Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Kazakhstan Residents Ever Less Inclined to Identify by Religion, Nationality, or Clan, Polls Show

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 22 – Surveys taken since 2009 show that residents of Kazakhstan are ever less inclined to identify themselves by religion, nationality or clan and ever more inclined to identify with the country as a whole (

            That does not mean that residents of Kazakhstan do not continue to identify in these terms but only that these categories are less important to them than are categories like citizenship in the country or socio-economic groups. But this shift does point to a less religious and less ethnic Kazakhstan society in the future and the emergence of political nationality.

            What is especially striking in the data which is presented by Gulmira Ileusova is the collapse in identification with clans or zhus, long one of the most important self-identifiers in historically nomadic Kazakh society. This year, the survey found, that only one in five Kazakhs ever identifies in terms of clan.

            The main bearers of this identity, the Kazakh journalist says, are people over 55 where 40 percent or more still identify as members of a clan or zhus. Among younger groups, these categories are of much less interest.

            Most age groups, Ileusova continues, have at least 50 percent of their members identifying with one or another category. But there is an exception, those born between 1978 and 1987 and who are now 35 to 44. They no longer identify with the traditional categories but do not yet identify with the newer ones in anything like the pattern of older or younger groups.

            The Kazakh journalist says that one can call them “the lost generation,” people who have yet to find themselves in what has been a rapidly changing world.

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