*Dark Shadows: Inside the Secret World of Kazakhstan*

The demographic legacy of four centuries of Slavic settlement is striking along Kazakhstan’s 6,846-kilometre frontier with Russia, the world’s second longest land border.  In 2014, when the conflict erupted in Ukraine, Russians formed 22 per cent of Kazakhstan’s population nationwide (by 2018, that figure had fallen to just below 20 per cent), but in many places in the borderlands they were in large majorities: in Ust-Kamenogorsk, 67 per cent of people were Russians, while in the town of Ridder, further north towards the frontier, the figure was 85 per cent…

By 2018, the share of Kazakhs in the population had risen from 40 per cent to 67.5 percent and the share of the other largest ethnic group, Russians, had fallen from 37 per cent to 19.8 percent.  Kazakhstan’s two main cities used to be predominantly Russians; now Kazakhs dominate.  Astana’s Kazakh population hit 78 per cent in 2018, up from 17 per cent at independence (when it was still a backwater called Akmola and not yet Kazakhstan’s capital); Almaty’s Kazakh population had risen from 22 per cent to 60 per cent.

The government is also working hard to “Kazakhify” towns along the Russian border.

That is all from the new and excellent book by Joanna Lillis.  You may also have read that Nazerbayev, who has held power in Kazakhstan since 1991, announced yesterday that he is stepping down, hoping to take on more of a Lee Kuan Yew role in the country.

Comments

This must make Putin cry into his pillow at night. Thank the Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

...to protect the Russians on Crimea. That was a valuable lesson.

Sounds prudent.

Kazakhstan was an outlier among other Soviet republics of Central Asia for having a fairly large Russian population.

Kazakhstan has been slower than these countries to push language changes in government and other public settings and remains pretty Russified. They still have a number of ethnic Russians in parliament and some other prominent government and business roles. I do think that will change more in the next couple decades. However, I am not sure we will see that final exodus of Russians that has really already happened in other CA countries, because as the excerpt points out there are a number of places in the far North of KZ that still have large Russian majorities.

Framing Astana as a Kazakh takeover is a bit misleading, as it was a capital built on top what was a pretty small city on the steppe. The vast majority of people living there now are new arrivals. It's not like Russians were supplanted.

Language is a separate issue from ethnicity. When Nazarbaev gave his resignation speech, it was entirely in Russian. That would not happen in any other former Soviet republic except Belarus.

When language requirements change, a Russian ethnic minority that mostly does not speak Kazakh will feel more unwelcome and find fewer opportunities. That's the issue and, in some cases, has actually been the point in former Soviet countries.

Kazakhstan was an outlier among other Soviet republics of Central Asia for having a fairly large Russian population.

Nope. About 1/4 of the population of Kirghizia was Russian in 1979. There were blocs of Russians in the other three as well.

Kazakhstan's Russian was significantly larger. Of course all Soviet countries had pockets of Russian. They've nearly all left or on their way out of Central Asia, KZ being the exception.

"Nazerbayev, who has held power in Kazakhstan since 1991, announced yesterday that he is stepping down, hoping to take on more of a Lee Kuan Yew role in the country". That's an optimistic take on someone who held power by jailing dissidents and political opponents and winning repeated re-elections with 100% of the vote. Or is that a pessimistic take on the future of liberal democracy in the world. Kazakhstan is often described as occupying the territory between Russia and China. Geographically and politically. Is that the future?

Kazakhstan needs someone to take on a Genghis Khan type of role in the country.

"The government is also working hard to “Kazakhify” towns along the Russian border."

Which government?

China's. They plan to lease much of Kazakhstan as farmland and they find ethnic Kazakhs to be much more docile "partners."

The Brazilian government. Captain Bolsonaro has his priorities all wrong.

It is not President Captain Bolsonaro. The Brazilian government preaches non-interventionism and respect for all countries' sovereign. Brazil has never fought a war of aggression and never will.

Except the genocide of native peoples. I hear Captain President Duce has even more big plans in store for the natives, too!

