Gas Prices Caused Protest Among Kazakhstan Citizens

Matthew Tapia, Staff Writer

Celebrations of the New Year were knocked out when in the country of Kazakhstan citizens were protesting high gas prices. The protests started in the city of Zhanaozen, the same place where 16 oil workers who were on strike were killed in 2011 by police, but spread throughout other cities in the country such as the capital of the country Nursultan. Protesters wanted lower fuel prices and citizens were also upset that the government lifted the price cap of the fuel which led to the protests. 

Ridgeview student Noah Padilla said, “Gas prices are rising because we rely on it too much.” Protesters did not expect mass murder as an outcome from the riots. The protests soon turned into riots which had the city hall of Alamty, the largest city, set ablaze. Some of the rioting included setting police vehicles on fire, an angry mob taking over Alamty’s airport, and including injuring 1,300 security officers. There is also a video of a stolen construction vehicle ramming into a store. Police pointed the responsibility to rioters over the death of police officers. Police have used tear gas and stun grenades to deal with the rioters. Some protests were anti-government over anger and frustration.

 Government vehicles and store fronts were damaged because of unrest. There was also an increase of strikes with workers demanding better work benefits. Due to Russia and Kazakhstan sharing a border, President Vladimir Putin has sent 2,500 troops on Thursday, January 6th to help deal with the unrest that has taken place in Kazakhstan. Putin is also sending troops to help spread his influence on what was former land of the Soviet Union. Putin is also not looking well with 100,000 troops at the border of Ukraine causing worrying thoughts of an invasion. President Biden is now considering moving 850,000 troops to Ukraine as well with some supplies to help the country. Kassym Jomart has given permission to the soldiers that they may fire their weapons without warning any bystanders.

 As a result of that 225 people have died with some of those deaths being children and 2,200 people were injured. Regarding whether it was reasonable for that student Nathan Pacheco said ¨ It’s necessary due to there being no other option.¨ All Russian troops left the country on January 19. Internet services are not available with phone lines down making information with communication difficult and scarce. The turmoil that’s been caused has shown the vulnerability of the leaders that were trusted. The country is being destabilized in a region where Russia and America engage for influence over Kazakhstan. Moscow has seen its influence spread but struggles to stay supported. Kazakhstan has declared a state of emergency due to the anti government riots. According to the official website of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a public document was published saying that protesting without a permit is illegal. 

When asked about gas companies raising prices Christopher Villanueva said, “Gas companies are being greedy. Look at the U.S,+ They are raising prices and we are reflecting their actions.” Kassym said the situation had been “stabilized” even though there is still unrest. The same mob who took over Alamty’s airport were labeled terrorists by Kassym but struggles to support his claim. The president also fired his defense minister, Murat Bektanov for not taking care of the rioters. He was accused of failing to show leadership and initiative when in a time it is needed. Ruslan Zhaksylykov took the role of defense minister after Murat Bektanov. When asked if there should be reparations for anyone innocently killed Pacheco said, “There should be reparations for the families of the innocent killed because they can shoot their guns without warning which is wrong.”  Kassym also claimed that the same “terrorists” took the bodies of the dead rioters. The U.N. is now calling for an effective public investigation for what happened and a fair chance for those who were arrested and detained.