Thursday, March 26, 2020

Kazakh Officials Playing with Fire by Promoting Nationalism, Koloskov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 22 – Following violence in eastern Kazakhstan six weeks ago, violence the Kazakh authorities minimized (, some suggested Kazakhstan faces more such clashes as the Kazakh nation consolidates (

            Now, there is another worry: Kazakh officials and the Kazakh media have adopted an increasingly nationalistic tone, something that may lead ethnic Kazakhs to believe the regime is behind them in their dealings with ethnic minorities, including Russians (

            Russian commentator Fyodor Koloskov says in an article entitled “The Sleep of Reason Brings Forth Monsters,” that he is most concerned by the dramatic growth in “nationalist rhetoric” not only among marginal groups but among leaders of the government and the official media calling for rapid “’Kazakhization.’”

            Some want to repeal the constitutional provision ensuring that Russian is an official language, others want to force people “to love their motherland,” and some are now even saying that any Russian who won’t become a Kazakh has an obvious choice – going back to Russia right now (

            Polls show that Kazakh nationalists are becoming more hostile to outsiders even as they become more archaic in their identities with the invocation of the Golden Horde as a key value, and ever more Kazakhs say they expect to see more ethnic clashes with those who are not willing to show respect for and adapt to Kazakh realities.

            And there is increasing evidence that nationalistic Kazakhs are being recruited to and promoted within the Kazakh government, Koloskov says, a signal to others that such attitudes are supported by the current regime and an indication that the regime itself will over time become more nationalistic and xenophobic.

            Perhaps not surprisingly, the Russian commentator links this to the Central Intelligence Agency, George Soros, Human Rights Watch, and the international organizations of both US political parties. Indeed, the commentator says, he has the impression that they are behind this new nationalistic wave, something that makes it even more dangerous.

            That is because, Koloskov adds, “it is impossible to keep nationalism within civilized limits.”

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