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  • Author: Mukhtar Senggirbay x
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Ethnic Identity of Kazakhstani Russians: The Dynamics of Change and the Place of Russia as a Kin State

Abstract

The aim of this paper was to find out how the ethnic identity of Russians residing in Kazakhstan has changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. What qualities and characteristics distinguish ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan now? What are the main factors shaping their identity? To what extent Russians see aligned with their homeland and with the mainstream Kazakh society. What is the role of Russia in promoting a sense of attachment to the homeland? The case of Kazakhstani Russians was analyzed applying the various methods of qualitative research, including surveys, in-depth interviews, content analysis of the publications, and the speeches of political figures and activists. In addition, the methods of participant observation helped in understanding the cultural differentiation of the Russian religious organizations in Kazakhstan. The research revealed the significant changes in the identity patterns of ethnic Russians in Kazakhstan, which resulted from the process of consolidation of the vigorous state-protected ethnic Kazakh identity. Losing the previous dominant position in demography, the Russians bowed to the inevitable Kazakhification of the society. The change in the language preferences shows that the new generation of Russians is gradually accepting the new trend – Kazakh–Russian bilingualism – which is being promoted and implemented by the government of Kazakhstan and by the overwhelmingly ethnocratic Kazakh political elite.

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