Latin script, and talk about Russians as “’a fifth column’” that may threaten the country’s territorial integrity and thus must be blocked.
“One local publication,” Dzhorbanadze continues, “even openly welcomed the departure of ethnic Russians from the republic, having noted that ‘one can only be glad’ that they are moving to the Russian Federation.” Such attitudes are not “’total,’” she says; but “they are quite widespread.”
But they are prevented from infecting more Kazakhs almost exclusively by President Nazarbayev, “but,” as the journalist points out, “the leader of the nation is quite old and it is very difficult to predict what forces will come to power after him” and whether they will take the same position as he has.
What makes the situation of ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan especially problematic, Dzhorbanadze says, is that “mentally, the ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan are not Russian Russians. Their lengthy stay in the republic, their way of life and their traditions have left on them a definite and positive impression.”
Behind all this, she points out, is the fact that Kazakhstan doesn’t face population decline if Russians leave. “The level of fertility among ethnic Kazakhs unlike ethnic Russians and others is quite high: five children in a family is the norm.” But Kazakhstan can easily become mono-national, something that will have serious consequences for it and the region.
At least some Kazakhs believe that they will lose some advantages if the ethnic Russians leave, and they are talking about what Astana might do in order to prevent this trend from accelerating. Yuliya Kistkina of the Central Asian Monitor surveys some of their views (