Ethnic minorities in today’s Kazakhstan


Situation on ethnical minorities’ field, as the whole intra-political situation in the country, increased dynamics for the last two years.

2009 08 17 MalovodnoeI already wrote, that during 2007, southern regions of Kazakhstan became the arena of knockdown inter-communities impacts, which had social nature and ethnical character of members’ activity. Right after it, during the first half of 2008 authorities and social organizations have held several activities, in which the depth of analysis of the situation sharply differed from common arguments about inter-ethnical harmony in the country. Alongside, exactly in southern regions of the country, several initiatives were announced, which are aimed, as it was declared, on improvement of inter-ethnical relations particularly in rural areas. Among those initiatives – development of inter-ethnical amateur arts groups among activists from local Assemblies of the Nation of Kazakhstan, agitation groups among local officials, civil and religious activists etc. these groups proposed to travel between rural territories and convince by the words and arts in necessity of inter-ethnical friendship.

It is hard to judge about those efforts, but it’s clear, that officials, who are used to perceive ethnic minorities in context of folk activity, can propose something other than this. By the end of the year the announcements about initiatives in this field were started to calm down, and there were no radical improvements made. But in the eve of Independence Day on 25 of October 2008, in Karabulak village 30 km east from Shymkent, new events happened, which showed the true necessity of more real world initiatives from authorities’ side in ethnic minorities’ field.

This time, by virtue of absolute lack of official information, description of situation is based only on biased opinions of both sides. By their words, events appeared to be as follows: on territory of one of neighboring villages to Karabulak, on the base of long misunderstanding between settled few Kazakhs and dominating Uzbeks, group of people in masks break into house of one of locals and beat up the owners, allegedly in revenge for some of this family members before participated in massacre against Kazakhs. Informants themselves considered that the conflict is over, because meeting held place with local mayor, district police, deputies etc., on which this actions were condemned, and promise to punish guilty was given (they were arrested). The other thing, that they understood, that it is only the liquidation of sharp phase, because basis of the conflict was not being liquidated, but they couldn’t say more certainly.

It is worth to mention, that Karabulak village (approx. 40 thousand citizens) is almost 100% settled by Uzbeks, and less large and later appeared settlements are surrounding it, which are settled by Kazakhs, who gone into farming and discovered that majority of cultivating lands is already took by Uzbeks, which were engaged in agriculture in those places for hundreds of years. One of such settlements was appearing in close proximity to the village (adjacent to it) along the road to the north.

Exactly there, Kazakhs and Uzbeks started to live in close proximity, and disaffection started to accumulate. The reason of disaffection is social, as it is in all conflicts in rural societies, which happened in Southern Kazakhstan in 2006—2008 (Shylek 2006– Uygur, Malovodnoe 2007 – Chechen, Mayatas 2007 – Kurds). In all cases, on the background of title nation supremacy ideology prevalence, certain representatives of this nation finding out that they are far from supremacy in certain situation. Particularly, in Karabulak, where few Kazakh considered unfair, that Uzbeks are “illegally” own best lots and started to demand for special conditions to themselves.

The problems is, that present structure of support of national stability in Kazakhstan (Assembly of nationality of Kazakhstan), is absolutely non-adopted to response on such situations, which are accumulating from day to day and becoming kitchen talks and appeals to police at its best. There were talks for a long time about unfair pretentions of Kazakhs to Uzbeks, but these talks never got outside, because both district mayor and police are Kazakhs, so Uzbeks didn’t trust them. Ethnical cultural center are more orientated on representative and folk art functions. But in conditions of supremacy of ethnic-guided ideology any social event is fatally to be perceived in “we-they” categories.

. Но то, что жители напуганы и не чувствуют уверенности – это факт.

Whereas management system is organized in such way, that all our differences exist only in cultural field, and they are as if non-existing in social field. Because of this there are no any monitoring and reaction systems for such systems in Kazakhstan. But reality demands it, because habitants of Karabulak village said on conditions of anonymity, that everything is only starting, that small incidents were and are happening often, and that there is the opinion among villagers, that it is dangerous to Uzbeks to walk on Shymkent city streets and in other villages. And there are many Kazakhs appeared in Karabulak, which wasn’t earlier. For the reason that no one of surveyed were participated in any of fights, described by them, we can conclude that information about it is grossly overestimated. But the fact that people were scared in don’t feel certainty, is clear.

