Columns Protests flare up in Kazakhstan according to Aristotelian formula – Unexpected unrest is usually caused by deeper problems

The recent unrest in Central Kazakhstan was triggered by the price of fuel, but that is not the whole story.

Already in ancient times In Greece, it was known: “While unrest may have its roots in small things, it does not really concern such things, but big things.”

This is what he wrote Aristotle In the 300s of BC. The quote is Policyof a work translated by Finnish AM Anttila.

Aristotle’s wisdom indeed takes time. Man does not change. The teachings of the Athens Philosopher can also explain the protests and riots that erupted in early January in Central Asia.

Ever such In the westernmost corner of Kazakhstan, on the shores of the Caspian Sea in the Mangistau region, the deregulation of liquefied petroleum gas prices was heating up.

Almost all Mangistau cars run on a mixture of butane and propane, the price of which has doubled per liter According to Reuters in a few days to 120 tenge, or about 0.24 euros.

Riot police and protesters clashed in the city of Aktobe in Kazakhstan in early January. The image is provided by the Kazakh Ministry of Interior.

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The protests flared and expanded according to the Aristotelian formula. The point was protested and then rioted in the major cities of Kazakhstan, Almaty and Nur Sultan, and the price of fuel became one item on a long agenda. Demands increased.

“Frost!” the streets were shouted. “Husband out!”

Protesters referred to Kazakhstan’s old host, a retired dictator Nursultan to Nazarbayev, whose people still believe in pulling strings behind the scenes.

About the whereabouts of “Ukon” is not known, but the people are apparently swarmed by the corrupt power elite of the whole of Kazakhstan. At the gas station, the camel’s back just broke.

So it goes. The last stem can be no matter how delicate.

In the Chilean capital Santiago rage ruptured in late 2019, when the price of a single metro ticket was raised from 800 pesos to 830 pesos. At the exchange rates at the time, the increase was three cents, from 1.01 to 1.04 euros.

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First, students took to the streets, as is often the case in protests. As the protests expanded, there were plenty of other potters in the movement. (The banging of boilers is a typical way of demonstrating in Latin America.)

However, attention was eventually drawn to left-wing radicals who set off arson. Santiago subway stations were on fire.

“The last stem can be no matter how thin.”

Chile has been seen as a success story by Latin American standards. It is difficult to say anything universal about the motives for the protest, but it was certainly something other than a mere increase of 30 pesos in the metro ticket – perhaps the standard of living in general, perhaps the inequality experienced by society.

Monetary is very often a trigger for protests. The authorities always play with fire when they abolish subsidies or deregulate prices.

In Egypt, for example, bread riots have erupted repeatedly over the decades as the government has dared to disrupt state subsidies.

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However, the driving force behind a protest is almost always some wider grievance.

Recent history the most famous trigger was an unemployed Tunisian who traded vegetables Mohammed Bouazizin the arson attack in December 2010. Not only did he suffer from poverty but was deeply frustrated by the bribes that police repeatedly suffered.

Bouaziz’s actions had dire consequences. Tunisia launched an entire Arab Spring, a protest movement sweeping over the Arab world, which at its worst led to atrocities like the Syrian war.

There were, of course, greater forces in the background than the solidarity known only to the market trader Bouaziz. The Arab Spring opposed autocracy, corruption, invisibility and unemployment.

Public there is really only one way to prevent dissatisfaction: keeping the people happy. The idea is a perimeter conclusion, the implementation of which is easier said than done.

Aristotle already knew: “Citizenship based on the middle class is closer to democracy than rarity, and it is the most stable of these forms of government.”

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