It is not true. It was basically the Portuguese colonial regime and, afterwards, rogue miners, farmers and lumberjacks. Brazil actually protected the natives. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cândido_Rondon
There has nothing in Brazil's history like your Custers and your Trails of Tears.
Evidently, there will be boundaries adjustments to make sure everyone's legitimate interests are adequately met, and Natives may have to make some concessions, but it is a healthy process that makes both sides stronger in the long run.

"Make some concessions" like their lives and land LOL

If you had read the article I linked, you would know that Brazil opposes genocide. Evidently, there must be some boundaries asjustments to fulfill the interests of both parts. One must remember that a few thousand Natives got more land than entire European countries while hundreds of millions of Brazilians have to live in crowded cities. We need some breathing space, but there are not hostile intentions. American president Trump praised President Captain Bolsonaro lavishly yesterday. If Brazil were bad, would he had done so?

"We need some breathing space" - I believe the word is lebensraum in the original German from 1939

"If Brazil were bad, would he had done so?" - he also lavishly praises the leaders of Russia, China, and North Korea. Are they 'bad'?

I can assure you it is different. President Captain Bolsonaro has said Brazil and the USA are natural allies against communism, misandry and fake news.

I know you can assure me of this and lots more, but what if you are not credible?

I am very credible. Also, your president Trump has said he wants Brazil to be a member of NATO. If Brazil were evil, would he want that? Brazil and America are partners in freedom.

No. Trump has never praised anyone bad, and certainly not any murderous dictators.

That means, if he praised President Captain Bolsonaro, as he did yesterday, President Captain Boldonaro is good. Q.E.D.

Thiago, or whatever your name is, you can't pretend you don't understand even the most obvious sarcasm or your troll character won't work and you will just come across as retarded.

Maybe you come across as retarded. Brazil and America are natural allies because they are the biggest democracies of this hemisphere and oppose communism and fake news.

Make the ABC Powers great again.

Exactly. America, Brazil and Canada, the civilized countries of the American Continent.

Russians who ended up in Kz. largely ended up there because they had been deported so they are just returning home. Kz. is not really a geographically separate country from Russia, just a part of the Siberian landmass, so whether it is around 50 years from now is anyone's guess, like a lot of the former Soviet Republics. Kz. politics are various clans fighting for control of the country's oil wealth and the ability of any outsider to understand is limited.

Kazakhstan is a nice buffer country between China and Russia.

We all win if Russia and China fight to win Kazakhstan's heart instead of a real war.

The Russians in KZ were almost all born there.

When they say it is not about the oil,

It's about the oil.

"in Ust-Kamenogorsk, 67 per cent of people were Russians, while in the town of Ridder, further north towards the frontier, the figure was 85 per cent…"

Actually, famous communist leader Mr. Malenkov lived in Ust-Kamenogorsk for a while.

Astana’s Kazakh population hit 78 per cent in 2018, up from 17 per cent at independence

Wow!

Btw Astana ("Capital") has just been renamed again, to Nursultan

We should start calling it Dariga, get ahead of the game.

The news of Kazakhstan leader's change broke yesterday, so TC read the book in one day, that's impressive.

Bonus trivia: I've been to Кыргызстан. Nice mountains and lakes.

Tyler seems to read a half-dozen books every day. My guess is that his preferences in restaurants lead him to spend a lot of time in the can.

"hoping to take on more of a Lee Kuan Yew role": that's nice. But does he have any of Harry Lee's virtues?

This follows the de-germanification of Kazakhstan over the last 30 years. Kazakhstan had large (~1m or ~6% of pop) German population (forcibly relocated during ~WW2) through the fall of the Soviet Union. Estimates have about 200k remaining today. When I was working in Almaty in 07-08 you could still shop at German grocery stores, get German language print news and have your choice of German restaurants / bierhalles. A quick search suggests most are still in business.

More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazakhstan_Germans

God bless Nazerbayev. Russians are the pariahs of the world.

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