Negative influence of events in Karabulak is continuing to be perceived. Despite that there were no reports about these events I press, as soon as in first week of September I personally heard that some TV programme supposedly announced that teenage Uzbeks are better stay at home, because they going to be beaten. Herewith, this was heard from a man, who has no connections at all with Uzbek society. Local journalists also had no information about that, but already heard that something happened in Karabulak, and anti-Uzbek sentiments are growing.

Situation is exacerbating in neighbor rural district of Sayram, where over 35000 Uzbeks are densely living too, containing up to 95 per cent of all population. Until now the passions are flaming around former Sayram museum director, who way back had to retire by age, and his replacement with Kazakh woman. The business is, that former director was a huge enthusiast of his job, although not highly qualified historian. Most probably, the replacement of him is a reasonable step, but this decision wasn’t preliminary agreed and explained to Uzbek society.

Now the Uzbeks see another example of disrespect to them in it. The murder of local Uzbek habitant by several Kazakh guys in January 2009 has also overgrown with rumors. Because murdered has been shot in Sayram’s town center the reason is probably hidden in gangland killing, but in Uzbek collective consciousness this to be conceived as sign of Kazakhs’ negative attitude and results a rootless feeling. This is included by the information, that interethnic and inter-group fighting become more rapid around Sayram district. The business is, probably in intercommunity dissension rather than interethnic, but this gave birth to anxious moods.

As it imagine, bursts of intercommunity violence, which are periodically happening in multi-ethnical regions of Southern Kazakhs, are witnessing the long-lasted ignorance of the nature of everyday interpersonal and inter-group relations within poly-ethnical regions by state authorities and society, rather than suddenly worsen of the relations. To be precise, in can’t be said that Uzbeks started to relate badly to Kazakhs or vice versa. As always, there are many examples of both feud and friendship on personal and collective level. Just eventually, in conditions of stiffening social rivalry considering lack of familiar schemes of not productive, but appropriative reproduction of resources, decreasing of cultural distance limit of other in use of mobile technologies. Alongside, that “our guys”, as the social ideal and main object of social classification, perceived firstly by way of “similar” (worth with cultural similarity), yet exceeding “our guys”, who are united by common civil identity.

In our view, all already happened conflicts is the result of situation, when in local community (rural settlement) environment, two groups, which are using the same mechanics of mobilization in their own interests, have an impact. From one side, a group of Kazakh people, which has both common principles of domination of title ethnicity and their own men, from the point of ethnicity, in local authorities. Claiming their rights to use cultural similarity as the base of solidarity, haven’t met similar consolidated resistance from side of Soviet identity bearers, the authorities decided that it has monopoly on this type of social mobilization. It was proposed, that the rest of the groups, possessing ethnical and cultural differences, realizing all civil rights in as the part of national social policy, and specific ethnical-cultural – with help from institutes of Assembly of Nation of Kazakhstan.

The same as on the level of everyday rethinking of national (ethnical) ideology, Kazakh rural people supposed themselves as bearers of exclusive rights as title ethnicity representatives, and all their guys on state services primarily as voicers and protectors of their particular interests.

Everything has appeared completely different in the reality. Thus, slogans of national state, understood as the state for all members of our nation, appeared as not very acting in specific cases, when representatives of Power preferred alliances with representatives of “aliens”, which were profitable to them personally. And those “aliens”, having never at less equal effective unity, which based not on slogans and manifestations, but on real and acting kinship networks of mutual support, that was born by decades of Diaspora situation after forced exile. What is meant here is Chechens and Kurds, who became one side of the conflicts in March and November of 2007. Prepossessing local police with the help of this unity, these groups, which traditionally holding in caution to all “aliens“, managed to put local people back up, which was particularly upset with the fact, that they didn’t feel its privileges in their own country.

Thus, the other side of the conflict was the group, which used the same type of social mobilization, as the title ethnicity, while not having at that the legal rights to use it, in eyes of majority. It’s absolutely doesn’t matter, what was the motivation of first violent actions and who acted as instigator. The important thing is, that people had easily accepted proposed formula of explanations: they act themselves as us on our land. Not least important is that the official leaders of Chechen and Kurd communities have comprehended the situation also through “our guys”: this is plot against us, who are always right.

Other conflicts are appearing in slightly other way in cases, when its participants appeared to be Uzbek and Uyghur people. These groups, which living for at least one and a half centuries in their villages, long since and successfully are being integrated in economical and social living of rural communities. That’s why; even if it is possible to show social collisions of specific people as the ethnical confrontation, both sides of a conflict have the powers and levers, allowing to fix-up specific situations without any victims and without attracting any powers from outside. But even in this case the base for future conflicts remaining.

