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'Qazaq' newspaper: a true example of great service to the nation

15 June 2018
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'Qazaq' newspaper: a true example of great service to the nation
This year marks the 105 years of the first publication of the national newspaper "Qazaq". In the first year, it turned into a national publication, from 1914 - to the international one.

During the uprising of 1916 and after the February Revolution of 1917, the newspaper involuntarily and solely performed the functions of the national parliament and the shadow government. During the years of its existence, the editorial staff of "Qazaq" also served as a national center for the publication and distribution of fiction and secular textbooks in the Kazakh language for schools, the center of education and public education.

"Qazaq" was published for more than five years - from February 2, 1913, to March 1918. By the summer of 1917, the editorial office of the newspaper, as M. Dulatuly reported in his article "Qazaq baspahanasy" had its own printing press, two service cars, a large stock typographical fonts for the release of both Kazakh printed products (on the Arabic schedule or "that's jazzy"), and Russian, as well as all necessary publishing equipment. The following fact can serve as a clear indication of the popularity of the newspaper in the Kazakh society.

The role and significance of the newspaper "Qazaq" in the life of the Kazakh people have become even more significant, even fateful, especially during the First World War and subsequent historical events that took place in 1916-1918 in the Kazakh territory and the Russian Empire.

On July 28, 1914, the First World War began. The founders of the newspaper supported Russia's entry into the war, trying to use it in the interests of its people. In 1915, they made another attempt to abolish the law of 1834 (the tsar's charter that freed the Kazakhs from military service) and the subsequent introduction of conscription for the Kazakhs. The goal was to obtain permission to form cavalry regiments from Kazakhs with independent military command, following the example of Cossack troops. What came of it, we learn from the subsequent material devoted to the 100th anniversary of the formation of the army "Alash".

However, on June 25, 1916, Tsar Nicholas II signed a decree not on the formation of cavalry units from Kazakhs, which the publishers of "Qazaq" hoped for, but "about the requisition of foreigners" for rear work on the Western Front at the age of 19 to 43 years. It is emphasized that the uprising of 1916 was not caused by the decree itself, as it was presented by Soviet mythmakers, but by haste and methods of its implementation by the colonial administration of the Steppe and Turkestan Territories. When the spontaneous and scattered unrest of the people began to arise in different parts of the region, the Alash leaders initiated a private meeting in Orenburg of the Kazakhs of Turgai, Ural, Akmola, Semipalatinsk and Semirechye oblasts on the damage caused to the national economy of the Steppe and Turkestan regions by mobilizing men on the rear work. As evidenced by the protocol of this meeting published by the newspaper "Kazakh", it was organized not to please the decree or the colonial policy of the tsar, as Kazakh and Soviet historians falsely claimed, but in order to protect and shield their people from even greater calamities that struck without the disadvantaged people.

At the beginning of 1917, the editorial office of "Kazakh" appealed to the members of the "Azamat" partnership and readers with an appeal to help the newspaper get its own printing press. In the editorial note "Baspahana turaly" ("On printing house") it was reported that currently there were 106 members in the "Azamat" partnership, due to contributions of which the editors had 10 600 rubles. But this amount was clearly not enough. Since the small printing presses, whose cost before the First World War amounted to 10,000 rubles now rose to 20-30 thousand. A large printing house, necessary for the newspaper, was even more expensive - 30-40 thousand rubles.

This call was followed by a response, where they did not expect - the Kazakhs of the Kunes family from China transferred to the editorial office 600 rubles. In addition, Allaldin Murza Mamekuly from Kyzylzhar (Petropavlovsk) county of the Akmola region made a one-time payment of 1,000 rubles, an ethnic Kyrgyz Ahmet Kudaibergenuly from Pishpek county, Becket Pusyrmanuly from Kazalinsky district of Syrdarya region, Abayali Kenzhebayuly from Atbasar county, merchant of 2 guilds from Ayakoz city of Semirechenskaya region Rakhimzhan Saskabayuly, Beisenbai Tynyshtybaiov from Aktyubinsk district of Turgai region and many others.

None of the previous editions could compare with the newspaper "Qazaq" for quality, a variety of subjects, circulation, in its influence on the entire Kazakh society. While the first year the newspaper was published in a circulation of 3,000 copies, then, according to researchers from the University of Sorbonne, later its circulation exceeded 8,000 copies, which was more than all previous editions combined. To see this, we will make a short digression into the history of the Kazakh periodical press.

