Repatriates Assembly

History and development of Kazakh journalism in the beginning of the 20th century

The press of the troubled years

The Kazakh intelligence ardently supported enlightenment and education.The representatives of the intelligentsia understood that the press was needed in order to ensure political literacy and educate the population of historical consciousness. The beginning of the XX century is considered as a period of development of Kazakh periodicals.

An Institute for the Study of Journalism focuses on the gradual study and evaluation of the history of Kazakh journalism in today's context. The valuable words of our dear public figures, that are still considered as the “Closed topic” and have been in the archives for many years, did not lose their relevance until today, because they have attracted the descendants of those people living in an independent state.

If the previous research was concerned only with the lives of individuals, in the current century, we need to look at Kazakh journalism as a whole, including the work of publications and writers. In accordance with the requirements of the times, we must intend to distinguish between black and white, presenting to the reader the articles that slander and unjustifiably accuse each other in the press. This is not associated with blaming and criticizing the politics of that time. Actually, it is related to the sake of historical justice, when everyone is supposed to give a fair assessment for their merits of the country.

The main topics of the newspapers published during this period were the tsarist immigration policy, the escalation of the conflict in the Kazakh countryside, the call not to submit to the government. Mirzhakip Dulatuly`s article for the Kazakh public has a symbolic meaning. It called for a struggle for their rights and for the tsar's colonial policy of rape. An open letter published on behalf of Kazakh workers about the wrongdoings of the tsarist officials and the plight of the people had a great importance. Because the materials on the work of the 1st and 2nd State Duma, speeches of Kazakh deputies made a significant contribution to the development of political culture of the Kazakh people.

The first signs of political unification of the colonies became the main topic of anti-colonial newspapers and magazines, such as “Muslim Movement”. Anti-government publications were published in the magazine, called “Labor Life", which is considered as the first trade union body in Kazakhstan. Under the leadership of Kuibyshev, the first public press “Dala Gazeti” was published in 1907.

A Kazakh democratic press was born during the years of growth of the liberation movement. The newspaper “Kazakhstan” (1911-1913) is a body of progressive intelligentsia. This publication was democratic and enlightening. The newspaper identifies the topical issues of social, economic and cultural life of Kazakhstan. The culmination of the history of Kazakh journalism was the publication of the newspaper “Kazakh” (1913-1918), which became the political center of the leading Kazakh intelligentsia. This newspaper, while expressing the views of the Kazakh people, was considered as just a political front. During the national uprising of 1916, he promoted unity and solidarity. This newspaper was the organizer of the political activity of the leading Kazakh intelligentsia. As a result of that political activity, tactics and strategies for the struggle of independence were developed there.

Some researchers use the materials at their disposal to talk only about their specific subject. Using this position, they try to justify themselves in the discussion of two people. And it is known that the truth is always in the middle.

For example, the origins of the newspapers “Egemen Kazakhstan”, “Ushkyn” “Yenbek Tui”, “Enbekshil Kazakh”, with the general concept of “Soviet press”, have been ignored by researchers. By investigating the Alash press as well as the Soviet press, we have witnessed the publications of writers who fought for the country and the land, and also boldly raised the national issues.

In the first years of Soviet rule in Kazakhstan, there was no way not to mobilize Alash figures in the field of ideology and the press. First of all, there are no other educated and open-minded citizens. Secondly, those who had been systematically fighting for the country's independence since the time of the tsar were considered to be the leaders of the nation.

And the mission of Alash activists was to continue to serve the people, taking advantage of the great potential of the Soviet government. The publications of that period have been included in the volume “Soviet Journalism in the 1920s”.

The first volume of the multi-volume “Journalism of the twenties” includes the publications of the newspaper “Enbekshil Kazakh” of 1923 and 1924. This period is the time of adoption of several resolutions on the development of Kazakh language at the state level, and also conducting the business in Kazakh language.

The main issues raised in the press in 1923-1924 were the education, increasing the use of the Kazakh language in government offices, strengthening the press, changing the alphabet to Latin, a new economic policy, reforming the economy, and many more. An issue of annexation of Kazakh lands in the Republic of Turkestan to Kazakhstan was also on the agenda. The authorities had also proposed that the Kazakh-populated city “Tashkent” should be made as the capital. They did a lot of work to explain and prove its reasons, and turned to accurate statistics on the population. Due to this, the southern regions of Kazakhstan have been joined to Kazakhstan, and their territory and population have been increased for several times. But they could not make Tashkent, which was considered as the ancient homeland of the Kazakhs, as their capital.

It is important to note the fact that “Enbekshil Kazakh” newspaper constantly writes about the state of the Kazakh language in each issue. This is a great initiative of the editor-in-chief of the newspaper of those years, a patriot Saken Seifullin. Saken's open letter on teaching the Kazakh language in institutions was published in the 180th issue of “Enbekshil Kazakh”. It is not enough to write just an order: “Kazakh language should be taught. There are a lot of obstacles in the way of doing this”, he said, mentioning those obstacles. Criticizing those who horizontally attract money or specialists for the lack of Kazakh-language paperwork, they prove that all their motives are just excuses.

Later, there had been cases when Kazakh specialists were hired in the offices and only one or two interpreters were hired instead of conducting the business in Kazakh. This issue was also criticized in the newspaper. That is why, the language issue is still relevant after the hundred years. A spirit of the nation has disappeared along the language. Since the past is unknown, everyone has a generation of imitators.

The newspaper “Enbekshil Kazakh” reported about the Kazakhs who fled to Kazakhstan and Afghanistan outside of Kazakhstan, in particular, to Uzbekistan and China. It is said that some Kazakhs, who have seen the oppression of other nations, go so far in order to hide their nationality.

In 1923-1924, the newspaper “Enbekshil Kazakh” boldly raised the issues related to the interests of the nation. Regardless of the direction in which it took place, the patriotic citizens of Kazakhstan, the well-known figures involved in the formation of the state took part in it. When it comes to the country, land, language, we see that there are no differences between them. The policy of pitting the nation's intelligentsia against each other and artificially creating an “Enemy” is artificial. It has been known since the fifth century that their ultimate goal was to destroy Kazakh readers in general.

In conclusion, the 1923-1924 years were full of significant and decisive events. The sorrows and secrets of the Kazakhs of that time, especially their sorrows and joys, moods, the immeasurable works of the country's dignitaries and intellectuals are reflected in the yellow pages of the “Enbekshil Kazakh”. In fact, each of the issues, that have been explored, supposed to be a separate scientific topic. Although these issues are known from the history of the Soviet Union, they need to be investigated in terms of new independent perspective.