Russia urges ‘dialogue’ not ‘riots’ in Kazakhstan after protests over fuel price

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Russia on Wednesday urged “dialogue” in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan as unprecedented unrest spun out of control over an energy price increase in the Central Asian nation.

“We are closely following the events in the brotherly neighboring country,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

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“We support a peaceful solution to all problems within the legal and constitutional framework and through dialogue, not through street riots and violation of laws,” it added.

“We hope for the earliest possible normalization of the situation in the country, with which Russia is linked by relations of strategic partnership and alliance through fraternal, human contacts.”

Protests have swept across Kazakhstan triggered by a New Year energy price increase in a rare challenge to the authoritarian government.

Kazakhstan is of crucial importance to Russia as an economic partner and its founding president Nursultan Nazarbayev is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Earlier Wednesday, protesters stormed the mayor’s office in Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty and appeared to have seized control of the building.

The demonstrations are the biggest threat so far to the regime established by Nazarbayev, who stepped down in 2019 and ushered loyalist Kassym-Jomart Tokayev into the presidency.

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