Blazes in Kazakhstan Might Spread Throughout Central Asia
Riots in Kazakhstan led to the burning of the city hall in Almaty, the largest city. The violence has led to the burning of the regional branch of the ruling Nur Otan Party and many police cars. Police claim rioters killed 13 officers and injured an additional 353. At one point, protesters took over the airport.
The unrest started when fuel prices soared after the government lifted price restrictions. Their demands soon expanded to include a change in the electoral system, allowing Kazakhstan’s president to appoint regional leaders.
Ultimately, suppose the government gives in to their demands. It could lead to an end to the ruling elite’s power. They have ruled Kazakhstan directly or indirectly since its independence from the USSR in 1991. The government has a lot at stake if the unrest continues. For that reason, the government has fought back furiously.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev authorized the police to shoot protesters without warning. He asked Russian forces to help restore order. Kazakhstan will probably lose some of its autonomy to the Russians. This could easily lead to Russia asserting more control over other republics that had independence since 1991 when the USSR dissolved.
- New York Times. Revolt in Kazakhstan: What’s Happening, and Why It Matters. January 5, 2022
- New York Times. Kazakhstan’s President Says Security Forces Can ‘Fire Without Warning’ to Quell Unrest. January 7, 2022
- New York Times. Behind Kazakhstan Unrest, the ‘Strongman’s Dilemma.’ January 7, 2022