In recent days, a scandal has broken out in the Kazakh and Russian Internet space over the “language raids of Kazakh nationalists”.

I watched videos of these raids. I also read the statements of officials of the Russian Federation.

I will express my opinion.

But before that, a few introductory theses.


At this stage of its historical development, the Kazakh language is inferior to the Russian language in terms of prevalence and volume of information. This does not mean that the Kazakh language is less rich, less beautiful, less poetic, and so on. No. It just happened historically that due to the economic and political lag of the native speaker of this language – the Kazakhs – from their stronger neighbor and due to the unequal position of Russia and Kazakhstan during their joint existence, the Kazakh language was suppressed and did not develop.

In fairness, it should be noted that the Russian language is not the most widespread and informative in the world right now. It is much inferior to English. But once upon a time, English was also the language of backward barbarians. That is, everything in the history of mankind is relative and temporary.


Language is one of the most important attributes of national identity. The absolute majority of nationalities in the world have their own language. And these nationalities preserve and cherish their language as an element of their uniqueness.

The third.

Where, due to historical circumstances, the language of one nationality is suppressed by the language of another nationality, the first nationality has the right to apply extraordinary measures to save its language. At the same time, these measures cannot undermine universal foundations, such as the value of life and freedom of citizens.

Now, taking into account the above, let’s look at the situation with “language raids” in Kazakhstan.

Citizens of Kazakhstan who live in Kazakhstan and speak the Kazakh language require that employees of the service sector serve them in the state language.

Is it illegal and immoral?

According to the Constitution of our country and the Law “On Languages”, any citizen has the right to receive public services in the state language. Yes, there is a clause in the law that services can be provided in Russian. But this is in the case if the applicant himself wanted it.

Yes, the law says only about public services. That is, private shops, restaurants, hairdressers, etc., in principle, are not obliged to provide services in the state language (by the way, I consider this a flaw and have long advocated that this requirement should also apply to the sphere of private services). But after all, activists do not call for bringing non-Kazakh-speaking sellers to criminal responsibility. They simply have a public moral impact on them.

Do these raids violate the rights of sellers?

I think that they do not violate it. Any citizen has the right to publicly express his dissatisfaction with the work of employees in the service sector for any reason, for example, because of a miscalculation, because of rudeness, etc. Such stories periodically appear on the Internet. Why don’t these activists also post their videos?

What made the activists organize “language raids”?

Undoubtedly, the reason was their dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs in the language sphere. Unfortunately, the Russian language still prevails in the state apparatus (especially in the central bodies, in the north and east of the country), as well as in other spheres of life.

The spread of another language in the country is not terrible in itself. It is scary when it displaces the state language, and when native speakers of the state language suffer from ignorance of another language. That is, if all the sellers who were caught in the lens of the activists were ABLE to speak Russian, English, Chinese and other languages, this in itself would not cause dissatisfaction of the activists. But it is a shame that the service staff does NOT KNOW HOW to speak the state Kazakh language, and because of this, Kazakh-speaking citizens cannot receive services. That’s what’s outrageous!

Why did some Russian statesmen react so painfully to the “language raids”?

I think that these people still consider Russia the “big brother” of all the former Soviet republics. And that’s why they look down on them.

It is easy to make sure of this.

Let’s imagine that somewhere in the Orenburg region, in a place of compact residence of Kazakhs, in a rural shop, all the sellers speak only Kazakh. Russian Russian grandmother came into such a shop and started speaking in Russian. If she was answered only in Kazakh, and if she was outraged that she could not buy matches in her native country, communicating in the official language of this country, then none of the above-mentioned politicians would be outraged. They would even support the demands of this grandmother. But when Kazakhs in their country require service in the Kazakh language, they consider it a manifestation of”nationalism”.

Or imagine that a Russian emigrant living in Germany has become a salesman in a store and cannot serve customers in the official German language. If the locals were outraged by this, I don’t think that the aforementioned Russian politicians would have raised a scandal. They understand that they are wrong and it is not for them to “swing the rights” in such a rich and strong country as Germany. But in Kazakhstan, the former “younger brother” – it is possible. They do not want to recognize the right of independent Kazakhstan to develop its language and protect it.

Is it necessary to ban any languages in our country?

No, absolutely not! The more languages the citizens of our country speak, the better. This gives them access to new volumes of information, makes them stronger in the competition.

As far as I know, the organizers of the raids are not fighting AGAINST any of the languages (Russian, English or Chinese). They are fighting FOR the Kazakh language. This is a completely different matter.

Is nationalism a bad thing or a good thing?

Nationalism, that is, the love of one’s nationality, the desire to develop its culture and language, to honor history and traditions – this is good.

But do not confuse nationalism with Nazism, that is, the elevation of one’s nationality over others and the humiliation of representatives of other ethnic groups.

I do not understand why the aforementioned politicians call the organizers of the “language raids” nationalists with such hatred. Their idol, Vladimir Putin, once proudly called himself a nationalist. By this he wanted to say that he would fight for the development of Russian nationality. When Kazakhs call themselves nationalists and develop their nationality, it looks like a crime in the eyes of these politicians.


Kazakhstan is an independent state with its own national identity, including the language, which it has the right to protect and develop.

Other languages should not be infringed upon in our country. In no case should citizens be prohibited from speaking to each other in any language of the world. But citizens have a full moral right to demand the use of the state language in the service sector in relation to those who want it.

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