KOREANS IN KAZAKHSTAN: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

Georgii KAN


Georgii Kan, Doctor of History, professor (Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan)


  1. Past

  1. The Beginning

Korea and Kazakhstan are found on the opposite flanks of Asia and are divided by thousands of kilometers. Yet at all times they have been aware of each other and there have been contacts between them. Without going too far into the past I can say that according to the first general population census in the Russian Empire conducted in 1897 there were Koreans living on the lands that are now Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. They lived in the Ferghana Valley, in Kokand and Namangan uezds, in the town of Namangan, Pishpek uezd and the town of Pishpek (now Bishkek), in Przhevalsk uezd and the town of Przhevalsk. In Kazakhstan there were Koreans in Verny uezd (Semirechie Region), the town of Verny (Almaty), Jarkent uezd and the town of Jarkent, in the Syrdaria Region (town of Aulie-Ata, today Taraz), Perovsk uezd (now Kzyl-Orda Region), and in the Akmolinsk Region.1

These people came from Korea to the Russian Far East and moved further to Central Asia seeking better life for themselves. At home, starting with 1868 the Japanese had been pursuing an aggressive policy that caused emigration. Its waves reached the Steppe Area (the official name of Kazakhstan at that time).

Early in the twentieth century when Russia-Japan rivalry ended in the Russo-Japanese war there was even more active Korean emigration. The war started in the small hours of 9 February, 1904. On 14 February Nicholas II personally approved of the rules to be applied during the war.2 According to them all yellow-faced (an official term applied to the Japanese, Chinese, and Koreans) had be moved inland from the Far Eastern operation theater. They were exiled to inland gubernias to be supervised by the police. This applied to the families. In fact, this was a massive administrative resettlement of the yellow-faced, or deportation based on the principle of collective responsibility for being one of the yellow race. I have calculated that between August 1904 and September 1905 thousands of peaceful yellow-faced (hundreds of Koreans included) passed through the city of Omsk (an administrative center of the Steppe Area). Some of Koreans stayed there.3 In 1904, the Governor General of the Far East received a loan of 3,234 rubles to distribute subsidies among those who are removed from the operations theater. He had to pay each adult 15 kopeks to buy food and 4 kopeks to pay for lodgings a day and 7.5 kopeks and 2 kopeks for each child, respectively.4 From this it follows that the number of forced migrants was large.

Until October 1917 Koreans were mainly arriving from the Tomsk, Irkutsk, Tobolsk, Enisei, and Orenburg regions and also from Moscow, Cheliabinsk, Krasnoiarsk, Perm, Tiumen, Tomsk, Chita, Novo-Nikolaevsk and other Russian cities. Many of them had families; others married Russian subjects and had children. The majority were Christians since the Russian authorities were resolved to Russify the Koreans as promptly as possible and make them mingle with others. The first thing to do was to baptize them: this act made them Russian subjects. Koreans got Russian names, they were not allowed to wear ethnic dress and have tresses (national hair style).

They mainly ran laundries and other small businesses, served as waiters, barbers, shop assistants, handicraftsmen, and workers. They were employed in laundries and tobacco factories. There were doctors among them and people who took lodgers. When filling forms upon arrival many stated opening a laundry or going into commerce as an aim of their arrival in the Russian Empire. Tax-collecting structures issued licenses. There is information that in 1916, 16 Koreans came from Irkutsk to work at the Zyrianovskiy mine in eastern Kazakhstan.5 During World War I Russian workers were conscripted and sent to the army-in-the-field while Kazakhs had to build defense structures and work in the rear. The administration of the mine had no choice but to invite Koreans.

At that time, Koreans mainly lived in Omsk, Petropavlovsk, Semipalatinsk, Ust-Kamenogorsk, and Verny and preferred to live all together. There was a Korean organization. In any case, Koreans presented their membership cards as their IDs.

