Russia Saved a De-Russifying Government in Kazakhstan

First things first. Kazakhstan is one of these countries like New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, etc, where there is very little freedom. If you or I lived there we would also oppose the cartoonishly authoritarian government — with physical force if necessary. (It’s not as if you get to pick what your oppressors make it necessary for you to do to see them gone.) Of course, there’s always the chance that a revolution results in something even worse, but the continuation of the regime there is also nothing to celebrate.

Yet Moscow, for its own reasons, opted to move in and help save the regime there. Great powers do this all the time. Nothing particularly strange about that, or wouldn’t be if  Kazakhstan was some sort of a close friend to the Russians — except that it isn’t. Moscow literally stepped in to save an anti-Russian government.

Perhaps the main priority of the Kazakhstan government from 1989 to today — certainly the one it draws legitimacy from — has been de-Russification which it has pursued carefully but relentlessly. At the time of Soviet dissolution, all the cities in Kazakhstan and all the educated Kazakhs spoke Russian. The post-Soviet government implemented policies to reverse this, but it didn’t stop there. It is also in the process of switching the script for Kazakh from Cyrillic to Latin.

Right after independence, the capital was moved into the Russian-populated north to keep a close eye on them, and to spur ethnic Kazakh migration to help water down the Russian demographic dominance of the north. The country also remained a unitary one the whole time, without any sort of regional autonomy for Russians (of the sort that Tatars and numerous other ethnic minorities enjoy in Russia). Instead, the Nazarabayev regime presided over a Russian exodus that saw the Russians decline from 6 million and 38 percent of the population (equal to the Kazakhs themselves) to 3.8 million and 21 percent.

The regime didn’t adopt radical anti-Russian measures that were seen in Latvia and Estonia at first. With Russians forming a territorial bloc in the north adjacent to the Russian Federation the government didn’t want to risk a Russian uprising. The independent country also continued to disproportionally rely on its ethnic Russians for technical skills, for everything from engineers to military officers. So while a gradual Russian exodus was welcome, a much faster one would have created problems for Kazakhstan itself. Lightning-fast de-Russification was also impossible because urban Kazakhs themselves were not proficient in Kazakh.

Nonetheless, what de-Russification was missing in speed it made up for in relentlessness so that by now the Kazakh government is already interfering in the education of ethnic Russians in the north, making them study Kazakh (which is not a useful language to know, especially for scholarly pursuits).

Yet the alarmist discourse of Kazakh language endangerment persists; it co-exists with discourse of shaming and blaming Russian speakers, especially Russian-speaking ethnic Kazakhs, and with periodic calls to strip the Russian language of its status of an official language and to prohibit Russian-medium schools.

De facto Russians, Germans and Ukrainians form one (Russian-speaking) ethnic coalition in Kazakhstan, and the Muslim nationalities form the other one

It is the case that in the international arena Kazakhstan maintains cordial relations with Moscow. It is a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, CSTO, and the Eurasian Economic Union — but this all comes with caveats.

One is that Kazakhstan is also careful not to get too close to Moscow. For example, it was precisely Nazarbayev who insisted that the Eurasian Union be renamed the Eurasian Economic Union as a condition of him joining. He would only acquiesce to an economic treaty but not to a lose political union.

Another is that culturally and sentimentally Kazakhstan is in principle fonder of Turkey than of Russia. In the school curriculum, the Russians are colonizers and conquerors, the Turks — ethnic brethren.

Yet another qualifier is that Kazakhstan is landlocked, being thousands of miles from the nearest seaport, but shares a 5000-mile border with Russia. It doesn’t have a choice but to take the minimum of Moscow’s concerns into account. But if it had access to the world’s oceans and thus to US bases, the foreign policy course of this anti-Russian regime would likely be quite a bit different.

The final caveat is that the working relationship between the two governments comes at the unspoken price of Kazakhstan getting a mostly free hand against the Russians within its borders.

Thus even this modest Moscow-Kazakh cooperation as it exists comes at the expense of Kazakhstan’s ethnic Russians who are left without a serious advocate.

It has to be understood that if you are an ethnic Russian, the Kremlin is very often not your friend. Moscow and the Kremlin will frequently sign away your security and dignity for the dubious benefit of oh-so-slightly better relations with non-Russians.

