On 2 January, protests began in western Kazakhstan triggered by a sharp rise in fuel costs, but reflecting broader political discontent. The almost immediate response from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO, a Russian version of NATO) shows the close relationship between the Russian and Kazakhstan governments.
It is the first time that its protection clause has been activated by the intergovernmental military alliance, disclosing potential geopolitical consequences for the region, where Russia and China both take a leading role in maintaining the stability of the region. The CSTO assistance, coupled with an absence of clear leadership representing the protesters, have restored order in the central Asian country.
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