Nazarbayev was the guarantor of national peace. With his departure, Russian-speaking are starting to go
The new President of Kazakhstan Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev this week flew to Moscow to the Russian leader Vladimir Putin and assured that he will continue the course of his predecessor on the unity of the two countries and two peoples. At the same time, in Kazakhstan itself, society is increasingly split into a poor archaic majority that speaks Kazakh, and the “color of the nation” — an educated Russian-speaking minority. After the departure of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the latter began to leave the country EN masse, which threatens its economy with serious shocks.
A native resident of Alma-ATA almost every day reads in social networks, as another friend of his friends moved to Russia, sometimes with his family. One went to Barnaul proven dentist, the other — an electrician, “chiropractor” and a master of the running, the third held in Kaliningrad his ophthalmologist, looking for a “prosperous future for their children.” Other Kazakh families were left without a nanny. It is impossible not to notice that people move highly qualified, wealthy and family.
Even those who have never shown such a desire and seemingly had no reason to do so have thought about emigration. A similar picture was observed in the early 1990s. But then the Germans, Greeks and Russians left Kazakhstan. The key difference of the new outcome is that ethnic Kazakhs, in addition to Russians, Tatars and Koreans, leave the country EN masse. The trigger was the resignation of Nazarbayev, but the problems and contradictions in the Kazakh society have accumulated for a long time.
Destroyed to the ground
In 1991, Boris Yeltsin invited his colleague Nazarbayev to join the gatherings in Belovezhskaya Pushcha, where the leaders of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus decided to dissolve the already bursting at the seams Union. The then head of the Kazakh SSR, apparently, did not know what the agenda of the meeting was, and agreed to come. But after a conversation with the first and last President of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev changed his mind. Kazakhstan declared independence as the last of the Soviet Union republics, on December 16, 1991, and made corresponding amendments to the Constitution only in January 1993, when the new basic law of the state came into force.
Why was the President of the Kazakh SSR so wary of independence?
Many people remember that Mikhail Gorbachev has repeatedly publicly stated that he sees Nursultan Nazarbayev as Prime Minister of the USSR. And this despite the fact that the Federal ministries, starting with Khrushchev, were almost impervious to personnel from the national republics — such was the friendship of the peoples. And here — a chair of the head of the government. But it is hardly a matter of unrealized ambitions of Nursultan Nazarbayev.
After the terrible famine of the 1930s, mass deportations of the 1940s and global migration of peoples during the development of virgin lands and industrialization by the end of the 1950s, Kazakhs in Kazakhstan remained no more than 30 percent. By 1991, their share had generally risen to 40 per cent, but in the Northern regions Kazakhs were still a national minority. Such a heterogeneous national composition in the national Republic and under the USSR was a potential problem, to say nothing of the situation outside the Union.
Nazarbayev had other reasons to stay in the Union
First of all, Kazakhstan was (if we do not remember virgin wheat) a source of coal and steel, as well as other minerals extracted from the subsoil for the needs of the entire Soviet industry. Almost all supply chains were tied to the Urals and Siberia. From the energy point of view, North, South and West of Kazakhstan were not connected. The North was connected to Russia, the South was in a single system with Kyrgyzstan (electricity) and Uzbekistan (gas). In the West, by the time of the collapse, the development of large oil and gas condensate fields Tengiz and Karachaganak, discovered in 1979, had already begun, but Kazakhstan lacked its own oil workers. On Karachaganak work was conducted, for example, Russian “Gazprom”.
For a sober-minded Manager, who was Nazarbayev, the collapse of the USSR looked like a dive into chaos and hell. But Russia in the person of its President firmly decided to withdraw from the common state and another 10 years with pomp celebrated independence Day, only then renaming the holiday just in the Day of Russia. Nazarbayev did not want to give up the single currency for a long time to mitigate the negative impact of the spread of the fabric of the common economic space. However, in 1993, the Russian Federation said that expels a neighbor from the ruble zone.
How did Nazarbayev respond to all this? “Gazprom” left Karachaganak. Oil fields Kazakhs partially continued to develop themselves, hastily preparing specialists, but mostly left at the mercy of Western corporations — Chevron, British Gas, little – known canadian Hurricane. “Karaganda metallurgical plant” after a number of iterations went to the world’s largest metallurgical group Mittal Steel Company N. V, “Kazzinc” — Glencore trader. High-voltage power lines stretched from North to South. Black and non-ferrous metal began to be sent to China, the benefit of that just began to swell like a yeast. Introduced the tenge. In General, as something worked out. With foreign investors, of course, had and still have to generously share. But there is no other choice.
