Kazakhstan these days are experiencing the biggest protests in its post-Soviet history, which led to violent riots with fatalities among protesters, classified as “terrorists” by the Government, and among members of the security forces.
These are the keys to the crisis in the largest republic in Central Asia, which took many people inside and outside the country by surprise.
Rise in fuel prices
Protests in the second post-Soviet space economy broke out last January 2 after the rise in the price of liquefied gas, the country’s main automotive fuel, which doubled its price from 60 tenge per liter to 120 (0.14-0.28 dollars).
Initially the general discontent originated in western Mangystau, but it quickly spread throughout the country.
At the same time, the slogans of an economic and social nature gradually led to political claims.
Fed up with the old elites
Many analysts now attribute the protests to the Kazakhs’ fed up with the old elites, which has grown in recent years and reached its peak after a new price hike.
The main requirement of the government’s detractors is end the time of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, whom opponents accuse of still maintaining political power in Kazakhstan in the shadow of the current president.
One of the most viral images of the current protests was the demolition of one of the monuments of Nazarbayev in the town of Taldicorgan, in the southeast of the country.
Lack of real opposition
Kazakhstan lacks real opposition, with the ruling Nur Otan party having practically all power in the country. Precisely the absence of a political force that can express the concerns of the citizens is, according to experts, one of the causes of the current crisis.
In the parliamentary elections held a year ago, Nur Otan revalidated his leadership in the Majilis (lower house of the Kazakh parliament) after garnering more than 71% of the support.
The Kazakh president, Kasim-Yomart Tokáyev, had set as one of his objectives after replacing Nazarbayev the development of democracy and multipartismTasks that the authorities will have to carry out more quickly to avoid new crises in the future.
Radicalization of protests
The protests began with peaceful marches and demonstrations against rising fuel prices, but In a few days they became very violent with attacks on police and looting of shops.
According to the authorities, in the riots at least 13 soldiers have lost their lives.
Several protesters, who, according to the authorities, belong to terrorist groups were also “eliminated”. The number of detainees exceeds 2,000 in the city of Almaty alone, the largest in the country.
Arrival of forces of the post-Soviet military alliance
The current crisis in Kazakhstan led to the intervention by the forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)), a military bloc in the post-Soviet space that groups six countries and is led by Russia.
Nur-Sultan requested this Wednesday the help of the members of the CSTO Faced with the “terrorist threat” facing the country and hours later the organization gave its approval to the deployment of more than 3,800 military personnel in Kazakhstan for the “stabilization of the situation”.
This is the first time since its inception that the post-Soviet alliance intervenes in defense of one of its members.
Internet outages, difficult coverage
During the protests in Kazakhstan Internet and telephone operators have reported difficulties for a correct provision of services.
As a consequence, the information on events in the country is limited and it arrives many times through social networks or fast messaging applications.
Various media, including EFE, They could not communicate with their co-managers in the country for several hoursespecially on Wednesday, the day of massive riots.
The protests in Kazakhstan have already caused damages valued at $ 92 million, according to the Kazakh business community.
Furthermore, events in the ex-Soviet republic, which has the largest oil reserves in the post-Soviet space after Russia, they threaten to cause a rise in oil prices.
And is that the Kazakh crisis has already had an impact on uranium prices on the world market as the Central Asian Republic is the main producer of this mineral.
Furthermore, political instability in Kazakhstan caused a fall in the price of bitcoin, as the internet cuts affect the activity of the miners.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.