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Kazakh Printed Press Development in the Late 19th-early 20th Century

Seidulla Sadykov and Bekzhigit Serdali*

International Kazakh-Turkish University named after Khoja Ahmed Yasavi, Turkestan, Kazakstan

*Corresponding Author:
Serdali Kenzhebekuly
Assistant Professor
International Kazakh-Turkish University named after
Khoja Ahmed Yasavi, Turkestan, Kazakhstan
Tel: 87013661741
E-mail: [email protected]

Received Date: Jan 09, 2017; Accepted Date: Jan 20, 2017; Published Date: Jan 24, 2017

Copyright: © 2017 Sadykov S, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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The Republic of Kazakhstan was a colonial territory of the Russian Empire in the late 19th-early 20th century. Like many peoples, who were oppressed by metropolitan country, Kazakhs strived towards independence. In this regard, there was a new pro-opposition Kazakh intelligentsia formed under the bourgeois revolutions in Europe and committed to the spread of liberal ideas. In this term, they begin to create patriotic publications, which spread the ideas of social equality and independence. Thus, the purpose of this article is to consider the Kazakh printed press in the late 19th – early 20th century. This will enable to trace the socio-political sentiment of the time. The results show that the Kazakh printed press was under substantial censorship; its leaders were sent into exile. However, the revolutionary sentiments’ growth occurs the growth in printed press that cannot be stopped by authorities for any longer. They provided the idea of social change, transition from nomadism to agriculture. In the Soviet, there is an oppression of Kazakh printed press – the Communist Party creates a hard censorship regime. Despite the repression, the ideas provided in the press of that time had a significant influence on Kazakh state system formation.


Combating regime; Kazakh printed press; National revival; Revolutionary publications; Spread of liberal ideas


Ethnonym “Kazakh” in official documents of the Russian empire and later of the Soviet power was not practically used. More than two centuries the Kazakh ethnos was called as “Kaisak”, “Kirgyz-kaisak”, “Kirgyz”. Meanwhile, in the 1th half of the XIX century history, culture and traditions of Kazakhs were studied by Russian scientists. One of them was a famous historian and a public man A.E. Levshin, he had scientifically based the ethnonym “Kazakh”. “Kirgyz-kaisak” or “kaisak” is a twisted name of Kazakh people [1]. Later, national Kazakh young intelligent people fought for correct naming of Kazakh people by means of the press [2]. It is worth to say that there were not periodicals till the end of the XIX century. Only in the last quarter of the XIX century a national journalism began its formation with the assistance of the great Kazakh thinkers and educators as Chokan Valikhanov, Ibrai Altinsaryn, Abai Kunanbaev [3]. It was also a time of the Kazakh democratic, social and political journalism’s formation.

During this period, the Republic of Kazakhstan was a colonial territory of the Russian Empire. In this regard, Kazakhs were under forced political, social and economic changes [4,5]. The growth in revolutionary sentiments created prerequisites for national consciousness-raising and new intelligentsia [6]. The spread of patriotic ideas took place due to the printed press.

The Kazakh intelligentsia felt not only national movement of the East, but also the influence of bourgeois revolutions in Europe. This encouraged them to spread liberal ideas that could not be combined with czarist regime [6].

Thus, the consideration of Kazakh printed press in late 19th-early 20th century will make it possible to assess Kazakhs’ social sentiments of the period.

Views on the Kazakh Printed Press at the Turn of 19-20 Centuries

The efforts of the first Kazakh educators woke up Kazakh people’s consciousness, made them to think about future, lifestyle [7].

The further growth of population and a number of educated people, appearance of the first printed editions, post-offices and telegraph gave a push to formation and development of the national Kazakh journalism [8,9]. The Kazakh press had appeared in the time of Turkistan land’s colonization by the Russian empire. The appearance of the periodical editions in the Great Steppe notwithstanding negative aspects of the tsarist national policy was a result of the progressive influence of Russian culture. Exactly that time in Tashkent, 1870 – 1882, a newspaper “Turkistan Gazette” was edited with supplements in Kazakh and Uzbek languages. Those supplements were published four times a month – 2 in Kazakh, 2 in Uzbek. The first edition of a supplement “Turkistan ualaytinin gazeti” was published on the 28 of April, in 1870 in Tashkent [2].

Exactly this newspaper was the very first one printed in Kazakh language, the appearance of the present Kazakh journalism and publication was originated since them.

