spent about 15 hours on the plane, which the protesters tried to seize. However, the next morning, the man managed to leave the aircraft and agreed to fly from Kazakhstan on a flight of the Ministry of Defense.