From a land 90 times Belgium: Kazakhstan #2 Natural wealth attractive to Russia as well as Europe


Dungan girls (coming from descendants of Hui that came to Central Asia) in Shor-Tyube, Kazakhstan

In 1975 the Kazakh S.S.R. was made up of 19 regions including 82 cities and 183 semi-urban settlements, a total population estimated at 14.170.000.
The Kazakh people then were mainly Muslims, who spoke a Turkic language but were Mongol in physical type — though were never exclusive inhabitants of Kazakhstan, and at the 1970 census they made up only about 33 percent of the population; Russians constituted 42 percent, Ukrainians just over 7, and Germans (deported from the Soviet to Central Asia in 1941) nearly 7. The remainder consisted of small percentages of Tatars, Uzbeks, Belorussians, Uyghurs, Dungans, Koreans, and others. At the census of 1970, slightly more than half of the total population (but only about 26% of Kazakhs) lived in urban areas.

In the first third of the 20th century the main immigration took place. More than a million had come to the area by 1916 and remained. Large numbers of Russians, Ukrainians, Belorussians, Mordvins, Germans, Bulgarians, Poles, Jews, and Tatars, most of them Muslim, moved in, first from the tsarist and then the Soviet west.
Koreans were transported by Joseph Stalin’s orders from the Soviet Far East to Central Asia.

Further immigration occurred mainly between 1954 and 1956, as a result both of industrialisation and additional settlers coming from the Virgin and Idle Lands program.

After World War II there was a rapid industrialisation, bringing people to move to the urban areas, which at that time caused an urban housing problem.
A notable feature of the urbanisation process has been the fact that it involved an influx of people from other republics rather than a movement (of young people, for example) from the countryside, where a modernisation took place, which demanded skilled, well-educated manpower and in the mid-1950s, brought forwards an exodus from the towns to the Virgin Lands areas.

Актюбинская область. Горы Мугоджары. Берёзовая роща.jpg

Mugodzhary Mountains. Birch Grove. – Aktobe Region of northwestern Kazakhstan

By the availability of natural resources, Kazakstan could thrive, having more than 90 different minerals been discovered in the republic. Copper, in central Kazakhstan and the Aktyubinsk oblast, plus its nickel, cobalt and chromium ores of the Mughalzhar (Mugodzhar) Hills.

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Boundary between the Dzungaria region of China and the Zhetysu region of Kazakhstan

In the Rudny Altai there is the lead, zinc, and silver, also been found in the Dzhungarian Alatau, and the spurs of the Tien Shan, in southern Kazakhstan, the Karatau (Qarataū); tungsten and tin in the Kolbin Ridge and the southern Altai; titanium, manganese, and antimony in the central regions; vanadium in the south; and gold in the north and east are the most important.

Qaraghandy, Kazakhstan. – Photo: Wassily

Iron ore was worked in the Karaganda and Kustanay oblasti, and an extensive iron-ore basin has been prospected in the east; phosphorite deposits lie beneath the Karatau Mountains, and borates and other salts are worked in the deposits at Inderborsky. The leading coalfields lie in the Karaganda, Turgay, Ekibastuz, and Maykuben basins, while the Mangyshlak Peninsula and the Caspian Depression are promising regions for oil and gas. The republic also contained other reserves, ranging from asbestos to molybdenum, while its building materials include marble and limestone.

As you can see, lots of materials of interest for Europe as well as Russia.

When the country was part of the Soviet Union according to the constitution of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, adopted on March 24, 1937, all power in the republic belonged to working people, with a socialist system, based on state ownership of the means of production, forming its economic foundation.
The highest legislative body, which possessed no real power in the Soviet political system, was the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh S.S.R., selected (no opposing candidates competed with a single list) every four years and meeting for a short period semi-annually. At that time its members selected a Presidium, composed of a chairman, three deputy chairmen, a secretary, and 15 members, to function between the widely spaced sessions of the Supreme Soviet.
Local government operated through oblast, district, city, village, and aul (Kazakh village) soviets, selected for two-year terms.
The republican Supreme Soviet also generated the Council of Ministers, which coordinated and supervised the work of republican ministries and agencies. The chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh S.S.R. served also as a vice chairman of the union-wide Supreme Soviet, which met in Moscow, and the chairman of the republican Council of Ministers also served in the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union.

