Strikes by the oil platform workers in the Mangistau region had been going on for a while having started back in June 2011. The tragedy happened on Kazakhstan’s Independence Day. Disturbances began at Zhanaozen’s central square, and Interior Ministry troops sent in ‘to protect the public order’ began firing on the protesters. At least 16 people were killed, other sources claim as many as 64 deaths.
Two years later on the night of Nov. 30, the Ukrainian dictator, rejecting the axiom that violence breeds violence, either ordered or gave his silent consent for special purpose units to beat back students demanding the signature of the association agreement with the European Union. The level of violence grew thereafter, ending up with 100 people killed.
Despite the unquiet political situation, an unquestionable fact remains: those deaths became the political death knell for Viktor Yanukovych, whereas Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev not only remained in his post but was also able to persecute his opponents with impunity: Volodymyr Kozlov, Roza Tuletayeva, Aron Atabek, Vadym Kuramshin, Igor Viniavsky and Muratbek Ketebayev, had to leave Kazakhstan.