Received Date: June 09, 2017; Accepted Date: June 19, 2017; Published Date: June 25, 2017
Citation: Serdali BK. National Identity in the Print Media of Kazakhstan in the Late Soviet Period. Global Media Journal. 2017, 15:28.
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This is the study of the role and position of the Kazakhstan periodicals in the formation and development of the Kazakh nation, forms, methods, approaches and principles of the republic’s press coverage of the issues of national identification and national identity in the last years of the USSR existence. The paper is based on such scientific principles as integrity, objectivity, generality, specificity and historicism. Contrastive-comparative, analytical-synthesizing and critical methods were used in the process of the study. It represents the first attempt of complete and systematic research of the Kazakh national identification and national identity issues press coverage in the print media of Kazakhstan in the Late Soviet Period. The theoretical provisions, conclusions and recommendations of the study may be used in further investigation of the issues of Mass Media theory and practice as well as the issues of improvement of the national policy, international relations and the role of press in development of the Kazakh national identification and national identity. The results of the study may contribute to activation of research interest to a series of issues of national periodicals development, and press coverage of various problems of the Kazakhstan state structure. Application of the paper materials may also assist journalists-practitioners in the coverage of the national policy challenges, development of new ideas and approaches in the coverage of the issues of nation building in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Ideological deadlock, National problem, The Jeltoqsan, Negative processes, International education, Kazakh print media, National identification, National identity, National idea, National independence, National policy, International relations
The last decade of the 20th century was marked by dissolution of the Soviet Union and formation of new independent states at its territory, including the Republic of Kazakhstan. The problem of national identification and national identity of these states became especially acute in the new historical conditions, because creation of an independent and sovereign state implies first of all creation of the national distinctiveness and unique character of the state. The problem of national identity is landmark nature for all nations as it is directly connected with the individual, social conscience as well as with the theory and practice of its formation and development. Presence of national identity is an essential condition for formation and development of personality, ethnos, society and government. National identity provides nutriment to any human entity, turning it into the national entity. Not having its own ‘Self’ nation cannot set reasonable goals, coordinate its actions and aspirations. In general the problem of identity exists since the old days and has always worried people regardless of the conditions of social system where they live. This problem has not been completely solved in the science of Kazakhstan; it is partially considered in some scientific works studying the issues of national identity.
Practical significance of the study lies in the fact that these problems are covered by the Kazakhstan print media. Awareness by the Kazakh people of their own national identity has been historically formed in the conditions of inclusion of the Kazakhs first into the Russian Empire and then into the Soviet Union, when there was an attempt to artificially create ‘a new historical entity – the Soviet nation’, which, to our mind, was initially doomed to failure.
The search of national identity is most pronounced at the activities of such social-political institution as journalism. From the moment of its origination and up to now it not only plays an important role in the formation of national identity, but also appears the product of it by itself.
It raises and considers various issues of national identity, and acute problems of international relations. In different periods of the ethnos development it changed the methods and approaches towards the development of this theme. And it has accumulated rich experience in this field. The necessity of scientific comprehension of the accumulated theoretical and empirical material is what defines the rationale of the present paper.
The problems of national development and the attempts to cover them in periodicals has long been in the focus of the foreign, Central Asian and Kazakh scientists studying the theory and practice of Mass Media. However the theme of this paper has not yet become the object of a special research. Even despite the fact that it is one of the most prioritized in the academic community, discussions of politicians, public man, workers of culture and art. Though the issues connected with the growth in peoples’ identity and search of national idea are becoming especially acute in the context of new geopolitical realia and threats of the 21st century. They are topical for the European Union Members, CIS, the Middle Eastern countries, the countries of Southeast Asia and Latin America. Globalization turned this problem into the international one.
Certain issues of relations between peoples due to complexity, dramatics and plexus on the one hand and connected with the processes of the current moment based on the priorities of one or another political conjuncture, on the other hand, attract the attention of social scientists including those studying the theory of journalism.
Some information regarding the theme of the present study can be found in the works by the foreign specialists. These are, first of all, the works by S. Huntington, G. Shukman, H. Arendt, I. Berlin, A. Agostinho, R. Pipes, Zb. BrzeziÃâ¦Ãâski, A. Avtorkhanov, Zh. Zhelev, R. Tucker, Nathan Richardsson, Eric Hoffmann, E. Carr, M. Voslensky, B. Brutskus, V. Shendel, E. Zurcher, O. Roy [1-18] etc.
They investigate the despotic nature, hierarchy of civil and other freedoms, life of nations and ethnic formations, of the entire social and political system of the powerful. They critically assess the imperial core of the Soviet state, its national doctrine reduced to assimilation of small peoples by the large peoples, to smoothing ethnic uniqueness of the peoples and on the basis of Russification, to compulsory formation of a super-nation of the Russian-Soviet type. They also think over the issues of nationalism and ethnic arrangement in the context of the Islamic World in general and the life of the peoples of Central Asia after the dissolution of the ideocratic empire in particular.
In the context of the present paper a certain interest is provoked by the researches of the scientists from Central Asia and Kazakhstan, developing the issues of history and theory of journalism. They are the following authors: T. Amandosov, H. Bekhozhin, T. Jernazarov and A. Akbarov, B. Kenzhebaev and T. Kozhakeev, M. Barmankulov, S. Kozybaev and S. Matvienko, K. Allabergenov, B. Zhakyp, Sh. Nurgozhina, S. Sadykov, B. Serdali, F. Muminov, Ja. Momatova [19-31] etc.
They investigated the problems of formation and development of periodicals, audiovisual Mass Media, substantiated theoretical and practical problems of the regional journalism and studied the peculiarities of creative heritage of famous Kazakh, Uzbek and other journalists.
This search was performed with the consideration of the national interests and illustrates the stages of development of the Central Asian journalism of the 20th century and in the years of the independence. They all contributed to the theme of the present paper. However their authors did not have the task of special consideration of the national identification issues.
That is exactly why the analysis of role of the Kazakh print media and the Kazakh publicists in the coverage of the issues of national identification and ÃâÃÂÃÂÃÂ°ÃÂÃÂ¼ÃÂÃÂ¾identification through the prism of Mass Media is the first attempt of this kind. History shows that social values cannot be beyond a certain culture, beyond national subjectness and national environment. They cannot be subordinated to the imperatives of the national, and thus of the local, civilized genesis in history. It is as just as the fact that all the modernized processes in history were always fared by the values of national identity and grew out of the depths of national spirit, culture and history. National and historical identity are the deepest roots nourishing the life of any community of people and turning it from a simple entity into the national and historical entity capable of creating not the history in general, but its own history corresponding to its own archetypes of sociality, culture and the hierarchy of values and the sense of existence in history.
Due to this fact, as it seems, ‘history’ and ‘national identity’ are fundamental definitions requiring in-depth and new comprehension. The problems of people’s identity and the search of national idea become more acute in the context of the last global and regional realia, when the transitional society faces the necessity of choice of alternative development models. So, the theme of the paper may be quite literally called the first attempt of such kind of research in the world journalism.
The paper contains the common methodology and methods of scientific research.
In the process of development of research in general as well as in the preparation to the paper composition the authors used the systemic approach, combination of historical and logical, contrastive-comparative, analytical-synthesizing and critical methods, as well as such ways of collection of factual material as survey and interview.
The methodological base of the work were the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the RK laws and regulatory acts connected with the Mass Media, as well as works and speeches of the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev. Theoretical base of the research were the works by the scientists from the USA, Great Britain, Germany, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and other countries in history, theory and practice of journalism.
In the research process the authors observed all the principles of scientific ethics and ethical procedures, particularly, they supported high standards of intellectual integrity nor faking the scientific data or inventing false co-authorship.
The materials of the paper, its conclusions and recommendations may be used at preparation of general and special courses in theory and practice of journalism of Kazakhstan, political science, history and other social disciplines. The results may contribute to activation of scientific interest towards the development of the national journalism, press exposure of various problems of the Kazakh state structure.
Application of the paper materials may also assist journalistsprecisians in the press exposure of the national policy challenges, development of new ideas and approaches in press coverage of the issues of nation building in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The research materials are used in the training process at reparation of bachelors and magisters in specialization ‘Journalism’ and ‘Political Science’ in the leading educational institutions: Ahmet Yesevi University, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University, L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University.
The last years of the USSR existence were characterized by further accumulation of economic and social problems, which influenced the national life of the peoples being its components. Sharp decrease in the economic growth rates and social corrosion of the society led by the party into the ideological deadlock showed that the state was approaching the stagnation. As Mikhail Gorbachev got into power in March 1985, the party announced the list of the tasks in modernization of the state, considering it to be necessary to develop brand new approaches towards solving economic, social and spiritual problems, which was eventually supposed to provide a new impulse to the development of socialism in the USSR. However it never came true, because the communists’ ideas showed their complete historical inconsistency. And first of all, this inconsistency became evident in the sphere of national development and international relations.
At one of his speeches Mikhail Gorbachev noted that the government was first not aware of the real scale of the backlogs in economics, politics, social sphere and national question they had to rake and what consequences it might lead to. But in his report at the 19th party conference Gorbachev said, in particular, that regarding the national policy he was convinced that there were no problems in this sphere . That’s why, one must suppose, that the following conclusion of Leonid Brezhnev’s report devoted to the 50th anniversary of the USSR formation, stuck to his mind of an experienced party organization man, “national problem in our state has been solved once and for all. This is the achievement justifiably comparable with such victories in the building of the new society in the USSR, as industrialization, collectivization and cultural revolution” .
Despite the fact that there were the cases of international conflicts in the country, these problems were for many years concealed by the political speeches smoothing the real situation. Instead of orchestrated actions they provided the schemes which were hardly capable of restraining the rush of life, and when in the last years of the USSR existence the pressure increased, these schemes crumbled, burying the communists’ ideas of internationalism.
The alarm ringing about the problems in the national policy and in the sphere of international relations in the USSR was already heard in the first years of Perestroyka. At first it were the events connected with the students’ riots in Yakutia in 1985, which were not covered by the press, and then the Jeltoqsan of December 1986 which could not but evolved into a cause celebre.
All of this inevitably resulted in forcible inoculation into the peoples’ conscience of the principles of internationalism and ignoring by the party leaders of their national diversity, as well as pendency of many problems of national development reflecting in their national conscience which provoked the feeling of unsatisfaction by the existing system gradually taking the incendiary form.
In Kazakhstan, when the central party authorities ignoring the opinion of the Kazakh people appointed Gennady Kolbin as the First Secretary of the Republic, who was a complete outsider to Kazakhstan – it provoked the outbreak. And in such situation when the decision made by the authorities was unjust and humiliating the peoples’ dignity the strain in the international relations increased, crossing out all that had been positive in the history.
No wonder that the foreign Mass Media were the first to actively response to these events. A Kazakh researcher N. Kenzhegulova wrote that coverage by the foreign press of the Jeltoqsan had been quite swiftly and briskly. First they quickly responded to the event – providing the facts with the minimum comments. This information was translated by all large international information agencies and many print and audiovisual Mass Media. Then the articles and comments as well as the other materials emerged with the analysis of what happened . All of this to a certain degree also made the Soviet press pay them deliberate attention.
The Jeltoqsan was a bright evidence of the increased national identity of the Kazakh people, who already considered themselves as a nation having all the attributes of independency and the sovereignty, though in the terms of the Soviet Constitution in order to solve their problems on their own, including those connected with the appointment of the head of the republic.
Dimash Kunayev, a Kazakh Soviet communist politician remembered these events in his memoirs, noting that they had neither been especially provoked nor had had a nationalistic character, and youth had been against the appointment of an outsider to the republic. He also noted that, “in resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union ‘On Activity of the Party Organization in International and Patriotic Education of the Working Population’ it was stated that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR and many other party committees made serious mistakes in implementation of the decisions on the international and patriotic education of the working population…
In Kazakhstan thÃÂÃÂµre was no nationalism and the grounds for its emergence. That’s why the resolution was not accepted and understood by the public of the republic, because it not only reflected the situation in Kazakhstan prejudicially, but also insulted the Kazakh people” .
The first information about the events at the main square of the republic reached the press with the delay – only on the 19th December 1986. It was the message of the Telegraph Agency of Soviet Union, the official medium of the government.