Until 1906, Kazakhs did not have a single newspaper or magazine in their native language and did not have their own printing house. The leaders of the Alash movement Alikhan Bukeikhan, Ahmet Baytursynuly, Mirzhakyp Dulatuly and others attempted to issue a national newspaper in 1905 and the first half of 1906 - before the dissolution of the First State Duma.

In early December of the same year in 1905, the newspaper ‘’Semipalatinskii listok’’ with reference to the St. Petersburg’s ‘’Novaya Zhizn’’ reported that during October 17 and after A. Bukeykhanov was going to publish a newspaper in Kazakh and went to the steppe.

The Kazakh elite "Alash" originally planned to publish a newspaper in Zarechnaya Slobodka (a village near Semipalatinsk, which in spring 1917 was renamed Alash, where Kazakhs mainly lived - merchants, intellectuals and students). By this time in the Semipalatinsk, Omsk, Orenburg, Verny and other cities of the Steppe and Turkestan regions, charitable events, devoted, for example, to the work of great Abai and other popular poets and improvised singers have become a good tradition. They raised funds for the needs of Kazakh students studying in higher, secondary schools and madrassas not only in Russia, but also abroad, as well as for the publication of fiction, collections of oral folk art, textbooks, and manuals in the Kazakh language.

 Whilst the publication of the newspapers Serke (St. Petersburg, 1907), "Kazakh Gazeti" (Troitsk, 1907), "Kazakhstan" (Bukeev Horde, 1911-1913), or the magazine "Ayap" (Troitsk, 1911-1915) was the result of spontaneous and private initiative of one or a group of patriots among the educated and wealthy Kazakhs, the newspaper "Qazaq" was distinguished by reliable financing, thorough preparation and precise organizational work of its founders.

"Kazakh newspapers", "Kazakhstan" and "Ayap" magazine were closed mainly due to lack of funds. The financial solvency of the newspaper "Qazaq" is evidenced by the fact that during the period from February 1913 to March 1918, its permanent editor Ahmet Baitursynuly was repeatedly punished with various penalties in the form of monetary fines or arrest, from which he was released only under a cash deposit of several thousand royal rubles, and for such amounts, before the outbreak of World War I, it was possible to establish and publish several more newspapers.

 The first in the history of the Kazakh periodicals was undoubtedly the newspaper "Turkistan newspaper", published in 1870-1882 in Tashkent in the form of an appendix to the official press of the Turkestan governor-general - "Turkestan Gazeti". It was published four times a month in turn in Kazakh and Uzbek languages.

Six years after its closure, in 1888, another publication emerged - "Dala uyalayatynyn gazeti". It was published at the Office of the Governor-General in Omsk until 1900 - as an annexe to the "Akmola, Semipalatinsk and Semirechinsky regional statements" under the name "Kirghiz Steppe Newspaper" and up to closing in 1902 - as an annexe to the Akmola regional newspaper. According to the official version, these two editions are the progenitors of the Kazakh periodical press. Later, other publications emerged. Especially, during the first revolution of 1905-1907. For example, the newspapers Serke and "Kazakh newspaper", which, having played no significant role in the social and political life of the Kazakh steppes in the colonial period, disappeared.

In 1911, two more prominent publications came out: the newspaper "Kazakhstan", which, thanks to the financial support of the Azerbaijani oil tycoon, millionaire Zeynelgabiden Tagiyev, was founded by Shangerei Bokeyuly, a graduate of the cadet corps, poet and the enlightener, and the magazine Ayap, which was followed by poet, jurist, public figure Zhihansha Serdalin.

Unlike the newspaper "Kazakhstan", which was closed by the authorities after the publication of the 15th issue, the magazine "Ayqap", published in 500 copies, which had a circle of regular readers and subscribers from among the steppe aristocracy - clans and chingizids, lasted much longer.

Difference of the magazine Ayqap from all early editions, especially the newspapers Turkistan ulyayat gazety and Dala ualayaty gazety, which were the printed organs of the colonial administration of the Russian Empire, was that it reflected the cultural (literary) movement and the development of the public thoughts of the Kazakh people of the early twentieth century. According to scientists from the University of Sorbonne, Ayqap was published on 20 pages, with a beautiful design, thanks to a great team of historians, teachers, linguists and poets and made a significant contribution to the development of literature and the formation of the Kazakh literary language; giving special importance to national culture, the magazine devoted a large number of studies to folk art and ethnography of Kazakhs.

