Kazakhstan (MNN) — Russian-backed security forces arrived in Kazakhstan Thursday to quell massive riots. Protestors burned government buildings and even stormed the busiest airport in the Central Asian country.
Kazakhstan’s entire government resigned after the protests spread across the country. President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has imposed a state of emergency, a ban on mass gatherings, and a curfew. The unrest began after a sharp hike in fuel prices. Early reports say dozens have been killed and thousands injured in the violence.
Eric Mock with the Slavic Gospel Association explains underlying tensions. “There are a few people in the country who have benefited greatly from the development of Kazakhstan, mostly from oil and natural gas, and then there is a mass majority of the people (which constitutes a lot of the people that are part of the churches we serve) that are quite poor.”
The country is experiencing an internet blackout, making it difficult to get updates from local partners. Mock says, “SGA works with several faithful local churches. We support a seminary and Bible Institute there, as well as working with missionary pastors. We help churches minister to over 2,700 orphaned children. In all of the 25 regions of Kazakhstan, we are involved in helping the churches there.”
“Our hearts are broken that they’re going through this chaos.”
Pray that the love of Christians in Kazakhstan would point many to Jesus. Mock has seen the witness of these churches during the COVID-19 pandemic. “They responded immediately by reaching out to many people that were distant from God. They wanted people to find their hope and contentment in Christ. And so now in these difficult days, the Lord has positioned his Church.”
The header photo shows the protests in Kazakhstan on January 4. (Photo courtesy of Esetok, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons)