Kazakhstan’s police are cracking down on protesters — as political activism keeps rising

20 Jun 2019

(Monkey Cage blog) It’s a conflict familiar in post-Soviet nations: Democratic expectations meet unreformed police forces. After Kazakhstan voted for president on June 9, police arrested thousands of protesters who believed the regime falsified the results. Since independence in 1991, Kazakhstan had been ruled by its communist-era leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, who had handpicked candidate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev — and declared him the winner. As protests continued despite mass arrests, Kazakhstan’s urban areas were blanketed by police forces, at times visibly outnumbering the civilian population.

Both sides of that equation — the mass dissent and the police repression — reached new levels in Kazakhstan. With a new leader, the nation is entering a volatile phase of police-public dynamics, one in other hybrid regimes like Russia or Ukraine under President Vladimir Yanukovych. [...]

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