A report prepared by the global watchdog group Human Rights Watch suggests hardline tactics employed by officials in Kazakhstan prepared the ground for confrontation in the western city of Zhanaozen in late 2011. The finding contradicts official claims that outside actors and political malcontents were responsible for causing the deadly rioting.
No matter how hard officials in Kazakhstan try to bring closure to last winter’s outburst of violence in and around the western city of Zhanaozen, the incident continues to dent the Central Asian nation’s reputation for stability and rising prosperity.
An attempt to render justice is quickly turning into a PR debacle for Kazakhstan. Troubling allegations that torture was employed to obtain incriminating statements is engulfing the trial of 37 individuals accused in connection with a deadly riot last December in the western oil town of Zhanaozen.
Kazakhstan’s efforts to mete out justice relating to the Zhanaozen violence late last year appear to be exacerbating the prevailing sense of unfairness among residents in western regions of the country.
Not far from Kazakhstan’s main seaport on the Caspian Sea lies a district of former dachas, or summer cottages, that were once used by technical specialists who worked in the manufacturing city known as Shevchenko during the late Soviet era.
Officials in Kazakhstan are trying to listen to disgruntled residents of Zhanaozen, the scene of violent clashes last December that left at least 17 dead. The problem is, goodwill ambassadors from Astana are not saying the things that seething citizens want to hear.