Kazakhstan’s January Events Spotlighted in New Documentary

ASTANA — A documentary titled “Qantar. A Coup Attempt. How It Was” has been released on Jan. 4, offering a fresh perspective on the harrowing events that transpired in January 2022 in Kazakhstan.

Photo credit: Almaty TV.

The film shows the timeline of the unrest, the worst the nation had seen over the years of its independence. It aims to unravel the complexities of the unrest and provide a comprehensive understanding of the socio-political factors that led to the tragic events.

“This period entered history as a meticulously planned attempt of a large-scale coup attempt aimed at the seizure of power,” narrates the documentary, noting that a group of high-ranking individuals and criminal groups joined hands to plan the coup. 

The January protests, which erupted in response to a double hike in price for liquified petroleum gas in the Mangystau Region, saw thousands of Kazakhstan’s citizens taking to the streets to voice their grievances. The demonstrations quickly escalated, leading to violent clashes. 

The unrest killed 238 people, including 19 law enforcement officers, according to the official data. 

The version of the events, which the documentary shows, was explained in detail by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in his recent interview with the Egemen Qazaqstan newspaper. 

As highlighted in the documentary film, rallies were organized in 11 regions of the country. Simultaneously, in these areas and cities, peaceful protests turned into riots and were later exploited by the “conspirators.”

The documentary film unveils the timeline of the events. It noted four waves were planned from peaceful rallies on Jan. 1-3, 2022 to riots on Jan. 4-5, 2022. 

The third wave envisioned forced occupation of administrative buildings, media outlets and the airport.  The fourth wave, which involved engaging radical groups and foreign militants, did not come into reality. 

The documentary utilizes never-before-seen footage, testimonies, and archival material to construct its narrative.

Two years into the unrest, the country’s Prosecutor General Office continues its investigation. During this time, 5,300 criminal cases have been registered, and almost 1,200 citizens have been convicted. 511 cases have been completed and sent to court.

Verdicts have been issued by the courts against 1,385 individuals. Among them, 275 were sentenced to imprisonment.

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