Chaos in Kazakhstan: What we know so far
January 7, 2022

The situation in Kazakhstan has rapidly deteriorated over the last few days. Uncertainty spiked even more when much of Kazakhstan’s central government resigned on Wednesday. Here are a few of the key points we know so far:

Violence in Kazakhstan

Reports claim that President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has ordered military forces to “kill without warning,” in an attempt to quell protests and riots in the large city of Almaty. Tokayev claims that well trained “terrorist bandits” have masterminded the unrest. Furthermore, he claims the spark that led to protests may have come from parties outside the country in an attempt to destabilize the region.

Cause of the riots

Protestors have allegedly taken to the streets over the stark rise in the cost of fuel. Many in Kazakhstan have converted their vehicles to run on liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) because it is seen as a lower cost alternative. However an effort to lift caps to meet market deficits lead to a disastrous doubling in the price of LPG. Read more by clicking here.

This has proven devastating for a country where the average citizen has an income of less than $3,400 a year.

Toll so far

The Kazakh state run media has reported that more than 3,000 people have been detained. Also, that 18 security personnel and 26 “armed criminals” were killed during the clash with protestors.

Russian military forces have moved in to “help stabilize the region.” Unconfirmed reports claim they have taken full control of the Almaty airport.

The White House has stated they are monitoring the situation, and call for restraint from both sides. Furthermore, Press Secretary Jen Psaki denies Russia’s claim the US had anything to do with the protests, calling it “standard Russian disinformation.”

Although Kazakhstan only has a population of around 19 million, it is a massive country and rich in natural resources. Experts predict continued violence could threaten economic stability for several surround countries. Human Rights Organizations have also condemned the treatment of protestors.

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