Kazakhstan Government in Chaos as Capital Burns

Kazakhstan Government in Chaos as Capital Burns

’s president has removed his predecessor, (a Soviet era Communist Party boss), from the country’s security council. The decision comes during mass protests initially over a sharp rise the price of a liquefied gas widely used as vehicle fuel. The government’s response to the crisis has only made things worse between its citizens and authoritarian leaders.

While his cabinet has resigned, President remains in office. Indeed, Tokayev warned demonstrators calling for liberalization of a “robust” response on Wednesday. Already, clashes between police and protesters have claimed lives.

One video from a town near the capital city of Almaty shows protesters preparing to pull down a statue of Nazarbayev.

Currently, Nazarbayev’s whereabouts are unknown.

SEE ALSO: US May Warn Ukraine in ‘Real Time’ of Russian Invasion

Another video shows security forces being shot at. One man appears to get hit. Viewer discretion is advised.

Other footage shows the presidential residence and Almaty mayor’s office in flames. Although the government has shut off access to the internet, outnumbered police have ceded ground in Almaty.

Kazakhstan has remained a close ally of Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. A Kremlin spokesperson said that Russia expects Kazakhstan to end the unrest quickly while warning other countries not to interfere. (RELATED: Russia’s Neighbors Worry Migrant Bottlenecks Could Spark Military Conflict)

But the Unrest Continues to Spread

The BBC’s Olga Ivshina explains how the protests are continuing and aren’t only about fuel:

The speed at which the protests turned violent took many by surprise, both in Kazakhstan and in the wider region, and hinted that they are not only about an increase in fuel prices.

This is a traditionally stable Central Asian state, which is often described as authoritarian. Until 2019 it was run by President Nursultan Nazarbayev, whose rule was marked by elements of a personality cult, with his statues erected across the country and a capital renamed after him.

Yet Kazakhstanis find themselves increasingly frustrated living in a one-party state that breeds corruption.

The analysts I spoke to say that the Kazakh government clearly underestimated how angry the population was, and that these protests were not surprising in a country with no electoral democracy – people need to take to the streets to be heard.

Related Posts