First Thing, Daily Maverick's flagship newsletter

Join the 230 000 South Africans who read First Thing newsletter.

We'd like our readers to start paying for Daily Maverick

More specifically, we'd like those who can afford to pay to start paying. What it comes down to is whether or not you value Daily Maverick. Think of us in terms of your daily cappuccino from your favourite coffee shop. It costs around R35. That’s R1,050 per month on frothy milk. Don’t get us wrong, we’re almost exclusively fuelled by coffee. BUT maybe R200 of that R1,050 could go to the journalism that’s fighting for the country?

We don’t dictate how much we’d like our readers to contribute. After all, how much you value our work is subjective (and frankly, every amount helps). At R200, you get it back in Uber Eats and ride vouchers every month, but that’s just a suggestion. A little less than a week’s worth of cappuccinos.

We can't survive on hope and our own determination. Our country is going to be considerably worse off if we don’t have a strong, sustainable news media. If you’re rejigging your budgets, and it comes to choosing between frothy milk and Daily Maverick, we hope you might reconsider that cappuccino.

We need your help. And we’re not ashamed to ask for it.

Our mission is to Defend Truth. Join Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Kazakh President Seeks Russian Help as Protests Turn Vi...

Newsdeck

Kazakhstan's crisis

Kazakh President Seeks Russian Help as Protests Turn Violent

Protesters attend a rally in Almaty over energy price hikes on Jan. 4. Photographer: Abduaziz Madyarov/AFP/Getty Images
By Bloomberg
05 Jan 2022 0

(Bloomberg) -- Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev asked Russia and partners in a military alliance for help after anti-government protesters seized official buildings including a major airport in the biggest challenge to the country’s leadership in decades.

By Nariman Gizitdinov and Ilya Arkhipov

Word Count: 714
A state of emergency was imposed across the country. Military units fought what Tokayev called “terrorist bands” outside the country’s largest city and former capital, Almaty, where demonstrators had seized the international airport, he said. Authorities later said it had been retaken, Interfax reported.“Their attack on Kazakhstan must be viewed as an act of aggression,” Tokayev said at a televised late-night meeting of his Security Council, saying he’d appealed to the leaders of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization for help.

The protests, which rapidly spread across the country after starting over local grievances about rising fuel prices, drew thousands and brought calls for longtime leader Nursultan Nazarbayev to give up the reins of power. Nazarbayev, 81, turned over the presidency to Tokayev in 2019 but retains substantial influence in the country’s repressive political system.

Kremlin Silent

There was no immediate public response from the Kremlin to Tokayev’s appeal for help, but the prime minister of Armenia, who chairs the CSTO bloc’s Collective Security Council, said on Facebook he had begun consultations on the issue. Tokayev also spoke by phone with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko, Belta reported.

The instability in a key ally is a test for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who stepped in to support Lukashenko in Belarus after protests broke out there in 2020. He also spoke by phone with the embattled Belarusian leader Wednesday on the Kazakh crisis, Belta reported. The Russian leader now is involved in high-stakes negotiations with the U.S. and Europe over a simmering conflict on Ukraine.

“The appeal to the CSTO means that Tokayev has lost control,” said Arkady Dubnov, a Moscow-based specialist on central Asia.

In Almaty, both city hall and the president’s residence were ablaze after protesters stormed the buildings Wednesday, Interfax reported. Later in the day, authorities said an “anti-terrorist operation” was underway in the city, Tass reported.

Tokayev said several police were killed.

Seeking to defuse the crisis, Tokayev accepted his government’s resignation and removed several top security officials Wednesday. He also said he was taking over as head of the Security Council from Nazarbayev and pledged to stay in the capital “whatever happens.”

The state of emergency gives Tokayev the power to impose a curfew, ban protests, and restrict internet access to quell the rare show of dissent in central Asia’s biggest oil producer.

There was an internet blackout around the country by Wednesday after a day of mobile internet disruptions and partial restrictions, according to NetBlocks, a London-based monitoring agency.

Kazakhstan’s benchmark stock index fell 3% in Almaty. The tenge weakened and yields on dollar bonds due in July 2045 rose to the highest since May 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Kremlin has regularly condemned street protests in former Soviet states, labeling them attempts by the West to use “color revolutions” to overthrow governments.

Update: Real-time network data show internet access in #Kazakhstan has been partially restored following a nation-scale blackout earlier today amid widespread anti-government protests. It is unknown whether connectivity will be sustained.

Russia is facing “strategic instability on both flanks and it can’t afford to get distracted,” Alexander Baunov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center, wrote on Facebook. “Just as Russia was encroaching on Ukraine, suddenly there are protests across Kazakhstan, which might need saving.”

Like other countries, Kazakhstan has seen inflation soar and its wealth gap widen during the coronavirus pandemic. Consumer price growth jumped to 8.7% in November, exceeding the central bank’s 6% target.

Kazakhstan Fuel Protests Leave Tengiz Operations Unaffected

The country of 19 million people has struggled with price growth and domestic fuel supplies as global energy crunch made exports more appealing. Kazakhstan produced roughly 1.9 million barrels a day of oil in December.

(A previous version of this story corrected the oil output measurement to tons.)

–With assistance from Yuliya Fedorinova and Eduard Gismatullin.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.
Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted