Perceptions of the January Events in the Kazakhstani society

January Events in Kazakhstan, also known as the Tragic January, or Bloody January, occurred between January 2 and January 11, 2022, resulting — by official estimates alone — in 238 people dead, several thousand people injured to one degree or another, and women- and men-owned businesses sustaining considerable property damage.

Throughout 2022, many versions of what happened were voiced in the public sphere, ranging from peaceful rallies to an attack by international terrorists. At the same time, a number of media outlets were actively promoting the version of a coup d'etat that allegedly involved organizing protests and riots throughout the country. At the beginning of 2023, following the results of the investigation, this version became official. The Prosecutor General's Office named the ex-leadership of the National Security Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan as the organizers of the mass protests.

However, the state's refusal to conduct an independent investigation, the closed format of criminal proceedings against those suspected of organizing these events, as well as the termination by law enforcement agencies of a number of investigations into the deaths of ordinary Kazakh women and men gave rise to natural public skepticism regarding the official version. Human rights organizations were also critical of the results of official investigations, especially with respect to "allegations of torture and ill-treatment by officials".

Thus, a year after the January Events, extreme uncertainty remains surrounding the tragedy that had occurred, its causes and the involvement of certain parties. In a situation like this, it is important to study how the country's residents perceive this extraordinary event, how they evaluate the actions of the authorities during the events, and also who is considered to blame for the tragedy.

This study is an attempt to answer these and other questions. The main idea behind the project is to use the survey findings to launch a scientific and non-biased discussion in the society regarding the background and consequences of the January Events.

The project was implemented by the Paperlab research center and the international journalism center MediaNet with the financial support from the Konrad Adenauer Foundation.
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