There is no exact figure for the Korean population of Kazakhstan: they were divided into two groups. The authorities distinguished between those who were Russian subjects and those who were waiting for the Russian citizenship (they had to go through a complicated procedure that today would have been called registration). There were temporary settlers who came to earn money. The second population census had been planned for 1917 but never took place because of the revolution that destroyed the empire and changed the lives of its nations.

The first all-Union population census was conducted in 1926, the results were published in 1928. At that time, Koreans lived in Tashkent and the Tashkent Region, in Bukhara and Surkhandaria districts, and in Kirghizia. In Kazakhstan Koreans lived in the Akmolinsk, Semipalatinsk, Syrdaria and Ural regions, that is, practically over the republics entire territory.6

The year 1928 was another milestone in the lives of Koreans in Kazakhstan: in the latter half of the 1920s the Soviet government, driven by revolutionary enthusiasm bordering on adventurism, decided to become independent of cotton supplies from abroad. All more or less suitable lands had to be sown with cottonas a result, it drove away all other cultures, rice in the first place that had been grown in the warm climate on irrigated lands. Having become cotton-independent the Soviet Union became rice-dependent. The solution was simple: all lands suitable for cotton growing should be sown with cotton. Their northern fringes should become the southern boundaries of rice.7 This made Kazakhstan the main rice producer because the northern fringes of cotton ran across its territory. It was decided to concentrate rice growing in the Djetysui Region (Alma-Ata area) for two reasons: first, this was the northern cotton fringe, second, there were good unused lands along the Turkestan-Siberian mainline, under construction as one of the major industrial projects of the first five-year plan. Starting with 1928 rice became the central issue in Kazakhstan supervised personally by Turar Ryskulov who headed the construction project.

Winter 1928 was spent in gathering information about rice growing. This ended in plans, bordering on science fiction, of creating vast rice fields of up to 100,000 hectares, including around the Lake Markakol in the Altai Mountains (1,427 meters above the sea level) and along the Cherny Irtysh River.8 Anybody can see an obviously adventurist nature of such plans. Yet it was said that the main stumbling block was a shortage of rice growing experts and lack of adequate experience of rice growing.9 Much attention was given to various brands of rice (Turkestanian, Ferghanian, Bukharian, Caucasian, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean) and methods of growing (Dunganian, Italian, and American). The Korean method of rice growing practiced in the Far East was finally preferred.

It was concluded: Rice growing in Kazakhstan should follow in the footsteps of the Koreans in the Far East. It was decided to invite Koreans from the Far East to share their experience.10 In spring 1928, more than 70 families (more than 300 Koreans, agronomists, rice growers, and silkworm breeders among them) arrived from the Vladivostok Region of the Far Eastern Territory to Kazakhstan on an invitation of Tokhtobaev, Peoples Commissar for Agriculture of the Kazakh A.S.S.R. They united into an agricultural commune called Kazakh Rice (Kazrice). The Koreans planted rice in the Ushtobe stow along the Karatal River in Taldy-Kurgan uezd, Djetysui gubernia. In January 1929, they started sending seeds to other agricultural collectives.11 In 1931 Kazakhstan became the leader in rice growing in the Soviet Union: it planted rice on 7,200 hectares against 6,636 in the Far East, 2,000 in Central Asia, and 1,100 in the Northern Caucasus.12

  1. Deportation

On 21 August, 1937 the Soviet of Peoples Commissars of the U.S.S.R. and the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) adopted a joint resolution No. 1428-326cc On Deporting the Korean Population from the Frontier Regions of the Far Eastern Territory. It said in particular that all Koreans should be moved to the South Kazakhstan Region, to the Aral Sea and the Lake Balkhash and to Uzbek S.S.R. to to stop penetration of Japanese spies into the area. In this way the Koreans that had fled Japanese colonialism were accused of being spies and repressed on a mass scale just because they were Koreans. Each of the districts involved in the decision set up resettlement troikas to supervise moving all the Koreans.13 Tens of trains were moving in a tragic chain from Vladivostok to Tashkent covering vast distances. The places from which Koreans were removed were encircled with troops, Koreans were repressed in their former homes, on the way toward their new homes, in the places of their destination. They were moved in freight cars designed for cattle, people died of repressions and accidents. For example, on 13 September, 1937 train No. 505 with Koreans crashed at the Verino station at Khabarovsk. People fell ill in great numbers, children suffered of measles, which claimed up to 60 percent of lives because of hard conditions.14

