Both chambers of the US Congress have acknowledged the mass starvation in the USSR in 1932-1933 as a genocide against the Ukrainian people. A respective resolution passed the Senate on November 4, and the House of Representatives – on December 12. The document notes that the US legislative body “recognizes the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide against the Ukrainians by the Soviet Government” and “encourages dissemination of information regarding the Holodomor.” Not only Kiev, which somehow accuses the current Russian leadership of “the Holodomor of 1932-1933,” but also certain opposition circles of Kazakhstan advocating for recognition of the events in 1932-1932 as a genocide against the Kazakh people, welcomed that decision.
Specifically, a recently formed opposition-leaning bloc “New Kazakhstan” Forum issued a “Memorandum on recognizing a genocide against the Kazakh” the day before May 31, the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Political Repression. It points at “the launch of de-communization process in Kazakhstan” as one of its top priorities. The authors of the document also call for getting rid of the Soviet ideology, which they believe “still dominates” in the republic, and “extirpating the Communist ideology that keeps the country in the Communist past and prevails over Kazakhstan’s independence.”
In line with that ideology, “New Kazakhstan” followed Ukraine’s steps. The text of the memorandum was circulated to the Senate, the Congress and the US State Department, as well as to leading American think tanks: the Agency for International Development, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Atlantic Council. And in July, a delegation of Kazakh opposition figures set off for direct support to US where it met with congressmen who drafted the bill on recognizing as genocide against the Ukrainian people the mass starvation in the USSR in 1932-1933.
Now “New Kazakhstan” expects the US Congress to pass a similar resolution on “the genocide against the Kazakh.” One of the leaders of the opposition bloc, Aidos Sarym, said: “We will work towards recognition of the Holodomor as a genocide against the Kazakh population in Kazakhstan. I think we will obtain such a document for Kazakhstan both domestically and internationally in the next 2-3 years.”
Notably, a seemingly spontaneously emerging opposition bloc contains not occasional politicians and social activists. Most of them are media figures (Rasul Zhumaly, Dos Koshim, Serikzhan Mambetalin and others), who are fairly active on social media and have quite a few subscribers. Moreover, the new formation was presented for the first time not in Kazakhstan, but at the European Parliament meeting in Brussels. The “New Kazakhstan” leaders’ clout and personal network can play a significant role in promoting among people the idea of recognizing as the Kazakh genocide the events of 1932-1933. That process has already been launched: in late September, opposition figures organized a tour across the country. They met locals (people were invited mainly via social media and ‘democratic movement’ partners) and rolled out their political program. Here are its main provisions: “consistent de-colonization, de-Sovietization and de-communization of the public conscience,” a revival of the Turkic solidarity, Kazakhstan’s withdrawal from the EAEU and accession to the Council of Europe, drafting of a new law on officially recognized language.
The latest political trends in Kazakhstan attests to the fact that a course for mono-ethnicity has been set. On that wave, opposition-leaning and national-patriotic movements are attempting to thrust the ‘Kazakh genocide’ issue into the spotlight, instead of pressing social and economic problems of the population. Whipping up artificial hysteria around the issue is unlikely to contribute to consolidation of the Kazakhstani society and fostering friendly relations with Russia. If concerned forces win official recognition of the mass starvation in the USSR in 1932-1933 as a genocide against the Kazakh people in Kazakhstan, as well as abroad, the Central Asian republic runs the risk of repeating the Ukrainian experience, and not only in the issues of historical past.