After a while the newspapers began to publish the journalists’ materials with the report of the events and the commentaries on them. The first were the central newspapers of the country, having published the materials of their own correspondents in Kazakhstan. So, for example, ‘Komsomolskaya Pravda’ published an article titled ‘Bitter Lesson for the Komsomol Active Members of Kazakhstan, the Mentors of Youth’ [36,37], in the ‘best traditions’ the Soviet press began labeling through the stamps and operating with such embedded stereotypes as: ‘the background of the youth’s nationalistic mindsets is becoming clearer seen’, ‘youth stimulated by alcohol and drugs’, ‘the nationalists’ molestation received a fitting rebuff’, ‘provoked general indignation of the working population’. Speaking about the actions of the lawenforcement authorities, the newspaper wrote that they ‘were steadily and calmly trying to moderate the loosing toughs’, and concluded that: ‘the roots of what happened… are serious neglects in ideological activities and weakening of the patriotic and international education’. The ideological labels and stamps were also seen from such newspapers as ‘Pravda’, ‘Izvestiya’, ‘Trud’, ‘Literaturnaya gazeta’ etc. In ‘Literaturnaya gazeta’ in article by A. Samoylenko titled ‘Lessons of Truth’ [38,39] the events were also assessed through the prism of the socialistic theory of the national question. She also saw in the events the manifestation of nationalism resulted from the negative processes taking place in the country.
In these and other materials the authors pointed out that in order to prevent the repetition of these events in the future it is necessary to pay special attention to the ideological and political and educational activities. And it should be done using the example of the historical past of the Soviet country at different stages of development of which there were true mutual support and friendship of the peoples. It means the press named no real reason of the riots – which was concluded in the fact that the indigenous population of the republic did not accept the decision of the center regarding appointment of the new leader – instead it used the traditional way of speaking about the ‘Enduring Brotherhood’. By the way, the Kazakh people never acted against the brotherhood, they just had the opinion the brotherhood should be accompanied by the equality. And it should be not only verbal, but factual. And the main thing, the journalists could not or did not want to see the growing national conscience and the self-identity of the Kazakh ethnos.
Following the instructions of the party, the newspapers promoted the thought that the events did not reflect the mindsets of the working population of Kazakhstan but appeared to be just a molestation of a youth group who had been misguided. If the newspapers shared another opinion, it could turn out that everything the party spoke about the internationalism of the Soviet people, put it mildly, contradicts the reality. Actually, many citizens of the republic not only sympathized but also shared the opinion of the youth rioting against the position of the central party authorities.
Here, to our opinion, it is reasonable to note that the thought about the mistakes in implementation of the tasks of the international education of the working population containing in the above mentioned resolution of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, should be interpreted the following way. If the people’s actions and the way of their thinking contradict the ideological settings, then it is the result of the mistakes in the educational activities, but not of the incorrectness of the theory. But in fact, how can the theory be correct if the practice contradicts to it?
But the theory, to our mind, was built upon the pursuit and support of the nomenclature interests. In fact, full consolidation of the nation and dissolution of national and governmental formations represented by the union republics would result in simpler control over the country and people, thus the existence of the government would become more comfortable. Blind following to the communistic theory was peculiar for the government also in the period of Perestroyka, when the activation of the social thinking was evident. So, for example, in the activities of the Mass Media reinterpretation of the history of the Soviet state ran in the frameworks of ‘cleaning’ of socialism from the mistakes, allegedly made by the previous leaders but not in the denial of it.
What the Jeltoqsan concerns, at the meeting of rural and urban active economic members of the party took place on 18 December 1986; the demonstrators were labeled as ‘nationalists, extremists, stoners and drunkards’ . Later the press published the materials speaking about mafia, underground nationalistic organizations, corrupted kindreds and anti-Perestroyka conspiracies. Thus the reputation of the whole republic was jeopardized, which had been advocated as the ‘laboratory’ of the national friendship, but suddenly became the propagator of nationalism. Consequently the identification of the Kazakh people included such concepts as contamination of the Kazakh people with the bacillus of nationalism.
And the press, following to this myth began searching these ‘bacilli’ in order to stop the extension of this ‘dangerous virus’. Sometimes even in the fact of opening of a kindergarten, where the education process was carried out in the Kazakh language, one saw the attempt of national isolation. So, the Pravda newspaper published the material of their correspondent T. Yesilbayev titles ‘The Price of Self-Admiration’. The author commenting on the story of the Vechernyaya Alma-Ata newspaper regarding a new kindergarten underlines that the newspaper might propagate national isolation speaking that education and upbringing there would be in the Kazakh language and that this was even the wish of the children themselves [40,41]. (It can by no means be called an attempt of isolation as in Alma-Ata with a million population it was only the second kindergarten of this type – author's note)
Social and political roots of the Jeltoqsan were ‘revealed’ by Zh.G. Golotvin in Molodaya gvardiya magazine. In his article ‘What was the Background of the Jeltoqsan?’  he writes that it resulted from the weakening of the control of the central authorities and caused, first of all emergence of new kindreds, united by the principle of blood relation or adherence to some family line; second, the representatives of local nationality began to get more privileges; third, in the universities the number of the Kazakh youth increased . To his mind, all of this led to disruption (!! – author's note) of the principle of national equality in favor of the native ethnos. This in its turn only amplified such negative qualities of the Kazakhs as ‘protectionism’ and ‘nationalism’ .
