Residents of Kazakhstan have lost their mobile Internet and instant messengers amid massive protests caused by a radical rise in fuel prices. In some cities, there is not even a mobile connection. The operators say that “the competent authorities of Kazakhstan” are to blame for what is happening, and that everything is happening for reasons beyond their control. Internet interruptions occurred in Belarus during the presidential elections, which also provoked public discontent, mass protests and clashes with the police.
No internet, no connection
In Kazakhstan, widespread interruptions with the Internet and instant messengers, and in some large cities – with mobile communications suddenly began. As the local newspaper “Vlast” writes, this is directly related to the massive protests that swept the whole country against the backdrop of a twofold increase in prices for liquefied gas.
Problems with access to the Internet first affected only the residents of Almaty, but then spread to other large settlements in Kazakhstan. At the time of publication of the material, it was not reliably known how many people were left without contact with the outside world. According to the CountryMeters portal, just over 19.25 million people live in the country, almost 1.535 million of whom live in Almaty.
In Kazakhstan, both ordinary messengers, including Telegram and WhatsApp, and secure ones, for example, Signal, do not work. As RIA Novosti writes with reference to representatives of Beeline and Kcell operators, interruptions with the Internet and access to messengers occur “for reasons beyond their control”.
How long people will be kept without Internet access, no one knows
“According to paragraphs 1-2 of Art. 41-1 of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan “On Communications” now, the competent authorities of the Republic of Kazakhstan are taking measures to suspend the operation of networks and provide communication services in the interests of ensuring public safety, “Kcell representatives said. Who exactly is meant by “competent authorities”, they did not specify.
According to “Vlast”, in Alma-Ata, the blocking of the Internet and messengers began in the late evening of January 4, 2022 local time (about 19:00 Moscow time). From time to time, local residents are simply deprived of their mobile communications. A similar situation is developing in Nur-Sultan, the capital of the republic, formerly known as Astana. The city’s population exceeds 1.13 million people.
Reasons for protests
Disruptions to the Internet, mobile communications and access to instant messengers occur simultaneously with massive protests due to a sharp rise in gas prices. Whether there is a connection between these phenomena, the authorities of Kazakhstan and local telecom operators did not report at 9:00 on January 5, 2022.
Gas for residents of the republic has risen in price since January 1, 2022.From that day, it costs 120 tenge per liter (about 20.3 rubles at the exchange rate for January 5, 2022), although back in December 2021 the same volume was estimated at 60 tenge (10.15 rubles).
Residents of the republic are not going to agree with new fuel prices
The twofold rise in the price of fuel instantly caused discontent among the population. Kazakhstan was engulfed first by rallies, and then by various protests. In particular, disgruntled citizens blocked the roads in Aktau and Zhanaozen of the Mangistau region of Kazakhstan.
Failed settlement attempt
Popular unrest in Kazakhstan began on January 2, 2022. The owners of gas stations in the Mangistau region were the first to react to them. After two days of rallies and protests, they lowered the prices for liquefied gas to 85-90 tenge (14.4-15.2 rubles) per liter. The protesters said that this is not enough.
On January 4, 2022, protests in the country were supported by workers at the Tengiz oil and gas field in the Atyrau region. According to the Ak Zhaiyk newspaper, they stopped work and organized a spontaneous rally.
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By the evening of January 4, 2022, the protests escalated into widespread clashes with the police. Clashes were recorded in Alma-Ata, Aktau, Taraz and a number of other cities of Kazakhstan. The exact number of protesters has not been established.
Following the example of Belarus
The situation with the disconnection of the Internet in Kazakhstan resembles the case in Belarus, when in August 2020, throughout its territory, residents and guests of the country were deprived of the opportunity to access the Internet. CNews reported that Internet access was turned off with the knowledge of the authorities and was directly related to the presidential elections held at that time.
The blocking of the Network in Belarus was started on August 9, 2020 at 9 am Moscow time, on the day of the presidential elections in the country. Won the victory Alexander Lukashenko, with which the Belarusians strongly disagreed.
Mass protests began in Belarus, and on the same day, access to thousands of websites, from little-known to the largest, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even just the Google search service, was lost in the country. Messengers also got it – Telegram, WhatsApp and Viber went out of order. There were no exceptions – even news media were blocked.
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The inoperability of the Internet in Belarus continued until August 11, 2020. Alexander Lukashenko said that the reason for the blocking was not the blocking by the decision of the country’s authorities, but a massive cyberattack from abroad. “Someone is itching to take to the streets. Even from abroad, they turn off the Internet in order to displease the population. Now our specialists are figuring out where this blocking comes from. Therefore, if the Internet does not work well, this is not our initiative, it is from abroad, ”he said.
However, Bloomberg managed to prove that Internet access was closed precisely by the decision of the Belarusian authorities. The experts of the publication found out that the blocking was carried out using specialized equipment from the American company Sandvine, purchased back in 2018 under a $ 2.5 million contract.
According to Bloomberg, the Belarusian National Traffic Exchange Center (NTSOT) is the customer of the “hardware” for blocking the Internet. The organization operates internet networks throughout the country.