The people who had been moved to Kazakhstan had to go further: between 21 August, 1937 to 3 March, 1938 they arrived in the republic and had to spend winter there. In spring 1938 they had to go further, to the places of their permanent domicile. In all 20,789 families, or 98,454 people, came to Kazakhstan and were settled in the following pattern: Alma-Ata Region, 1,616 families, 7,851 people; South Kazakhstan Region, 8,867 and 43,181, respectively; Aktiubinsk Region, 1,744 and 7,666; North Kazakhstan Region, 2,299 and 9,350; Karaganda Region, 3,073 and 14,792; Kustanai Region, 720 and 3,746; West Kazakhstan Region, 1,950 and 9,017. Five hundred and twenty families (2,851 people) were sent to Astrakhan to work at fish packing enterprises. They were registered as living in Kazakhstan.15

Life was hard: people had to live in dugouts, club buildings and storage facilities. They were placed in closed mosques, barns, stables, pigsties and suffered of cold, hunger and illnesses (typhus, measles, dysentery, diphtheria, and scurvy). In first six months 373 people, mainly children and women,16 died of illnesses and privations in the Djusalinskiy resettlement center (Karmakchi District, Kzyl-Orda Region). Korean culture also suffered: 118 Korean schools were closed down in the republic together with a teacher college in Kazalinsk and pedagogical institute in Kzyl-Orda following a resolution by the CC AUCP (B) of 24 January, 1938. On 27 December, 1939 the bureau of the CC Communist Party of Kazakhstan passed a special decision On Korean Literature. I have calculated that 120,052 copies of 134 titles of Korean textbooks on all subjects were destroyed including 17,325 copies of textbooks of the Korean language.17

Supported by the fraternal Kazakh people the Koreans showed a lot of staunchness. The deported people founded 70 collective farms, 13 of them fishing collectives. In their first spring in Kazakhstan they sowed 21,347 hectares with grain and vegetables, in the next spring they extended the area to 38,482 hectares and set up 104 cattle breeding farms.18

They barely had time to strike root in the new place when the Great Patriotic War began (1941-1945). The Koreans were not trusted with armaments and had to work in the rear. Thousands of them together with other unreliable nations, prisoners-of-war and convicted criminals worked in the coalmines in Karaganda, the European part of Russia, Komy A.S.S.R., and the Far North. Some of them were sent to the front and fought with glory: everybody knows about the feat of A. Min, Hero of the Soviet Union.

Korean collective farmers worked selflessly during the war; rice grower Kim Man Sam from the Avangard collective farm (Chiili District, Kzyl-Orda Region) gathered a bump crop of rice. In 1942, he transferred 105 thousand rubles of his personal savings to equip the Kzyl-Orda Collective Farmer tank column. He was awarded the Hero of Socialist Labor order and the Stalin Prize. Eleven more people from the same collective farm became Heroes of Socialist Labor. All of them looked at Kim Man Sam as their teacher; there was the Kim Man Sam movement across the country, poets and composers wrote songs about him.

After the war life remained hard for the Korean Diaspora that became an instrument of Soviet politics in the Far East. In January 1946 on a decision of the CC AUCP (B) active work was launched in Kazakhstan to send local Koreans (hundreds of well educated people who were skilled specialists and knew well their native tongue) to the north of the Korean Peninsula to set up there a pro-Soviet regimea socialist state Korean Peoples Democratic Republic.19 This work had gathered momentum in 1946-1948 before two Koreas appeared on the peninsula. Even after that the Soviet Unions attention remained riveted to the Far East. Throughout the 1940s Koreans from Kazakhstan able to work as translators in the border guard units and to become deputy directors for political education of industrial enterprises, to work in the cultural and educational sphere, as lecturers at Party structures and school teachers20 were sent to the Khabarovsk and Maritime Territories and the Island of Sakhalin.

