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Fuel price hike brings Kazakhstan to the brink. Troops ordered to fire at protestors

Kazakhstan unrest

Oil-rich Kazakhstan is witnessing full-blown civil unrest which has shaken the core of its authoritarian government. Desperation was evident when President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev refused to acknowledge the uprising against his government, instead of blaming the riots on foreign and local terrorists.
The authoritarian leader has ordered security forces to “fire without warning” at the ‘violent’ protestors.

President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said, “20,000 bandits” had attacked the main city of Almaty. Opposition leaders have rejected the authorities’ accusations of terrorism.

Meanwhile, Russia has sent 2,500 soldiers as the part of Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) to restore order. Mr Tokayev gave “special thanks” to Russian President Vladimir Putin for sending troops to the former Soviet nation.
China has also backed the Kazakh government in their attempt to crush the rebellion.

Security forces were ordered to fire without warning at the protestors

Protests began on Sunday when the cost of LPG which the people use to fuel their cars – doubled.

Although Kazakhstan possesses vast reserves of oil and other minerals, its economy has been in shambles for quite some time.
The vast majority of the population is poor despite all the natural resources while corruption in government is high.

The government with its finances stretched has been trying to reform and reduce subsidies given on fuel. However, the fuel price hike is the immediate cause of the chaos. The violence is now engulfing more parts of Kazakhstan.
There seems to be deeper angst against the government which has been ruled by the same party for more than 30 years. There seems to be no particular leader mobilizing the protestors or any common goal of the protestors. The outpouring of anger has been spontaneous. Excesses have been committed by both the protestors and security forces, leading to more than 50 deaths.
While elections are held periodically, it’s mostly symbolic with very weak opposition.

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