Why are the Kyrgyz protesting?

8 Apr

According to Newsweek and AP, at least 40 people have been killed in the uprising against the Kyrgzstan government. The cause? According to Newsweek, it was the authoritarianism and corruption that caused the demonstrations. It is however very likely that the sharp increase in utility that made people took to the streets. According to Asman writing for an article in Eurasia Insight back in February, none of the political commentators interviewed were expecting any public outcries, This is despite the fact that

‘… In 2010, heating costs are rising by 400 percent; electricity by 170 percent. The price of hot water – a fee calculated according to the size of a resident’s dwelling — more than doubled at the start of the year….’

Further into the article, Asmat interviewed a political analyst, Mars Sariev, who was quoted,

“We can definitely see social tension growing now. It is a gradual psychological process. People will realize [they will have difficulty paying] after getting their bills for the utilities. And when before they used to spend 20-30 percent of their paycheck on payments, now they will have to spend about 80 percent of their salary to pay for the utilities,”

Imagine such an astronomical scale of increase in the costs of essentials in developed and richer states. It would be enough to trigger the kind of discontentment with the current government and social unrest.

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