Underdevelopment and Ethnic Relations in Central Asia
Of all the numerous problems that Central Asia and Kazakhstan are facing now, the most important one remains their underdevelopment. A growing outmigration of Slavic population from Central Asia and Kazakhstan sounded an alarm to the Soviet leadership which tried to change the situation, although without positive results. The rural population of Central Asia and Kazakhstan is usually characterized by low mobility even within their own republics. While some Russian scholars still explain nationalism in Central Asia and Kazakhstan by the fact that society remains traditional, in the author opinion, the opposite is true, and nationalism there is more connected with still insufficient but ongoing modernization and with the emergence of new urban social strata. No wonder that during the restructuring period the opposition in Central Asia and Kazakhstan turned out not to be influential enough to lead broad national movements with clear social and political goals. Inter-ethnic relations in Central Asia and Kazakhstan deteriorated during perestroika.