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Article

11 Oct 2021

Author:
Almaz Kumenov,
Author:
Eurasianet

Kazakhstan: Deadly confrontation over eviction highlights unaffordable loans, tension with banks

Kazakhstan: Five killed in clash between police and debtor, 21 September 2021

An armed confrontation between a deeply indebted homeowner facing eviction, bailiffs and police officers ended with five people dead on September 20, once more shining a light on the toll taken by the phenomenon of easy credit in Kazakhstan.

Fatalities comprised the man who had acquired the house where the clash happened, along with his friend, as well as two police officers and a bailiff. The 54-year-old suspected shooter, who is the head of the family threatened with eviction, is in custody...

In a troubling detail for the authorities, much of the public response to this incident in the southern city of Almaty has dwelled not on the killings themselves, but on the perceived excesses of banks issuing unaffordable credit.

Anaida Demirchyan, the wife of the suspected shooter, told reporters that her family were being evicted from their home and that her husband had been “driven to despair by lawlessness in Kazakhstan and the arbitrariness of banks.”

“The bank left us with nothing, they deceived us by selling [our] real estate for a pittance, and without informing us,” she told reporters...

This incident is spotlighting the fraught relationship between banks and debtors. The credit culture that has flourished in Kazakhstan over many years has seen people take out often unaffordable loans for everything from clothes to mortgages. The conditions of the market are such, however, that interest rates typically exceed 20 percent per annum...