As soon as the Korean War ended in 1955 dozens of Koreans from Kazakhstan were sent to permanent work in the Korean Democratic Republic.21

  1. The Present

Despite the ups and downs in their collective fates the local Koreans in Kazakhstan did their best to live normal life. They have been prominent in industry, agriculture and culture: there are 67 Heroes of Socialist Labor, 150 people were made merited workers in various industrial branches.

Sixteen Koreans were elected deputies of the U.S.S.R. Supreme Soviet at different periods, deputies of the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh S.S.R. and the parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Over ten members of the Korean Diaspora were ministers and deputy ministers. N.L. Kim was Minister of Finance, G.V. Kim headed the State Committee for Nationalities Policies. Several Koreans filled posts of deputy ministers: V.P. Kan, in the Ministry of the Interior; Iu.A. Kim, in the Ministry of Youth, Tourism, and Sport; I.V. Kim, in the Ministry of Local Industry; Iu.A. Kim, in the Ministry of Justice. He also served Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Republic of Kazakhstan and was Chairman of the republican Constitutional Council; A.A. Pak was deputy minister for poultry industry, G.N. Pak, deputy minister for grain production; V.I. Khvan, deputy minister for meat and milk products; A.Iu. Khegai, deputy minister for highways; V.V. Ni is manager of the RK presidential administration. There are three generals among the local Koreans: an army, a police and a justice generals. Koreans have always been a well-educated ethnic group: according to the 1989 population census 252 Koreans had higher education per 1,000 of able-bodied people (the countrys average was 113).

Koreans are represented in all branches of knowledge: there are 350 candidates and over 40 doctors of sciences. L.P. Ni who is a well-known scholar is an Academician of the republics National Academy of Sciences. He is a U.S.S.R. State Prize winner and a merited scientist of Kazakhstan. E.I. Kim is Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences and a merited scientist of Kazakhstan; V.G. Li was awarded State Prizes of the U.S.S.R. and Kazakh S.S.R.; D.N. Pak won the U.S.S.R. State Prize and was made merited scientist of Kazakhstan, L.I. Tsoi received the U.S.S.R. State Prize.

Koreans are equally shining in culture and arts: there are dozens of peoples and merited artists of the Republic of Kazakhstan among them: V.E. Kim, D. Kim, R.I. Kim, V.A. Kim, Z. Kim, G.M. Kan, G.S. Kim, Li Kham Dek, Li Gir Su, Ia.N. Khan, and many others. Koreans are talented writers, playwrights, and poets: A. Kan, G. Kan, S. Li. D. Kim, Kan Te Su, Te Men Khi, Khan Din, Ian Von Sik, and others. N. Kim won at Olympic games and was world champion more than once, Iu. Tskhai and M. Khvan are merited coaches of the U.S.S.R. There are well-known designers and architects among the Koreans. One of them, V. Kim, received the U.S.S.R. State Prize for his Palace of the Republic in Almaty.

According to the 1999 population census there were 14,953,100 living in the republic (1,246,000 fewer than in 1989). Kazakhstan is home to over 120 ethnic groups; there were 99,662 Koreans there (in 1989 there were 100,739 of them). Table 1 gives details about the Koreans numerical strength and their distribution by regions.22

Table 1

 