The broadcasts of the central press set the tune for the Mass Media of the republic. They could neither argue with it nor have other opinions. Moreover, the Kazakh press received the setting at the meeting of the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan with the journalists of the central media and the heads of the Mass Media of the republic taken place in Alma-Ata on 15 January 1987. He underlines, “Mass Media should enhance the educational activities, brighter and clearer break out the ideas of the Soviet patriotism and socialistic internationalism, as well as do not be afraid of raising the acute issues of the international relations” .
After this, the press of the republic began publishing the articles, where the authors ‘commented’ on what happened, and the ‘correctness’ of the comments had been defined by the party authorities.
Water finds its own level. The article is full of the stamps and clichés, for example ‘there was a straightforward conversation about the delinquencies’, ‘purposeful formation of internationalism in the spiritual image of young people’, ‘about the reserves of social education’, ‘the spirit of internationalism should permeate each cell of the university life’, ‘dialectics of national and international’, ‘influence of the educational level on the equalization of social structure of the nation’, ‘joint labor and friendship produce mutual interest to national customs and cultures, contributing to reinforcement of international connections”. They were not perceived by the reader as there was no new information or idea. And the main thing – the author sees in the events not the mistakenness of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union idea about full consolidation of the nations, but the fact that ‘great historical achievements and solution of the national question do not exclude the emergence at some or other stages as well as some or other regions of serious problems, complications, retreats and exaggerations” .
This quotation the best way confirms the correctness of our reasoning regarding the fact that according to the setting of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Soviet people can have no doubts in the reliability of the theory of national question: emergence of serious problems and complexities are the phenomena connected with the uniqueness of some or other stages or the result of retreats and exaggerations.
The consequences of going beyond the frames, drawn by the party authorities, are shown by the following facts: such Alma- Ata regional newspapers as Dzhetysu and Ogni Ala-tau, and Kommunizm tugi, interrepublican newspaper in the Uigur language  published a photo from the trial, where the case of a group participating in Jeltoqsan was being considered. This fact became the object of discussion at the bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan, Alma-Ata oblast committee and Frunzensky regional committee of Alma- Ata. Publication of this photo at the newspapers was considered as ideologically harmful and was followed by taking serious measures. The editors of the newspapers were accused of the lack of proper ideological cultivation and low level of professionalism, indifference towards politics and irresponsibility. They were also excluded from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
Lack of understanding and inability of the party to comprehend real problems directly disproved the communistic dogmas, which was clearly demonstrated at the 19th All-Union Party Conference taking place in summer 1988. Instead of acceptance of incompliance of the theory with the real life there it was announced that it was necessary to clear the socialistic society from deep deformations formed in the period of the cult of personality and stagnation which had kept its development for decades and led to human, moral and ideologic losses.
However the Soviet social scientists (here it is necessary to underline that they did it by permission of the highest management of the party and state) began either directly doubt in the reliability of the Marxist-Leninist theory or at least in its applicability to the modern society. They stated that the experience of human development shows that reality not always correspond with the predictions of the classical scholars of communism.
These issues were discussed only in the party periodicals. So, bitter dispute was held in the main theoretical authority of the ÃâÃÅ¡ÃÂÃÂ°ÃÂÃÂ·ÃÂÃÂ°ÃâÃâºÃâÃÂÃâÃâÃÂÃÂ°ÃÂÃÂ½ÃÂÃÂºÃÂÃÂ¾ÃÂÃÂ¼ÃâÃÆÃÂÃÂ½ÃÂÃÂ¸ÃâÃÂi party. In an article by A. Kalshabekova ‘Let’s Withdraw from Leninism’ and in the article by A. Aydosova ‘Let’s Protect Leninism’  the authors considering from their perspectives a series of issues, also dwelt upon the program provisions of the national question. If the former tried to chase the ‘sub-truths’, then the latter tried to comprehend everything and clear up the past and the present of Leninism from the fusions and deformations. This polemics had the nature of fight of ideas and minds and divided the society into radicals and conservators. Here we do not take any side, but the origin of this polemics is notable by itself, characterizing the period of Perestroyka.
