Department of history of Kazakhstan of the XX century

1. One of the structural divisions of the Ch.Ch. Valikhanov Institute of History and Ethnology is the Department of History of Kazakhstan of the Soviet period. It has been functioning since 1995. It was established on the basis of the former departments of the history of the October Revolution and Socialist Construction, Great Patriotic War, History of Agrarian Relations and the Peasantry, History of Culture that existed during different periods of the Soviet times (60s, 70s, 80s, 90s of the XXth century).

At one time, the department consisted of outstanding Kazakh scholars, the academicians A.N. Nussupbekov, R.B. Suleimenov, S.N. Pokrovsky, M.Kh. Assylbekov, K.N. Nurpeis, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the KazSSR G.F. Dachshleiger, Doctors of Historical Sciences, Professors T.B. Balakayev, F.K. Mikhailov, S.B. Nurmuhamedov, P.S. Belan, A.S. Elagin, Candidates of Historical Sciences B.N. Abishev, H.I. Bissenov, V.K. Savosko, N.E. Edygenov, N.G. Pan et al.


The Department includes specialists in the of Kazakhstan history, historiography, source studies and methods of historical research. They are engaged in the development of the issues of the history of Kazakhstan of the XXth century, among which the leading place is occupied by the history of political repression, power collectivization, participation of the Kazakh people in the civil and Great Patriotic War, as well as issues of the national military and state development in the Soviet period.

 2.  Staff and Specificity of the Department

Currently, the following employees work in the Department: Head of the Department, Senior Researcher, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Shildebay Sabit K., two Chief Researchers – Aldazhumanov K.S., Kapayeva A.T., leading reseercher Asanova S.A., researcher  Junisbayev A.A., Junior Researcher – Kali A.N. The employees are engaged in the development of topical issues of history, including the history of Kazakhstan’s culture, the formation of the multinational population of the republic and interethnic relations, and the socio-economic development of the country.

The specificity of the Department’s research work consists in a close causal relationship between the main directions of the research discourse and the recent history of Independent Kazakhstan. Since many phenomena and events of the Independence period are linked to the peculiarities of the previous Soviet period, for example, the formation of the Kazakh Soviet statehood in the form of the Kazakh Soviet Autonomous Republic, as part of the RSFSR, and then KazSSR within the USSR, and the formation of the current state borders of Kazakhstan, or the history of natural resources development and industrial construction in the Soviet period, as well as the current issues of the forced industrially-innovative development of the republic.


3.  The Department’s Development Orientation.

Since the founding of the Institute until the late 1980′s, the history of Soviet Kazakhstan was one of the leading directions in its research activities. However, during that period, especially in the 1970s and 1980s, the range of studies of the history of Soviet Kazakhstan was so politicized that it did not meet the requirements even of that time. And this, in spite of the fact that, according to the directives of the decision-making bodies (in this case – directives of the science departments of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan and the Central Committee of the CPSU), 70% of the topics plan was dedicated to the study of the Soviet period history.

However, this imbalance to the detriment of studying the history of pre-revolutionary Kazakhstan (including the issues of ancient and medieval history), did not lead to the desired results. The history of Soviet Kazakhstan was studied only in terms of the leading role of the CPSU in various branches of the national economy, the class struggle of the working class and the peasantry in the 1920s and 1940s for building socialism, and so on. At the same time, the main attention was paid to the “active participation” of the republic’s population in the October Revolution and the establishment of Soviet power. Such ideologization and even falsification of the history of the Soviet period ultimately led to a gross distortion of facts and events, as a whole, to a violation of objective coverage of the course of the historical process itself.

The sad results of such planning and extreme politicization are known: for decades, until the collapse of the USSR, the history of the national liberation movement under the aegis of Alash and Alash-Orda, the tragic events of the famine of the early 1920s and the period of mass collectivization of peasant farms, the history of mass political repressions and the deportation of peoples and ethnic groups, the Labor Army, the participation of Kazakhstanis in the Resistance Movement in Europe, the repatriation of POWs and their post-war destinies, the history of formation and participation of the Kazakh national cavalry divisions and brigades in the fighting at the fronts, in general the mobilization of human resources and the loss of Kazakhstanis during the war, including the nationalities context, were hushed up.

The objective history of Kazakhstan’s industrialization in the 1920s and 1930s, as well as the development of natural resources in the 1960s and 1980s, the formation of labor resources and changes in the national composition of the population, the issues of interethnic relations and regional socio-economic development were not covered, which sometimes led to ethnic and social conflicts (1954 – Leninogorsk, Zyryanovsk, 1958 – Zhetigara, 1967 – Shymkent, 1959 – Temirtau, 1989 – Zhanaozen, Uzun-Agach, etc.). Since the late 1980s and early 1990s, the above issues were included in the Institute’s initiative program to eliminate the so-called “white spots” (blind spots) in the history of Kazakhstan. This program, due to objective reasons and circumstances (lack of necessary finances, reduction of staff, etc.) was realized partially, only certain issues of the history of Alash-Orda, the famine of 1931-1933, etc. were developed.

   In separate areas of the history of the Soviet period, the studies were completely suspended, as evidenced by the closure of the Departments of the History of Agrarian Relations and Cultural History in 1994. In this connection, the Department is guided in its work by the fact that many issues require thorough research. Therefore, in the long term, it is necessary to continue studying the issues of the history of Kazakhstan in the Soviet period in view of their relevance and close connection with today’s issues of the country’s development. Moreover, expanding the range of studies, it is necessary to pay attention to the methodological issues of the development of the Soviet period history, taking into account documentary sources, which are introduced into scientific circulation as a result of declassification of previously closed funds of various archives.

4. Strategic topics that the Department plans to develop in the short term.

    As the analysis of the activities of the Department shows over the past years, the main attention of researchers of the Soviet period was focused on the issues of the socio-political life of the republic, the deformation of the socio-economic development of Kazakhstan. The history of industrialization of Kazakhstan in the 1920-1930s and the industrial development of the republic in the postwar years. As is known, during the Soviet period this issue, despite the apparent active development, was studied one-sidedly and to the detriment of the interests of objective national history. As the data show, the last Candidate’s Degree thesis on the history of the republic’s industry on the basis of the Soviet concept is defended in the late 1980′s. And since then there is no research on this issue. And it includes not only the history of its industry and its labor resources, but also the cities on which they originated and developed. More specifically, topical issues of the department are the following:

1. History of agrarian reforms of the 1920-1930s, 1950-1980s and their consequences.

2. History of culture in the XXth century. Since in the Soviet period it was developed completely according to other ideological canons, it was devoid of specific humanistic and nationalities content.

3. Kazakhstan on the eve and during the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union. Despite the existence of studies on the participation of Kazakhstanis in battles on the fronts of the war, it has not been studied enough in the nationalities aspect. This issue, as mentioned above, includes the contribution of Kazakhstan to the military economy of the USSR, the mobilization of material and human resources, the history of Kazakh national formations, Labor Army, deported peoples, losses in war, the fate of prisoners of war on the other side of the front, etc.

4. Historical figures, including the scientific heritage of outstanding Kazakh scholars.

5. Socio-political life of Kazakhstan in the post-Stalin period.

6. The issues of interethnic relations, as well as social and ethnic conflicts that occurred as a result of deformations of the socio-economic development of the republic during the Soviet period.