What Was Going on in Kazakhstan on January 5, 2022

A chronology of the events

On January 5, 2022, thousands of people took to the streets in different cities across Kazakhstan. These protests have forced Prime Minister Askar Mamin to resign from office.

22:52. The Interfax news agency reported the seizing of the Almaty international airport where protesters destroyed and looted Duty-Free shops. All passengers and staff managed to leave the building safely.

19:00. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev addressed the nation and said that he is going to use force to prevent the illegal actions of the protesters. He also said that he has become chairman of the Security Council of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

16:55. Residents of Nur-Sultan, Almaty, Karagandy and other big cities reported limited or no access to the Internet.

16:44. Almaty commandant Kanat Taymerdenov reported that about 500 civilians including 130 women and elderly were beaten by protesters. They also set ablaze 120 cars, including 33 vehicles protesters took from the police, ambulance brigades and firefighters. More than 120 shops, 180 cafés and restaurants and 100 offices were destroyed and looted.


Photo: Kursiv.kz

16:39. In Almaty, people reported they couldn’t withdraw money from Halyk Banks’ ATMs even though the bank said its ATMs were operating as usual.

16:37. The Almaty residence of President Tokayev was set ablaze by the protesters.

16:10. Nur-Sultan has followed Almaty, the Almaty region and the region of Mangystau and declared a state of emergency that will last until January 19. Both people and motorists in these regions are forbidden from staying outside or moving on the streets from 23:00 to 7:00. Moreover, people are prohibited from entering and exiting the city of Nur-Sultan. All events and gatherings are banned.

16:08. Hospitals in Almaty refused patients to get surgery due to unrest in the city. It is expected that no hospital admission may be possible until Monday.

15:36. The information center of Almaty’s commandant office informed that protesters prevent paramedics in ambulances from their regular work and destroy social infrastructure. Aggressive parts of the mob attack hospitals, destroy furniture and equipment. Five ambulance workers, including two drivers and three paramedics, were wounded. Two ambulances were destroyed; windows in the city’s center of cardiology have been broken. In Nauryzbay district, an ambulance with a patient couldn’t get to the hospital because of the mob. Protesters stopped ambulances even if they carried sick children.

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Photo: Kursiv.kz

15:02. According to the Interfax news agency, the mob took over the Almaty city’s administration. A cloud of dark smoke was seen above the building. Some people reported that they heard the sound of gunfire.

15:00. Protesters filled the intersection of Kurmangazy and Shevchenko; police and military personnel were nearby. Motorists and pedestrians were able to move with no obstacles.

14:48. At the intersection of Kurmangazy street and Nazarbayev street protesters were met by the police. Witnesses reported explosions of stun grenades and many wounded.

14:26. Kazakhstan Temir Zholy, the national railways company, called people to restrain from travel. The company closed two stations in the West Kazakhstan region – Makat and Zhem. All passenger and cargo trains from Almaty, Mangystau, Atyrau, Aktobe and Nur-Sultan which are used to pass through Makat and Zhem were canceled.

14:00. The Almaty health system reported 137 police officers and 53 civilians were wounded. Forty of them have been hospitalized; seven were in serious condition.

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Photo: Kursiv.kz

13:48. In Almaty, a mob forced the police to retreat by Baitursynov street. The police used stun grenades. Two of the officers were caught and beaten even though a few protesters tried to save them from being severely beaten.

13:40. Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it would monitor the situation; the agency said that has had no information about Russian citizens who might be wounded.

13:30. The commandant’s office in Almaty called motorists to avoid the streets of Tole Bi, Raiymbek and Abay and to not enter the center of the city. People should have to restrain walking or gatherings.

13:28. National Bank of Kazakhstan stated that all finance entities work as usual even though some mobile apps and ATMs might be now working. The bank also denied that banks write off any debts describing this information as fake.

12:45. Deputy Prosecutor General Bulat Dembayev reminded people that any violation of the state of emergency will be punished. He also said that during this period the freedom of moving or gathering is restricted. Any pedestrian or motorist might be stopped and asked to show ID.

12:35. Several deputies of the parliament and the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan have identified reasons for the sharp increase in liquid gas prices. They prepared and sent an inquiry to the acting Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov.

11:00. Head of the Zhambyl region Berdibek Saparbayev said that protesters destroyed public property in Taraz. He called on people to obey the law and not follow provocateurs.

10:30. The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported 95 officers have been wounded and 37 police vehicles were destroyed. The police detained about 200 protesters.

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10:00. The Agency for Finance Monitoring filled a case against executives of Kazakh Gas Processing Factory and digital exchange platform for trading with natural gas in Zhanaozen.

9:00. President Tokayev discussed the situation in the country with the cabinet members. He declared state regulation of prices for liquid gas, gasoline and diesel fuel during the 180 day period. He also ordered the General Prosecutor Office and the Agency for Protection of Competition to investigate the actions of a gas cartel. According to the president, the Ministry of Energy and national companies KazMunayGaz and Kazakgaz neglected the situation with liquid gas and allowed the situation to worsen.

9:00. Kazakhstan’s media reported that Telegram, WhatsApp and Instagram messengers aren’t working in the country.

7:40. President Tokayev appoints Murat Nurtleu, a former deputy head of the president’s administration as deputy head of the Committee of the National Security.

7:30. Mayor of Almaty Bakytzhan Sagintayev states that the police arrested all extremists and provocateurs and the situation is under control.

7:30. President Tokayev had dismissed Krimbek Kusherbayev from the office of the Secretary of State and appointed Erlan Karin as a new Secretary of State.

7:00. President Tokayev dismissed Askar Mamin from the office of the prime minister and appoints Alikhan Smailov as a new acting head of the cabinet. 

In the early morning of January 5, President Tokayev declared a state of emergency in the Mangystau region
and Almaty because the situation rapidly worsened. 

On January 2, 2022, people in Zhanaozen, a small town in the Mangystau region took to the streets due to an increase of prices for liquid gas from $0.13 to $0.27 per liter of gas. Along with Zhanaozen protests
have broken across the country.

On January 3, President Tokayev ordered the government to solve the situation in Zhanaozen. Later owners of liquid gas stations in the region decided to reduce prices to $0.19 – $0.20 per liter as part of the social responsibility of business.

The president called on the protesters to not follow instigators who want to destroy social stability and divide society. He also said the government has decided to reduce liquid gas prices to $0.11 per liter. The move is aimed at providing the country with stability and calming the protesters down.

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