It’s been 20 years since the disintegration of the USSR. In this article we are going to tell you about the events which happened in Kazakhstan during this time.
So, on January 22nd, 1991, President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev signed the edict about recalling from circulation 100-rouble and 50-rouble denominations of 1961. They were to be exchanged for smaller ones within just three days. Moreover, one person could exchange no more than 1000 rubles, and no more than 500 rubles could be withdrawn from an account.
Mass media informed about the edict late in the evening, when all the stores and banks were closed. So the next day, endless lines could be seen on the streets. Government wanted to withdraw from use at least some part of the surplus money. The money reform resulted in impoverishment of people.
Back in 1990, they announced about conversion to managed market economy. In May, government pushed up prices for bread thrice and in January, 1991 they pushed them up again by 1.5-2 times.
Buying fever caused acute food shortage. Shelves in stores have never been that empty.
Under-the-counter trade is flourishing. People are literally fighting for critical commodities.
Political life is active as never before. People follow political events which are going on in the country and are not afraid to express their opinion. People attend meetings to make demands concerning social problems and political instability.
On March 17th, they conduct an all-USSR referendum. Citizens of the country are asked to answer the question, ‘Do you want to preserve the USSR, as a renewed federation of independent republics with equal rights, where people of any nationality will be guaranteed freedom and rights?’ The Supreme Soviet of Kazakhstan for some reason omits the part about freedom and rights, thus shortning the question. As a result, 76% voted ‘for’ and 22% voted ‘against’.
Liberalization spreads to mass media too. So, in 1991, two commercial TV channels appear at once.
They broadcast foreign action films, Disney cartoons, advertisements. TV journalism will appear several years later though.