Daily News Analysis

Crisis in Kazakhstan                                                                              

8th January, 2022 International News

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Context: A state of emergency has been declared in Kazakhstan and the government has officially stepped down following violent protests against a sharp and sudden increase in fuel prices.


What is current situation?

  • To restore order in the main city Internet services were promptly shut off and messaging apps were banned.
  • Russia has sent in troops under the Collective Security Treaty Organization , to assist security personnel in their efforts to restore order in the country.
  • Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), is a Moscow lead military alliance, comprising Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.


So, why are Kazakhs protesting?

  • High LPG prices: Kazakhs were protesting after fuel prices doubled in the oil-rich Central Asian nation when the government lifted price caps for LPG, commonly used in vehicles.
  • Protest quickly turned violent across the country and protesters demanded resignation of the government and lowering of LPG prices.
  • Risk of Income inequality: Protesters are worried that jump in LPG prices could cause a steep increase in food prices and deepen the income inequality that has plagued the nation for decades.
  • Inflation in the country is close to 9 percent due to covid-19 pandemic.
  • Demands for democracy: There is discontent among Kazakhs over rising income inequality, which has worsened due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Its authoritarian government has been widely criticised over the years for violating fundamental freedoms.
  • Anti-Nazarbayev sentiment : Country’s long-time Soviet-era leader Nursultan Nazarbayev was replaced by Tokayev, who is regarded as his hand-picked successor. Nazarbayev and his family, continued to enjoy a fair bit of power in the country.



How did the government respond to the protests?

  • After declaring a state of emergency, Tokayev dismissed the country’s prime minister and his cabinet.
  • He assured that authorities would soon bring down LPG prices to “ensure stability in the country”.
  • Tokayev ordered government protection for foreign embassies and businesses owned by foreign companies.
  • The National Bank of Kazakhstan had decided to suspend work of banks for the safety of their workers.


Concerns for neighbors’:

  • The recent crisis has caused considerable concern in neighbouring Russia and China, both of which are key strategic partners of Kazakhstan.