• Issue
  • May 01, 2022

Dispatch: Almaty

NURBOL NURAKHMET, Wednesday, 2018, oil on canvas, 200

New Year’s Eve is an important event in the lives of Kazakh people. As part of the festivities, people make plans, list their achievements, and burn pieces of paper with their wishes scribbled on them. A Soviet Union tradition, the celebration signals a chance for a brighter future and carries many hopes and expectations for transformation. In 2022, those changes were swift to come. On January 2, protests began in the city of Zhanaozen after a sharp increase in the price for liquefied petroleum gas. They quickly spread to nearly the entire country, but were most destructive in Almaty. According to official data, 4,353 individuals were injured, 3,393 of whom are members of law-enforcement agencies. Morgues received 225 dead, including 19 police and military officers. The official account states that these losses were instigated by provocateurs who took advantage of peaceful protests with the aim to seize power.