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L’escalade vers la violence intercommunautaire

Novy Uzen Riots in 1989: Ethnic Conflict or Economic Nationalism?

Les violences de 1989 à Novy Uzen. Conflit ethnique ou nationalisme économique ?
Новый Узень в 1989 г.: межэтнические конфликты или экономический национализм?
Gulnara Dadabayeva and Dina Sharipova
p. 225-245

Abstracts

This article focuses on the events in Novy Uzen – ethnic clashes between Kazakhs and ethnic minorities from the Caucasus – that took place in 1989 in the West of Kazakhstan. At that time, officials interpreted the riots as an ethnic conflict unleashed by ‘hooligans’ on the basis of ethnic hatred. In contrast, we argue that it was a result of policies conducted by Moscow towards the local population of this oil-rich region. The 1989 events were mainly driven by a strong desire to protect the local labour market and thus to force migrants to leave the Novy Uzen region. These events can be seen as part of an economic nationalism that began to emerge in Kazakhstan in the 1980s.

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Excerpt

Full text document will be published online on November 2017.

Outline

Introduction
Theoretical Frames
The 1989 Conflict in Novy Uzen
Socio-Economic Conditions in Novy Uzen in 1989
The Role of Moscow and the Level of Unemployment in Novy Uzen
Economic Nationalism in Need
Conclusion

First lines

Introduction

Twenty-six years ago, on 16 June 1989, a conflict between Kazakhs and Caucasian ethnic minorities arose in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (SSR). It is estimated that 25,000 to 30,000 people participated in clashes in Novy Uzen, a small town located in the Western part of Kazakhstan. Officials immediately described it as an ethnic conflict unleashed by Kazakh hooligans and nationalists. But what really happened in 1989 and how can we evaluate these past events from today’s perspective? Despite growing interest in the history and ethnic conflicts of the late Soviet period, little research has been done on the riots of 1989. The goal of this article is to re-evaluate the past events and provide a different perspective on the conflict in Novy Uzen. Although we do not deny the fact that clashes occurred along ethnic lines, focusing solely on the ethnic side of the conflict would be to overlook the reality of the situation. We argue that the causes of the 1989 events do ...

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References

Bibliographical reference

Gulnara Dadabayeva and Dina Sharipova, « Novy Uzen Riots in 1989: Ethnic Conflict or Economic Nationalism? », Cahiers d’Asie centrale, 26 | 2016, 225-245.

Electronic reference

Gulnara Dadabayeva and Dina Sharipova, « Novy Uzen Riots in 1989: Ethnic Conflict or Economic Nationalism? », Cahiers d’Asie centrale [Online], 26 | 2016, Online since 01 November 2017, connection on 29 March 2017. URL : http://asiecentrale.revues.org/3326

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About the authors

Gulnara Dadabayeva

Gulnara Dadabayeva is Assistant Professor at the department of International relations and regional studies at kimep University (Almaty, Kazakhstan). She is a Doctor of Science in history. Her research interests include nation-building processes in the independent states of Central Asia. Her recent publications cover geopolitics and cultural puzzles of the region. Contact: dgulnara@kimep.kz

Dina Sharipova

Dina Sharipova is Assistant Professor of political science in the department of International relations and regional studies at kimep University (Almaty, Kazakhstan). Her research interests include nation- and state-building in post-Soviet Kazakhstan, formal and informal institutions, identity politics in Central Asia. She has published articles on national identity, informal institutions and security issues. Contact: dina.sharipova@kimep.kz

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