Number of Koreans

1999 as % of 1989

Share in the total population in region (city) %%

1999 1989
Total %% of total Total %% of total 1999 1989
Republic of Kazakhstan 99,662 100 100,739 100 98.9 0.7 0.6
Regions:              
Akmolinsk 1,489 1.5 1,382 1.4 107.7 0.2 0.1
Aktiubinsk 1,389 1.4 1,350 1.3 102.4 0.2 0.2
Almaty 17,488 17.5 18,483 18.4 94.6 1.1 1.1
Atyrau 2,597 2.6 3,000 3.0 86.6 0.6 0.7
East Kazakhstan 1,574 1.6 1,553 1.5 101.4 0.1 0.1
Jambyl 14,000 14.1 13,360 13.3 104.8 1.4 1.3
West Kazakhstan 731 0.7 631 0.6 115.8 0.1 0.1
Karaganda 14,097 14.2 14,672 14.6 96.1 1.0 0.8
Kzyl-Orda 8,982 9.0 12,047 12.0 74.6 1.5 2.1
Kostanai 4,160 4.2 4,085 4.1 101.8 0.4 0.3
Mangystau 716 0.7 816 0.8 87.7 0.2 0.3
Pavlodar 1,013 1.0 924 0.9 109.6 0.1 0.1
North Kazakhstan 534 0.5 746 0.7 71.6 0.1 0.1
South Kazakhstan 9,780 9.8 11,430 11.3 85.6 0.5 0.6
city of Astana 2,028 2.0 1,329 1.3 152.6 0.6 0.5
city of Almaty 19,090 19.2 14,931 14.8 127.9 1.7 1.4

Obviously, between the two population censuses the number of Koreans in Kazakhstan decreased by 1,077 people, while their share in the total population increased by 0.1 percent. Their majority (about 83.7 percent) are still living in the Almaty, Jambyl, Karaganda, Kzyl-Orda, and South Kazakhstan regions and the city of Almaty, the highest share living in the city of Almaty, and the Kzyl-Orda and Jambyl regions, the lowest in the East Kazakhstan, West Kazakhstan, Pavlodar, and North Kazakhstan regions. The share of Koreans in the newly built Kazakh capital Astana increased by 52.6 percent, in Almaty, by 27.9 percent. It should be added that Koreans are leaving in great number the Almaty, Karaganda, Kzyl-Orda, South Kazakhstan, and North Kazakhstan regions.

Independence and sovereignty opened another stage in the history of the Korean Diaspora of Kazakhstan. In 1989, Koreans started setting up cultural centers and associations in regions, cities, districts, collective and state farms and small settlements. On 17 March, 1990 Alma-Ata hosted the First Constituent Congress of the Koreans of Kazakhstan that founded the Republican Association of the Korean Cultural Centers of Kazakhstan (RAKCCK). Today it is called the Association of the Koreans of Kazakhstan (AKK). It has already made a weighty contribution to reviving and developing the Korean language, culture, history, customs and traditions among the local Koreans and strengthened their ties with the historical homeland, their relatives living in other countries, it has also brought the Koreans of Kazakhstan closer together. Its Renaissance program pays special attention to studies of the native tongue. In 1991, a Korean enlightenment center was set up in Alma-Ata, one of the few (30) across the world. It was the first center of this sort in the CIS. The association helped open Korean departments at the Kzyl-Orda pedagogical Institute, the Kazakh al-Farabi National State University, the Abai State University in Almaty, the Abylai-khan Kazakh State University of Languages and International Relations.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s Koreans of Kazakhstan set up several public organizations: Kakhak Scientific and Technical Society, an Association to Promote Unification of Korea, Alma-Ata Korean Association of Creative Intelligentsia, Noinkhe (an organization of elderly people), the Tesen Foundation of Social and Legal Services to the Deported Koreans, and others. Their programs and practical work have testified that all differences notwithstanding these organizations are working toward common aims: better knowledge of the native tongue, customs, traditions, and culture and closer consolidation of their members.

