Al Jazeera Net presents the roots of the crisis.. Kazakhstan enters 2022 with a “revolution” under the ashes

Moscow- Kazakhstan is entering the new year with a wave of anti-government protests sparked by protests sparked by a hike in liquefied gas prices.

Although the spark of protests began in the Mangistu region, in the west of the country, it quickly spread to other regions of the republic, including the current capital, Nur-Sultan, and the former Almaty.

The protesters are demanding a reduction in the price of liquefied gas, which suddenly rose by 100% on the first of January to 120 tenge ($0.27), demanding that it remain at the level of 60 tenge ($0.13), and the demonstrators hold the responsibility not only to the local authorities but also to the central government.

Protests erupted after gas prices were raised by 100% (Anatolia)

seize a chance

Immediately, the external opposition tried to take advantage of the situation, and the leader of the banned “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan” movement, the banker resident abroad, Mukhtar Ablyazov, called on his supporters to take to the streets to confront the security forces, who responded by closing the central squares and streets adjacent to them in major cities, and interruptions were recorded. Internet and mobile phone communications.

The police also resorted to the use of force against the demonstrators, as shown by videos spread on social media, and the security forces launched arrest campaigns in the official and commercial capitals (Nur-Sultan and Almaty).

Meanwhile, business planes began to fly heavily towards Europe, according to the Kazakh website, “Kastag Telegram”, and data from the “FlyRadar” site showed government business planes heading from Almaty towards Russia.

In what appeared to be an attempt to absorb the anger of the street and not to extend the protests to new areas, the government submitted its resignation to President Kassem Gumrat Tokayev, who in return assigned Ali Khan Ismailov, Deputy Prime Minister, to take care of business pending the formation of a new government.

But the most prominent event was Tokayev’s announcement, in an urgent address to the nation, that he chaired the Security Council of the Republic, which was occupied by former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, as well as declaring a state of emergency in a number of cities.

An armoured personnel carrier is seen near the mayor's office in AlmatyThe Kazakh president declared a state of emergency, and the authorities considered that there was a conspiracy called “raising gas prices” (Reuters)

“Conspiracy” to raise prices

The government also announced the opening of an investigation against the owners of gas stations, with what it described as a “conspiracy to raise prices.”

At the same time, the government says that a decision has already been taken to reduce the cost of gas from 120 to 85-90 tenge per liter. Officials also announced procedures for an assessment of incidents of “violation of public order.”

Many experts consider that the protests are the result of deep social and economic problems, and that the protest against high fuel prices is only an excuse to express dissatisfaction with the deteriorating social and economic situation. The protests took place in cities where there was no increase in gas prices.

The Roots of the Crisis..Question and Answer

Below we present a number of questions and answers detailing the root causes of the crisis in the country:

Did Nazarbayev really out of power after the 2019 protests?
Former President Nazarbayev had promised to build a model similar to South Korea. But opponents joke that the construction process that he talked about is beginning to show the outlines of North Korea.

Despite his resignation in March 2019, which is considered a formality, there has been no political “reset” in the country.

Paradoxically, the new president’s family name (Tokayev) corresponds to the Kazakh word “tokal”, which means “younger wife”.

Referring to what the opposition considers a loss of real powers, and that everything is still in Nazarbayev’s hands, the current president is described as a “dispossessed mistress”. During his reign, everything was preserved “as is the case with grandfather” – according to the expression of opponents – which explains the demands of the demonstrators now not to dismiss the president as much as they are demanding the removal of Nazarbayev himself from the political system.

What is the “straw that broke the camel’s back”?
According to official reports, oil profits inject huge returns to the treasury, but even with widespread corruption – according to independent local and international reports – there was enough to provide aid to the population, but it seems that the authorities did not attach enough importance, as evidenced by the protests Last.

The increase in gas fuel prices is seen by observers as just an “engine”. In general, prices are witnessing increases that affect almost everything.

Gasoline and diesel prices have almost doubled, and an increase in electricity prices is currently under discussion. As for foodstuffs, including basic commodities, their prices are increasing.

Law enforcement officers stand guard in front of the mayor's office in AlmatyThe Kazakh authorities closed the main squares after protests swept 8 out of 17 regions (Reuters)

Do the current protests pose a real threat to the authorities?
Until now, the protests have included 8 out of 17 regions, and their arrival in the southern regions, which are traditionally considered apolitical, may pose a real threat to the government, and may have serious consequences, according to opposition websites.

In addition, political analysts do not rule out the presence of forces behind the outbreak of the protests, given the speed of their transfer to other regions and cities, direct media coverage of them, and acts of violence that the authorities describe as “organised”, including the burning of the headquarters of the ruling party and the headquarters of the Public Prosecution, as well as the ability of demonstrators In many cases the disarmament of firearms, shields and batons from policemen.

What is the location of the protests from the Russian-Western conflict and the Ukrainian scenario theory?
Kazakhstan is the most valuable prize in the geopolitical struggle between Russia and the West, especially for the United States.

In the event that the country is controlled by liberal forces with a Western orientation, this would allow to keep the whole of Central Asia under Western control, as well as create major problems for Russia and China.

In addition, almost all of the current elite studied at Western universities, especially British universities. Therefore, observers of the Kazakh affairs see the presence of many “agents of influence and influence” who seek to promote multi-faceted integration with the European Union, at the expense of relations with Moscow.

It should be noted in this context the expansion of the phenomenon of “Russian phobia”, which began in Kazakhstan practically immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In a case similar to the precursors of the Color Revolution in Ukraine, a monitoring process of social media in the former Soviet republic allows to find large numbers of anti-Russian videos in Russian and Kazakh languages.

However, it can be believed that Kazakhstan, if the Ukrainian scenario is repeated there, will be forced to maneuver.

On the one hand, it enjoys distinguished relations with Turkey, Russia’s strong opponent in Central Asia, and its capital is in European banks. On the other hand, Kazakhstan, due to objective political, economic and historical considerations, remains in dire need of Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union.

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