Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 153

According to the latest statistics published by Kazakhstan’s National Statistics Agency (NSA), emigration from the republic by non-Kazakhs is continuing, though at a slightly reduced rate. Figures for the first quarter of 1998 show 44,000 people leaving the country and 9,000 moving into it. These compare to figures of 52,000 and 10,000, respectively, for the first quarter of 1997. (Delovaya nedelya [Almaty], July 31) Independent analysts say real emigration figures are probably higher. Of those leaving the republic in the first quarter of this year, 58.6 percent were ethnic Russians and 7.4 percent were Germans. Very few members of Kazakhstan’s ethnic German community now remain.

Migration trends carry obvious implications for Kazakhstan’s future ethnic balance and, in particular, for the republic’s Kazakh-Russian mix. Present trends mark a sharp reversal of those of the Soviet period, when substantial Russian settlement turned the Kazakhs into a minority in their own republic. In 1926, Kazakhs and Russians made up 58.2 percent and 20.5 percent of the population, respectively. By 1939, that balance was reversed, with Kazakhs at 36.4 percent and Russians at 41.2 percent. This correlation was maintained until the 1980s, when it began to switch back. By 1989, the Kazakhs had, at 39.7 percent of the population, pushed the Russians back into second place at 37.8 percent. (All-Union Censuses, 1926, 1939 and 1989) The trend accelerated with independence. NSA figures for 1997 show Kazakhs increasing their majority status to 50.2 percent, while Russians fell to 32.6 percent. Based on a continuation of recent NSA figures for Russian emigration–ranging between 121,000 in 1996 to 283,000 in 1994–local analysts predict that, by 2030, Kazakhs will constitute 88 percent and Russians only 8 percent of the population. (Focus Central Asia [Almaty], No. 7, April 15)–SC