6 out of 10 of Russian-speaking people in Kazakhstan want to leave “the most economically developed and rich country of Central Asia”.
- 9 out of 10 students in Kazakh universities are representatives of autochthonal population, whereas Kazakhs constitutes 5.5 out of 10 of the population.
Mass Departure of the Russian-speaking Population is the Indicator of Total Deadlock of Astana's Interethnic Policy.
- For an ordinary Kazakh countryman to see foreigners getting twenty-thirty times higher salaries than his one but for the same job, whereas local and government officials “have come to terms” with “investors” – is a direct provocation for inter-ethnic and social conflicts.
It is never-ending list of inconsequence, semidecision-making, ostentatious nature and often disutility of reforms carried out by Astana. It is easy to understand, that in modern Kazakhstan hundreds of millions are spending on prosperous society image-building, mainly to camouflage deep system problems. But the money could be spent to solve real problems in their real dimensions rather than making up yet just another “Potemkin village”.
One of them has recently become a crisis of interethnic relations. Any discussion of country’s internal development issues is not on the table without any dispute on the future of official language, provision of political, economic and social rights of national minority on equal terms with native population in Kazakhstan, as well as an acceptable model of interethnic communication in the country. Naturally, it is met with diametrically opposite viewpoint on these issues. Which is quite wholesome phenomenon.
But there is just one snag. Many agree with the opinion that present ethnic policy of Kazakhstan will “roll down” the country, i.e. simply create additional hotbeds of ethnic tension with a lot of loose ends. Strengthening dissimilation of ignorant and conceptually unproven ideas (like rejection of multiculturality), aimed at turning the Kazakh into the state-building nation within the multinational country, can lead to unrecoverable consequences.
According to the public opinion polls conducted by the CIS Countries Institute, the share of Russian-speaking population in Kazakhstan now reached – 61%, the highest level among all CIS countries. In this respect, Kazakhstan is only the second after Transdnistria where 64% of population “has one foot out the door”. But there are, it is understandably, people fear a new conflict with Kishinev. But what makes people doubt their future and think about leaving the country as soon as possible in economically prosperous and stable Kazakhstan, where GDP growth in 2006 was 10,6 %? At the same time, 22% of them believe that local authorities force them to leave Kazakhstan.
On 13 September this year given information was confirmed once again by A.Kurtov, the expert of Russia’s Institute for Strategic Studies. In his opinion, “attempts to reduce the number of the Russian-speaking population leaving Kazakhstan to Russia is also concerned with Kazakh mass media conducted campaign to discredit Russian emigrant program”.
“These polls say that the number of Russians who want to leave the Kazakhstan remains high – Kurtov asserts. – According to our information, 61 of Russian-speaking population are willing to leave for Russia. And the task of the Russia's Federal Migration Service is to do its best in order to help them realize their aspiration, including the accordance of information about the program. This kind of desire is quite understandable. For example, 90% of students in leading Kazakh state institutions of high education are representatives of local population. Isn’t it national origin discrimination? According to respondents, more than half of Russians at least once faced discrimination when being hired, of them 8% faced such problems systematically”.
On this issue, Berik Abdigaliev, a well-known Kazakh political scientist believes that “nowadays nation-oriented Kazakhs have great complaint against other nations, especially against ethnic Russians”. In his opinion, not other nations living in the country can start the ethnic conflicts but Kazakhs themselves, especially “Kazakh-speaking” ones, differing with their thinking and political views from shala-Kazakhs (“semi-Kazakhs” or Russian-speaking Kazakhs, who forgot their language or are ashamed to speak it).
On this point, it has been thought out the pretext for speculation in order to divert people’s attention from major problems, associated with discontent of masses with authority’s tendency to control and concentrate essential goods in the hands of president Nazarbaev’s circle. Mentioned is based on the loyalty to his regime and affiliation with either one or another kin-tribal constituent of Kazakh society.
At the same time, Kazakhstan's Assembly of Nations (ANK) has no real power to affect the situation. The ANK, a structure established by the government, cannot represent democratic decision-making institute in the sphere of interethnic relations. As to innovation related to president appointment procedure of ANK representatives as parliament members, is considered by observers as strengthening Nazarbaev’s authoritarian power.
The authorities speculating in national feelings can use one of tactical approaches, such as discontent of most Kazakhs, especially in remote places, with their social status, against non-Kazakh population, more or less successfully adapted to new conditions. Events in Shelek, Karabattan, Tengiz, Novouzen, Novobogaz and many other places as well as growing pressure on Slavonic people indicate to commencement of self-destruction tendency.
As they say, “poverty is the mother of all evil”. Thus, the government tries to divert negative inertia of Kazakh people’s discontent towards ethnic minorities at the time of stimulating the interest of Kazakhs to change from normal patriotic nationalists to chauvinists. (Thus, promoting the transformation of normal patriotic nationalism into chauvinism of Kazakhs, the government tries to redirect negative inertia of their discontent towards national minorities.). Only the understanding of that the future of Kazakh people is not on the path of national segregation can save prevent from fatal consequences.
