On February 27, 2020, in Nur-Sultan, a round table discussion was held: “Actual Issues of Ethnic Policy in Kazakhstan: Expert Opinion”, devoted to questions of improving approaches to the study and regulation of interethnic relations, increasing the efficiency of government bodies and public institutions in this area. Organizers of the event: Kazakhstan Institute for Strategic Studies, RSI "Kogamdyk Kelisim" and the Central Communications Service under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The event was attended by representatives of state bodies, public organizations in the field of interethnic relations, leading Kazakhstan experts on interethnic issues.
During the welcoming speech, the First Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Maulen Ashimbaev noted that recent tragic events in Kordai region have shown the need for a thorough and comprehensive analysis of the sphere of interethnic relations and the actualization of the work of state bodies and the activities of public institutions in a number of areas.
- We need an analysis of the effectiveness of government agencies at the local and central levels, we need to understand the effectiveness of public institutions, understand the effectiveness of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, and determine for ourselves how to further develop these institutions. The accompanying dialogue for such an analysis, in our opinion, should be frank, honest, - M. Ashimbaev emphasized.Ashimbaev also outlined the fundamental principles of state policy in the field of interethnic relations in Kazakhstan: the preservation of interethnic harmony, peace and public security; inadmissibility of discrimination of citizens of Kazakhstan on the grounds of language, religion or social status; multi-ethnicity as an advantage and a strategic resource working for the development of the country. The basis for a new paradigm of interethnic relations in Kazakhstan should be the conceptual idea of President Kassym-Zhomart Tokaev about the Kazakh language as a language of interethnic communication.
Deputy Chairman of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan Zhanseit Tuimebayev, speaking on the activities of the Assembly, noted the presence of systemic problems in managing the interethnic sphere.
- There is no law regulating the sphere of interethnic relations. The Law “On the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan” contains framework norms, regulating only its activities. The authorized body in the field of state and national policy - the Department for the Development of Interethnic Relations of the Ministry of Information and Social Development - has not yet reached effective performance. The Secretariat of the Assembly and the RSI “Kogamdyk Kelіsіm” are not state bodies. There is not enough authority yet, - said the Deputy Chairman of the APK.
He also noted that activities on issues of interethnic relations on the local level are often carried out on a residual basis - some regional governors, being the presidents of the Assembly, have quitted from this work. Aspects of interethnic relations, such as integration with the Kazakh population, education, culture, public safety, are not being conducted at the proper level.
He also noted that work on issues of interethnic relations on the ground is often carried out on a residual basis - some regional governors, being the presidents of the Assembly, have withdrawn from this work. Aspects of interethnic relations, such as integration with the Kazakh population, education, culture, public safety, are not being conducted at the proper level.
As a systematic measure to solve these problems, Zhanseit Tuymebayev pointed out the need to bring to a new level a scientific, analytical, forecasting work on the subject of interethnic relations. At the moment, on behalf of the leadership, the issue of creating a separate research institute on ethnopolitical issues is being studied. The main emphasis will be placed on the study of trends and forecasts of ethno-demographic development, integration of closed ethnic groups in the Kazakhstani society.
In addition, it is proposed to reorganize the Department for the Development of Interethnic Relations of the Ministry of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan and establish on its basis a Committee on Interethnic Relations.
The Chairman of the Scientific and Expert Council of the APK, the head of the Center for the Study of Interethnic and Interfaith Studies in the Central Asian Region at the Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Aigul Sadvokasova, presented the results of the work of a special research group that made a trip to the Korday district of the Zhambyl region and prepared a report based on the results. The experts received detailed information that allowed a more qualified approach to the topic under discussion.
Deputy of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nurtore Zhusip, noted the need to create institutions for the integration of ethnic groups living in Kazakhstan into a single community, held together by the Kazakh sociocultural factor.
The head of the Public Foundation “Center for Social and Political Research “Strategy” Gulmira Ileuova in her speech drew attention to the presence of multiple identities among Kazakhstanis, which are revealed in opinion polls. The expert emphasized that managing multiple identities is an important task of state bodies in the field of ideology.
Chief research fellow of KazISS Irina Chernykh emphasized the inadmissibility of securitization of the sphere of interethnic relations and emphasized that Kazakhstan has positive experience and practices of successful cohabitation and close interaction of various ethnic groups, which should be the subject of comprehensive analysis.
Murat Abenov, Vice-President of the Civil Alliance of Kazakhstan, cited the Serpin program as an example, aimed at training and employing young people from the labor-surplus southern regions of the country in northern and eastern regions, which are under-staffed. According to him, this project represents a special experience in the successful integration of Russian-speaking and Kazakh-speaking communities and the creation of linguistic and sociocultural unity.
Aidos Sarym, public figure, political scientist, member of the National Council of Public Trust (hereafter - NCPT), director of the NGO Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law Evgeny Zhovtis, film director, screenwriter, writer, member of the NCPT Ermek Tursunov, leader, editor-scriptwriter of the Special Projects Service of Khabar Agency JSC Orken Kenzhebek, member of the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, member of the NCPT, state inspector of the Speechwriting Group of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Kazakhstan Maxim Spotkay, leader conductive expert of the International Turkic Academy Timur Kozyrev, chief editor of the Foundation "National Translation Bureau" Mukhtar Sengirbay.
In their speeches, experts touched upon issues of ethnopolitics: the values of Kazakh culture and its impact on the development of Kazakhstani society, the international obligations of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the field of human rights and ethnic minorities, the peculiarities of reflecting ethnic themes in the public sphere, as well as modern technologies for preventing and resolving interethnic conflicts.
In conclusion, the head of the Department of Internal Policy of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Gani Nygmetov, thanked all the organizers of the round table, moderator of the director of the Central Communications Service under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, political analyst Talgat Kaliyev for the discussion on a very important topic. Special thanks were addressed to all the experts who took part for the constructive speeches, questions and answers, suggestions and recommendations.