The main reason in this is that authorities and mass consciousness of both majority and minorities are regarding themselves primarily as representatives of some community, specific not only by its culture, but having common social interests for all its members. In such situation, all efforts of the Power to focus its possibilities to support only on folkloristic holidays are insufficient. The thing is, that in this case, various everyday collisions are staying outside of authorities’ attention, in conditions of co-existence of cultural differentiated communities and domination за “ethnisized” consciousness, fatally perceived as inter-ethnical conflicts.

In the same time, having no mechanisms of proactive analysis of the situation in various places, the authorities couldn’t explain to locals the difference between social roots of conflicts and ethnical mobilization, being used by its participants. To be precise, in conflicts with participation of Diaspora ethnicities, local police was perceived by majority as ally to insolent “aliens”, as the twists and turns relations of particular families with local police were well-known to all. From the other side, in conflicts with participation of Uyghur and Uzbeks, the last mentioned blamed village police – Kazakhs by the rule – in reluctance to act against own initiators of conflict.

But in both cases the thing was not about protection of civil rights of people despite their ethnic belonging. This circumstance is not allowing to count upon adequate perception of minorities as legal subjects of social relations on both the everyday practice and in mass consciousness. Exactly that’s why we can’t say, that cases of aggression against minorities or by its side will be timely prevented in the future.



  1. Anonymous

    Казахи не обязаны потакать все нациям. Как эти вонючие курды себя не ведут лаже бывшие старшие братья (т.е. русские)

  2. Anonymous

    Все перечисленное, всего лишь пятна на солнце. Всем живется в Рк нормально, вот и менно казахам сложнвато из-за их же казахских игр

  3. Евразий

    Вчера был в Сайраме в двух тойханах. Обсуживающий персонал, узбеки, гуляющий свадьбы народ -казахи. Ни одного конфликта не наблюдал в отношении персонала со стороны выпивавших, ни молодых, ни тем более страших по возрасту. Все были заняты своими делами, гулять-поздравлять -танцевать, дарить, обслуживать, подавать-убирать, встречать-провожать.

    Была одна драка, но междусобойчик, один братишка нажрался, на мерсе мне фартук оборвал, ниче, свой же.


    Другой раз посидишь у них в кафешках, узбеки, в основном щеглы, пьют, курят, иногда шумно себя ведут.

    Ну правильно, отдыхают, честно заработанное гуляют, чего не вести себя свободно, без оглядки, в своей стране поди, в своем краю.

    Я кстати, вообще с русскими дамами обедал-ужинал на отдельном тапчане. Особых косых там взглядов к примеру не видел, все заняты своей компанией, до других вроде как и дела ни о кого и нет.

    И зачем нагнетать страсти??

    то можно решить в пользу 5%, если там 95% узбеков. Дороги очень приличные, кругом торговля, идет восточная жизнь полным ходом.

    Что ты там передашь казахам, мы что, инвалиды что-ли, что-то вытрясать-выпрашивать у узбеков?

    У каждой семьи свои детки, каждого надо устраивать по жизни.

    Никаких узбекских достижений-приобретений-владений, на казахов не хватит.

    Мы и сами заработаем, так что не надо, тут казахов выставлять тупыми невеждами, следящими за узбекскими крохами, чтобы смахнуть себе в рот.

    Речь не о власти, она кругом казахская, всех поровну защищает-обирает, так что туфта с претензиями на скрытый смысл.

    Вот это вообще как:

    Точно также, и на уровне повседневного переосмысления «национальной» (этнической) идеологии, казахское сельское население полагало себя носителем особых прав как представителей «титульного народа», а всех «своих» на государственной службе преимущественно выразителями и защитниками именно их интересов.

    Вы, что серьезно считаете, казахов такими глупыми, что если ваш казахский брат-дядя мент, там или аким, то он и мне казаху защитник моих интересов, как и ваших родственных.

    В такую дугу-рог закрутит, мало не покажется, будь ты хоть 200% казах.

    Вон моему курдасу, 1 год условно впаяли, плюс 500 тыс тг щтрафа за одного суслика, добытого в родных горах Заилийского Алатау. Свои же казахи из охотсоюза.

    Прекращайте вы уже из казахов дебилов строить, не надо.

    Нам своего и своих земель хватает.

  4. Anonymous

    Ервазий, ну не надо ля-ля свое казасхкое... Не надо тень на плетень наводить...

  5. 123

    есть таки существенная разница. Я пойду громить чеченцев, курдов и прочих кавказцев, кроме айзеров и грузин. А узбеков и кыргызов нет. Во-первых узбеки там уже сотни лет живут, а во-вторых нет смысла устраивать вражду с братьями