Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Class, Not Nationality Leading Cause of Continuing Unrest in Kazakhstan, Kurmanov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 10 – Aynur Kurmanov, vice president of the Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan, says that strikes and other work actions involving ever more firms and enterprises continue in the western portion of his country, an indication that class rather than nationality is now the leading cause of unrest there.

            While his argument may be dismissed as special pleading given that his party has based itself on working class activism, it is important as a warning to those who see divisions within Kazakhstan as being invariably about nationality rather than anything else (forum-msk.org/material/news/17807414.html).

            But it is perhaps even more important as an indication that Moscow, if it seeks to destabilize the increasingly independent-minded government of Kazakhstan will use class rather than nationality as its tool given that using nationality would allow the current regime in that Central Asian country to counter by using nationalism.

            If that were to happen, Moscow would be confronted by an even more nationalistic Kazakhstan, one it would find it difficult if not impossible to control; and thus, it appears that Kurmanov, an opponent of the Kazakhstan government, is pointing to an alternative group Russia might support that would be effective and would not carry with it such risks.

            Kazakhstan is the most obvious case where Moscow will likely have to choose between relying on nationality or class, but it is not the only one. And Kurmanov’s words should thus lead all concerned about Russian efforts to penetrate and destabilize neighboring countries to look not just at ethnic Russians in them but at other groups the Kremlin might use.


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