Protests against rising fuel prices began on January 2nd in Kazakhstan after the price cap for fuel was lifted. Or at least, that is what set off the protests. Kazakhstan citizens have been angry at the corruption in government, various economic and social issues, and the effects of the pandemic. Not to mention that the average salary of a Kazakhstan citizen is equivalent to $570 a month. These protests began as peaceful but became a riot on January 5th in Almaty where many fires were started. In response, the president of Kazakhstan asked Russia for help, Russia then sent 2,500 troops to aid the Kazakhstan troops. On January 7th the president issued a “shoot-to-kill” order on national television. The aftermath included 208 civilian deaths, 19 members of security forces dead, and over 9,900 people arrested. Those arrested included many peaceful protesters, even those who were merely posting online in support of the protests were detained. Some detainees, such as Muratbek Yesengazy, have reported being beaten in detention; others report being tortured as well.

It’s really disgusting that a “shoot-to-kill” order was issued by the president, so many people died in the span of 9 days. I had been following this news back in early January when it was happening and had heard that the government had also turned the internet off so many weren’t able to tell others what was occurring. In the aftermath the president referred to protesters as armed terrorists which just proves even more how terribly he is trying to frame his citizens and how ruthless he is willing to be. From what I have seen, many Kazakhstan citizens have been left angry and unsatisfied. I hope that they are able to keep fighting in whatever way that they can, I’m sure they must be terrified to take action after this.

I’m curious as to how Kazakhstan citizens are feeling currently. Did they even get anything they asked for? Is the change they received actually addressing their concerns or merely a way for the government to placate them?

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