Crisis in Kazakhstan

By Aidan Morales

An oil-rich country with soaring fuel prices, Kazakhstan is a sizable country to the south of the Russian Federation. Although Russian forces clamped down on the riots, killing dozens of protestors, the problems in Kazakhstan remain and have arguably worsened. The order to open fire without warning was given by the President after 13 police officers were killed and 300+ more were injured. This violent uprising is out of character for the stable Central Asian region, as Kazakhstan hasn’t seen this level of violence and unrest since their separation from the Soviet Union. Protesters initially started with a demand for lower gas prices, as the government removed the cap. As the dissatisfaction with the authoritarian government rose to extremes, protests began demanding liberalization and freedom.

Order is back in place, but with the cost of Russian aid and authoritarianism on the rise in an already autocratic country. Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan, has been a hotspot for protests and violence. Yerlan Zhagiparov left his home to see the protests from a distance, looking towards the city square. 20 minutes later his close friend received a phone call from him, cut off with screams of agony. During the call he claimed that the National Guard had arrested him and he needed help, however, he wasn’t able to give any location. Family and friends weren’t able to find him until a week later when he was found in a morgue. His body was mutilated and bruised, with two gunshot wounds to the chest. According to the President, this was the body of a terrorist. To his family and friends, it was the corpse of a loved one. Zhagiparov is only one of 124 confirmed fatalities in relation to the protests. President Tokayev has blood on his hands, and the walls of this Moscow-aligned government are beginning to crumble.