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4 Jan 2022

Bruce Pannier, RFE/RL

Kazakhstan: Protests continue after gas price double on New Year's eve

Protests Erupt In Kazakhstan After Gas Prices Double On New Year's Day, 4 January 2022

...The drastic price increase in Zhanaozen for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) - which is used by many as a cheap alternative to gas - sparked a movement that has brought people out to demonstrate across the country in support of the Zhanaozen protesters.

Kazakhstan’s government has already taken measures to lower the price of the propane-butane mixture in Zhanaozen, but problems over inflating prices have been building in western Kazakhstan generally - and Zhanaozen, specifically - for months...

By the evening of January 3, Prime Minister Askar Mamin’s office released a statement that said all gas stations in Mangystau Province had been ordered to lower the price of LPG from 120 tenge to 85-90 tenge per liter and a government commission had been formed to look into the socioeconomic situation in the region. Authorities have been using such tactics for many months and it was therefore not surprising that hundreds of protesters in Aqtau continued their rally at a main city square late into the evening of January 3, even setting up a large yurt to emphasis they did not intend to leave...

By the afternoon of January 4, the number of protesters in Oral had grown to some 500 and many were questioning why a commission was formed only to resolve economic problems in Mangystau and not in other provinces.

By the early evening, authorities announced the price for LPG in Mangystau would be reduced to 50 tenge per liter...

The Kazakh Energy Ministry has already said the price of LPG is based on the commodity exchange. “Switching to e-commerce allows the gas price to be balanced based on supply and demand,” the ministry said...