The first of his scientific works on Kazakh linguistics, Akhmet Baytursynuly, was published in Ayqap. But after the release of the 83rd issue in 1915, the first Kazakh cultural and educational magazine "Ayqap" was closed due to financial difficulties.

Meanwhile, the Kazakh steppe needed a completely different seal that would express the interests of the whole society and lead the Kazakh people to education, culture and freedom. With the publication of the newspaper "Qazaq", as well as the opening of the charitable, educational and cultural-educational partnership "Azamat" ("Citizen") at its editorial office, the entire previous experience was taken into account as much as possible. By 1914, the newspaper "Qazaq" from the national one had already turned into an international one - it was being contributed by Kazakhs from China, Kirghiz of Pishpek county, Karakalpaks from Syrdarya region and many others. The Association also contributed to the development of education and enlightenment, published and distributed textbooks and literature in the Kazakh language, which Kazakh schools and madrassas desperately needed. In addition, it supported Kazakh youth from the poor, trained in secondary and higher religious and secular educational institutions. The purpose of the Azamat partnership, according to A. Baytursynuly and M. Dulatuly, was not the accumulation, not the enrichment of its members, but the promotion of a useful for a social cause, and it was not a merchant's entrepreneurial society, but civilian.

The main income source of the Azamat partnership was a membership fee of 100 rubles. And at first A. Bukeikhan, publishers-editors A. Baysursynuly and M. Dulatuly, R. Marsekuly and other representatives of the "Alash" movement were members of the ranks of the members. Later, well-known merchants, cattle-breeders and simply conscious citizens, intellectuals and even students replenished their ranks. Among them, Karazhan Ukibayuly, Shangerei Bukeyuly, Salyka Omaruly, Ahmet brothers and Mustafa Orazayuly, the sons of the bai Maman-Turysbek, Seitbattal and Esengul, Sadyk Utegenuly are worthy of special mention. And their names should have been inscribed in the domestic history next to the names of the famous figures of the movement, the party and the Autonomy of Alash of the early 20th century. Alash intellectuals, the new wave steppe elite, which sought to preserve and develop the original culture of the Kazakhs by modernizing Japan's experience, to restore the national statehood, in its struggle, relied on the support of cattle breeders and industrial merchants. The contribution of the business elite to the development of Kazakh culture, the revival of national statehood on the territory of the former Kazakh Khanate, liquidated in 1822-1824, but finally dissolved in 1847, was very solid. Scientists of the Society for the Study of Central Asia of Oxford University called this period from 1905 to 1930 a "cultural revolution" with the active participation of the steppe aristocracy.

While representatives of the national-religious movement represented the previous periodicals, the newspaper "Qazaq" was founded and published by "Westerners". According to the French researchers Alexander Bennigsen and Chantal Lemercier-Kelkage, all leading Kazakh leaders were present among its employees, including M. Zhumabayev, M. Dulatov, H. Dosmukhamedov, E. Omarov, A. Zhundybaev, M. Tynyshpaev, and many others. It was here that A. Bukeikhan, A. Baytursynuly, S. Khudaiberdyuly and others published their research works on history, literary criticism, education, science, agriculture and the economy as a whole. "Qazaq" has reached a very high scientific level, according to French scientists from the Sorbonne.

Khalil Dosmukhameduly, one of the leaders of the Western department of the government of Alash Orda gave an objective assessment of the role and significance of the newspaper. In his testimony to the OGPU investigator on September 14, he stated that the newspaper had a certain national-democratic program, managed to rally around itself a significant part of the teaching and students of the Tatar madrasahs Galiya and Khusainia and others in the cities of Orenburg and Ufa; produced a significant number of brochures, books of cultural and educational nature. A significant part of the intelligentsia with secondary and higher education joined the "Qazaq". A center appeared that united and directed the layer of the Kazakh population that was awakened by the first Russian revolution. The newspaper gave leading articles on the political life of the Kazakhs, opened discussions and was the unifier of the political thought of that time.

Even the emblem of the newspaper "Qazaq" testified about the goals and tasks of its founders. By its symbolism, the emblem, the newspaper depicted, it would seem, an ordinary yurt, but in which the founders of the first national edition have invested deep meaning, including their strategic goal. Firstly, the yurt was a symbol, a prototype of the creative people and the national Kazakh state. In the emblem of the tundik (roof) of the yurt is open, and the door, represented by the word "Qazaq" in the Arabic script ("tote jazu"), is tightly closed. Usually, "tundik" opens for sunlight. In the emblem, the "tundik" is open to the West, which symbolizes that it is open to Western education, science and technology.

