Central Asia Geopolitical Watch – From May 14 to May 20, 2022

05/18/2022: Armed clashes result in death in the region Gorno-Badakhshan in Tajikistan, following protests – Denis Lavaud – 

Since May 14, demonstrators have gathered in the Khorog region, the capital of Upper Badakhshan (or Gorno-Badakhshan) to demand the resignation of the governor of the region, as well as a real investigation into the murder of a resident of the region by a police officer, which occurred last year. The region has since been the scene of repeated protests since the government set up a significant number of checkpoints in the area, preventing the free movement of protesters and opposition leaders, according to the latter.

Tajikistan’s interior ministry says the unrest began when opposition leader Mamadbokir Mamadbokirov, accused by Dushanbe of being a high-level criminal, allegedly ordered the attack on the offices of the ministry of interior. interior of Khorog, which reportedly resulted in one assailant being killed and three police officers injured.

Tajik authorities have said they want to disperse the protest using force, after 200 people branded as “organized criminals” blocked the road from the capital to Khorog. The government then launched an “anti-terrorist operation” to “ensure the security of citizens and social order” and to protect the region from small groups funded by “foreign extremist organizations.”

The clashes in the region caused at least 10 deaths, including a soldier, around 40 wounded, and 114 people were detained following this anti-terrorist operation.

05/18/2022: The largest kazakh ore company to stop exportations towards Russia – Denis Lavaud –

On May 18, the Sokolov-Sarybai Mining Production Association in Kazakhstan announced that it would no longer supply ore to the Magnitogorsk Steel Mill (MMK) in Russia, owned by the oligarch targeted by international sanctions, Alisher Usmanov. Until then, Kazakhstan supplied 70% of the needs of the steelworks. Viktor Rashnikov, the director of MMK, declared that the company was not short of resources, thanks to replacement sources, but judged this sudden interruption of supply to be unfounded.

Managers of the Sokolov-Sarybai mine are now looking for buyers for their ore, MMK representing a quarter of the global metric volume exported for the year, while the market is down following sanctions as well as the coronavirus pandemic in China, which is with Russia one of the biggest importers of ore.

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