Policy Briefs Books Journals

Social Media, Technology and Peacebuilding Policy Brief  No.140 - November, 2022 • By Raushan Zhandayeva and Rachael Rosenberg

Kazakhstan’s Bloody January: Digital
Repression on the “New Silk Road”

Image: Fly Of Swallow Studio/Shutterstock.com

In January 2022, Kazakhstan’s government shut down internet access for several days while enacting a violent crackdown on initially peaceful protests triggered by hikes in fuel prices. This policy brief examines Kazakhstan’s internet and media landscape, the (re)actions of civil society and the state, and the factors that set the stage for this extreme act of digital repression, which created a disturbing precedent for the country and the Eurasia region more broadly. The paper concludes by briefly exploring the potential implications for Kazakhstan’s governance, economic development, and collective memory nearly a year on from the events.