Passed through Almaty once, surreal blend of ethnicities intermixed. They had a bar called Murphy’s where all the Brits/foreigners drank, contractors, girlfriends, only place sold Guinness yadayada. Pre-2008 bust out, loads of £ being flashed, some fairly appalling style trends and interior decors, top end vehicles and very cheap fuel, desperately trying to avoid drinking
Its beauty is in the blend of brutalist buildings, think lumpen steel doorways, post-Soviet cash injection developments and a surrounding crest of mountains worth any trip. Almaty rather than Astana, associated mythology of apple orchards and Eden, public squares, marriages and all human life going on. Loved its cold, heavy drinking culture
my expert opinion is that of course geopolitical rivals use internal dissent as a way to undermine governments. they fund them, they agitate, they advise on tactics so on and so forth. this doesn't mean that that dissent is not organic, although it does mean that its influence might be blown out of proportion.
if extinction rebellion looked remotely like acheiving any success and becoming a major factor, if it got the numbers of fanatics needed to actually start causing serious disruption then perhaps funding might start coming in from Russia and China. but as it stands it's only theatre.