The segnificance of that newspaper was in the fact that it regarded problems of social, economical and cultural spheres. Initially they were published in Russion, as “Turkestanskie vedomsti”, “Orenburgski listok”, “Kirgizkaya stepnaia gazeta”, “Torgai” and others. Gradually they started publishing in Kazakh language.

The progressive ideas of advanced people of the time promoted education of Kazakhs, woke up their national self consciousness [3].

Changes in the life of Kazakh ethnos caused the appearance of the ideas of unity. By the beginning of the XX th century the intelligent and educated people introduced a political power which paid much attention to periodicals for influencing on society and forming public opinion.

"Kazakh" newspaper came out in 1913-1918. The publication was devoted to the issue of transition from nomadism to agriculture, issues of equality, religion and international relations [10]. The newspaper circulation ranged from 3 to 8 thousand copies.

Sometimes those processes were under a pressure of tsar autocracy and its censorship. On the example of “Qazaq” newspaper which appeared in 1907 we can see that the edition defended the interests of Kazakhs interrelated with common Russian interests with ideas of left sense.

The tsar government suspected the newspaper as a threat of dissatisfaction with colonial policy, later it was closed [10]. It contributed into understanding the essence of national consciousness [11] “Qazaq”, “Aikap” were authoritative editions of the time, later most of the journalists became prominent publicists writers and others who played a big role in the identification of the Kazakh ethnos. Contacts with other people caused changes of Kazakh’s lifestyle, their traditions and customs, consequently, the general evolution of a national character and culture of Kazakh people had undergone changes. Advanced democratic ideas in Great steppe supported to becoming a Kazakh national publicity and journalism typically public [10,11]. February and October event of 1917 in Russia influenced on the development of press of Turkestan side. In new historical conditions numerous editions presented different political powers, were looking for ways of building a national government.

Representation of the Kazakh Printed Press Under the Soviet Regime (1917-1930)

For instance, newspaper “Birlik tui” founded by Mustafa Chokai-ogly in June, 1917-April, 1918 was famous for protessional authors as M.Dulatov, B.Mailin, S.Kojanov, E.Sharmenov and others. The paper had protected national interests of Kazakhs and proved ideas of national self determination of people of Turkistan side.

Weekly newspaper “Alash” contained articles on the problems of national self determination the authors of which were Auezov, Aimautov. The paper called upon a creation of an autonomy and struggle for independence according to law and Constitution.

In 1917-1918, in Semipalatinsk, newspaper “Sary-Arka” supervised by Gabbasow was issued. Its major topic was a problem of formation of a Kazakh State system, formation the Alash-Orda government. Bukeikhanov, Gabbasov and others had consequently advocated the idea of self-prosperousness of Kazakh ethnos for their national self-determination and state establishment.

Once newspaper “Jas azamat” addressed to young generation of Kazakhs, its 1st number was published in June 20, 1918 in Kyzyljar. Jumabaev, Dulatov and others in their articles spoke about freedom and equal rights, young generation’s tasks and objectives. 3 February, 1919 the newspaper stopped its work. Those years the other national Kazakh press began to appear, the Akmola “Tirshilik”, The Orenburg “Kazakh muny”, June, 1917-April, 1918. However, a matter of self-identification of Kazakh people was not mentioned.

On the whole, the major parts of issued publication supported a growth of the national self-identification [12].

They made all necessary premises for determination the original name of ethnos – Kazakh – and it was accepted as a governmental formation. Search for ways and methods of task solvation had caused a remarkable reviving of press in Kazakh language: editions grew in number, variety of genres, people’s expectations and worries began to be spoken about [13].

In August, 1920 the Autonomous Kirgyz (Kazakh) soviet socialist Republic was formed which was formed a part of RSFSR.

It was the first contemporary Kazakh national – state formation. However that fact hadn’t solved the problem – bearing’ their original name “Kazakh”. In the official document the ethnonym “Kazakh” was used. In Russian transcription it was written as “Kazakh” and “Kazakhstan” - for name of a republic [14]. Only in February, 1936 according to the resolution of the Central Executive Committee of Kazakh ASSR a Russian transcription was changed into “Kazakh” and “Kazakhstan” [14].

But it was early yet to accept a Kazakh ethnos as a nation, besides, Kazakh’s self identification hadn’t been formed.

It was the time when Kazakh journalism became obedient performer of the central state power’s decisions and willings; they left behind the ideas of equality and justice. The Communist Party’s policy of industrialization took into account a growth in economical, social and cultural level. But the peculiarities of historically formed lifestyle of people was not taken into account The Communist Party ignored the fact that society values could not exist out of a culture, national subjectivity and national environment.

