Kazakhstan protests: Petrol prices rise to $0.26 to spark massive riots nationwide

Kazakhstan in chaos after gasoline prices rise from $0.13 to $0.26 per litre

Protests in Kazakhstan, which sparked on January 2, 2022 due to a sharp rise in fuel prices, have led to the resignation of Askar Mamin's government. President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, signed the corresponding decree on January 5 overnight.

First Deputy Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov will temporarily act as government head. Other members of the Cabinet of Ministers will continue to fulfill their duties until the new government is formed.

Later it became known that Tokayev was considering an opportunity to dissolve the parliament and hold new elections in the republic.

Tokayev instructed the government to introduce state regulation of prices on socially significant products. These include 19 products, including flour, bread, pasta, salt, eggs, buckwheat, rice, sugar, sunflower and butter, and other foodstuffs.

The President of Kazakhstan also proposed to introduce state regulation of prices on liquefied gas, gasoline and diesel fuel for a period of 180 days. He also instructed to consider a moratorium on increasing prices on public utilities for the population for the same period of time.

Immediately after that, the Ministry of Energy approved the maximum price of domestically sold liquefied gas in the amount of 38,701.67 tenge per ton, excluding VAT. The order is valid until March 31, 2022.

Tokayev promised that the political and socio-economic structure of Kazakhstan would remain unchanged.

"Principles such as unitarity, the rule of law, respect for property rights and market economy remain crucial in our public policy,” the president said.

Tokayev pointed out that the government, especially the Ministry of Energy, headed by Nurlan Nogayev (who is also the akim (chief official) of the Mangistau region, where the protests began), was primarily responsible for the protests that began in connection with the rise in prices on liquefied gas. The President instructed the Office of the Prosecutor General to conduct investigation into the price collusion in liquefied gas sales.

Following the order, law-enforcers arrested the director of a gas processing plant in the settlement of Zhanaozen (Mangistau region of Kazakhstan). According to zakon. kz, the head of the company raised the price of fuel for no reason. The head of the site for the electronic sales of liquefied gas was also detained.

A state of emergency has been implemented in several regions of Kazakhstan, as well as in the capital of the country, the city of Nur-Sultan. The state of emergency will remain in effect until January 19.

Internet connection, including that of mobile operators, was interrupted and blocked throughout Kazakhstan. Messenger services, such as What's App and Telegram, are not working.

  • On January 4, protesters in Almaty seized the administration building (akimat) for a short period of time. They managed to enter the conference room, but security forces soon pushed them out. The next day, the protesters stormed the building again and succeeded. In addition, they seized the presidential residence in Almaty. A fire broke out in the building.
  • On January 5, in the city of Aktob, a crowd of protesters broke through a police cordon into the Akimat building (local administration building). A series of explosions occurred in the building entryway. Several people were injured, and this caused the protesters to retreat from the city administration.

Attacks on administrative buildings took place in such towns as Shymkent and Taraz. People would smash windowpanes and break doors out, causing material damage to buildings. The protesters used stones, sticks, gas and pepper sprays, and Molotov cocktails.

In the morning of January 5, protesters took to the streets of Almaty again. Security forces took up positions at key infrastructure facilities in the city.

The protesters have reportedly beaten up several police officers and seized military equipment. In response, security forces used special means against the crowd.

In other cities of Kazakhstan, protesters demand the political regime in Kazakhstan should change immediately.

Since the beginning of the protests, law enforcement officers have detained more than 200 people. About 140 police officers were injured, 37 police vehicles were damaged.

Russia says Kazakhstan can handle the problem

Dmitry Peskov, an official spokesman for Russian President Putin, said that Kazakhstan did not ask the Kremlin for help in connection with the crisis in the country. Moscow is convinced that Kazakhstan is capable of handling internal problems on its own, Peskov added.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that they were closely following the development of the crisis in Kazakhstan.

Nursultan Nazarbayev removed from key Security Council post

President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev dismissed his predecessor Nursultan Nazarbayev from the post of the head of the Security Council, took the position himself and pledged to fight hard against the protests that had sparked in the country due to economic and social problems.

According to Tokayev, he will fulfill the duties of the head of the Security Council starting from Wednesday, January 5. He did not specify whether ex-President Nazarbayev would take another state post.

"This is a question of the security of our state. I am sure the people will support me,” Tokayev said.

He stressed that the decision to remove Nazarbayev was dictated by the desire to ensure the country's security "at the numerous requests of citizens" to protect their lives amid the unrest.

Business jets fly from Kazakhstan towards Europe

A number of business jets departed from Kazakhstan towards Europe amid the protests in the republic, KazTAG Telegram channel reports with reference to sources.

Up to six business jets took off in Almaty, another one took off from Nur-Sultan. Ateo Breaking Telegram channel published information from the Flight Radar website, allegedly showing a government business jet heading from Almaty towards Russia.

The protests in Kazakhstan began on Sunday, January 2, due to an increase in petrol prices from 60 to 120 tenge (from 10 to 20 rubles — from $0,13 to $0,26) per liter.

In Almaty, protested seized the city airport. Airport personnel were being evacuated, ORDA Telegram channel reports with reference to eyewitnesses. The protesters also seized the building of Mir broadcasting company, pogrommed its office and destroyed equipment in it. All employees of the company were evacuated safely.

Subscribe to Pravda.Ru Telegram channel, Facebook, RSS!

Author`s name Editorial Team
Editor Dmitry Sudakov