In Kazakhstan, no language must be infringed in any way!
I think see it as the perfect situation when Kazakh, Russian, Ukrainian, English, Arabic, Turkish and other languages will be heard on our streets.
I’m all for it!
But … let’s figure it out. What language is being constrained in Kazakhstan now?
I will give examples of the latest most resonant incidents.
In January 2013, a resident of Pavlodar, Ruza Beisenbai-tegi, was not able to receive service in one of the shops of the Sulpak network in the state language. They refused to speak to her in Kazakh. There was not a single seller who could speak to her.
In November 2013, Kazakhstan pop singer Saken Maigaziev, his baggage being examined at the airport, tried to talk with the controller in the state language. He refused. Confrontation started.
In August 2014, the national company “Kazakhstan temir zholy” refused to render services to the well-known Kazakh-language blogger Yerbol Serikbay in the Kazakh language. He told about it on the Internet.
Please pay attention. In none of these cases anyone was forbidden to speak Russian. The heroes of the stories only demanded an answer in the Kazakh language, which is the state language in our country. Do you feel the difference? Prohibit a language and demand a response from the state organization or from public organizations (that is, providing services to an unrestricted circle of individuals) in the state language.
If these citizens began to bother ordinary passers-by on the street with conversations and demand a response in Kazakh, I myself would condemn them. An ordinary citizen in Kazakhstan can speak any language he likes. He may not talk at all. This is his own business. But when this citizen enters a public position or stands behind the counter of a store or occupies an armchair in the front office of a national company, he should be prepared that he will be approached by a simple old Kazakh lady from the village who does not speak Russian and will ask a question. The employee should be ready to answer it in Kazakh. I do not demand him to be able to answer in all languages of the world, but to respond to consumers in Kazakh in Kazakhstan is his duty.
Does it seem an excessive requirement to anyone?
Then imagine that a Russian in Moscow cannot speak to the controller at the Domodedovo airport in Russian? And in powerlessness he addresses his fellow citizens through mass-media: when will it end? When will we be able to receive answers in our native language at home?
Or imagine that an Englishman aboard a British Airways is plane is trying to ask the flight attendant in English, and he is told, “I do not speak English.” What should the Englishman feel?
So why do some of us condemn Kazakhs trying to talk to public workers in Kazakh?
Why am I saying all this?
In any case, I do not want to exacerbate interethnic relations in Kazakhstan on language grounds. I am for peace in our multinational house. And I do not want anyone to leave Kazakhstan because of language problems. But now I appeal to my Russian-speaking compatriots (Russians, Kazakhs, Ukrainians, Tatars, Germans and others):
Respect the Kazakh people!
Respect the Kazakh language!
Respect the right of Kazakhs to receive answers in public places in their native language!
Is this an excessive demand? Is this harassment of your rights?
However, why “your” rights? It’s more correct to say “our” rights. After all, I am also a Russian-speaking Kazakh. I did not know the Kazakh language until I was 30 years old. Born and raised in the Russian environment (Baikonur), I studied in Russian at school, at the university. We did not even have the subject like “Kazakh language”. Only when I was 30 I began to take lessons in the Kazakh language. I could still do without it. But I sincerely believe that this is wrong. It should not be so.
Let’s all learn Kazakh!
And let’s stop calling those who want to speak their native language on their native land nationalists in the negative meaning of this word.
Let’s help each other and let’s build our common country together – Kazakhstan, whose integral attribute is the state language.