Protests in Kazakhstan forced authorities to lower gas prices

An investigation has been launched into the activities of the owners of the filling stations that have inflated the cost of fuel

Protests in a number of settlements in Kazakhstan due to the rise in prices for liquefied gas in some places have escalated into clashes with the forces of law and order – the relevant personnel have appeared in social networks. At the same time, the country's authorities promise the protesters to understand the situation and reduce the fuel price.


People dissatisfied with the rise in prices for liquefied gas gathered on January 2 in Zhanaozen on the roadway. From January 1, 2022, the fuel price has increased sharply to 120 tenge. Zhanaozen residents demand to reduce the cost of gas to 60 tenge (about 10 rubles) per liter, taking into account the size of the minimum wage.

According to local press reports, protests took place in Zhanaozen, Kuryk, Akshukur, Atyrau and other settlements. One of the largest protests was staged in Aktau, where, according to journalists, about a thousand people gathered on the square near the administration building.

As Western media remind, the protests began in the city of Zhanaozen, where in 2011 the police opened fire on protesters after a long strike by oil workers in an oil refinery turned into riots. As a result of the tragic incident more than ten years ago, 16 people died and more than 100 were injured.

In early 2022, central authorities seem to have shown a more flexible approach to local grievances. Officials on the ground initially told outraged protesters that there were a number of “good reasons” for the rise in liquefied gas prices, citing “market conditions.” However, as the Kazakh newspaper Vremya writes, this explanation did not suit the residents. In turn, the leadership of the Mangistau region announced the conduct of “explanatory work” with disgruntled car owners. Later, the car owners, outraged by the gas prices, demanded the arrival of those responsible from the capital to Mangystau. Moreover, there were fears that the rise in the cost of fuel will affect the rise in prices for other goods (including food).

In this situation, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev instructed the government of the country to urgently consider the situation in Zhanaozen “taking into account economic feasibility, in the legal field “, according to the republican media.

As President Tokayev wrote on his Twitter account, in the city of Aktau, a government commission has started its work, which includes employees of the Presidential Administration: “The commission has an instruction to find a mutually acceptable solution to the problem in the interests of stability in our country.” Also, according to the President of the country, “law enforcement agencies have been instructed to ensure the prevention of violations of public order,” while “demonstrators must show responsibility and willingness to dialogue.”

Members of the government commission held talks with an initiative group of activists of the city of Zhanaozen (Mangistau region), “Kazakhstanskaya Pravda” reports, referring to the press service of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The meeting discussed topical issues, including reducing the cost of liquefied gas.

By order of the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Askar Mamin, a government commission was created to consider the socio-economic situation in the Mangistau region. For the purposes of the presidential instruction, it was promised that the Cabinet of Ministers will implement a package of measures to regulate the price of liquefied petroleum gas.

According to the Kazakh edition of Vremya, the government has initiated an investigation against gas stations for price collusion. The authorities promise to implement “systemic measures to ensure long-term price stability and prevent speculative surges in gas prices by establishing price corridors.” At the same time, it was promised that the government, the akimat of the Mangystau region, together with the prosecutor's office, will take “measures for a legal assessment of the events that have taken place connected with the violation of public order.”


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