Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 19 January 2022

Eyewitness account of workers' uprising in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan protests, photo Esetok/CC

Kazakhstan protests, photo Esetok/CC   (Click to enlarge)

In the following extract, Igor Ushakov, who serves on the Almaty editorial board of the left-wing online magazine Krasnaya Yurt, explains the events on 4-5 January in the Kazakhstan city of Almaty, where a working-class uprising against the regime took place.

As readers of the Socialist are aware from last week's feature article on the uprising (see, using armed forces backed by Russia paratroops, the Kazakhstan dictatorship bloodily regained control and is carrying out a brutal clampdown on the population. Nonetheless, Igor's account shows the potential power of the working class when it moves to change the situation.

"At about five 5pm, information was beginning to arrive that some kind of rally was starting outside the Kasteev Museum. There would also be a rally at Almaty Arena at 6pm. Trade union representatives and others were writing about it in social networks.

When we arrived at Kasteev's museum by 6pm, we didn't find anyone. We decided to go to the central square to see what was going on. Finding it empty and heavily guarded by the police, we decided to head for the Almaty Arena - a big ice rink on the outskirts of the city.

People were trying to break through the cordon, but did not succeed. The stand-off lasted for about three hours and made the protesters very angry; their comrades were being taken away by the police.

Many workers complained about the increase in car fuel prices and the rise in food prices, saying they did not know how they were going to go on living. More people were coming to the Almaty Arena, ordinary workers from the poorest parts of the city.

When the protesters became even more numerous, they finally broke through the restraining chains and walked straight down the road towards Independence Square, the central square of the city.

Immediately after the first detachment of police, who were standing unarmed, there was another detachment with shields and truncheons. The protesters tried to peacefully persuade the police not to interfere, but in response they received blows from truncheons and orders to leave the rally. The police efforts did not last long, as there were so many protesters who broke through the cordon with sticks and moved on.

At the intersection of Abaya and Pravdy streets, the first water cannon appeared and tried to disperse the protesters. But they persuaded the firefighters not to use the water cannon and they moved on peacefully.

A police truck drove straight into the crowd at high speed, provoking a hit-and-run. The crowd parted in time and, by some miracle, it did not run over anyone. The car was pelted with sticks and bottles. As the convoy walked towards the mayor's office (town hall), the crowd grew larger and larger.

As soon as we got there, stun grenades could be heard going off in the road. There was a very strong smell of tear gas and it was very difficult to breathe, even at some distance from the protest site.

We approached the government building, which had already been taken over by the protesters. There was a pile of police overcoats, hats, helmets, flak jackets and shields lying in the street to the left of the entrance.

The police fled the City Hall, quickly disguising themselves as civilians.

It was already about 2am when we decided that we needed to send the footage to the editorial office and we went home.

Not only did the internet not work, but the cell phone service didn't either. As we discovered later on, the government had declared a state of emergency at 12 midnight that night which no one had known about. This was done in order to increase the time limit allowed for holding detainees.

Thus passed the evening and night in Almaty from 4-5 January 2022."

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • We must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £


Your message: 


In The Socialist 19 January 2022:

What we think

Tories on the ropes


Want to fight austerity?

No trust in Tories to keep us safe

Tories hand cash to private health profiteers

Tory vaccine sacking threat set to deepen NHS staffing crisis

Employers use vaccine excuse to attack sick pay

News in brief

International news

Murder of Ashling Murphy sends shocks waves across Ireland and beyond

Northern Ireland: Workers fight threatened closure of women's hostel

US: Independent Socialist Group launches new paper

Eyewitness account of workers' uprising in Almaty, Kazakhstan

Public services

Mutual aid, the welfare state and the fight for a new mass workers' party

Marxist classics

Why are things the way they are?

Rob Windsor

Rob Windsor - remembering a tireless fighter for socialism


Theatre: Yes Yes UCS

Workplace news

Sheffield Just Eat couriers speak about strike

S Yorks Stagecoach strike results in "huge pay win"

Scunthorpe scaffs resume indefinite strike action

Coventry bin strike continues

Bus driver Tracey Scholes reinstated at Go North West

Royal Mail: Unofficial walkouts precede bigger battle to come on pay and workload

Newham college strike solid against bully privatisers

Somers Forge workers continue pay strike

Workplace news in brief


NUS walkout: Organise to fight for free education on 2 March

Demonstrating against the Tory anti-protest bill

Waltham Forest: Campaign unites families facing eviction

Newham council rejects using 0.03% of reserves to fund arts

Birmingham: Cuts consultations replaced by computer game

Southampton uni ignores staff and students in exam farce

Oliver Campbell - 31 years fighting for justice

Bournemouth - angry people not represented by capitalist parties

Pauline Wall memorial meeting


Home   |   The Socialist 19 January 2022   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleSolidarity with workers protesting in Kazakhstan

triangleKazakhstan: Working-class revolt only suppressed by massive mobilisation of troops

triangleKazakhstan: Unprecedented, simultaneous mass protests spread across

triangleKazakhstan: Nur Otan regime attacks peaceful protest

triangleProtests against state repression in Russia and Kazakhstan


triangleFor workers' unity against war in Ukraine

triangleWorkers and students unite and fight

triangleCanada: Prime Minister Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act to end 'Freedom Convoy'

triangleThe Erdington byelection and the fight for a new mass workers' party


triangleMet police boss ousted

triangleHow Cardiff Bay's redevelopment led to 'social cleansing'

triangleTV: 'A Killing in Tiger Bay'


triangleTube workers strike in defence of pay, pensions and conditions

triangle"If we don't fight, we won't win!"





For workers' unity against war in Ukraine



One year after the military coup in Myanmar



Canada: Prime Minister Trudeau invokes Emergencies Act to end 'Freedom Convoy'



Ukraine: Workers' unity against capitalist warmongers and imperialist meddlers



CWI video on Ukraine



Pro-market Socialist Party wins Portugal's election



Oxfam 'Inequality Kills' report



Tamil Solidarity protest against repressive Sri Lankan regime



Ukraine: Workers' unity needed


Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: Bloody Sunday 50 years on


Burkina Faso

Coup d'état in Burkina Faso



France: Education workers and students walkout



School students strike in Austria



Trade unionists in the USA fighting back



Murder of Ashling Murphy sends shocks waves across Ireland and beyond

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 077 7221 5281

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

August 2022

July 2022

June 2022

May 2022

April 2022

March 2022

February 2022

January 2022