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Kazakhstan: Language Debate Snowballs

A rallying cry for Kazakh.

One of the most emotive issues on Kazakhstan’s political agenda – language rights – brought Kazakh speakers out to rally in Almaty on October 2.

Around 1,500 protestors gathered with official permission in the country’s financial capital demanding legal changes to the status of Russian – which detractors say undermines the position of Kazakh.

Kazakh enjoys the constitutional status of “state language.” But rally organizers told EurasiaNet.org they believe that privilege remains largely on paper.

“Over these 20 years of independence it hasn’t become like the state language in status,” Dos Kushim, head of the Ult Tagdyry (Fate of the Nation) nationalist movement, said, adding that the protest reflected “bewilderment … at why it hasn’t become the state language after all, why it doesn’t work in all spheres of the state’s life.”

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Kazakhstan: Language Debate Snowballs

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