We’ve all seen the videos: buildings being burned down, small firework explosions, fights breaking out between officers and protestors. For the past few weeks, Kazakhstan has found itself in a situation of brutal protests and violent civil unrest.
On January 7, 2022, Zhanaozen, a declining oil town in Kazakhstan, met with a peaceful protest because of its fuel price surge. The demonstrations spread to different parts of the oil-exporting country, but so did the cause of the protest. Once the demonstrations had reached Almaty, Kazakhstan’s former capital and largest city, the reasoning behind it was to fight the repression and corruption that had overtaken the government. There is speculation that the Russian government has something to do with the problems within Kazakhstan’s government — as signs of Russia’s harsh involvement include closed/Russian-commanded airports and internet/service lines down.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan has spoken out against the protestors, an action endorsed by Russian officials, who also sent in Russian troops to help the government regain their control. Tokayev has also presented a possibility that the protestors were attempting to replace him with the former president, Nursultan Nazarbayev.
The beginning of the Almaty protests were very peaceful, but as time went on, crime groups had joined in, which caused violence from both sides. One of the country’s biggest gangsters, Arman Dzhumageldiev, or “Arman the Wild”, was seen instigating further conflict at the protests. The transformation from a peaceful protest about gas prices to violent civil unrest shows the political dilemma facing Kazakhstan right now.
Hello! My name is Krishna Mano and I am a sophomore at City High School. This is my fourth year writing for The City Voice and second year as an editor. Apart from the newspaper, I am part of the Speech and Debate team, President of the 10th Grade Student Council, and Treasurer of the NHS. Outside of school, I enjoy playing the violin, reading, skiing, and paddleboarding. If you have any questions about my articles, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.