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Post-Soviet Kazakhstan: Nationalism and Language Issues

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The main outcome of the Kazakh language implementation policy in Kazakh society was a result of mutual infl uence and interconnection between three groups: the state, the Russian–speaking population and Kazakh nationalists. e claims on the part of each of these groups in pursuit of their goals were the following: Russians wanted to retain the status quo and reject Kazakh as the state language, Kazakh nationalists wanted to transform the whole state system into Kazakh and, thus, to provide more opportunities for the native population and the state's task was to achieve its own goal without extremes from both sides.

Was the state strong enough to promote its goals? During the first decade of independence, the state was able to use some claims from both the nationalists and the Russians to fulfi ll its tasks. As a result of these processes, the state created its own strategy premised on state nationalism. e paradox of post-Soviet Kazakhstan is its state nationalism which became the main obstacle in the way of the establishment of the Kazakh language in order to obtain the position of the only “homogenizing factor” in an ethnically and culturally diverse society.


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