In 2005 officials announced that the Kazakhs' proportion within the national composition of Kazakhstan reached 58%, not only because of their natural population upsurge, but also at the expense of leaving of Russian-speaking population to historical homeland. As many political analysts believe, the current state of affairs allows to conclude that physical upsurge of Kazakh population has not resulted in Kazakh's becoming the state-building ethnos capable to unite all Kazakhstan's nations around itself. Quite the contrary, the wider socio-economic and spiritual gap among Kazakhs, the stronger centrifugal motion becomes inside the Kazakh society.
Now, let’s look at whether there is the ground for the Kazakh claims to another nations as Berik Abdigaliev said. The facts show the contrary. In Kazakhstan, non-Kazakh part of the population, mostly Russian-speaking, has significantly decreased in rural areas, and in some regions they have almost disappeared. In other words, Russians exist in countryside only in north-eastern regions. At the same time, the city ceased to be mainly Russian-speaking environment and the leaders of industrial development. The reason is in declining of manufacturing sector and development of industrial capacity that is mainly based on extractive industries (oil, gas and other resources), far beyond the bounds of cities.
At the same time, the revenues flow into a city, where, to experts’ estimates, Kazakhs dominate more than 70% of business. Moreover, Kazakhs dominate at least 90% of ruling clique. This figure includes employees in public administration of economy, law machinery and other structures.
It is impossible to understand, what kind of pretensions did respected Abdigaliev talk about? But if they really exist, as stated, they must be related to the current state of the authorities in Kazakhstan and its policies. Let’s, for instance, look at notorious program to support Kazakh immigrants. There are many issues with grave nature – how many Kazakhs left Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, China, Mongolia, and other countries to Kazakhstan? What was their destiny, whether they were able to integrate to modern society in Kazakhstan? Aren’t they became, for the most part, elements of lumpenized and marginalized stratum of rural Kazakhs, who changed big cities’ suburbs into kinds of ethnic ghettos? Why do many people return from Kazakhstan? What has prevented them regulate their new life in Kazakhstan? Why have they been less mentioned? In other words, there are plenty of unresolved problems on even this one issue.
Let’s cite some other examples.
First, the people very often encountered problems with quotas and complaints about government corruption in Kazakhstan. Moreover, part of donated money was spent on bribes to officials who supposed to give that money out to them.
Second, many people could not buy any decent dwelling even in rural areas because of expensiveness and housing market speculation.
Third, the weakness, moreover, the lack of infrastructure (schools, hospitals, kindergarten etc.) in local places where immigrants reside causes a lot of problems.
And the last is psychological aspect that is the uncertainty of people in restoring in Kazakhstan all their acquired wealth left in another country, taking into account not always friendly attitude of local Kazakhs to their new nationals. All together these factors caused immigrants’ doubts about their future in Kazakhstan. In all fairness, there are many Kazakh immigrants, indeed, who well regulated their life in a new home. Most of them are well-educated professionals demanded both in Astana and other centres of the country, because of the visible shortage of skilled manpower in Kazakhstan.
The matter of specialists' shortage could worsen, if the remaining four odd million of Russian-speaking population leave the country, as a consequence of current dull ethnic policy of the government. Most of them are employed in the manufacturing sector, science and education, medicine, technology and other important areas of the economy. Due to the outflow of the Russian-speaking population centers of public and social life in many villages and regions have been disappeared, and the remaining ones suffer from the lack of manpower. Thus, the shortage of doctors only in Jambyl region is more than 5000 specialists. Audits held in June this year revealed considerable deterioration in the county’s education quality. As a result, commission, headed by the Prosecutor General’s Office, made a proposal to suspend or revoke a license from more than 120 academic institutions, universities and affiliates. This means that about half of all universities and institutions of Kazakhstan do not meet up-to-date requirements. That is why Kazakhs invite architects, doctors, mathematicians, engineers and other professionals from other countries, and Kazakhstan’s youth considers that there is no other professions in the world except financier in an oil company, fashionable hair-style designer or manager.
As a result, technical specialties are dying, in fact, in the country. Russian specialists hold the industry remnants, but Western engineers are paid 15-20 times more than the local geniuses. It turns out that it is easier to the authorities to push out the part of its own population (even if Russian-speaking) by means of inviting German, American and Turkish engineers, while making the Kazakh people menials in their country than trying to carry out good national policy in this sphere. Apparently, officials in Astana are lack of mind to understand the latter.
Appearance of stability has already been fallen into pieces. For US $70-80 a month, retirees are unable to buy a loaf of bread for 50-80 cents, vegetables for $1, and fruits for $ 3-5 per kilogram. In a country where oil and energy resources are up to ears, declared rise in prices of housing and communal services and electricity in two and more times is the “specific example of the welfare” of non-Kazakh and Kazakh population in Kazakhstan. In that case, why everyone inflated figures of “average wages” in hard currency are needed?
Nazarbaev’s fate is well known – this means full political bankruptcy. But now the economy is undermined. Social structure of society collapses by way of interethnic conflicts that became more frequent. But he was intentioned again to make PR himself by means of neighbours tour. Artful Turkmens and Tadjiks are glad for any “freeload” for just patting on the head of senescent Nureke.
Government and President administration officials in Ak-Orda reached the deadlock. They are nothing to do because of impossibility to get anything out of their mind. It has been harping on the same string talking about integration, leadership and other drivel, leading to overall crisis only.