Sunday, December 24, 2017

Kazakhs See Practical Advantages in Working with Russia but are Put Off by Russian Xenophobia

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 23 – A new study conducted jointly by the Moscow Institute of Oriental Studies and the Southern Kazakhstan State University finds that Kazakhs see practical advantages, logistic, educational, and economic, in working with Russia but are put off by frequent displays of Russian xenophobia toward them.

            Igor Savin, one of the co-directors of the project which interviewed people in Petropavlovsk and Almaty, says that Kazakhstan residents and especially those in the northern part of that country routinely use Russian air routes because they are more convenient than flying through domestic airports (

            One Kazakh woman, for example, said “we always fly through Russian, unfortunately. Unfortunately, not because it is through Russia but because we don’t have an airport working nearby” within Kazakhstan. Ethnic Russians were more likely to express that view than ethnic Kazakhs, Savin suggests. 
            The sample also said that they viewed Russian education and health care as being better and that at least when the ruble declined in value market prices in Russian stores as making trips there to purchase goods worthwhile.  And they noted that the larger Russian market provides greater opportunities for Kazakh businessmen than Kazakhstan does.

            But they also said that Russian officialdom restricted business activities more often than its Kazakhstan counterpart and complained that “in Russia, people relate to non-Russians poorly,” an opinion they have formed from personal experience, Russian and Kazakh media and social media like Youtube.

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