Multicultural Kazakhstan

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The uniqueness of Kazakhstan is expressed primarily in multicultural multiethnic people. It is home to 126 ethnic groups, whose representatives speak in different languages.

Ethno-linguistic landscape of modern Kazakhstan is characterized by a high degree of ethnic and linguistic diversity on the one side, and on the other that the two ethnic groups - Kazakh and Russian are dominating numerically over others; it is a result of social and historical processes.

On April 1, 2013, the total population of the country is 16 967 thousand people, including Kazakhs - 11,058 thousand (65.2 %), Russians - 3698 thousand (21.8%), Uzbeks - 511 thousand (3 %), Ukrainians - 306 thousand (1.8 %), Uighurs - 243 thousand (1.4%), Tatars - 203 thousand (1.2%), Germans - 182 thousand (1.1%) and other ethnic groups - 766 thousand (4.5%).

It should be noted that some regions are mainly represented by the Kazakhs and Russian with a small percentage of other ethnic groups, for example - the North- Kazakhstan region, but in some regions the picture is exactly the opposite; the Almaty region is especially diverse. There are villages with a large percentage of Turks, Uighurs, Dungans, Kurds, whom inhabitants of some other regions of Kazakhstan have never even seen by their own eyes.

"Large diasporas (excluding Russian) of more than 100 thousand people are Ukrainian, Uzbek, German, Tatar, Uygur, Korean and Belarusian. In recent years, Uighur and Uzbek diasporas has grown 42% and 41% respectively and continue to grow, German (60.8 %), Ukrainian (39%), Belarusian (38.3 %), Tatar (20.3%) diasporas decreased. Uighur and Uzbek diasporas have positive demographic characteristics of fertility, in a contrast to the negative mortality and immigration of the other diasporas of this group. Unfortunately, especially high mortality rate, due to aging of population, is marked in the Belarusians (1.9 times higher than the common rate) and Ukrainians (2.1 times higher), because 23.8 % of Belarusians and 24.7% of Ukrainians, are over 60 years old. Germans and Koreans have a special place in this group - they are mostly urbanized ethnic groups (51.4% of Germans and 86.6 % of Koreans are townspeople) and despite the sharp decrease in population they retain natality.

Forty three small ethnic groups represent a special distinctive group of Kazakhstan diasporas, number of each group does not exceed 200 people: Abaza, Abkhaz, Agul, Adygei, Albanian, Aleut, Baluchi, Veps, Dolgan, Izhora, Itelmen, Karaim, Ket, Koryak, Livonian, Mansi, Nanai, Nenets, Negidal, Nivkh, Orok (Ulta) Oroch, Rutulsky, Rushan, Sami, Selkup, Serbian, Slovak, Tat, Tofalar, Tuvan, Udegey, Ultchi, Croatian, Khanty, Tsakhur, Chukchi, Shugnansky, Evenki, Even, Enets, Yukagir, Yakut (Sakha). Most of these small diasporas represent the history of different nations; they appeared on the territory of Kazakhstan by fate or as a result of social upheaval, they are the ethnic minorities from the Russian Federation.

Sociologist E.D. Suleimenov noted an interesting statistic about the smallest ethnic groups of Kazakhstan - 14 diasporas with critical number - least than 10 people, which are: Aleut, Itelmen, Ket, Livonian, Mansi, Negidal, Nivkh, Orok, Oroch, Sami, Selkup, Ultchi, Enets and Yukagir. To the list above should be added as well one of the most mysterious ethnic groups - the Yezidis. There is a possibility that they are actually descendants of the Babylonian priests. The amazing thing is that through the centuries, or even millennia Yezidis saved tendency to closed intracaste marriages.

As for the other ethnic groups, the number of mixed marriages is constantly growing in Kazakhstan. About the representatives of the two largest nations, living in Kazakhstan, we can say that 9% of Kazakhs and 30% Russian are in mixed marriages. Unfortunately, marriages between people of different nationalities are not always strong, as well it is hard to say that inter-ethnic situation in Kazakhstan is absolutely perfect. There are local conflicts on the ethnic ground, sometimes they get a dramatic publicity in mass media. But we can say that they are rare exceptions in the general rule. And there is the fact that the people of Kazakhstan inherited tradition of peaceful inter-ethnic and inter-religious coexistence from their fathers and grandfathers, and they are trying to save it.

The Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan formed by the Decree of President of Kazakhstan on March 1, 1995 occupies a central place in the state national policy. It is integrating over 820 ethno-cultural associations, and it has become an important element of public consent, the real body of public diplomacy. The President of the Assembly is the President of Kazakhstan himself - the guarantor of the Constitution, and this fact determine its high social and political status.

"People of different nationalities, different religions live here in peace, harmony and love. And I do not get tired to repeat it, this is the golden property of our society"- says Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan.

Eighty eight ethnic schools are working in Kazakhstan, where classes are taught in Uzbek, Tajik, Uighur and Ukrainian languages. Twenty two languages of ethnic groups are taught as a separate subject in 108 schools. 190 specialized language centers are teaching languages of 30 ethnic groups. Kazakh language is the official language, but Russian is the language of international communication, almost all schools teach English.

Annually, the session of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan is held in Palace of Peace and Accord in Astana. Centers of ethno- cultural associations work in the building. Museum of national costumes was opened in Palace of Peace and Accord with the help of the Assembly in 2010. Broad and interesting exposition of culture and traditions of the nationalities living in the country is presented in the Museum of Kazakhstan in Almaty.

I want to believe that the unique multicultural and interethnic accord will create all conditions in the Republic for the formation of the state doctrine and the national idea "Kazakhstan - House of Peace and Prosperity".

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