: Kazakhstan Is Facing Its Most Dramatic Political Upheaval in 30 Years. Here’s What to Know #WorldNEWS Dozens of protesters and 18 police officers have died amid violent clashes across Kazakhstan,
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Kazakhstan Is Facing Its Most Dramatic Political Upheaval in 30 Years. Here’s What to Know #WorldNEWS
Dozens of protesters and 18 police officers have died amid violent clashes across Kazakhstan, in the most dramatic political upheaval in the country since the fall of the Soviet Union. Protests that were initially triggered by increased fuel prices have since become anti-government demonstrations, and prompted Russian intervention.
A Russia-led security bloc said it would send troops to support President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The President said that he has told security forces to use lethal force without warning against violent protesters. Here’s how the unrest unfolded in the Central Asian country.
What’s happening in Kazakhstan?
Protests began Jan. 2, a day after the Kazakh government lifted a cap on fuel prices, which led to the price of the country’s most popular gas doubling. The demonstrations quickly spread across regions, including the countrys largest city Almaty, and have come to represent other political grievances.
Abduaziz Madyarov—AFP/Getty ImagesProtesters take part in a rally over a hike in energy prices in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Jan. 5, 2022.
The protests escalated to violent clashes between demonstrators and the police. A state of emergency was declared Jan. 5 after the President’s Almaty residence was surrounded by thousands of protesters and engulfed in flames, according to a Russian news agency. Tokayev appealed for intervention from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russia-led alliance of countries including Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Russian paramilitary troops are currently being deployed, according to reports.
The full scale of the bloodshed is still unclear, but Kazakh security forces confirmed that dozens of protestors and 18 police officers were killed.
Why are people protesting?
The demonstrators are seeking widespread reform of a state many see as marred by corruption, poverty, and inequality. Much of the anger is directed at both Tokayev and his mentor Nursultan Nazarbayev, who was President of Kazakhstan from 1991 until 2019 and previously served as head of the Kazakh Soviet Republic. He has remained a powerful figure in government since leaving office. Demonstrators in the town of Taldykorgan pulled down a monument to the former leader on Jan. 5.
Having been ruled by the same party since the country’s independence from the USSR in 1991, Kazakhstan is often described as an authoritarian state. Tightly controlled press and social media shutdowns are common tactics used by the government to control dissent.
Given the lack of effective political opposition, mass protest is seen by many as the only tool to voice dissent.
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