Demonstrations in western Kazakhstan, the oil-producing region, against a sharp increase in the price of automotive fuel, have spread across the country to the former capital, Almaty, and the current capital, Nur-Sultan. There has long been dissatisfaction with a dictatorial-kleptocratic government.
President Tokaev has sacked the former (and first – he served since the breakup of the Soviet Union) president, Nur-Sultan Nazarbayev, from his post as Security Council chairman and is expected to dissolve Parliament. It’s not clear that this will stop the demonstrations.
What is happening in Kazakhstan is exactly what Vladimir Putin fears for Russia. He has seen such demonstrations in several former Soviet republics, most recently in Belarus and in Ukraine in 2014. He is trying to force NATO and Ukraine into reconsiderations of their positions by threatening military action against Ukraine. He will likely see events in Kazakhstan as a CIA/NATO provocation in response to demands he has issued to NATO and the US.
I don’t have a lot of time now and hope to be back later with more. Katie Putz is a good person to follow for news of Kazakhstan.
The former Soviet nuclear test site is in Kazakhstan. Currently, a major Russian space launch site is at Baikonur, more reason for Putin to worry.
Some tweets from today.