Saturday, December 18, 2010

Independence Day!

December 16 was Kazakhstan Independence Day. Kazakhstan got its
independence in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed. However, a lot
of people I talk to associate this week's holidays with the Zheltoksan
riots from December 1986. These riots occurred when Moscow removed the
Kazakh leader Konaev and replaced him with a guy from Russia. The next
day students took to the street on December 17, 1986. Hundreds?
Thousands? Police responded. The exact details are still unknown and
kept hidden.

This is interesting to me, because I don't see the two events as
directly related. Although the riots have been referred to the
beginning of the end, wouldn't the USSR have collapsed without
students rioting in 1986? Was this really a call for national
independence? If the USSR had collapsed in October instead of
December, would people still cite 1986 as the beginning of Kazakh
independence? Do Kazakhs view these events differently than other
nationalities here? I have mainly spoken with people my age about them
(people I know), but they would have been one years old at the time.
I'd really like to know more about how people who were students at the
time and older view the events, and if young people view them in the
same ways.

You can read more about the events on Wikipedia:

1 comment:

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