The first days of 2022 saw protests in the western part of Kazakhstan over a sharp increase in the price for fuel that spread across the country and evolved into manifestations of anti-government sentiment that became the biggest threat Kazakh authorities have faced since the country became independent in late 1991.
But the peaceful protests were infiltrated and turned violent in some areas, a turn of events that seems connected to a power struggle in the Kazakh government.
President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev said foreign-trained "terrorists" were behind the violence and called on the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization to send troops to help restore order, and the nearly 30-year-old CSTO did send troops for the first time in its existence.
The official number of people killed in Kazakhstan during the violence was 225 as of January 14. Additionally, more than 4,500 people were injured, and more than 10,000 people were detained.
On this week's Majlis podcast, RFE/RL's media-relations manager, Muhammad Tahir, moderates a discussion that looks at how one of Central Asia’s seemingly most stable countries was suddenly torn apart.
This week's guests are: from Washington, the former U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan, William Courtney; from Kazakhstan’s capital (which is still called Nur-Sultan at the moment), Aliya Tlegenova, a researcher at Paperlab, a Kazakhstan-based policy research center; Darkhan Umirbekov, a senior correspondent with RFE/RL’s Kazakh Service, known locally as Radio Azattyq; and Bruce Pannier, the author of the Qishloq Ovozi blog.