On the 17th of August, 1980, the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee in the Lenin Shipyard, Gdańsk, led by Lech Wałęsa, announced the famous list of 21 demands. The main point among these included the demand for the establishment of free trade unions, other demands included the improvement of the living conditions of society and observance of constitutional rights and freedoms.
31 years later, oil workers in Zhanaozen have formulated their own list of demands. Just like in communist Poland, the spark which caused the protest were social issues. Still, because of the brutal reaction of the authorities, the list of demands was extended to include those of a political nature. It struck at the foundations of the modern Kazakhstan’s ruling system in which extensive rights and freedoms guaranteed to citizens by the Constitution are merely a fiction.