The year 1997 was an important milestone in the Diasporas life: it marked the 60th anniversary of their deportation from the Far East and 60 years of their life in Kazakhstan. The Kazakhstan president announced the year the Year of Social Consolidation and Memory of the Victims of Political Repressions. The meeting of Koreans in the Palace of the Republic in Almaty was the highest point of the Year at which President Nazarbaev spoke. He said, in particular, that the fact that the Koreans lived in Kazakhstan was associated with the tragedy of the nation uprooted from its native soil and driven at gunpoint to unknown places. Thousands of lives were lost or broken. On the other hand, during 60 years they have been living in Kazakhstan the Koreans have not been reduced to dust of history, they have never been assimilated. They have preserved and enriched their national customs and rites and have contributed, and are contributing to the republics social, economic, and spiritual development. The president emphasized: We are witnessing a phenomenon that can be described as Koreans spiritual renaissance.23

  1. Looking into the Future

To gain a better understanding of what the Korean Diaspora is feeling about its life I have looked into recent sociological polls. The point of departure was 1991, the first year of Kazakhstans sovereignty and independence. It is very hard to identify the feelings of the Diaspora at that time as ethnic self-awareness in the sense we interpret the term today. Indeed, at the time that was described as the period of flourishing and drawing closer together of the socialist nations, and their complete blending in future ethnic specifics was socialist in its content and national in form. An individual was expected to identify himself through the idea of the Soviet people, a new historical community of people that had allegedly taken shape in the U.S.S.R.

The republics sovereignty radically changed the situation. New approaches to ethnic identities had to be grasped. The process was especially active in the first years of independence. This was a difficult timemany people still cherished old ideas, stereotypes and ideals, they found it hard to believe that the Soviet Union and socialism had collapsed beyond repair. However all sides of social, political, economic and spiritual life are changing. Independence is strengthening.

The first sociological research of the Diaspora was conducted in 1996, the second took place in 2001. One thousand people were polled, both in the places of disperse and compact settlement of the Koreans: in the town of Ushtobe (Taldy-Kurgan Region) and in the city of Almaty, respectively. The sampling was highly representative. Age structure was the following: respondents from 18 to 25 comprised 23.2 percent of those polled; from 26 to 30, 10.4 percent; from 31 to 45, 37.5 percent; from 46 to 60, 21.5 percent; over 60, 7.4 percent. There were 48.6 percent of men and 51.4 percent of women; people with families, 67.4 percent; single, 24.9 percent; widows and widowers, 3 percent; divorced, 2.7 percent; undecided about their family status, 2 percent. From the point of view of nationality the married respondents were represented in the following way: monoethnic families, 61.5 percent; mixed families, 38.5 percent. Place of domicile: 59.7 percent of the respondents lived in Almaty, 40.3 percent, in Ushtobe. From the point of view of education: no education, 0.7 percent; primary, 1.0 percent; secondary, 21.5 percent; secondary specialized, 20.5 percent; higher, 43.2 percent; incomplete higher, 11.2 percent; incomplete secondary specialized, 1.9 percent. Occupation: workers and civil servants, 50 percent; businessmen, 4 percent; jobless, 8.1 percent; students and pupils, 11 percent; employed in services, 3.1 percent; academics, creative workers, military, 11.9 percent; no professional training, 4.6 percent; pensioners, 7.3 percent. The results of the 1996 and 2001 are shown in comparison. Here I shall cite some results. Table 2 shows how material situation changed in the five years of sovereignty (from 1991 to 1996 and from 1997 to 2001, in percent).

Table 2

How did your material situation change?

1996

2001

Not changed

26.3

50.8

Improved

25.7

19.2

Worsened

48.0

30.0

Hard to say

In the first five years of sovereignty the share of Koreans whose material situation did not change or improved was 52 percent. In the next five years the share increased to 70 percent. The share of respondents whose material situation improved dropped by 6.5 percent while the share of those whose material situation worsened dropped by 18 percent.

On the whole, in 1996, 48 percent of those polled said that their material situation worsened as compared to 1991; in 2001, 30 percent pointed out that their material situation worsened as compared to 1996. One can say that the majority have found themselves in straightened situation while on the whole they live better than the German or the Uighur Diaspora.