This is true in the near abroad, but also within Russia itself. Ask Russians who find themselves victimized by Chechen, Ingush or Dagestani mafiosi or hoodlums only for the establishment media to ignore the incidents on grounds of political correctness, or bury the ethnicity of the assailant.

Perhaps with the regime in Kazakhstan now reliant on Moscow’s backing for survival we may see the most radical of its anti-Russian policies dropped, but likely the de-Russification project as such will continue albeit at a slightly reduced pace.


  1. Chacko Kurian says

    The benevolent empire is waging a proxy war on Russia via Kazakhstan. They want to surround Russia on all fronts. Any wonder that Russia has no choice but to support the current regime. As they say, politics makes for strange bedfellows. But the doctrine of for the greater good will always backfire one day.

    1. GMC says

      Agree, This Russian move is so another Maidan does not happen and everyone in Central Asia knows that the thousands of Western backed NGOs are for one purpose only. So far , most of all the X Soviet states have had their new leaders grab tons of money from the West and sell out their countries to the EU and Nato.
      Only one of the leaders has been Man enough to stick to his sovereignty and that’s Lukashenko, who makes the other 12+ sellouts look like the puppets they are. Russia learned a hard lesson in the Ukraine Coup, let’s see if they drop the hammer in Kazakh , before the US, Brits and others do.

      1. Helga Weber says

        Russia also learned a lesson during Jelzin…These people do no know that the USA will only take advantage of them.

        1. GMC says

          Absolutely, ” Jelzin” was a gift that seems to keep on giving . I believe he still has ghosts running some agencies in the Kremlin – called Pro US/NWO Kapitans dba WHO and Gates Foundation Implants.

      2. Chacko Kurian says

        I would suggest the best way to solve the EU/NATO/Anglo American axis disputeis to settle it the way sometimes spoken of in past battles. Each side send one champion armed with nothing but his brain and brain, winner takes all. It would be amusing to watch Putin take on Stoltenberg! Would be like Achilles vs Hector as in the Iliad. The sight of Putin chasing Stoltenberg round and round would be priceless.

        1. GMC says

          Without a doubt Putin is a great diplomat compared to the teleprompter queens that run the EU, Nato and USA. But the US and EU have 24/7 programming and propaganda , screaming at their populaces, telling them Russia and China is NFG and We the West is Best – lol lol I’m convinced that by taking out the Western BioWeapons labs around Russia is the key to a victory. Their armies are nothing , because they would have to attack Russia proper first and that would be suicide. According to intelligence reports from Russia and other reliable sources, there are 20 to 30 BioWeapons Labs surrounding Russia – from Kazakh to Ukraine.

          I know , it sounds more like Israels Samson option than the US and EU. It all could be the Zionists Bio Weapons labs – indeed.

    2. Abraham Lincoln says

      Russia was weak and had to take it until they became strong. They are strong now especially with Chain and polices are a changing. The Jewish empire will feel the real pain of really serious sanctions from Russia and China. I think the Jewish empire wants Russia and China to crush its economy so they can blame external force and not satanic Jews for the destruction of Western civilization.

  2. Julie G Andras says

    HOW did Russian forces “support” this regime? Were “unarmed” protesters gunned down? That is Freaking INSANE if that happened. These people have a RIGHT to an up-rising, but NOT killing police, etc. How can people “LIVE” under such TYRANNY? People have to be enslaved and suffer under a government that has NO concern for their survival or ability to prosper. I am on THE “PEOPLE’S SIDE”. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN FIGHTING AND YES, DYING FOR “FREEDOM” and to live a prosperous life for centuries; to demand a better government that will have concern for it’s citizens. People AROUND THE WORLD should STAND BEHIND the PEOPLE of Kazakhstan, but not their murder, if so alleged. WHO is killing WHO?

    1. raymond lambert says

      It would appear from your post that ‘iggnorance is bliss’

    2. Romeo LeBlanc says

      People need to look into this very deeply as the GOAL of the USA through their spies and agitators of the CIA/Mossad wants to control all countries surrounding Russia in order to invade Russia, they as other countries around the globe are being used by the USA and its minions like the UK and Canada to expand their sick dream of controlling the world and Russia, China must help those countries stand up to the USA and its numerous puppets.

