Language politics and nationalism in post-soviet Kazakhstan : an analysis
Date of Issue2017-03-27
S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies
In modern times, the key to nation-building in a multi-ethnic country lies in the formation of a national identity, which often cannot circumvent the task of constructing a common language. After a quarter of century of independence, Kazakhstan, the largest and economically strongest former Soviet republic in Central Asia, still faces the tasks of de-Russification and reducing the lingering impact of the Russian language on its society. This dissertation investigates language politics in relation to nation-building in Kazakhstan in the post-Soviet era. It provides background information and examines the major problems in the formation of national identity in the multi-lingual Kazakhstani society. It analyzes Kazakhstan’s language policies since 1987, and assesses the impact on the promotion of the Kazakh language and the status of Russian language. The main finding of the dissertation is that the unsolved issue of national language remains as a critical challenge to overall formation of a post-Soviet national identity in Kazakhstan, which is of the potential to inflict broader conflicts between the Kazakh majority and Russian minority populations. The authorities in Kazakhstan have made their effort to promote the Kazakh language as a state language. However, Russian language is still dominating in all spheres of social and even political life. Unless the Kazakhstan state can find a way to inspire and promote social solidarity and cohesion beyond linguistic terms, the dichotomy of Kazakh versus Russian can continue to delay nation-building processes in the country.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Political science