The answers to the question about ethnic relations (in percent) are given in Table 3.

Table 3

How did ethnic relations change?

1996

2001

Remained the same

46.6

66.8

Improved

7.2

19.7

Worsened

41.5

13.5

Became very bad

3.9

Hard to say

0.8

The results allow us a conclusion that the first five years of sovereignty were a trying period from the point of view of ethnic relations: it was at that time that dramatic and bloody conflicts flared up across the former Soviet Union. Kazakhstan had its share of ethnic troubles. In the east Kazakhs found it hard to live side by side with people from the Caucasus (Ingushes and Chechens). In the west, there were conflicts between Kazakhs and the Ural Cossacks. Still, the Korean Diaspora was realistic and optimistic: 53.8 percent of Korean respondents said that the relations either remained the same or even improved; in 2001 the share increased to 85 percent.

To specify the situation the respondents were asked whether they expected worsening of ethnic relations in Kazakhstan. Table 4 presents the following picture (in percent).

Table 4

Are you apprehensive of any worsening of ethnic relations?

1996

2001

Yes

76.1

59.6

No

22.7

39.6

Hard to say

1.2

0.8

Obviously, in the first five years of independence the share of those who expected any worsening of ethnic relations and feared it was high enough, however the tension had subsided by 2001.

The respondents were asked about ways and methods to remove the danger of possible worsening of ethnic relations. In 1996, 61.8 percent of them answered that real economic and legal reforms were needed. In 2001, 43.6 percent believed that real reforms were an answer. On the whole, the Korean respondents hoped that real economic and legal changes would improve ethnic relations in the republic.

Emigration is another important issue: during the years of independence, hundreds of thousands of people left the republic for various reasons. There were two major ones: the desire to return to the historical homeland and an inability to adjust to the changed and very trying social and economic environment. The respondents answered the question whether they would have left Kazakhstan if a possibility presented itself in the following way (in percent).

Table 5

If you had a possibility to leave Kazakhstan?

1996

2001

I would have left without second thought

16.7

17.99

I would have stopped to think it over

31.9

22.85

I would have asked my children

11.3

15.34

I would have taken my parents advice into account

8.4

20.61

I would have never gone anywhere

30.7

23.21

Hard to say

1.0

The figures are eloquent enough.

On 29 September, 2001, the Association of the Koreans of Kazakhstan called an extraordinary Seventh Congress in Almaty. It had to discuss the economic program and development of the youth movements. Its motto was: Enthusiasm is a poor locomotive. Inadequate social support of the impoverished population and unemployment force us to channel the Associations efforts into the economic sphere. We shall be able to remain the leader of the national cultural movement if we have a solid material and economic foundation. The Board has elaborated an economic program.24

The congress identified the nearest tasks. First, the Diaspora needs a Korean House to give shelter to all its organizations, the theater, the memorial complex and the media. In other words, the House was devised as an extra-territorial capital of the Koreans of Kazakhstan. Second, it was decided to set up an organization The Youth Movement and a Youth Center at the Association. Kazakhstan is home to the fifth generation of the Koreans deported from the Far East. This generation and two earlier ones have borrowed little if anything from the older generation that created the Diasporas positive image. Those speaking at the congress emphasized: It is our duty to transfer these traditions to those who will come after us, to preserve and increase the Korean communitys potential. Third, the congress was convinced that education, the media and the theater should receive more attention. The delegates identified the following tasks: give more attention to childrens education, to Sunday schools in the regions, and to studies of the Korean language. The Korean media and the theater should find a niche of their own in the republic. To do this they should radically change their structure, methods of work and forms of activity. Fourth, measures should be taken to realize the Associations economic program. Its aims were described as a solid material basis for the Korean movement, higher living standards for the Koreans, complex development of the regions where they live in compact communities, encouragement of business and foreign economic activities, and protection of the Diasporas economic interests. The program addresses the economic and agrarian spheres. It is planned to produce more wheat, rice, onion, sugar beet, soybeans, and processing. In the industrial sphere it is planned to encourage production of household electronic appliances and electronic technologies, telecommunication and information technologies, production of medical plastic products, construction, light and food industries, and production of medicine. The program pays particular attention to the places where Koreans live in large groups. The Association has already set up a material and production basis and business structures in Almaty, Astana, Ushtobe, Taraz, Shimkent, Kzyl-Orda, Ust-Kamenogorsk, and in the Almaty and Akmolinsk regions. Investments come from the Republic of Korea (LG, Loogbo, Hanhwa, Han So Pharm and others). The loans will also come from Eximbank of the Republic of Korea, Kazkommertsbank, the Kaspiiskiy Bank, the Bank for the Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Small Businesses Development Fund. It is planned to commission 20 industrial projects with a total volume of production of $312,836 million and 8,146 jobs until 2005.

