Last night, Russia under President Vladimir Putin mobilized peacekeeping troops to Kazakhstan to set aside aggressive protests due to steadily increasing fuel prices.
In recent days, they have battled with demonstrators numerous times, using water cannons in extremely cold temperatures and firing tear gas and stun grenades.
According to the Kazakh interior ministry, the violence resulted in the deaths of eight policemen and national guard soldiers, as well as more than 300 wounded.
There were no civilian casualty estimates published.
President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev threatened to deploy serious methods to quiet the unrest, announcing a two-week state of emergency for the entire country, extending one that had already been announced for Nur-capital Sultan’s and Almaty’s major cities.
Mr. Tokayev pleaded to a Russian-led security group for support in curbing the violence, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization complied by dispatching forces across the border last night.
While blaming terrorist groups, Mr. Tokayev said on state television,
The CSTO security alliance, which embraces five other former Soviet governments, is headed by Moscow. In reaction to the disturbance, the Kazakh government resigned.
Late in the day, Kazakh media sources became unresponsive, causing the worldwide surveillance organization Netblocks to announce a purposeful internet outage in the country.
Although the uprising started over a near-doubling of prices for a sort of liquefied petroleum gas extensively used as a vehicle fuel, its size and increasing prevalence implied that they were an indication of wider dissatisfaction in the country, which has been ruled by the same party since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Kazakhstan, the world’s ninth-largest country, shares boundaries with Vladimir Putin’s Russia in the north and China to the east and has significant reserves of oil, making it strategically and economically significant.
Notwithstanding these reserves and mineral riches, there is substantial displeasure with deplorable conditions in various parts of the nation.
Many Kazakhs are also dissatisfied with the ruling party’s domination in parliament, where it commands over 80% of the seats.