The national question is getting more complicated. Kazakhstan almost immediately announced a repatriation program. In the 1920s, many wealthy Kazakhs migrated away from Soviet power with their herds — to China and Mongolia. Their descendants were offered to return to their historical homeland with the payment of benefits. Part of the Kazakh ethnic group also recognized Karakalpaks from Uzbekistan, and called them.
However, repatriates, who are called “oralmans” here, not always successfully fit into society, so the legislation against them gradually tightened. If at first they immediately received a blue Kazakh passport, then from some time — only a residence permit with a special status.
Another challenge was the demographic policy
If the authorities openly stimulated the birth rate of only Kazakhs, it would look like discrimination. It was decided to do it by more subtle methods. For decades, from the predominantly Russian-speaking Alma-ATA and oil-rich regions, funds were pumped through the Republican budget to the South — to the Dzhambul, South Kazakhstan (now Turkestan), Almaty regions. That is, where the share of the Kazakh population is greater, and the birth rate is higher.
Thanks to the pumping of finances, as well as the emigration of Russians in the 1990s, the share of Kazakhs increased to 70 percent by 2017. Demographers predict that by 2040 this figure will reach 90 percent. In public administration, the share of non-Kazakhs decreased gradually. If the first Prime Minister was a man with the Ukrainian name Tereshchenko, the penultimate composition of the government were already exclusively Kazakhs.
The authorities also made repeated attempts to relocate residents from the southern regions to the Russian-speaking North, presenting it as a program of labor migration. However, they fell: Kazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world, where too different climatic zones coexist. Accustomed to the near-zero winter temperatures, the southerners simply could not stand the forty-degree cold in the North and East and returned to where they were born.
To the full extent, the mass resettlement of southerners to the more Northern regions was possible only in the case of Astana (already Nur Sultan), and it was not supported by the state in any way. Just my heart.
All this time the Russians, no separatist sentiment did not show. Until the end of 2013, when following the fall in oil prices, the Russian ruble rushed down, and the Kazakh national Bank for some reasons held the tenge exchange rate until February 2014. That’s when residents began to arrange car tours to Russia — not by car, but behind the cars. The demand for housing in the border towns also increased sharply — preparations for departure were underway.
But, of course, it was not only economic problems — they could always cope with them in Kazakhstan. The fissure went down the other path.
My tongue is my enemy?
In Azerbaijan, Russians speak with an Azerbaijani accent. In Uzbekistan a Russian talking soft Uzbek accent. In Kazakhstan, millions of Kazakhs speak Russian without an accent. If you talk about Kazakhstan, we must not forget that the main rift in society here is not between ethnic groups, but between the Kazakh-speaking world and the Russian-speaking, which belong not only to Russian.
The share of ethnic Kazakhs among the Russian-speaking population of Kazakhstan is really huge. That is the government, it would seem, through the Kazakh composition, conduct meetings in Russian, what hurts the Patriotic feelings of Kazakh citizens.
Russian speakers are usually richer: as a rule, they have their own housing and a profession with an income above average. Kazakh-speaking people are often poorer: they face financial and housing problems, have gaps in education. This is due to the existing system of training in Soviet times — Russian-speaking teachers traditionally prepared better than Kazakh-speaking. In the troubled 1990s, this trend only worsened.
Kazakh-speaking — more traditional people, even archaic
Their eyes are more often turned to the past than to the future. It is important for them who were their ancestors to the seventh knee, to what race they belong to. They do not hesitate to ask about the genus (“Zhuz” in Kazakh) from the interlocutor, whom they see for the first time, and immediately make far-reaching conclusions about it, barely hearing the answer. Because each “juz” has its own reputation and a set of strengths and weaknesses. Russian speakers are more westernized and urbanized, they think within the framework of the European cultural paradigm, as well as Russia.
In addition, Kazakhs have their own ideas about the relationship of the sexes and in General about the relationship in the family. Or, for example, the relationship between the families of husband and wife. Russian-speaking Kazakhs in General observe traditions, but do it very formally, that the Kazakh-speaking, not without contempt call them “alakazaam” or “asphalt Kazakhs” (that is, neokazanii).
For a long time these diametrically opposed universes existed in parallel, with a more prosperous Russian-speaking world for the time being almost no interest in the Affairs of their less wealthy and more traditional neighbors. However, five years ago, the Russian-language media suddenly rushed to translate materials from the Kazakh-language press, and their regular readers got sick from what they saw.