This will radically improve the material situation of the Diaspora and will contribute to the Republic of Kazakhstans development: a multiethnic society can flourish when all ethnic groups are successfully developing.


1 See: Pervaia vseobshchaia perepis naselenia Rossiiskoi imperii 1897 g., ed. by N.A. Troinitskiy, TsSK MVD Press, St. Petersburg. Ferghana Valley, Vol. 89, 1904, pp. 28-29, 60-61; Semirechie Region, Vol. 85, 1905, pp. 52-53, 26-27, 48-49; Syrdaria Region, Vol. 86, 1905, pp. 30-31, 52-53, 56-57; Akmolinsk Region, Vol. 81, 1904, pp. 26-27, 50-51.

2 See: Central State Archives of the Republic of Kazakhstan (CSA RK), Record Group 64, Inventory 1, File 1091, pp. 18-18 reverse.

3 Ibid., pp. 27-29, 41, 67, 77, 81, 86, 93-94, 96-99, 101-103, 105, 109, 112, 115, 119, 122, 128-130, 132, 134.

4 Ibid., pp. 30, 41, 63.

5 See: CSA RK, Record Group 64, Inventory 1, File 6078, pp. 115-128.

6 See: Vsesoiuznaia perepis naselenia 1926 g., Moscow, 1928; Vol. 15. Uzbekskaia SSR. Vol. 8, Kazakhskaia ASSR. Kirghizskaia ASSR, pp. 16-35.

7 CSA RK, Record Group 962, Inventory 1, File 529, p. 26.

8 Ibid., File 1003, pp. 1, 31.

9 Ibid., pp. 15, 46.

10 See: State Archives of Alma-Ata Region (SA AR), Record Group 142, Inventory 1, File 53, pp. 109, 63.

11 Ibid., pp. 78, 197, 202.

12 See: CSA RK, Record Group 962, Inventory 1, File 1003, p. 33.

13 Russian State Archives of Siberia and the Far East (RSA SiFE), Record Group 2413, Inventory 2, File 804, p. 188.

14 CSA RK, Record Group 1490 c., Inventory 1, File 7, p. 11; Record Group 1208, Inventory 1, File 23, p. 3.

15 Ibid., pp. 25-32.

16 Ibid., File 8, p. 236.

17 See: Archives of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (AP RK), Record Group 708, Inventory 3/1, File 147, p. 236.

18 See: CSA RK, Record Group 1208, Inventory 1, File 2, p. 30.

19 See: AP RK, Record Group 708, Inventory 10, File 1860, pp. 21, 23, 24.

20 Ibid., Inventory 11, File 1942, p. 43; Inventory 26, File 375, p. 19.

21 Ibid., Inventory 27, File 268, p. 8.

22 See: Assotsiatsia koreitsev Kazakhstana, Almaty, 2000, pp. 341-342.

23 Kare ilbo, 18 October, 1997.

24 Ibid., 28 September, 2001.


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