Uniqueness of that period is in the fact that any issued raised by the press – professional, ethno-national, demographic or settlement – it tries, on one hand, to represent them in line with the policy of Perestroyka, and on the other, to rebuke the regime due to the freedom let from the above. And the Soviet press gradually accepted this line. One of the first positions got occupied with the issues of international relations and national policy.
The Soviet Mass Media began highlighting the issues of this sphere directly and in the raw. Though the attempt to renew socialism and to vitalize it failed and within its frameworks one failed to transfer from authoritarian- bureaucratic regime to the democratic one, but one managed to do the main thing which is to breakthrough to the openness and freedom of word caused the rise of journalism. It became the catalyst of independent thinking and ideological liberation. Its declarations began provoking public uproar. The policy of publicity allowed the press to touch upon the themes hitting the bases of totalitarianism and inevitably pushing it to dissolution.
According to professor Ya. N. Zasursky, “In the development of the ideas of Perestroyka, the outstanding role has been played by the Mass Media, which became the media of the publicity concept… Publicity, democratization in politics, economics and culture affected all the layers of our society”  and, naturally, made it reconsider ‘the significance of journalism in the life of… the people” .
As Yevgeny Yevtushenko wrote, “Publicity is the war declared against the abyss of humiliations. Publicity is the war for social dignity of a person. Publicity is like a thunderbird that wakes up the civil conscience of people” [36,37]. Chyngyz Aitmatov in his article titled ‘Doesn’t it tear up the Foundation’ underlined that publicity was for everybody and it was high time the true democratic, national lifestyle had been revived [48,49].
However widely declared publicity appeared to be for many spheres of state and public life only in word which began to affect the relationships between the press and the party authorities. New political and economic way of thinking forced the press though still functioning according to the principles of one-party system to find and objectively reflect multiple problems. For Kazakhstan and its press the new political thinking meant the beginning of the true coverage not only the events of December 1986, but also revealing of the real reasons encouraged the young people to walk into the mina square of the republican capital.
The social and demographic development taking place in Kazakhstan for the last decades changed the attitude of the indigenous population towards the history of their nation, its cultural values and traditions. It was provoked by the fact that correlation between the Kazakhs and the representatives of other nations migrated into the republic began to change in favor of the latter. It made the local ethnos be afraid for the safety of their national uniqueness. Quick mechanical growth of the population created international tension.
Gradually the tone and character of the press reports regarding the issues of international relations and national policy began to define critical materials. One may relate there the following articles and correspondences: M. Shakhanova ‘Our Common Values’ , and ‘Though the Truth is Bitter it should be Spoken Out’ , V. Ardayeva ‘Friends though Disgraced’ [48,49] and ‘The new Evaluation of the Jeltoqsan’ , T. Yesilbayeva ‘The Truth about the Jeltoqsan’ , Zh. Korgasbeka ‘Where is the Evidence, Who is the Witness?’  etc.
These publications contain the attempts of providing an objective evaluation to the Jeltoqsan. But their authors also managed to step aside from the official position of the government not at once. And only after the resolution adopted in May 1990 which declared mistaken and abrogated the resolution dated 16 July 1987 “On the Work of the Kazakh Republican Party Organization on International and Patriotic Education of the Working Population’, accusing the Kazakh people of nationalism, the press began publishing materials reproducing the true situation. Here it is noteworthy that the adoption of the resolution by itself was to some extent prepared by the previous declarations of the press.
There the authors step aside from ‘chewing’ and repetitions of the ideas of international community of the Soviet people and begin raising the issues regarding the development of the Kazakh ethnos. They pay their attention to the peculiarities of the demographic processes, the surplus of labor resources in the agricultural regions and their deficiency in the northern industrial regions of Kazakhstan. Touching upon the issue of efficiency of the national economy the journalists paid attention to its interconnection with such issues as development of the principles of democracy, consolidation of equality and social equity in the relationships between the ethnic groups living in the republic.
