A year after Kazakhstan's deadly riots, questions persist

Wisps of fog hung over central Almaty, Kazakhstan, last month as President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev somberly unveiled a monument to those killed a year ago in the worst unrest in

the Central Asian nation's three decades of independence. Words on the stark concrete “Reverence” memorial speak of the need for unity and harmony in the energy-rich country

of 19 million. But a year after calm was restored and a state of emergency lifted on Jan. 20, 2022, both appear elusive. And an official fog still shrouds many of the events

surrounding the days known as “Bloody January.” Despite government promises of accountability as well as promises of economic and political reforms in the former Soviet

nation, many Kazakhs say they have not seen meaningful changes or even clarity about what happened to those who were killed and detained in the rioting. “So many questions

remain about what happened,” said Dimash Alzhanov, a Kazakh political analyst and co-founder of the civic movement known as Oyan, Qazaqstan, or “Wake up,

Kazakhstan.” Government video of the memorial's Dec. 23 unveiling in Republic Square, attended by about two dozen officials, showed a subdued ceremony. The scene was starkly

different 11 months earlier, when protesters stormed two palatial state buildings on Jan. 5 and set them ablaze. The Prosecutor General’s office said 238 people were killed;

human rights groups say over 10,000 were detained.