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Kazakhstan: A Tale of Famine and Flight

Kazakhs escaping famine on foot in the early 1930s, when Kazakhstan was in the grip of a man-made catastrophe that would claim millions of lives across the Soviet Union. (Photo: Kazakhstan’s Central State Archive of Film, Photo and Audio Documents)

When Nurziya Kazhibayeva was six years old, a famine swept across Kazakhstan.
 
“One day back then my mother told me: ‘We’re going to China. You can walk, can’t you? You’re a good girl. We’ll be going there on foot.’ I asked: ‘Is it far?’” recalled Kazhibayeva.
 
It was the early 1930s, and Kazakhstan was in the grip of a man-made catastrophe that would claim millions of lives across the Soviet Union.
 
To avoid the same fate, Kazhibayeva’s family of nomadic herders trudged from their home in east Kazakhstan across the border to China in March 1933, recalled 91-year old Kazhibayeva, her tone lucid and resonant despite her advanced years.
 

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Kazakhstan: A Tale of Famine and Flight

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