Kazakh president removes ex-leader from the post amid worst unrest in decade
After the greatest unrest in Kazakhstan in more than a decade, the country’s president removed his strong predecessor from his position as chairman of the country’s security council on Wednesday.
As a result, protests that began on New Year’s Day but swiftly expanded to include broader political demands continued for many days despite the resignations of several cabinet members.
Some of the demonstrators screamed anti-Nursultan Nazarbayev chants. He was the last Soviet-era Communist Party leader still running an ex-Soviet state until he stepped down as president in 2019 after three decades in office.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Nazarbayev’s hand-picked successor, said that he had assumed control of the Security Council, a position he has held since Nazarbayev’s death.
In Nur-Sultan, the capital that bears his name, the former president is still seen as the dominant political power. A large portion of the economy is said to be under his influence.
Tokayev did not mention his predecessor by name in a televised speech. Since the demonstrations started, Nazarbayev has not been seen or heard from.
The State Security Committee’s successor to the Soviet-era KGB, Nazarbayev’s nephew, was also demoted by Tokayev.
On Wednesday, police seemed to have abandoned certain areas after skirmishes erupted between protestors and riot police, who used tear gas and flash grenades.
The majority of demonstrators he encountered were from the outskirts of Almaty or adjacent towns and villages, according to a local resident.
Residents reported seeing individuals distributing vodka in the city’s main plaza and debating whether to proceed to the city market or an affluent neighborhood for probable theft.
“Anarchy reigns supreme in the city streets. There are no police in sight “he said, according to her.
Protesters were shown on camera yelling in front of a massive bronze statue of Nazarbayev, which seemed to be being yanked down by ropes. According to the lady who tweeted it, it was shot in Taldykorgan, a city in eastern Kazakhstan.
There had previously been a live Instagram video showing the mayor of Almaty’s office on fire, with gunshots heard. The adjoining prosecutor’s office was also seen to be on fire in videos shared online.
A woman shouts, “OLD MAN, GO AWAY!”
Reuters journalists saw thousands of protestors advancing on Almaty’s city center early on Wednesday, some of them riding on a truck. ‘Extremists and radicals’ are waging war on Almaty, according to the police commander.
Nur-Sultan, Almaty, and Mangistau provinces were proclaimed states of emergency. Monitoring site Netblocks described the outage as “a nation-scale internet blackout.”
Despite the protests being sparked by an increase in the price of petrol, the general public was clearly angry with Nazarbayev’s ongoing hold on power.
When a small gathering of demonstrators in the city of Shymkent was broken up by police and security personnel dressed in civilian clothing, footage showed the men being shoved into police cars and a white van while others screamed, “Nazarbayev, go away!”
“Old Man, get out of here!” shouted demonstrators in Aqtobe’s main plaza as they assembled. Protesters gathered in front of the mayor’s office were met by water cannon and shock grenades, according to footage released online.
Reversing a price increase on liquefied petroleum gas that had quadrupled since January was Tokayev’s directive to interim ministers after accepting the departure of his government. Cars in Kazakhstan run on gas since it is significantly less expensive than gasoline.
Bond prices fell by approximately 6 cents as a result of the turmoil, the worst performance since 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic market collapse.
Many international investors have flocked to Kazakhstan due to the country’s reputation for stability under Nazarbayev, which has attracted hundreds of billions of dollars. The younger generation, on the other hand, is calling for the same kind of liberalization witnessed in other former Soviet governments.
As an emerging market analyst with BlueBay Asset Management, Tim Ash, I believe that there is an underlying undercurrent of dissatisfaction in Kazakhstan about the absence of democracy.
In Almaty, particularly, young, internet-savvy Kazakhs undoubtedly seek comparable freedoms to those enjoyed by Ukrainians, Georgians, Moldovans, Kyrgyz, and Armenians in recent years.
At least 14 demonstrators were murdered by police during a strike by oil workers in Zhanaozen, Kazakhstan, in 2011, which was the deadliest disturbance in the country since then.
Russia has a strong ally in Kazakhstan. The Kremlin warned foreign nations against intervening, saying it expected the country to soon handle its own issues.
Pressures on Kazakhstan’s economy have been increasing. With annual inflation nearing 9% – the highest level in more than five years – the central bank has no choice but to boost interest rates to 9.75%.
Kazakh president removes ex-leader from the post amid worst unrest in decade, Kazakh president removes ex-leader from the post amid worst unrest in decade, Kazakh president removes ex-leader from the post amid worst unrest in decade, Kazakh president removes ex-leader from the post amid worst unrest in decade, Kazakh president removes ex-leader from the post amid worst unrest in decade, Kazakh president removes ex-leader from the post amid worst unrest in decade