Despite the availability of resources, including financial resources, the first attempt to publish the Kazakh newspaper in 1905-1906 failed. The Governor-General of the Steppe Region, Nikolai Sukhotin, having beaten off to St. Petersburg a false telegram about the "riot of the steppe Kazakhs" and having achieved the martial law since January 1906, ordered the arrest of the initiators of this undertaking - A. Bukeikhan first, Baytursynuly, Zh. Akbayuly, M. Dulat, and after being released from prison, they should be expelled from the territory of the Steppe region. The newspaper under the calling for the colonial authorities name "Qazaq" came out more than 7 years later. According to archival sources, permission for the publication of a Kazakh newspaper under this name was given to Ahmed Ishan Orazayuly as publisher and Ahmet Baytursynuly as an editor on January 5, 1913.

The newspaper, however, began to be released not in Zarechnaya Slobodka, Omsk or Karkaraly. Its first number, printed in the printing house of the "Karimov, Khusainova and Co", came out on February 2, 1913, in Orenburg. "Qazaq" first was being printed as a weekly. But ahead of events, I note that since 1915 it has already started to go out twice a week, and by the end of 1916 the readers themselves, in connection with the rapid development of events, began to demand the publication of the newspaper at least three times a week. The general atmosphere of that time accurately conveys the article "To the anniversary of the Kazakh newspaper "Qazaq", published in St. Petersburg newspaper: "The Kazakh (in the original" Kirghiz") region with a population of six million, he wrote in this article, is among the others reputed to be dark and ignorant, being part of the European state - Russia, leading a peculiar and patriarchal way of life until the twentieth century - the century the luxuriant flowering of European culture and civilization, almost does not have a seal in its native language. And now, in this situation, on the initiative of several people, the first issue of the Kazakh newspaper "Qazaq" was published in Orenburg on February 2 last year. The editor of the newspaper is a public figure, known all over the Kazakh territory and deeply instilled by the Kazakh people, instinctively national poet Ahmed Baitursunov.

The newspaper is still weekly. The appearance of this newspaper was a very welcome and bright phenomenon in the life of the Kazakhs and the day of February 2 for us - the Kazakhs will remain forever a historic day. "Kazakh" appeared in the white light at the very moment when the everyday life of the Kazakh people was a radical turning point and when the issues of life and death were raised abruptly. And "Qazaq", as the only regional body, had, and probably will have, its purpose: to illuminate various aspects of the life of the vast Kazakh territory, disseminate useful information from various fields of science, art and technology among the population, and familiarize oneself with the cultural, political and economic life our fatherland - Russia and other nations of the world ... In a short time, it became a popular newspaper in the steppe, so that its numbers penetrated all corners and remote backwoods of the Kazakh region. There was a rather large number of subscribers, among whom there are Kazakhs, even the "Celestial Empire". The population met and very sympathetically, became interested in it and supported it in every possible way, both morally and materially.

The Kazakh intelligentsia: writers, lawyers, doctors, teachers and all the students, took the hottest and active part in it. Each of them covered a particular life question of the Kazakh people in their speciality. The annual activity of "Qazaq" is quite large: the population not only received theoretical information from various branches of science, art and technology, but also in many places, on the initiative of this newspaper, in fact, long cherished dreams were actually realized: national schools were opened, scholarships were established, small credit partnerships arose, a premium appeared, and the exchange of thoughts on different vital issues was alive and vigorously.

The publishers and authors of the newspaper "Qazaq", led by Alikhan, immediately went to the regions in order to conduct broad explanatory work among the people. Their arguments were convincing. First of all, a virtually unarmed uprising against the modern regular troops of the belligerent empire, and even carrying heavy losses on the fronts of World War I, is not only counterproductive but also disastrous for the people. Secondly, the Kazakhs are called not for war, but for logistical work. And thirdly, the youth will see a completely different world, a different level of life and economy, modern weapons and conditions of war. This experience can be useful in the very near future (implying the coming revolution and the formation of national autonomy), the leaders of "Alash" explained to their fellow tribesmen. And they managed to convince the once free and proud nomads to obey the decree of the Russian tsar and release the jigits from 19 to 43 years to the front, promising them to be with them.

