The Political History of Kazakhstan


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Beginning in the 18th century, Russia arrived on the steppes of Kazakhstan. In the 1730s, the Kazakh tribes of the so-called Lower as well as Middle Zhuzes (affiliations), who wanted safety from warlike Dzungars, became the first to willingly submit to the control of the Russian authoritarian governments. They had to battle the Kingdom of Kokand for possession of the Senior Zhuz, but in the second half of the nineteenth century, the area was ceded to Russian Empire, which stayed till the latter’s collapse in 1917.

The Kazakh-inhabited regions saw a significant national-territorial reorganization during the early days of Soviet rule, with multiple names, boundaries, and capital changes. For example, the Kazakhs experienced three capitals between 1920 and 1929: Kyzyl-Orda, Alma-Ata, and Orenburg. Only after the Kazakh Independent Soviet Socialist State was formally expelled from the Soviets as well as elevated to the status of a Union republic inside the USSR did organizational and territorial stability emerge.

The Soviet Union’s collectivization policy, which involved turning individual peasant farmlands into a team while ignoring the complexities of Kazakh life, compelled the conversion of nomadic tribes to sedentary, and a subsequent drought resulted in the worst starvation in the nation’s history in 1931–1922. One and five million people have died, and another 200,000 moved to the nearby countries of Iran, Afghanistan, and China according to different estimates.

Kazakhstan’s literacy level was under 5% at the time of the demise of the Russian Empire, however by 1939 it had increased to over 70%, making the Soviet government’s mission to end illiteracy nationwide more intelligent and significant for Kazakhstan. There were about 40,000 students enrolled in the republic’s 20 institutions and more than 100 secondary schools on the day of World War II.

The Soviet Union deported entire populations, including Poles as well as Ukrainians from the West, Chinese as well as Koreans from Sakhalin or even Primorye in the Russian, Germans of the Volga province, and numerous others. In the 1930s and 1940s, the vast but thinly populated Kazakhstan had become the primary refuge for these deported populations. After only Stalin died in 1953 did the exiles begin to receive their justifications and return home.

During this same era, the Kazakh SSR started to emerge as the center of the Soviet Union’s industrialization. Both light and heavy industries experienced rapid expansion, factories and plants were constructed, and mineral reserves were mined and exploited. For example, just after Kuzbass from Siberia as well as the Donbas from Ukraine, the Karaganda mining basin grew to be the biggest in the nation. Thousands of hundreds of workers from all around the nation were sent there because the Kazakh SSR was understaffed.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union, which started in the 1980s, was closely watched by the Kazakh SSR’s government. The republic had to exercise extraordinary caution due to the strong economic relations it had with Soviet Russia as well as the reality that now the native Kazakh people were greatly outnumbered by non-Kazakhs (6.5 million total of 16 million). Thus, Kazakhstan was indeed the final Soviet state to declare its freedom from the USSR on December 16, 1991.

1991 was a significant year in world geopolitics history. That was the year the first Gulf War broke out, initiating the long-term American military engagement in the Middle East. Vietnam and Cambodia reached a peace agreement the same year, ending a war that lasted for ten years. As Yugoslavia broke apart, fighting between Serbia and the remaining Yugoslav republics ignited a new conflict that lasted the remainder of the century. In 1991, India likewise gave up its socialist and self-sufficient principles, and it began opening up to foreign involvement for the first time. 1991 also saw the dissolution of the Soviet Union. This was possibly the single most significant event that year.

With the advent of Mikhail Gorbachev, events had already started to alter inside the Soviet Union several years prior. When he assumed office, Gorbachev swore to uphold the Soviet Union and its socialist values, but he believed that major reform was required. By granting the Soviet individuals more freedoms—the so-called “glasnost” policy—Gorbachev sought to bring about social and political reform efforts in his nation, while his “perestroika” strategy attempted a thorough reorganization of the system of politics and economy to bring the Soviet Union on par financially with the West. Gorbachev refused to step in as a large number of Eastern Bloc’s once-satellite governments, including Poland, Romania, and Hungary began to oppose the communist regime.

On August 19, 1991, a few party reactionaries, KGB agents, and military leaders attempted an idiotic, badly planned, and badly executed coup, feeling intimidated by Gorbachev’s lack of action and living in fear of the implosion of the Communist Party. This unintentionally accelerated the movement to dismantle the Soviet Union. Gorbachev kept his position as party secretary general but resigned within five days. In the years that followed, republics quickly started to declare their independence and quit the Union. On the day Gorbachev died, Ukraine proclaimed its independence. Belarus following the following day.

The Constitutional Law just on Independence of the Kazakh Republic was adopted by Kazakhstan on December 16, 1991. Kazakhstan marked the tenth anniversary of its statehood in 2001.

Being independent, Kazakhstan is an extremely young nation. But in this brief time, the nation has experienced significant institutional transformations. Kazakhstan’s citizens chose a presidential system of government. A judicial process was formed, a two-chamber Senate was founded, and a new capital was chosen. Fundamental national laws about economic, and social security, including security, were passed. The creation of executive branches like the Naval forces, Republican Guard, Border Troops, and Armed Services occurred later.

First off, the president enjoys widespread support. Since independence, life has gotten better overall for so many Kazakhs: Kazakhstan’s per capita GDP increased from $1,647 by 1991 and $13,172 by 2013, placing it in the same middle-income category as Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. Kazakhstan has hosted important international athletic events like the Asian Winter Olympics and served as the OSCE’s chairman in 2011. Nazarbayev built a brand-new capital city called Astana, and so many Kazakhs take pride in their young nation’s rising political image. Kazakhstanis are confident in the country’s continued security beneath Nazarbayev.