Protests in Kazakhstan in 2022


January 26, 2022

Protests in Kazakhstan in 2022 started on January 2 after a sudden surge in gas prices, which the Kazakh government said was the result of high demand and price-fixing. The protests started in the oil-producing city of Zhanaozen, but quickly spread to other cities in the country, especially the country's largest city, Almaty, over growing dissatisfaction with the government and economic inequality. President Nursultan Nazarbayev also played a role in the larger demonstrations. Because there are no popular opposition groups against the Kazakh government, the unrest appeared to have been organized directly by civilians. In response, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency in Mangystau and Almaty, effective January 5, 2022. The Mamin cabinet resigned the same day. The state of emergency was briefly extended to the entire country. In response to Tokaev's request, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) — a military alliance of Russia and its allies including Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan itself — agreed to send troops to Kazakhstan. The goal was to keep the peace. Local police said "dozens of assailants were liquidated" while former President Nazarbayev was withdrawn from his post as chairman of the Security Council of Kazakhstan. As a concession, President Tokaev said the maximum gas prices for vehicles would be 50 tenge per liter for 6 months. be restored. On January 7, he issued the following message: "Constitutional order has largely been restored in all regions of the country." He also announced that he had ordered troops to use deadly force against protesters, instructing them to "shoot to the death" without warning at anyone demonstrating, calling the protesters "bandits and terrorists" and saying the use of violence will continue to "destroy the protests". On January 15, the Kazakh authorities announced that the protests had left at least 225 dead and more than 4,000 injured, many of them security personnel. The CSTO had meanwhile started to withdraw, as the situation was said to have returned to normal.

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