doctor of political science, professor,
Narxoz University, Kazakhstan
NATIONAL IDENTITY IN THE CONDITIONS OF GLOBALIZATION
In attempts to describe his national identity, a person takes into account political and
economic factors, but also relies on the symbols of the society in which he lives. The symbols of society
include: history, state, religion, mentality, citizenship, language and much more.
National identity is one of the most important components of a person. It is national identity that gives a
person a sense of commitment to the nation, brings a person closer to the people, awakens the spirit of
patriotism and love for the homeland.
Kazakh researcher T. T. Ospanov in his article “The search for Kazakh identity in the context of
globalization” notes: “... national identity is well traced in difficult times for an ethnos, where an impulse is
given to search for foundations and ways to strengthen or restore national identity, find what unites us,
formulate the values for which it is worth living or dying. Obviously, national identity is a nutrient medium
that forms the consciousness of the people, while the awareness of inner self of each nation is impossible
regardless of its own history, its heroic and tragic events, based on and understanding the experience of the
past and the interests of the future”[l].
It should be added that national identity is not an innate trait, it appears through the knowledge of its
history, culture, language, and environment. If we talk about Kazakh identity, then there is no unequivocal
opinion: some part of the population proudly says: «We are Kazakhs!», and the other does not recognize
themselves as Kazakhs and says: «We are Kazakhstanese!» This raises the question: then how to define
national identity? The bottom line is that there are two concepts of national identity in Kazakhstan: Kazakh
and Kazakhstan’s. “Kazakh” identity has a more ethnocultural, ethno-national connotation, which is more
suitable for the indigenous population of Kazakhstan, for the Kazakhs. While the “Kazakhstan’s identity” has
a territorial, administrative and political connotation. This category includes representatives of other
nationalities who have been living in Kazakhstan since the times of the USSR. Based on this, we can conclude
that Kazakhstan has a national and civic identity, which is synonymous with a sense of unity in society.
Representative Office Friedrich Ebert in Kazakhstan, in conjunction with scientists from different
research organizations, conducted a survey among 1600 respondents (18 years and older) on the topic of unity
with different groups of people . We conducted a content analysis based on this survey:
Figure - 1 Kazakhstan citizens’ feeling of unity with different groups of people
Note: the figure was compiled by the author .
The results of the survey showed that the majority of the population (66.1%), feel a sense of unity,
primarily in relation to their compatriots. The survey also illustrates data that representatives of one nation
feel unity with the representatives of the same nation. This suggests that Kazakhstani civic identity has been
formed in Kazakhstan. The population living in rural areas to a greater extent expresses a sense of unity with
fellow citizens than the urban population - 75.8% and 59.2%. The reason for this is the fact that social ties are
more developed in the countryside than in the city.
In terms of age, the results of the survey showed that young people from 18 to 29 years old (62%) are
not strongly inclined towards a sense of unity than the older generation - 62% and 72.3%, respectively. This
is not surprising, since young people are more affected by the cultural globalization. We also analyzed the
population with the income levels: people with the lowest and highest income levels have little or no sense of
oneness, unlike those with the middle wage. If we analyze the sense of unity by region, then the greatest
solidarity is experienced by residents of the eastern, western and central regions - 80.3%, 70.4% and 69.9%,
and in the southern and northern regions the figures are slightly less - 62.1% and 48 %. The latter indicator is
due to the fact that many Russians live in the north, so they do not particularly feel a sense of unity towards
the inhabitants of Kazakhstan in general. And this, in turn, is connected with the knowledge of the Kazakh
language, Kazakh traditions.
Nationality remains an important aspect of the sense of unity for many residents of Kazakhstan: every
tenth (10.1%) feels a sense of unity with those who are representatives of their nationality. Residents of the
southern territory of Kazakhstan to a greater extent experience a sense of identity (15.7%), in contrast to the
north (9%), west (8%), center (6.3%) and east (5.3%), respectively. From this we can conclude that the south
is more traditional than other regions of Kazakhstan.
Although ideas and ideas about the zhuz tribal connection have been preserved in Kazakhstan, the results
of the survey showed us that there are very few people (only 2.2%) who feel a sense of unity with those who
are representatives of the same zhuz. It’s interesting this percentage is common among the low-income
population. We can add that this is not surprising: after all, it is tribal ties that help them become more wealthy.
In the south (3.9%) and west (3.2%) this kind of unity also takes place. As for the north, only a few support
the idea of unity with representatives of the same zhuz - 1.8%, in the east - 0.4%, and in the center of
Kazakhstan there are none at all.
Based on the above content analysis, we can conclude that in modem Kazakhstan, residents do not attach
particular importance to the tribal factor, more important is whether a person is a citizen of the Republic of
Kazakhstan or not. Perhaps in the future, under the influence of globalization processes, the role of the zhuzes
will become even more insignificant.
In order to find out the percentage of nationalities living in Kazakhstan, we studied the data of the
Committee of Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan and came to the conclusion that the percentage of
Kazakhs prevails over other ethnic groups throughout the country .
Figure - 2 Percentage ratio of nationalities living in the territory of Kazakhstan. Official figures
from the Committee of Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2019.
Note: the figure was compiled by the author .
