The main outcome of the Kazakh language implementation policy in Kazakh society was a result of mutual infl uence and interconnection between three groups: the state, the Russian–speaking population and Kazakh nationalists. e claims on the part of each of these groups in pursuit of their goals were the following: Russians wanted to retain the status quo and reject Kazakh as the state language, Kazakh nationalists wanted to transform the whole state system into Kazakh and, thus, to provide more opportunities for the native population and the state's task was to achieve its own goal without extremes from both sides. Was the state strong enough to promote its goals? During the first decade of independence, the state was able to use some claims from both the nationalists and the Russians to fulfi ll its tasks. As a result of these processes, the state created its own strategy premised on state nationalism. e paradox of post-Soviet Kazakhstan is its state nationalism which became the main obstacle in the way of the establishment of the Kazakh language in order to obtain the position of the only “homogenizing factor” in an ethnically and culturally diverse society.
This article conceptualizes regionalism in historical perspective as repeated schemes of translocal inter-groups' allegiances and studies dynamic transformation of political elites in present Kyrgyzstan in broader social context and international change. The article starts with historical reference to the Soviet delimitation policies in Central Asia in the 1920-30s and reveals how the competition among political groups within the prospective Kyrgyz SSR took the form of regional separation. On the basis of field interviews taken in the southern and northern areas of Kyrgyzstan, parliamentarians' biographies and statistics on inter-regional migration and entrepreneurship, the country's present south-north opposition is deconstructed as manipulation of political groups and individuals in competition for resources, power and social status. Post-socialist institutional innovations, including parliamentary system, election code and territorial-administrative reform are analyzed as flexible function of transregionalizing political rivalry. Finally, formation of the new pro-presidential party Ak Zhol and discussions on privatization of energy sector are interpreted as an attempt to establish corporate elite according to the Kazakh and Russian model.
The economic, social, and political reforms of the former Soviet Union gave rise to a flourishing international peddling trade variously termed “shuttle trading,” “a suitcase trade,” or at times “trading tourism.” Small at first in the later 1980s, by the mid-1990s the shuttle trade expanded to include millions of people and came to constitute the backbone of Russian consumer trade. Initially the government was willing to “look the other way” or even support the shuttle trade as a way to provide for the collapsing consumer market in Russia. Yet the government drastically underestimated the vast number of people that the trade would attract and subsequently the scale and longevity of the trade. By 1993 and then progressively into the 1990s, the government aimed to bring this highly problematic aspect of the emerging market under its control, both by the means of regulating private businesses and creating a more business-conducive environment and by improving border control in order to make the borders “hard”. Thus this article analyzes the shuttle trade to demonstrate the ways in which decision makers, by accumulating raw data about the scale of the trade, border crossing, and the trade's social consequences, utilized these statistics in creating regulatory measures that simultaneously attempted to shape both the border control and customs regulations and the emerging free market space of the post-Soviet Russia.