If a nation does not know its history, if the country loses its history, then its citizens have nowhere to go.
Mirzhakyp Dulatuly

Ethnocultural processes in Kazakhstan: history and present

Ethnocultural processes in Kazakhstan: history and present  - e-history.kz

From 1991 the people of Kazakhstan began to count a new modern times, having declared the independence. Declaration of state independence is complex political process that has the features and difficulties including Kazakhstan. Preservation of the civil world and stability during the obtaining the Independence, as Kazakhstan the multi-ethnic state could become a problem for Kazakhstan. However, fortunately Kazakhstan could avoid a sad fate, like to be cast into fratricidal wars, of our neighbours in the CIS countries, and today we can be proud of stability and tranquillity in the international relations. But in the first years of independence and now search of optimum conditions of coexistence of ethnoses is a serious problem for the country leaders.

Modern Kazakhstan builds the future on a strong basis of consolidation of ethnoses, but it is necessary to remember also how the interethnic conflicts are dangerous. The tragedy of Karabakh, Tajikistan, Transnistria, Ossetia, Abkhazia and other «hot spots» of the planet are bitter experience of the conflicts and international wars of the last years. As shows historical experiment, unfortunately, the international community is limited in opportunities of the solution of these problems and therefore the people living in this territory and the leaders of these states have to solve them.

On an outcome of the 20th century multinational Kazakhstan confirmed aspiration to an international consent and civil stability. This stability is a result of a laborious work of the country leaders which could find approaches and strategy to the solution of questions of national policy. A basis of this strategy is continuous search of compromises, expansions of zones of a consent and trust between the people. The special part in it is assigned to scientific historians, ethnologists, culturologists who studying and lighting history and culture of the people of Kazakhstan, pull together them, promote a cross-cultural exchange and integration of ethnoses.

Kazakhstan is the real median European-Asian country. In this quality it unites history, culture, religion of the East and West. Modern Kazakhstan is the homeland not only Kazakhs, but also many other people. According to all available data from Agency statistically, today in Kazakhstan lives more than 14 million 953 thousand people. In the beginning of 2000 in the republic was 7 million 485 thousand Kazakhs, 4 million 479 thousand 600 Russians, 353 thousand 400 Germans. Now in our country (except Kazakhs, Russians and Germans) representatives more than 130 ethnoses, each of which bears in itself(himself) culture, language, history of these people live here. Kazakhstan is really ethnographic «laboratory» of Eurasia. In this regard process of formation of multiethnic structure of the population of Kazakhstan is interesting and deeply dramatic.

During the Soviet power, Kazakhstan accepted the huge mass of the population. The total of the deported makes more than 2 million people. The first «stroke of bad luck» was transferred from higher than 200 thousand seaside Koreans who were settled in Kazakhstan and Central Asia.

Since the beginning of the Great Patriotic War, the Germans living in the Area of Volga region were moved to Kazakhstan. During 1943 — 1944, meskhitinets -Karachays, Bulgarians, Greeks, Armenians, Chechens, Ingushs, Kurds, the Crimean Tatars and Turks were deported to Kazakhstan. In total more than 506 thousand people moved to Kazakhstan during this period. All these unreasonable deportations, a label of «the unreliable people» made serious impact on the people of the USSR. The demographic situation proceeded to change and in the ambassador the military period, in the course a virgin soil of the epic and construction of large industrial complexes.

Losses which were suffered by the Kazakh people, estimated in millions of the dead for artificially created hunger, the compelled movement of hundreds of thousands of Kazakhs to the adjacent states. The policy of «Small October» and campaign for collectivization destroyed ecological and economic living conditions of the whole nation. Totalitarianism undertook a power and bloody way of modernization of economy and society which wasn’t unique. It is enough to remember the end of 19th — the beginning of the 20th centuries when the foundation of subsidence of Kazakhs, modernizations of ecology of ethnos, then, along with resettlement policy of tsarist regime. In many respects processes of evolution and adaptation of ethnocultures were regulated by market conditions.

