NEW YORK. KazUnite – The international media company Kazunite conducted a social media survey to establish if and how citizens of Kazakhstan retain their right to receive services in the state language (Kazakh). The survey was distributed on social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Out of total 1,524 respondents 81% claimed that their rights are regularly violated.
The participants were asked the following questions: “Can you regularly receive information and services in the state language from the state institutions?”; “As a citizen who speaks the state language, how are your rights preserved in Kazakhstan?”; “Do you believe that the Kazakh, defined as the state language by the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a guarantee of country’s independence?”.
Four model answers were suggested for each question, expressing both positive and critical opinions. They were aimed at determining the level of functioning of the state language in Kazakhstan.
To the question “Can you receive information in the state language in Kazakhstan?” as few as 20.34% (302) of respondents answered “yes”, whilst the majority, 36.63% (544), responded “no”. Yet another 35.02% (520) responded that “they can get information in the state language only when they demand it.” The remaining 8.01% (119) of respondents confirmed that they would not be served in the state language, despite an explicit request.
Only 19.75% (290) of survey participants responded that their rights to receive services in the state language in Kazakhstan are respected, while the overwhelming majority (80%) confirmed the violation of their language rights. In particular, to the question “how much do you retain your language rights as a citizen of Kazakhstan who speaks the state language?” 9.94% (146) of participants answered “never,” 49.63% (729) responded “often my rights are not respected, I keep fighting“, and 20.69% (309) claimed that “no matter how much I demand my language rights, they are trampled”.
The last question was aimed to determine how much importance citizens attach to the state language, and its importance for the independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In this regard, more than 90% of Kazakh speakers answered that the country’s political independence and the status of the Kazakh language in practice strongly correlate.
Out of 1,524 respondents, only 10 (0.69%) chose to answer that “language being just a means of communication, the state language and independence have no direct correlation; even if the Kazakh language is abolished, the Republic of Kazakhstan would remain an independent state”. 120 (8.19%) participants, simply responded “no”, denying the importance of the Kazakh language for the country’s statehood.