Cumulating momentum, Perestroyka and publicity required new approaches in the comprehension of the situation in the sphere of international relations, but it required first reorganize their conscience for the journalists themselves, clearing it from the dogmas and embedded stereotypes. First it required to refuse from the thesis on the lack of problems in the national relations, full and ultimate solution of the national problem in the USSR.
In this regard the press began to note that alongside with the culture and the lifestyle, social and economic sphere also influences development of national psychology and the mentality of the ethnos. Therewith it was underlined that many acute issues raised by the course of the national development by itself, did not find timely solution which in its turn provoked international conflicts.
At that, by the example of the Jeltoqsan the facade of the issue was only the tip of the iceberg of the international relations. Its invisible part included many problems, provoked the thoughts among the journalists. The printed media began to publish a great deal of information came from the commission investigating the origin of the Jeltoqsan. The publications about the national policy as a whole reached an objective character. It means they not only spoke about the drawbacks but also stated the achievements. However the politic conjuncture unfortunately led to negation of all and sundry including positive sides of national life.
The press of each republic including Kazakhstan, speaking about identificational parameters of its ethnos already began to isolate it and speak about the fact that it is discriminated. In the national identity the definitions consolidated provided by the western consultants. So, speaking about the perception of the world by the Soviet person and his or her response to it the journalists more often used such definitions as ‘Redland’. At this background the alternative to ‘survival’ of an ethnos was the idea of revival of national customs, traditions and rituals. From the point of view of state structure there was national sovereignty. The first step at this was the attribution of a status to the state language of a dominant ethnic group.
The processes of growing stagnation in economics and social sphere showed that the cries set up by Mikhail Gorbachev – ‘Acceleration’, ‘Development of Socially-based Democracy’, ‘More socialism – more democracy’ and other – failed. The logical result of historical development became the events of August 1991 which led to quick factual dissolution of the Soviet Union.
However in general, summarizing the results of the analysis of the Kazakh periodicals in the sphere of illumination of the studied issues we should note the following facts. In the considered print media all the publications in national problem contain the statements that development of the nations goes in compliance with the communist theory, while the Soviet reality provided many examples of the opposite. Objectively existing national psychology did not stop developing and defining the content of life according to its own rules, but in the Soviet print media the Kazakh nation as any other nation of the USSR, was increasingly identified not as a separate national community, but as a component of the ‘Soviet nation – a new historical community of people’.
In the approach to the national problems the journalists adhered to the same standards as at the evaluation of the other social phenomena. The Lenin’s view of composition of a poly-ethnical state should not provoke any doubts, it was declared universal, while all the complicated and controversial processes were concealed by the system. The press insistently not recommended touching upon these aspects of social development.
The Kazakh national journalism from the moment of its origination and up to the present moment has gone through a long and complicated way, having experienced as the Kazakh nation in general the pressure of the Tsarist Russia government, the pressure of the Soviet totalitarian state and achieved certain success and educated a n entire galaxy of remarkable journalists and publicists contributed to the development of national conscience and self-identity of the Kazakh people.
The Kazakh print media raised the issues of national development, pointed out at the obstacles towards it, tried to withstand to the exaggerations in implementation of the plans of national policy of the communist party. Simultaneously there was a process of covering the issues of development of culture, art and literature of the Kazakh people.
The best representatives of the Kazakh intelligentsia contributed by their speeches published in the press to the achievement of the factual equality of the Kazakh people with the other peoples of the USSR, but they spoke against smoothing national differences, withstood to the process of artificial formation of a new international community – the Soviet nation. The fight for the national interests contradicted to the plans of the administrative command system and thus was negatively assessed by it.
Despite the fact that the journalists and publicists, writers and poets were labeled as nationalists, were exposed to repressions and were sometimes even physically liquidated, the Kazakh national journalism stood for the true friendship between the people, raised in the audience the sense of gratitude for the rendered assistance and formed in it readiness to help other nations living beyond Kazakhstan.
In the Soviet period the administrative command system declared a new formed historical community – the Soviet nation and set the task to accelerate complete integration of the peoples in to the unified socialistic nation. What the language concerns, then the Russian language was not declared national, though it gradually replaced the national languages of many peoples of the USSR, which was especially clearly seen in Kazakhstan.
