Hit by widespread riots and political upheaval in response to rising gas prices, Kazakhstan is experiencing a complete internet blackout since Wednesday. The government, which controls much of the communications sector, has allegedly cut internet connectivity in the country in order to stop protesters coordinating their activities.

“What’s striking here is the rapid deployment of internet restrictions at national scale, effectively resulting in an information vacuum both inside and outside the country. This has made it difficult to get a clear picture of what is happening on the ground in Kazakhstan as political instability spirals,” Alp Toker, director of NetBlocks — a watchdog organization that monitors cybersecurity and the governance of the internet — told ZDNet.com.

As a result, many of the country’s marketplaces and classified sites are all currently offline. These include:

  • Prosus-owned horizontal OLX.kz.
  • Leading auto vertical Kolesa.kz, leading real estate vertical Krisha.kz, and horizontal Market.kz, all part of the Kolesa Group.
  • Auto vertical Wheel.kz.

However, sites that have servers outside of Kazakhstan are still functioning. This includes HH.kz, the recruitment marketplace operated by Russia-based job giant HeadHunter Group.

Cutting internet connectivity is part of the operational playbook in many former Soviet bloc countries during mass protests. The Belarusian government implemented the same strategy in 2020 to quell mass rioting, resulting in destabilised internet access for around two weeks.

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