Political life in the republic was largely determined by the Communist Party authorities in Moscow, acting via the more than 610.000-member Communist Party of Kazakhstan, a republican branch (there was no Kazakh Communist Party as such) of the cpsu (Communist Party of the Soviet Union). Substantially less than half of that membership in 1972 was Kazakh. The Komsomol (Young Communist League) of Kazakhstan had more than 1.600.000 members, including many Slavs and other non-Kazakhs.
The trade unions, with a membership approaching 5.500.000, did not, as in the West, have the right to strike, to picket, or otherwise energetically to protect labour’s interests in relations with management.

After the Soviet Union or with the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union, the Komsomol disbanded in 1991.

In the second half of last century, the children could get free tuition, which brought a high percentage of literacy. In sparsely populated areas, there were boarding-type secondary schools for pupils whose homes were far away. Evening secondary schools for young workers and farmers were also widely attended. Vocational education was also available at numerous specialised secondary and technical schools. Russian men and women in the republic holding college degrees were near parity, with 4.4 percent of males and 4 percent of females over the age of nine recorded as having graduated from college.

With the rising higher and secondary educational level of Kazakhs, in addition to the increase in the urban segment of the Kazakh population, new and higher expectations became general among this dynamic nationality. The anticipated growth in the Kazakh S.S.R. population resulting from further Slavic immigration appeared likely to increase tension over securing employment in white-collar or skilled, desirable (higher paying) jobs as more and more educated and trained Kazakhs from their rapidly growing population insistently entered the industrial and management employment market.

The original Kazakhs were killed in repressions or fell victim to famines during World War I and again under Soviet rule; still others fled with their herds to Xinjiang in China or to Afghanistan, and the remaining nomads were eventually settled on collective farms.

The Soviet Union considered Kazakhstan as part of their European continent or constituent (union). Today we still see that Russia would not like to lose that constituent (union), like it does not want to lose the other largest on the continent after Russia, Ukraine.

When the Soviet Union began to unravel in 1990–91, the Ukrainian parliament chose for sovereignty (July 16, 1990) and then outright independence (August 24, 1991), a move that was confirmed by popular approval in a plebiscite (December 1, 1991).

Kazakhstan during the 1990s started the privatisations of state-owned industries and wanted to enable free movement of labour and capital among Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan and established coordinated economic policies.
The union gradually gave way to what became the Eurasian Economic Union, in 2015, consisting of Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.

President Vladimir Putin had embarked on an aggressive campaign to rebuild the pride and assertiveness of the Russian people, which he said was lost in the breakup of the Soviet Union.

“The prospective union will not be a new U.S.S.R. or a replacement for the CIS, but an effective link between Europe and the Asia Pacific region, an association with close coordination of the economic and currency policies,”

Putin wrote in an article for Moscow-based daily Izvestiya.

“The establishment of a customs union and common economic space lays the foundation for a future Eurasian economic union,”

he stressed.

“We set ourselves an ambitious task: to reach a higher integration level.”

“It is an open project,”

the prime minister said, adding that

“other partners are welcome to join it.”

The CIS, a loose association of former Soviet republics, consisted of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Ukraine had not ratified the CIS Charter but participated in its activities.

Kazakhstan now presents itself as a unitary republic with a bicameral legislature consisting of a Senate and an Assembly (Mazhilis).  Its constitution lists numerous rights and freedoms of citizens and provides a mechanism by which these rights and freedoms can be, and are, severely restricted by law.

Although ninety-eight members of the Assembly are elected from population-based constituencies by universal adult suffrage and nine members are elected by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, there might also be a president-appointed body intended to represent the interests of the several ethnic groups in Kazakhstan, but despite the democratic language in the constitutions of 1993 and 1995, in the early years of independence Kazakhstan became increasingly authoritarian.

Касым-Жомарт Токаев (28-09-2021) (cropped 3).jpg

Tokayev in September 2021

Officially, Kazakhstan may be called a democratic, secular, constitutional unitary republic. Since 12 June 2019 the Kazakh Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich Tokayev came in power, due to the resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev, who led the country from 1991 to 2019 and resigned on 19 March 2019 after 29 years in office.

