— How did Zhanibek and Kerei manage to establish a new state in the militant and free steppe?
— The establishment of the Kazakh Khanate became a result of the collapse of the Golden Horde. The White Horde stretching over the territory of modern Kazakhstan was the first state to separate from the Mongol Empire. The White Horde disintegrated into the two states — the Nogai Horde and Abulkhair’s Khanate. The Khan of the nomadic Uzbeks Abulkhair wished to rebuild an integral state and carried out a takeover of the power in the Nagai Horde. In 1457, Abulkhair was defeated by the Oirats. Then 500 tribes led by sultans of the Nogai Horde, Zhanibek and Kerei, separated from Abalkhair’s Khanate and moved to the area named Betpakdala. Later the sultans asked the permission of Mogulistan to settle the territory near the Chu River. At that time, Mogulistan suffered from attacks of the Oirats and Kyrghyz people. Yesenbuga, the ruler of Mogulistan, met the request of Zhanibek and Kerei to involve them and their people in protecting Mogulistan. In 1465, the Kazakh Khanate was recognised by neighbouring states.
— What do you think, why did the Kazakhs aspire to piece despite the tense situation in the steppe?
— In 1468, the Kazakhs settled the territory of modern Kazakhstan. After the death of Abulkhair Zhanibek and Kerei returned to their native lands. There was no need to fight for new land. And the nomadic way of life gave them an opportunity to get all necessary recourses. Additionally, the Kazakh Khanate was a type of civil society. There was no totalitarianism, authoritarian traditions and exploitation — slavery or serfdom, in the state. So, I believe that we became a peaceful nation because of all these facts.
— How could you explain the accession of the Junior Zhuz to the Russian Empire?
— The Great Silk Road had died by the 18th century and there was no the bridge between East and West anymore. Western countries established sea routes to have an access to Chinese and Indian goods. This resulted in the decline in trade and development of urban culture in our region. Fazlullah ibn Ruzbihan, one of the greatest Iranian political thinkers, said that to cook a dinner it was necessary to kill 500 camels at a fair in Sygnak. The rich Kazakhs had their own trading companies in the Russian Empire. But in the 18th century Kalmyks and Bashkirs, nations being parts of the Empire, started robbing and ruining enterprises of Kazakh merchants. Lohan Abulkhair ruling the Junior Zhuz asked the Russian Empire to resolve the situation. In response, Russia convinced him to accept Russian sovereignty. This decision was a peaceful way to economic development of the Kazakh Khanate.
— Thank you!