Monday, November 6, 2023

Population of North Kazakhstan Not Only Less Russian but Less Numerous, Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 4 – The population of the northern third of Kazakhstan has become not only less ethnically Russian than it was, but it has become less numerous, as Russians have left or died out and not been replaced by ethnic Kazakhs given that economic and environmental conditions there are less than optimal.

            According to Russian analysts, Astana has failed to address those conditions adequately and thus has failed in its effort to get Kazakhs and especially Kazakhs returning from abroad (the oralmany) to take their places; and that means that the northern portions of the country are rapidly depopulating.

            According to Russian analyst Aleksey Baliyev, Astana is happy enough to see the Russians depart and thus has not invested in those things which might improve life in the north and hold them there. But that explains why Kazakhs aren’t willing to move there in their place (

            What that means, he suggests, is that in “boomerang”-like fashion, Astana is trading an ethnic problem for a regional one – and that such a regional one, like those emanating from other parts of the country, may create as many or even more problems for the central government as the ethnic one has long been assumed to do.

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