Kazakhstan Protests and Emergency

The citizens of Kazakhstan are protesting against the sudden fuel price hike. The ruling government resigned due to the rising tensions. Emergency has been declared in the Central Asian country

Why protests in Kazakhstan?

The protests began when the ruling government of Kazakhstan lifted the price controls of Liquified Petroleum Gas. The prices quickly doubled after the lift. Earlier, because of its low price, the citizens had converted their vehicles to run on the fuel. Their plans shattered due to sudden price hike after the price control was lifted. This angered them and they started protesting.

What is in the protest for Russia?

Around 20% of the Kazakhs are ethnic Russians. Baikonur Cosmodrome of Kazakhstan is used as launch base for all Russian manned space missions.

What is Kazakhstan doing to control the protest?

After the Prime Minister of the country resigned, the president has taken over responsibility. He has created a security council to control the protest. Kazakhstan has sought help from its military allies, especially Russia. It has also sought the help of CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization). CSTO comprises of Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Bealrus.

What is the root cause?

Kazakhstan is an oil rich country. It has huge foreign investments mainly because of its oil. It had a strong economy since its independence (after disintegration of Soviet Union). However, its autocratic form of governance has raised international concerns. The political rifts between the ruling and opposition creates the unrest. And the authorities often crack down due to the internal protests. Such conditions are always around oil issues. Oil is used as weapon to capture power.

How bad are the protests?

The protestors have taken over the Almaty airport and the aircrafts. The local administrations and government officials were attacked in three cities. Internet services are disrupted. Some of the security forces have sided with the protestors.

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