It is necessary to notice that this process proceeded not so harmful for the Kazakh ethnos. The people could always find a common language. Here an assessment of the journalist A. Tregubov, (contemporary) who visited Akmolinsk area: «Immigrants live in peace and friendship with Kyrgyz. I hadn’t to hear complaints of immigrants on the Kyrgyz. Cases of partial „tamyr“ (fraternization) between immigrants and Kyrgyz serve the best as the proof of possibility of kind life the Kyrgyz with the Russian person. Kyrgyz differ in hospitality, it is necessary to respect only their traditions». The arisen incidents were often a consequence of the thoughtless relation official bureaucracies, not wishing to be considered, with interests of new settlers and Kazakhs.

Reform of 1861, carried out in Russia, cancelled serfdom, but did not resolve the land question. Peasants received freedom, but did not receive the land. During this period Kazakhstan’s open spaces drew attention, both peasants, and imperial administrations, as a way of the solution of the land question in Russia. Certainly interests of the Kazakh people were not considered. Originally peasants illegally moved to Western Siberia and Kazakhstan. The first settlers who came to Akmolinsk area long before official permission of resettlements lodged on the Cossack and Kazakh earth, renting them. Spontaneous resettlement of peasants had mass character. Peasants went to Kazakhstan despite to a ban.
Spontaneous colonization was continued by resettlement policy that led to change of a demographic situation. During 1880–1917, the population of Akmolinsk area increased from 378,944 to 1million 193,889 people, i.e. 315, 6%.

Growth of number of the country population led to strengthening of value of settled agricultural culture in the north of Kazakhstan and noticeably affected traditional economy of Kazakhs who in the conditions of large-scale withdrawal of lands are compelled, were to adapt and change habitual farm patterns and lives. The Kazakh ethnos showed high culture of adaptation, toleration and peacefulness. For years of resettlements traditional movements of Kazakhs were broken.

In the same time value of trade between Russia and Kazakhstan grew and got stronger. Exhibition trade gained wide scope in the steppe. Kazakh and Russian population actively participated in fairs. Each of them exposed their agriculture products, as each of them had their own needs. During trade Russians and Kazakhs got acquainted with each other language and traditions. Business contacts outgrew to the commonwealth which striking example is «tamyrstvo». Tamyrstvo a special type of the relations between the Kazakh and the Russian or the representative of other nationality which arose on mutual understanding of each other needs as a necessary element in relationship with people of other nationality. Tamyrstvo became one of bases of friendship between Kazakh and Russian people.

Development of capitalism caused the increased demand for production of nomadic economy which in the conditions of resettlement policy and withdrawal of lands was transformed to semi-nomadic and settled economy.

Kazakhs optimum changed a ratio of specific structure of cattle in herd, having increased a livestock of cattle and horses. They engaged in mowing, preserving the cattle against adverse climatic conditions. Keeping the traditions, Kazakhs learned a lot of things about arrangement of settled life from peasants of immigrants. In close communicating with them, they got acquainted with construction of stationary dwellings, processing of the earth and care of a crop. Their circle of knowledge and skills on all economy, life and culture of peasants had been extended. Kazakhs in their turn passed on the experience of cattle breeding farm without which here in general it was impossible to live.

The agricultural farming introduced in the region had the difficulties. Crop failures in Kazakhstan were not so rare, it happened in 1888, 1890, 1892, 1897and in 1900–1901. In addition to unsatisfactory condition of country farming, periodic crop failures are explained by local conditions — a drought and emergence of a locust. Respectively, peasants also began to strengthen the farming, expanding its branches. They increased a cattle livestock, having not only draft animals.