As shown in Figure 2, the percentage of Kazakhs prevails over other ethnic groups throughout the
country - 67%, followed by Kazakhs - 19.32%, Uzbeks - 3.21%, Ukrainians - 1.47%, Uighurs
- also 1,47%, Tatars - 1.10% and others. The share of Kazakhs continues to grow not only due to natural
growth, but also due to the return of Oralmans to their homeland.
If we take regions individually, then the situation with indicators will be slightly different. More details
in figure 3:
Figure - 3 Percentage ratio of Kazakhs in different regions of Kazakhstan
Official data of the Statistics Committee of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Note: the figure was compiled by the author .
Thus, based on Figure 4, in the Turkestan region, Kazakhs make up 75%, in Nur-Sultan - 79.01%, in the
Aktobe region - 82.84% (figures for 2019). And the highest indicator was recorded in the Kyzylorda region,
96.26% of Kazakhs live there. Thus, it can be concluded that most of all Kazakhs live in the west and east of
Kazakhstan, and this, in turn, strengthens national unity in these regions.
Based on the foregoing, we can conclude that national identity is one of the main foundations of the
consciousness of modem society, followed by a sense of the unity of the entire nation. Identity helps to
understand the essence and role of the existence of the nation, and unity is the fundamental basis for future
Kazakhstan, having gained independence and stepping onto the international arena as a full-fledged,
sovereign state, is experiencing the effect of globalization in almost all directions: transnational companies
are also opening on the territory of Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan is also a member of international organizations,
tourism is developing, the study of the English is popular and so on.
In modern times, participation in international organizations and regional associations is beneficial for
any state. And all because such powerful associations have more forces to confront serious global problems.
The Leader of the Nation N.A. Nazarbayev emphasized the importance of Kazakhstan’s active participation
in the solemn meeting dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan:
“In the 21 st century, there can be no true independence of Kazakhstan without our active participation in
regional and global integration processes. Integration is the highway leading to the Future. These are huge
opportunities for Kazakhstani business and all Kazakhstanese people. Economically closed countries have no
future. These are reliable international guarantees of our sovereignty and integrity” .
Kazakhstan takes an active position in international integration. Membership of Kazakhstan is not only
formal, the process is dynamic and intense. So, we can cite as an example the membership of Kazakhstan in
the UN. Also one of the initiatives of Kazakhstan was the creation of The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban
Treaty (CTBT). Under this treaty, August 29 became the international day against nuclear testing. This
initiative has strengthened the position of Kazakhstan as a young, progressive and peaceful state.
We also want to emphasize the importance of cooperation between Kazakhstan and UNESCO. Over the
years, Kazakhstan has managed to hold a presentation of the state program called «Cultural Heritage» at the
UNESCO headquarters, managed to work on projects and UNESCO departments such as «APEID»,
«CEPES», «Science 2000+» and many others.
Along with the work on the above projects, Kazakhstan and UNESCO emphasized the priority of
cooperation in the field of culture, thereby popularizing the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Abai at
the world level. In the sphere of culture, under the auspices of UNESCO, a large number of events were held
in Kazakhstan: the 100th anniversary of M. Auezov, G. Musrepov and other memorable representatives of
Kazakhstan and UNESCO are also actively cooperating in the field of science. So, Kazakhstan took part
in scientific committees that work within the organization. One of the significant projects is «Ecohydrology
of the Balkhash Lake Basin», on which also a number of Japanese scientists worked as well.
Further, Kazakhstan’s membership in the OECD suggests that Kazakhstan is in favor of providing a safe
environment for international investment. We managed to work productively and conduct reviews of the
investment environment in Kazakhstan, setting goals for the development and improvement of the investment
sphere in Kazakhstan.
In addition to membership in international organizations, Kazakhstan is also a member of such regional
Figure - 4 List of regional organizations which include Kazakhstan as a member
Note: the drawing was compiled by the author.
Unlike international organizations, regional organizations have a closer relationship with Kazakhstan.
One of the reasons is that all countries are linked by one post-Soviet past. From the very first years of gaining
independence to this day, Kazakhstan remains in very warm, friendly and productive relations with all
countries of the post-Soviet space. Regional organizations have several advantages:
firstly, political decisions are approved many times faster, and the likelihood of a delay in response is
secondly, regional organizations facilitate the process of exporting goods between neighboring
countries. For Kazakhstan, a big plus is the fact that we are connected to world transport hubs and enter the
sea routes of the Near and Middle East;
thirdly, the Republic of Kazakhstan, as it joins international organizations, is moving towards the
establishment of a more democratic world order. The involvement of Kazakhstan in the work of such large
international organizations increases the country’s prestige on the world stage. It should be noted that
Kazakhstan clearly selects international organizations and enters only those which principles and values will
coincide with the interests of the country.
Thus, the participation of Kazakhstan, both in regional and international organizations, is an important
condition for the country’s sustainable development on the global platform. The Republic of Kazakhstan is a
young and progressive state with great potential, therefore it is important to broadcast the peaceful policy of
the country and gain experience in becoming a democratic state from other countries.
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Population of the Republic of Kazakhstan by individual ethnic groups (2019). ‘Committee on
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Speech by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - Leader of the Nation Nursultan Nazarbayev
at the solemn meeting dedicated to the 20th anniversary of Independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan
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