What's Happening 20:45 05 Jan 2022

Government's resignation, Internet shutdown, and many protests: what is happening in Kazakhstan

On January 2, so-called "gas protests" began in Kazakhstan. It all started in the city of Zhanaozen and continued in other cities. The reason for people to take to the streets was a significant increase in liquefied gas prices, and protesters later began demanding the government's resignation. A state of emergency has now been declared in the country.

Now the protests continue. Experts and political observers haven't yet made definitive conclusions about the situation. Police in Kazakhstan are detaining protesters. Read more details about Kazakhstan's problem and whether the mass rallies solution can work in Rubryka's article.

What is the problem?

New year with new prices… and old schemes

Since the beginning of the year, liquefied gas prices in Kazakhstan have doubled. In many regions, people not only heat buildings but also refuel cars with its help. So the sharp rise in costs has forced many people to abandon their transport. Moreover, the cost of such gas is still much lower than the market price.

Since January, the price of gas has doubled to 120 tenges per liter. It is about 8 hryvnias. At the same time, in Ukraine, autogas costs 18-20 hryvnias per liter.

The head of the Liberty Human Rights Foundation and political scientist Galym Ageleuov said in an interview with Current Time that such a jump in prices was a consequence of the activities of Kazakhstan elites. He stressed that the family of the country's first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, was instrumental in this.

With the beginning of the protests, a new problem arose; instead of an adequate response, the authorities began to detain protesters, turn off the Internet in entire cities and organize crackdowns. So, despite the promise of the authorities to reduce the price of liquefied gas and the already fulfilled demand to dissolve the government, the protesters don't seem to plan to disperse, which is not surprising, because it's not all Kazakhstan's problems.

Until 2019, the country was ruled by Nursultan Nazarbayev for almost 30 years, whose additional positions don't seem to have reduced his influence on the country's political life even after his resignation. His Nur Otan party remains in power despite the OSCE's allegations of election fraud and the use of administrative resources. Therefore, the citizens of Kazakhstan haven't had to count on democracy for a long time.

But back to the chronology of current events.

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