Why is Kazakhstan “Russian”?
Kazakistan, which gained its independence in 1991, was a country with the Soviet nuclear weapons testing area and space base, known as the ‘Soviet nuclear depot’. After the collapse of the USSR, it was an independent country that housed more than 1,000 missiles carrying nuclear warheads on its territory, its economy was dependent on Russia, the country’s population was 40 per cent Kazakh and 38 per cent Russian.
When you look at it from there, it doesn’t seem very independent, does it?
Nursultan Nazarbayev, Grandpa of the Turkish World, started its activities as the founding leader of such a country. Its primary aim should have been to reduce the dominant Russian population in the country. He enabled the Russians to return to Russia with the policies he followed. It did not make this a state policy but offered incentives. He started working on the return of Kazakhs around the world to their homeland. It was important for him that the Kazakhs, who had a higher birth rate than the Russians, continued their lineage. He made Astana, where most Russians lived, it's capital. Later, it increased the Turkish population here and prevented it from becoming a strong Russian city.
It had valuable underground resources, but everything was connected with Russia. Natural gas and oil were distributed through Russia. It has cooperated with both Western countries and China by activating its geopolitical position. He laid a pipeline to China and Chinese companies are now heavily felt in the country’s economy. But imagine a country that has such ties with Russia, deserves the US to be labelled as a “strategic partner” and also has strong relations with Western countries. Yes, he did it. Receiving approximately 350 billion dollars of foreign direct investment, becoming a diplomacy centre, without interfering with meat and milk, without a party.
In 1989, 40 per cent of the population was Kazakh and 38 per cent, Russian, while in 2019 this distribution was 65 per cent Kazakh and 23 per cent, Russian. The aim was to break the idea of the attachment of the Northern Kazakhstan lands, which Russia called different names, where the Russians mostly live, to Russia. This issue is still on the agenda in the Russian media. Nazarbayev has just managed to change many things, to break the Russian influence.
Do you think it’s abnormal to be ‘Russian’?