By Ainur Saparova
Today, Feb 17, at noon about 30 citizens of Atyrau gathered on Issatai-Makhambet Square protesting against tenge devaluation and increased prices.
The protesting people spoke without amplifier speakers, but their speeches were very emotional.
A young man who wanted to stay anonymous:
– When it was suddenly announced that our mothers should work till the age of 63, we kept silence. But we cannot keep silence any more. What is the good of it that pension was raised by 9 percent, when goods rose in prices by 20 percent? It hit like a ton of bricks onto our heads!
Mapoura Eraly, retired person:
- I worked as a teacher for 40 years. Now I receive my pension in the amount of 32 000 tenge. What will I be left with if to subtract 20 percent from that amount? The tariffs for power and water are constantly raised. The chairman of National Bank Kairat Kelimbetov promised that there will be no devaluation of tenge, but he didn't keep his word. Those who deceive us and tell lies, should be punished.
Talgat, Atyrau citizen:
- Yesterday I went shopping and bought such necessities for my child as baby food, clothes, diapers, etc. The prices jumped 20-30 percent, but on TV they keep telling that there was no increase in prices. And then, they say that devaluation cannot be revoked. Why can’t they restore the previous tenge rate at the expense of the National fund? Otherwise they should raise wages and pensions.
Public activist Max Bokaev:
- The Parliament and Maslikhat doesn’t have a real power. Therefore, I consider that it is necessary to expand the authorities of the representative power, if we want to achieve results. It is necessary to dismiss the current parliament, introduce changes to the law and make attempts to have a parliamentary republic in our country. Otherwise, you will see, that in five years time there will be another devaluation, and the authorities will be doing everything whatever comes into their heads. And I also consider that 10 percent of taxes received from oil and gas companies should be left in our region.
Protesting people supported Max Bokaev and expressed their readiness to sign under the corresponding letter to the parliament, if he prepares one.
Twenty minutes later, after the beginning of the action, Deputy Mayor Gulmira Shakirova arrived to thesquare:
- All of you are now breaking the law. According to the law, you should send your request to the Mayor to allow the meeting 10 days prior to the meeting.
Then between the protesters and Shakirova there was a short dialogue:
- You, the authorities, are sitting and doing nothing to control the prices. But we see how every day the prices go up.
- Our employees on a daily basis monitor the prices. Atyrau's inhabitants can report over the phone about all cases of unreasonable price rising. The phone of the city administration is 27-10-28 or you can call me directly. My office number is 27-10-26.
- What prices do you monitor, for what items?
- Generally, food prices.
- Please name at least a few items that you are controlling the prices of?
- For bread, flour, meat, all pastries produced in our country … The City Administration (Akimat) signed memorandum with major markets and shops about holding the prices on a current level.
After that the protesters agreed to send an official request to the Mayor about the next meeting and after that they dispersed.
Photo and video by Kanat Eleuov