A large-scale power blackout struck cities in three Central Asian countries, leaving millions without electricity for several hours on January 25, 2022. Areas of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan were affected when a shared power line was disconnected. The power cut resulted in traffic jams, flight delays, and other public transport disruptions across the former Soviet nations.

The power grids of the three countries are interconnected and linked to Russia’s network through a Soviet-built power line that runs through Kazakhstan. It enables them to source power from Russia’s grid when there are sudden shortages. Outages were reported in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, and several cities in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Many residents lost access to tap water, heating, petrol pumps, and the internet, based on a report by a news agency. Hospitals had to rely on generators to keep critical equipment working and some underground trains were left stuck in tunnels. Moreover, skiers were reportedly left stranded on a cable car at Amirsoy, Uzbekistan’s largest ski resort. The outage has once again drawn widespread concerns about how vulnerable the 1970s-built power line is. Kazakhstan has experienced power shortages before, following the success of crypto-currency mining – the process by which transactions are verified and new “coins” are created. Hydroelectric power is used in the country, however, it has been hampered by drought.