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Kazakhstan: Unrest Continues

Kazakhstan: Unrest Continues

Kazakhstan is a country the size of western Europe. Its current population is 19 million. It has announced its independence in 1991 after the Soviet Union collapsed.

It is known to have one of the largest oil reserves in the world. With a production capacity of 1.6 million barrels a day, it has attracted foreign interests. This is in stark contrast with the citizens of the country who earns less than $3,300.

In 2019, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev took over the reins from President Nursultan Nazarbayev. President Nazarbayev served an 18-year term before the transition of power.

Recently, the government lifted its price cap of LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) products. The government sighted that they can no longer subsidize LPG. Many of the population began protesting since the majority of them use LPG fueled cars. The prices essentially doubled after the removal of the price cap.

The protests began on January 2 in Zhanaozen which then spread across the country. This has caused numerous clashes among the police and the public. Nationwide, there has been a report of about 1,000 people who have suffered injuries from the riots.

As part of the government response, they have requested assistance from Russia. This is in the authority of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Russian paratroopers have been sent to Kazakhstan to help stabilize the situation.

Many government officials have resigned due to the incident. The government tries to make concessions by delaying the removal of the price cap.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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