Thus, at the end of the 19th beginning of 20th century in the territory of Kazakhstan two ancient cultures met, they interacted, built the market relations, modernizing farming in a new way developing the region.
One of the indicators of area’s development was increase in population density, formation of new villages. Alongside with formation of villages not only farming had been changed, but also traditional toponymic system. Newly formed villages and settlements received the names, appropriate for Slavic toponymic system.

Further events, the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century connected with colonization of Kazakhstan, brought contradictory changes. More and more Russian names of geographical objects began to enter to toponymic system of Kazakhstan.

In this regard, the process of inclusions of these names in toponymic system of Kazakhstan is interesting.
Often Russian names migrated together with the Russian ethnos during resettlements. The considerable role in creation of toponyms was played by type of moving of ethnoses. Even before mass settling of Kazakhstan «the Russian guarded» preferred to lodge at the lake. With resettlement to Kazakhstan movement of the Russian population to steppe lakes increased in mass scales that needs judgment as the cultural or economic and cultural phenomenon.

There is a question, settlements on the rivers and lakes is an ethnocultural phenomenon or reflects specifics of the West Siberian landscape. According to the researcher v. N. Kurilov «results of researches showed that Turkic peoples, Uyghurs, Samoyeds organized the subsystem of moving on the rivers, is more rare lakes, at the same time as „the Russian old residents“ — preferred small lakes and small rivers».

At formation of Slavic toponymic system big role was played by settlement. Considering toponyms of Northern Kazakhstan, we can allocate a number of signs on which toponyms were formed:
1) Villages — names which arose according to the name of local gidronim; White, Pure, Swan.
2) Villages — which names were transferred from Russia; the villages of Poltavka (immigrants from the Poltava province) the Resident of Astrakhan were so called (immigrants from the Astrakhan province).
3) Villages — names which comes from surnames of the first owners of the land plots. Names were so given villages; Asanovo, Shakhovskoye, Mikhailovka, etc.
4) Villages — names which corresponded to a district landscape; Borki, Beloglinka, or reflected religiousness of immigrants; Bogolyubovo, Svyatodukhovk.

For years of colonisations and in Soviet period toponymic system of Kazakhstan was enriched with a large number of the names inherent in various ethnoses. While studying toponymy of Kazakhstan it is simple to restore, what ethnoses were lived here, what social and economic and political issues were endured our society.

Now there is a renaming of settlements, areas of streets. Renaming happened for various reasons. It is necessary to pursue carefully and deliberately this policy as each name is our history.
In general, research of ethnocultural history of Kazakhstan is an actual sphere of application of forces of the creative intellectuals. Strong incentive to studying of ethnocultures is formation of the cultural centers in the region, activity of branches of Assembly of the people of Kazakhstan. In our opinion, research of ethnocultures has to happen not only to the scientific purpose, but also for mutual enrichment of cultures and assistance to high-quality growth of the interethnic relations and stability. Today, the cultural centers are in continuous contact with each other, promoting development of cultural values in culture of each people. Living, in the multiethnic state, Kazakhstan citizens have to seek for consolidation of various ethnic groups, building patriotism of independent Kazakhstan.
Patriotism is united beginning of citizens of all nationalities on the general Homeland. Ten years' experience of life in the conditions of independent Kazakhstan proves that the Kazakhstan patriotism as the principle and political process is made out in strategy of social unity of the republic in its ethnic variety. Equality of citizens of all nationalities, prosperity, the democratic, constitutional state — an ideal of Independent Kazakhstan.


1. Kazkakhstanskya Pravda, January 1, 2000.
2. A. Tregubov, Po novym mestam, 1913, p. 44
3. View of Akmolinsk region in 1894, Omsk 1895, p, 56
4. E. Pospelov, National politics of Soviet Union and toponymyc//Toponymyc and international relation, 1992, p.3
5. v. Kurilov, Lake and small lake in the picture of Russian old residents.// Problems of archaeology, ethnography, anthropology of Siberia and adjacent territories. Novosibirsk, 1998, p. 435–438.

N. Abuyov
(NKSU named after M. Kozybayev)