Bolsheviks’ plans of building socialism were realized violently with the help of a strong ideological support. Press had occupied a special place, the number of its editions grew in number. In February, 1926, 20 newspapers were issued in Kazakhstan, by 1933 number of them had grown more than 10 with 238 titles. Newspapers and magazines contained headings as: “Pulse of five-year plan”, “Summary of operations from the front of socialist constructions”, “News from the constructions of new buildings”, “Kazakhstan’s contribution into a five-year plan” and others. The articles under those titles spoke about best workers and labourers of the time, the authors of them were Mailin, Musirepov, Mukanov, Tokmagambetov and others.

Newspapers of the republic as “Enbekshi Kazakh”, “Soviet steppe”, “Jas Kairat”, “Enbek tui” in each of issue placed materials of different jenres speaking about Turksib, The Karaganda coal layer and others. It proves that newspapers did not foresee and did not take into account the fact that all these would lead to new social troubles in their life.

Even some supporters of changes were doubt about a need for industrialization. Such opinions were in the magazine “Bolshevik of Kazakhstan” - it was said that transaction “From camel to socialism” is impossible, that nomadic lifestyle is a peculiarity of Kazakh people, therefore the industrialization would ruin its “National originality” [15] The other magazine “Revolutionary East” said as follows – a Kazakh would never work at a factory or a plant, because he is always attracted by steppe [16].

Collectivization of the agriculture which was realized violently led to tragic and material losses. That fact caused worries among the representatives of intelligence and workers of the Party. Exactly, “A letter of five” written by Musirepov, Gataulin, Dauletgaliev, Altynbekov, Kuanishev is a bright example of it. Accordingly, press of Kazakhstan ecstatically spoke about processes of changes and perspectives of the Kazakh auls’ development ignoring real contradictions and dissatisfaction among people. Particularly, the press reported about a work uniting poverty and middle class, high results in grain procurement, described how bai’s property was confiscated.

Newspapers “Auil tili”, “Soviet steppe”, “Lenin’s successors”, “New village”, “Red virgin soil” and others regularly informed about it.

That period in Kazakhstan was marked with a culture revolution which had liquidated ignorance, founded mass education, began to develop national arts, theatre, literature [17]. The Pleiades of actors and actresses, artists, poets, musicians, writers had appeared that time, it would be impossible to imagine Kazakhstan’s contemporary development of culture without them.

Newspaper “Kazakh adebieti” was issued, it played major role in the spiritual development of the society. An intellectual growth, literature and Arts development, formation of national intelligence brought to growth of the national conscious.

A number of periodicals began to grow in number, therefore mass media needed workers, specialists. In 1934, a Kazakh Communist institute of journalism was opened for training journalist for editorial staff of newspapers, magazines, radio, informative agency of Kazakhstan. It allowed to uncrate a number of periodicals: from low publications in large editions to republican. On the whole, Kazakhstan’s press had undergone a period of quantitative growth (especially at the account of editions in Kazakh language).

In the second half of 1930-s the party soviet Kazakhstan press had occupied the positions on the communistic ideology.


Thus, Kazakh journalism history resisted significant changes due to unstable political situation at that time. In the early 20th century, the Kazakh printed press was under hard censorship – no spread of liberal ideas, the printing press publishes journals that are loyal to czarist regime, others are closed by the authorities and the publishers are sent into exile. However, the growth of revolutionary sentiments, which took place in 1905-1914, occurs the increased national self-identity of Kazakh people. There are created political parties, which show pro-opposition ideas, and spontaneous rallies. The publications are beginning to come out in Kazakh language with manifesting calls for creation of their own independent state. This period is characterized by a significant increase in publications. After communists rise of power, Kazakhs continued to defend their national interests, but this trend was declining. The Bolsheviks established their monopoly on educational institutions management, art and literature. The literature was published under the control of the party. In the future, this has led to independent media repression and government-controlled press development, as well as massive destruction of Kazakh intelligentsia formed in the revolutionary period.

In general, for a short period of free press, the Kazakh intelligentsia managed to spread ideas of national state, social equality and freedom. In the Soviet period, these ideas were persecuted as counter-revolutionary and fighters for independence – repressed. The printed press largely helped to preserve national identity, its leaders have created a significant layer of Kazakh culture.


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