In the late Soviet period the Mass Media of Kazakhstan focused its attention on correction of deformations in the national question and the forms and methods of their coverage in the press. The national problems, the issues of national identification began to be reconsidered as a result of the conflicts taking place in the late 1980s. Neither ruling elite nor the press created by the administrative command system could offer to the society theoretically based program of overcoming the crisis in the national policy and international relations. The alternative press emerged that time greatly affected the emotions of people, criticized the basic principles of the state structure of the USSR, which eventually contributed to its dissolution.
Despite all the complications and difficulties the formation of the Kazakh journalism as ‘the fourth estate’ is still in the process. And it shows that the establishment of the modern national Kazakh state is also in process, which is an identification characteristic of the Kazakh ethnos as well.
There are the following main conclusions of the study:
1. The globalization processes lead to demolition of the conventional images in the sphere of national traditions and origination of the global conscience and global culture. But nevertheless the national identification as an aspiration to keep the ethnocultural uniqueness of the nation is still in process. So, journalism should always hold the focus on national identity and consider their development from the position of social consolidation with the purpose of formation in the new conditions of an integrating national ideal. It is necessary for maintenance of diversity and uniqueness, further economic, social, cultural, spiritual and political development of the Kazakh people.
2. Existence of nations and national states causes presence of the powers threatening their independency and freedom, striving to control over them and using their national wealth for their own benefit. That’s why the Mass Media of Kazakhstan in order to provide further development of the sovereign state – the Republic of Kazakhstan – should significantly enhance mental awareness-building, develop in the citizens firm will and conviction in holiness of the independence of the state which may ensure the progress of the Kazakh ethnos.
3. Multinational composition of the Kazakh society implies the possibility of emergence of interethnic contradictions. They should not develop into the international dissention and conflicts. In this issue a special role is played by the printed media. It was called upon to deliberately approach the issues of international relations, consider them as one of the most significant factor of sustainable development and prosperity.
4. Effectiveness of any social institution depends on the level of its legal literacy and culture. From this perspective it is necessary to enhance legal awareness of the Kazakh Mass Media representatives.
5. Approval of journalism as ‘the fourth estate’ greatly depends on its interrelation with the other branches of government. With these purposes it is necessary to start the operation of the Mass Media Community Council at the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on a regular basis. It should be supposed to govern by the best interests of the nation, but not to be a place where people accuse each other.
6. A great part in professional enhancement of the Kazakh journalists belongs to the Union of Journalists of Kazakhstan. It should focus on overcoming the invisible division by the principle of a Kazakh journalist speaking the Kazakh languages and a Kazakh journalist speaking Russian. Presence of such confrontation leads to the fact that the Mass Media begin to lose such qualities as objectivity and responsibility towards the society and audience.
7. The journalism should focus on overcoming such phenomenon in life of the Kazakh people as division into zhuzes. Dissolution of this division will allow the state and society to use the potential of each separate person to a greater extent. It will contribute to the mentality of the Kazakh nation. But now division into zhuzes negatively affects development of the society and state.
8. For national conscience and identity a great role is played by the national language. Its loss will inevitably lead to the threat of losing the national identity. Development of the Kazakh independent state created all the conditions necessary for its development. The press takes an active part in this process. The quality of the Kazakh language print media should be further increased and its thematic should be diversified in order to ensure its competitiveness with the Russia language print media of Kazakhstan and Russia.
9. The journalism of Kazakhstan is called upon to actively discussing the problems cramping the consolidation of the sense of community, national and state identity. At that one should find the most reasonable ways for unifying people, for formation of their sense of the common goals and interests of all the peoples living in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
10. It is necessary to understand that state identity is an important factor and catalyst of development of national self-conscience and national identity. It is not less important for the print media to develop respect towards the national identity of the other peoples alongside with the coverage of the issues connected with the national identity of the Kazakhs.
11. In the journalistic declarations of the Kazakh print media over the researched period one may observe the dynamics and evolution in the development of the article themes. The perspective and position of the authors towards this issue at each stage of development of the Kazakh journalism underwent changes which provided an opportunity to better understanding and comprehension by the Kazakh people of their national identity and their place in the world community.
12. Despite the difficulties of the current periods, the Kazakhstan journalism experiencing rises and declines has accumulated rich positive experience which provides it with the opportunity to function quite efficiently and comply with the modern standards. It is still popular among the mass audience.