He had posted to the Soviet embassy in Beijing where he served until 1991 as Second Secretary, First Secretary, and Counsellor. In 1991, he enrolled at the Soviet Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Moscow for a training course for senior diplomats.

QDT logo.png

Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan – Қазақстанның демократиялық таңдауы – a movement advocating for reforms and seeking to take power by democratic and legal methods.

Over time, President Nazarbayev had began to oppose the work of people who wanted more freedom and criticised the corruption and nepotism of the president and his clique. Businessman and a former minister Mukhtar Ablyazov, with Galymzhan Zhakiyanov, who was the akim of Pavlodar Region, deputy premier, Oraz Jandosov, deputy defense minister Zhannat Yertlesova, deputy finance minister Kairat Kelimbetov, leading businessmen, Nurzhan Subkhanberdin as head of the Kazkommertz bank, and Bulat Abilov founded Qazaqstannıñ demokratïyalıq tañdawı, QDT, the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan.

The QDT was disbanded in February 2005 before the presidential elections, but got recreated on 20 April 2017.
According to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE),

“significant irregularities were observed on election day, including cases of ballot box stuffing, and a disregard of counting procedures meant that an honest count could not be guaranteed.”

“There were widespread detentions of peaceful protesters on election day in major cities”,

said the OSCE in their Statement of Preliminary Findings and Conclusions. {“Statement of Preliminary Findings and conclusions”. Archived from the original on 17 June 2019. Retrieved 16 June 2019.}

There were observers and several press representatives from European and American countries who could notice that people got detained and that the votes for the presidential election were rigged. Due to concerns about the fate of the protesters, the OSCE observers stayed in Kazakhstan for another week.

Strangely enough, Tokayev was elected in 2008 as a Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) where he served the post until being relieved on 15 April 2011 after being appointed as Director-General of the United Nations. He also got the post of Under Secretary-General, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva and Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Conference on Disarmament. And came to serve as Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament. He was also the Designated Official for safety and security of U.N. personnel for Switzerland. All posts whereof one would think a liberal open-minded person would receive such positions and not someone who had dictatorial ticks.

Perhaps he really started off with good intentions but got carried away by the power he could have. In his first month of the presidency, Tokayev made several reorganisations and appointments within the administration and the ministerial cabinet with some top officials such as Presidential Administration head Bakhytzhan Sagintayev and National Security Committee chairman Karim Massimov keeping their posts while others being reshuffled or forced to step down.

On 15 March 2020, so-called due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kazakhstan, President Tokayev signed a Decree on the introduction of a state of emergency in the country. According to him, this was a special decree on measures to ensure the stability of the state functioning, but with it, he tried to silence people and the press and find a way to expand his political influence or a growing feud between the ruling elite.

Though he seemed to have very good plans and promised a lot to the people of Kazakhstan, the last few days he left us wondering what he really was willing to give the people. Because now it looks more like he wants to be friends and equal in a position like his political brother or comrade Putin.

Several months ago, he pledged to protect the interests of every citizen and consider any proposals and initiatives that would be put forward by political and community leaders, but these past days he was accusing the people of going with people from abroad aiming for a coup, and therefore he allowed the army to shoot at his own people.

For post-Soviet autocrats, the almost complete collapse of state authority in the face of nationwide protests in Kazakhstan has now become the stuff of nightmares. Moscow is watching closely as its former Soviet neighbour faces an almost complete collapse of state authority.



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From a land 90 times Belgium: Kazakhstan #3 Kazakhstan in the grip of a dictator

About Marcus Ampe

Retired dancer, choreographer, choreologist Founder of the Dance impresario office and archive: Danscontact-Dansarchief plus the Association for Bible scholars, the Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" and "From Guestwriters" and creator of the site "Messiah for all". - Gepensioneerd danser, choreograaf, choreoloog. Stichter van Danscontact-Dansarchief plus van de Vereniging voor Bijbelvorsers, de Lifestyle magazines "Stepping Toes" en "From Guestwriters" en maker van de site "Messiah for all".
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8 Responses to From a land 90 times Belgium: Kazakhstan #2 Natural wealth attractive to Russia as well as Europe

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