KAZAKHSTAN: THE PHENOMENON OF IMPOSED IDENTITY

Elena BUROVA


Elena Burova, D.Sc. (Philos.), Professor, Leading Research Fellow at the Institute of Philosophy and Political Science, Ministry of Education and Science, Republic of Kazakhstan; President of the Information-Consultative Perspektiva Group Public Foundation (Astana, Kazakhstan)


By Way of Introduction

Today, we all (I mean the people of Kazakhstan) have come dangerously close to the point of no return beyond which our unique ethnoconfessional community will cease to exist. This has been brought about, among other things, by the geopolitical strategy designed to plant ideas of separatism in peoples minds: for several decades now (in the past two decades in particular) much has been done to impose a false religious identity on those who live in the republic. This means that we should create certain mechanisms to monitor social processes and defuse potential tension. Today, the state should do all it can to keep these processes of utmost importance in check.

Religion in Kazakhstan Society

At the turn of the 21st century, Kazakhstan, a median Eurasian state, found itself in the epicenter of the geopolitical interests of several players. Market reforms, liberalization, and democratization forced Kazakhstan society to readjust its ideas about the world and life accordingly; in the whirlpool of transformations, they blended into a symbiosis of old stereotypes and new landmarks and standards. It turned out that the cultural, political, and economic changes called for a new mechanism for mastering the new meanings, both at the individual and at the collective level; folk traditions were gradually restored and preserved, while innovation activities became more open.

In recent years, re-orientation of the development vectors has been going on in the extremely tense context of a quest for sovereign identity and its economic, cultural, and spiritual dimensions; this has already affected the social infrastructure and lifestyle, up to and including the value-oriented institutions of family, as well as the traditions of personal and group communication.

The transformational shifts that spread to all spheres of vital activities were caused not only by global financial and economic crises, but also by what can be called the cultural intervention of the social values of alien groups (religious, groups of outsiders, etc.). There is the danger that loss of previous identity, the emergence of marginal states, and alienation from civilized civil society will cause new breaches in mentality and asocial behavior.

Modernization of traditional ideas about the world and the predestination of man coupled with the loss of ideology typical of times of change have caused frustration and distorted mentality; the threat of a breach in mentality has been deliberately exaggerated as part of the process of imposing identity.

Kazakhstan is a multi-confessional and polyethnic state, which means that the quest for a new identity implies a religious component as one of its elements. The changed ideological component caused by.


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