The share of Kazakh-speaking, archaic and traditional population is growing gradually and steadily
No competent politician can ignore this fact, because the skin feels the changes in society, understands where the pressure is growing, which should be shot down, adjusting the rules of the game. The society itself feels sharp corners and gradually corrects the norms.
For example, 15 years ago in Alma-ATA could easily exist a nightclub for representatives of the LGBT community. And closed such institutions not because his doors had staged demonstrations infuriated men. Just a wave of excitement subsided — all curious representatives of traditional orientation have already visited it, and it is not advisable to keep the institution exclusively for adherents of non-traditional values.
In 2014, a gay bar “Studio 69” worked quietly in Alma-ATA, until advertisers decided to promote it. To do this, they made a banner with the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and composer Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly, in honor of which were called two converging near the door of the street institution. Creatives merged artists in a kiss a La Brezhnev — Honecker, which became a symbol of perestroika. However, the banner did not even have time to place: after sending it to some professional competition, the bar quickly closed. In 2014, this was unacceptable.
Ethnic Russian-speaking Kazakhs get the most. Kazakh-speaking, feeling their numerical and increasing superiority, will certainly reproach their fellow tribesman for any accent. And it is difficult to object to them — business happens in Kazakhstan. Where Kazakh should know.
Russian-speaking such “calls” are not ignored: in their environment is rooted in a derogatory term “oatman” formed from the Kazakh “what” — “shame.” This word means unfamiliar characters who behave unacceptably and try to dictate to others how to behave. Whether it is necessary to specify that people from the second linguistic universe usually receive such nickname.
“They” against “US”
Accumulated over the years and even centuries of tension suddenly concentrated in the summer of 2018. July 19 in the middle of the day Olympic medalist, skater Denis Ten left the restaurant in the most prestigious Central district of Almaty, the so-called “Golden square” — five minutes walk to the local residence of President Nazarbayev, ten minutes walk to the Opera house and the former building of the government of Kazakhstan.
Denis saw two guys twisting in his car mirror. He ran up, tried to stop them, but here the malefactor slashed his knife on a leg and damaged an artery. The athlete could not be saved.
From this news the Russian-speaking part of society at first fell into a stupor. Having recovered a little, all rushed to accuse the power of inaction, even impotence. All were convinced that the killers be found. However, when just a few days on TV showed the suspects, social tension in the Russian-speaking environment only increased. Because the suspects were exactly what they were represented: immigrants from the Kazakh-speaking South, who could not find a job and from lack of money began to trade in the theft of mirrors.
The moment for the Europeanized population was very symbolic: strangers and rude “they” killed one of the “us”. Killed in the middle of “our” city on a pedestrian street, next to quite a European looking restaurant, which is a European quality cuisine is served in the entourage of the appropriate serving. And these two didn’t even realize they were dealing with a champion, a national pride, because in “their” environment figure skating is not very popular.
Then on the Central channels showed another person involved in the case — a girl who saw Ten bleeding, but went away without calling an ambulance. It turned out that this is a primary school teacher in the Kazakh school. And immediately in the Russian-speaking environment crept reasoning in the spirit of “she did so because the killer was one of them.”
Of course, all these generalizations about “we” and “they”, their own and others — completely incorrect. After all, we’re talking about ordinary killers and a known victim. However, these incorrect generalizations, albeit unconsciously, arose at that moment in everyone’s head. Social networks covered the wave with the requirement to the authorities in Russian that the authorities protected “us” from “them”. Two universes, parallel to pores, once again encountered, and the representatives of the Russian-speaking world felt that their universe will soon be consumed.
Few of the frightened people had the courage to honestly give a definition of what some are different from others. And the truth is very prosaic: if you do not speak Russian to the proper degree, it is difficult for you to count on a good career in Kazakhstan. You can become an officer and even a little progress, but there the ceiling will rest fairly quickly.
However, everything flows, everything changes
Probably, the gap between more traditional Kazakh-speaking and Russian-speaking defiantly europeiska world would gradually disappear if the authorities in the nineties has paid more attention to the education system in the Kazakh and Russian was created for an effective programme of study of the Kazakh. Or if, as they are now going to do, already then introduced the teaching of all natural science subjects in English. But history does not know the subjunctive mood. And not until they were.
The Russian-speaking part of the society is not shocked by Nazarbayev’s resignation. In the end, it took 19 years to prepare for it. She is shocked by another — the lightning renaming of Astana to Nur Sultan. It’s so Oriental. It’s so not Western. And many perceived it as a signal to escape. Others heard the bell, which clearly hints that it’s time to mimic.