Indeed, from the end of 1916 to June 1917, a large group of supporters of the newspaper "Kazakh", headed by Alikhan Bukeikhan, calling on the aid of Kazakh students studying in Russian universities and madrassas, voluntarily was in the rear of the Western Front near Minsk and Kiev to ensure security, decent conditions of work and life of Kazakh dzhigits in the frontline zone. For this purpose Alikhan Bukeikhan under Zemgore opened the "Foreign department" near Minsk, heading it until mid-March 1917, until he was invited to Petrograd by the Provisional Government and appointed his commissioner in the Turgai region. Zemgor, in July 1915 the United committee of the All-Russian Zemsky and City Unions, was created to help the government organize the supply of the army on the fields of the First World War. In the Foreign Department of Zemgor, the Kazakh elite "Alash" and students who, for the sake of selfless service to the interests of the people, dropped out of school or took an academic vacation, risking their lives under daily German artillery bombardments and bombardments served as instructors, translators, doctors, paramedics and mullahs. The February Revolution of 1917, the elite "Alash" and its followers in the face of students met in the rear of the Western Front. It was the newspaper "Kazakh" that first informed the people about the fall of the autocracy, having published in the issue of March 16, 1917, the appeal "To the Kazakhs, free citizens of the Renewable Russia!" Signed by Alikhan, Mirzhakyp, Sultanbek, Nazir and others. "The sun of freedom, equality and fraternity has risen for all the peoples of Russia," it was said in this address, sent from Minsk by telegraph. It was mentioned that it was necessary for the Kazakhs to organize themselves to support the new system and the new government. It is necessary to work in contact with all nationalities supporting the new system. Kazakhs should prepare for the constituent assembly and identify worthy candidates. We urge you to give up Kazakh disputes and domestic squabbles. The slogan of the people is unity and justice! Hastily discuss the agrarian question. Our slogan is "a democratic republic" and the land is for those who derive income from it through cattle breeding and farming. Do not be afraid of anyone except God! Act fairly. Support the Provisional Government. Assist the Commissioner of the Ministry of Food and our workers at the front.

The newspaper also organized the first All-Kazakh Congress, held on April 2-8, 1917, in Orenburg under the sign of the Congress of Kazakhs of the Turgai region; in July, the official First All-Kazak Congress, which decided to create a national horse police, which meant the national regular army, and the first the Kazakh national party, later called the "Alash" party, and in November 1917 ensured its triumphant victory in the elections to the All-Russian Constituent Assembly, and on December 5-13 - truly historically the All-Cause Kurultai sky, formed the national-territorial autonomous republic Alash and generate its highest executive branch of government - the Council of All-Kazakh Alash Orda.

This was the role and historical mission of the newspaper "Qazaq". A popular national newspaper, which for more than 5 years could not be closed by the authorities of the colonial imperial empire, was closed by Soviet power in the person of the first Kazakh communist Bolshevik, Alibi Dzhangeldin, at the very first steps into the Kazakh steppe. Exactly 100 years ago, at the beginning of 1918, having seized and established Soviet power in Orenburg, Alibi Dzhangildin arranged a hunt for the founders of the newspaper "Kazakh". But by that time the Government of Alash Orda, according to the Decree of the All-Kazakh Kurultay of December, had been relocated from Orenburg to the city of Alash. The Kazakh Red Commissioner in revenge defeated the editorial office of the newspaper "Qazaq", confiscating all her property acquired by the efforts of the entire Kazakh people, and distributed it to other, but already Soviet publications in different parts of the Kazakh steppe. 

Of course, it was issued in all parts of Kazakhstan, then the Steppe and Turkestan Territories, or nine regions, one province and a number of Volgas of Altai (now East Kazakhstan Oblast). ‘Qazaq’ was issued by the Kazakhs of the Bukhara and Khiva Emirates (only the states ruled by the Chingizids - direct descendants of Genghis Khan), Fergana, and also Kazakh and Kyrgyz students who studied in Russian universities - from Warsaw, Kiev, Moscow to Kazan, from Petrograd (until August 1914 Petersburg) to Tomsk, as evidenced by their numerous letters published on its pages. It became a national publication of almost 6.5 million people (according to the government newspaper "Yenbekshi Kazakh" (now "Egemen Kazakhstan").

 

MINUAROV I.B.

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