Russia and its allies dispatched troops to help quell protests in Kazakhstan after fuel-price increases unleashed a wave of popular anger that poses the biggest threat to the central Asian country’s leadership in decades. Picture: BLOOMBERG
Russia and its allies dispatched troops to help quell protests in Kazakhstan after fuel-price increases unleashed a wave of popular anger that poses the biggest threat to the central Asian country’s leadership in decades. Picture: BLOOMBERG

Russia and its allies dispatched troops to help quell protests in Kazakhstan after fuel price increases unleashed a wave of popular anger that poses the biggest threat to the Central Asian country’s leadership in decades.

Dozens of antigovernment protesters were killed by security forces, police said on Thursday, after President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev ordered them to put down the demonstrations. One thousand people have been hurt, with 400 hospitalised and 62 in intensive care, the health ministry said in a statement on state television.

Twelve police have been killed, according to a statement from police in the city of Almaty, including one who was beheaded. A further 353 officers have been hurt.

Tokayev imposed a nationwide state of emergency, and internet access was severed across much of the country. Banks were shut for the day on Thursday.

The intervention marks the second major move by the Kremlin in as many years to shore up an ally facing upheaval. In 2020, President Vladimir Putin stepped in to back Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko’s crackdown on popular protests, which drew sanctions from the US and its allies.

The government has introduced a six-month cap on the prices of diesel, petrol and liquefied gas in an effort to ease the explosion of public anger over falling living standards.

Tokayev has ordered an investigation into the causes of the protests and called for the authorities to improve the country’s military preparedness, according to state television.

Russian paratroopers started their deployment in midmorning as part of a joint peacekeeping operation by the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CTSO), a Russia-dominated security alliance. Armenia, Belarus, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are also deploying to Kazakhstan. 

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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