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Kazakhstan’s government resigns as fuel protests rage

On Wednesday, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev resigned amid fuel protests that have wreaked havoc across the country. In the latest protests, nearly 100 police were injured. The high fuel prices prompted hundreds of protesters to gather in the main square in Almaty, the biggest city in Kazakhstan. Police forces used tear gas and stun grandes to disperse the crowds. Clashes resumed on Wednesday despite the Cabinet resignation, with thousands of protesters pressing ahead towards the city center. Police forces were unsuccessful in stalling the crowds.

According to Atameken, Kazakhstan’s business lobby group, there were attacks on banks, stores, and restaurants during the protests. Kazakhstan is a tightly controlled country which cultivates an image of political stability. This helps it in attracting billions of dollars in foreign investment in its oil and metals industries. Kazakhstan has been independent for three decades. City authorities urged residents to remain at home during the time of unrest.

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So What: Kazakhstan is a massive country, the size of the entire EU. And every corner of it is in crisis with protests out of control. It borders Russia and China and both have interests there. Neither will want an unstable Kazakhstan. China has spent over $20B there as part of its belt and road initiative and is very likely concerned about the influence Kazakhstan can have on its own people.

What’s Next: Expect energy production in Kazkhstan to decline. Expect bitcoin hashrates in the area to drop. Russian plans to invade Ukraine may now be on hold.

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Size Comparison Kazakhstan vs EU:

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