According to my observations, the majority of Russians living in Kazakhstan have taken the side of Russia in its conflict with Ukraine. And there is an explanation for this. They are connected with Russia by ethnic kinship. Many of them realize themselves first of all as Russians, and only then as Kazakhstanis. Add the information environment here: there are no Ukrainian TV channels in Kazakhstan, and Russian channels (including satellite ones) prevail. Propaganda on them reached an unprecedented scale in the last 30 years. They skillfully create an image of Ukrainians as nationalists-Banderites, oppressing the local Russian population. In such a situation, Russian citizens of Kazakhstan involuntarily project the fate of Russians in Ukraine on themselves, because they are in the same position: an ethnic minority in the country with another state-forming ethnic group. This fear subconsciously brings them closer to Russia, especially because it is now represented in the media as an intercessor power.

     This closeness to Russia, of course, existed in their hearts before, but now, under the influence of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as a catalyst, it escalated. Hence the sharp statements in social networks, and Russian flags on the windshields of cars.

     What should we do in such a situation, representatives of other ethnic groups living in Kazakhstan: Kazakhs, Ukrainians, Tatars, etc.?

     Obviously, the aggravation of pro-Russian sentiments in our environment provokes irritation and even accusations of betrayal and unreliability in a certain part of the population. This is a dangerous trend. It can get to direct domestic conflicts (everything can begin with the compulsion to remove the St. George ribbons from the cars), and lead to political tension in general.

     My position is based on the popular saying “Love cannot be forced”. I believe that we should in no case be angry with our Russian compatriots! We mustn’t promote a campaign against Russian flags in cars. We mustn’t blame them and oppress them! We need to do the opposite. We need to make sure that Russians really love their Motherland – Kazakhstan and are proud of it. Not under the lash, not out of fear of being accused of treason, but sincerely. It is necessary that they proudly wrote in letters to their relatives in Russia, “I don’t know how things go in Russia, but in Kazakhstan everything is fine! We live wealthy and friendly, no one is being offended. We work together and we rest together.”

     To feel this way, Russian citizens of Kazakhstan should really live better than their relatives in Russia. To do this, in addition to improving economic indicators, Kazakhstan needs to strengthen democratic institutions, seek fair justice, responsibility of the authorities, reduce corruption, etc. However, all that the state should do for all its citizens.

     Someone may have a question: is it necessary for Kazakhstan to try so hard to keep Russian citizens?

     I think it is.

     Every citizen in Kazakhstan is worth his weight in gold. We should cherish each of us, regardless of nationality. Therefore, the departure of a German to Germany or the departure of a Russian to Russia should be as painful as the departure of a Kazakh to Mongolia or to China. And the point here is not even in quantity, but in quality. A nationalistic, monoethnic state is less attractive to people’s lives and investments, which means it is less attractive for wealth and progress. A multinational, free, democratic state with equal rights and opportunities for all citizens is the right way to prosperity of our country.

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