When Kazakhstan Turned Off the Internet

Did a Five-Day Crackdown and Flood of Misinformation Send a Message to Activists or Ignite a Movement for Political Reform?

This was no ordinary internet blackout. For five days, the ninth largest country in the world was a black box.

On the evening of January 5, 2022, we set our respective alarms for 5:30 a.m. We wanted to get the earliest possible updates from our colleagues in Kazakhstan, who had been chronicling three days of demonstrations as they spread from the western oil-producing city of Zhanaozen to other urban centers across the Central Asian nation. Early morning on the East Coast was already late afternoon in Kazakhstan, yet when we woke …