Explainer: Why a Niche Fuel Market Reform Triggered Major Kazakh Protests

The protests in Kazakhstan were sparked by a fuel market reform first broached in 2015 that came into effect at the start of the month that sought to remove state price caps for butane and propane.

Reuters

Kazakhstan’s slow-burning government reform of a niche market for car fuels brutally backfired this week, triggering the biggest public protests in years as demonstrators accused authorities of stealing from the poor.

Kazakhstan declared emergencies in the capital and elsewhere on Jan. 5 after demonstrators stormed and torched public buildings.

The protests were sparked by a fuel market reform first broached in 2015 that came into effect at the start of the month that sought to remove state price caps for butane and propane—often referred to as ‘road fuels for the poor’ due to their low cost—while making sure the local market was well supplied.

Already have an account? Log In

Sign up for FREE access to view this article now!

Unlock Free Access