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Paolo Sorbello: Kazakhstan Protests Sparked by Inequality, Inflation, & Lack of Representation

Posted on Jan 13, 2022 by in Podcast |

Journalist and researcher Paolo Sorbello gives his take on events in Kazakhstan. He says that what is going on has a lot to do with inequality and lack of representation, with inflation and fuel prices being the prime mover. He comments on the effects of the pandemic which have led to millions of unemployed. The scale of the peaceful protests was unprecedented and he believes it is not yet possible to determine the source of the violent protests. He points out the conflicting narratives of the government itself, that of an internal coup and foreign intervention. His response to accusations of “Color Revolution” is “which color is it”? He argues that protestors did not handle the weapons well and that the government put down the violence quickly, which suggests that there wasn’t an organized domestic or external group, although it was strange that authorities allowed violent protestors to move into areas that should have been cordoned off. He thinks Nazarbayev and Tokayev are too wise to provoke such urban violence and believes the status quo will continue. Concerning the future of Kazakhstan, he fears freedoms will be targeted.

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Show Notes

Kazakhstan’s New Cabinet Features Many of the Same Ministers

Kazakhstan’s Leadership Shows Internal Cracks in Attempts to Restore Public Safety





Global Voices

About Paolo Sorbello

Paolo Sorbello is a journalist and researcher living in Kazakhstan. He holds a PhD from the University of Glasgow, where he studied industrial relations in Kazakhstan’s oil sector. He is a Research Fellow at the Università Ca’​ Foscari Venezia.

*Podcast intro music is from the song “The Queens Jig” by “Musicke & Mirth” from their album “Music for Two Lyra Viols”: (available on iTunes or Amazon)