“The absolute majority of these objects bore ethnic Russian, including Soviet names, but now they sound Kazakh,” Pakholin continues. In the past, this campaign hit Kazakh-majority areas more than those with mixed Kazakh and ethnic Russian populations. But now the Kazakhs are focusing on the latter as well.
According to the Russian commentator, the cities of Uralsk, Petropavlovsk, and Pavlodar may soon be given new Kazakh names as part of a campaign against “the Soviet ‘colonial past’” which even those engaged in this effort do not deny is their intention.
They routinely say that “residents of Kazakhstan aren’t required to remember when they lived in ‘the Soviet empire.’ They have the complete right to give districts, population points and streets ‘national’ names.” But in doing so, they are ignoring the interests of the second largest nation in Kazakhstan, the ethnic Russians and threatening inter-ethnic concord.
Just how sensitive this issue is becoming is reflected in something else: After posting this article on its portal, Russia’s Strategic Culture Foundation took it down almost immediately. But in the age of the Internet, nothing is ever really completely lost – and the article is still available via other sites.