Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

Demonstrations over fuel prices are raging in the Central Asian country as the death toll rises. Here are three graphics to contextualize the situation.

President of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, ordered it security forces to “release with deadly force” against protesters he described as “terrorists”.

Demonstrations began over the weekend in the western town of Zhanaozen, fueled by rising fuel prices. Protests then spread rapidly across the country, encompassing a wider range of issues, such as corruption and inequality.

Dozens of protesters and security officials were killed in clashes.


Timeline of protests


Fuel prices

The price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) doubled in price on January 1 in Zhanaozen – one liter of VPG in the city was 50 tenge ($ 0.11) for most of 2021, but rose to 120 tenge ($ 0, earlier this week). 28) increased.

The reason behind the increase is related to reforms in the fuel market, which came into effect on January 1, 2022. In an effort to end subsidized fuel for customers, the price limit was removed, which allowed the market to dictate its price. This has led to rising costs in a time of great demand.

Up to 90 percent of vehicles in oil-rich regions such as Mamgistau, where protests began, rely on butane and propane for fuel.

The price range of 50 tenge ($ 0.11) was reinstated shortly after the protests began.

What is the CSTO?


The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a Russian-led alliance of former Soviet states: Russia; Belarus; Tajikistan; Armenia; Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

On January 5, Tokayev invoked Article 4 of the CSTO Treaty, according to which if one member is subjected to aggression by an external force, it is considered as aggression against all member states. Members of the alliance provide military assistance and defense to the “aggressed” country. This is the first time that CSTO troops have been deployed in the organization’s history.

The CSTO peacekeeping force consists of a total of 3,600 people. The general secretary of the CSTO, Stanislav Zas, told the RIA news agency that the peacekeeping force sent to Kazakhstan would number 2,500, although the numbers may differ.

According to the Central Asian Bureau of Analytical Reporting (CABAR), the collective security system of the CSTO as of 2020 counts 26,600.

Russia’s contribution to the CSTO accounted for 50 percent of the organization’s overall budget in 2015, with the other five states contributing 10 percent to the budget.

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