    3. geo says

      If Police is killing you, is not a Police at all, is a terrorist militarized group.
      When people rise WITH FORCE, it means you are the problem, the Government.
      You do not respect the people, their needs, their will, their ORDERS – becasue a Government is a servant organization, not a Master cast!

  3. edwardi says

    Wow this piece above was informative, being not at all familiar with the issues involved in what geographically is a huge country. I hope Anti Empire will continue to publish on subject, what is the economy that keeps this nation afloat ? Are there any potential alternatives to the current Idiot government in charge ?

  4. Empire_Spokesperson says

    Kazakhstan is a CTSO member, which is de facto Russian ally. So I’m not sure what you are talking about. Besides, it is an important country in terms of both militarily as well as economically since it’s align with BRI project which Russia supports. Russia simply couldn’t sit idle while Kazakhstan burns.

    1. Eddy says

      It would seem, the author of this article has never heard of the CTSO, or if he has, has chosen to deliberately ignore it, as it doesn’t seem to suit his agenda. They way I understand these events, it was the President of Kazakhstan who called on the CTSO for assistance, as Russia is a member of this organisation, it is OBLIGED to do it’s part under the auspices of that organisation, just like the remaining members are as well. So how come the author of this article does not mention any of that ? Could it be, he is a Russian hating individual who rewrites the agenda to suit his purposes ?

  5. jim says

    Thank God Russia sent in the men to put down this color revoution. Now those arrested ones that tried to over throw the goverment need to be sent to gulags for the next 60 years and worked to death. They can enjoy the hundred dollar notes that gringo gave to them while they get slaughtered. It is so nice to see Russia STAND UP. Lock up these protesters and keep them in there for ever. Just like happened in Belarus. I wish I could live there and help Lukky catch more of these maggots. Like that roman guy he grabbed from the sky a few months ago and got him into custody along with his skank girl friend. Keep up the good fight Lukky. WE LOVE YOU.

    1. Eddy says

      It is NOT Russia’s responsibility to deal with these terrorists. That lies in the hands of the Kazakhstan Government. So why everyone is clamouring for Russia to deal with these people is beyond me.

      1. Drapetomaniac says

        Maybe with al your brilliance you could build a time machine and go back fifty years to suggest that to the Americans.

  6. Mark says

    Russia also saved a government that has been pushing for some time to support the national currency – the Tenge – and reduce reliance in the public arena on the US dollar. Is this the first time we have seen a convergence of ‘major oil supplier’ and ‘dropping the US dollar’ and ‘looks like Country X could use some freedom’? It certainly is not.

    The decision to send in peacekeepers was not Russia’s, but of the CSTO, currently headed by Armenia’s Nikol Pashinyan. Until recently he was a darling of the western democracy advocates. Russia brokered the cease-fire that probably kept him from swinging from a lamppost and his country absorbed by Azerbaijan, and it has joined the countries that choose to call on Russia for help because they know they will get it if they have made out a good enough case, instead of a lot of freedom flannel and tough rhetoric. I am confident Kazakhstan will not forget.

    1. Eddy says

      Thank you Mark for posting an honest assessment of the situation and highlighted the FACT that Russia answered a call of help. Seems many posters on here are unable to see that themselves. Simply jumping on the bandwagon to vilify Russia some more.

  7. Moneycircus says

    It looks like foreign gunmen turned a food/fuel protest into much more than a standard color revolution. At least one Kazakh intelligence chief has been arrested and there was some jockeying for power between Tokayev and Nazarbayev.

    What’s clear is 700 U.S. companies are active in Kazahkstan, including the giants like Chevron and Exxon who are developing oil fields that are worth more than many countries.

    Russia and the CSTO have every reason to intervene quickly.

  8. Raptar Driver says

    Kazaks are Turks, they are no friends of Russians.
    The best case scenario would be the De-Turkification of Southern Russia & reunification.

  9. Jerry Hood says

    There will be soon WW3, wiping out the zionazi USrael, once and for all!!!

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