Mass consciousness during the period of public transformation in kazakhstan

Abstract. This article is aimed at identifying problems in the mass consciousness of Kazaklistan people in the period of democratization. Highlighting the importance of mass consciousness in the political transformation process, the author lists the types of political cultures and their influence on the consciousness of society. The main trends of the political consciousness of Kazaklistan people are revealed based on the research works of the KISI researchers. Noting the most important factors that influenced the self-consciousness of the RoK citizens, the author analyses sociological research, revealing the peculiarities of Kazaklistan1S political culture, and provides suggestions for further development of the mass consciousness of the Kazakli people.

Mass consciousness is a specific kind of social consciousness which has been widely distributed and is quite important in modem societies [1]. Similar to class, national, professional and other group forms of social consciousness, the subject of which is classes, nations, etc., mass consciousness is distinguished primarily by the characteristics of its carrier, the subject. In the case of mass consciousness, such a subject is a special combination of individuals, called the mass.

The social and political reform of Kazakhstan's society; the democratization of politics; the emergence of politics in the sphere of public activity; the change in the nature of political participation; and the development of the institution of free elections all predetermined the emergence of the phenomenon of the mass political consciousness as a wide range of phenomena related to the attitude of society to the various aspects of political life. The subject-matter studied by politologists, sociologists and psychologists is the attitude of the population towards various political institutions, regimes and political values. In particular, there has been a focus on the evaluation of mass spirit; the identification of meclianisms of electoral behavior; the means of political participation; and various aspects of political culture and psychology.

In western philosophy and sociology, mass consciousness was dealt with from divergent perspectives: the explicitly anti-democratic, identifying the masses with the "crowd" and a "rabble" (J. Bmkhardt, G. Le Bon, J. Ortega у Gasset); the socially critical, considering the mass as the negative generation of modem anti-human types of societies (E. Fromm, R. Mills, H. Marcuse); the positivist, relating the masses to scientific and technical progress and the activities of the modem media (H. Blumer, E. Sliils, D. Martindale). In Soviet science, for decades, the positive study of mass consciousness was virtually prohibited due to the complete incompatibility of tliis problem with the ideological attitudes prevailing in that society; although some authors considered mass consciousness as an attribute of "mass society" and an alternative to class consciousness [2].

The transformation of society and the political system is impossible without the transformation of political culture; and the formation of a renewed value-system based on consent. It is the values that are the basis of those searches in conditions of political changes which always accompany the development of society. Political ideologies are drawn up on tliis ground, based on the features and the level of development of a society, its traditions, geographic location, geopolitical situation and the mentality of social community. Political values, being a phenomenon of the social spiritual plan, are deeply rooted in the consciousness, ethnopsychology and behavior of people; and express a basic worldview through which tilings are understood.

Despite the majority of the population’s awareness of the objective need for change, the mentality of a society sensitive to the imposition of alien traditions may be a factor suppressing the processes of adaptation. Contemporary researchers express different views towards multilevel mass consciousness; the content and forms of the appearance of political culture; and aspects of political values in transitional societies [3].

The term "mass consciousness" is multi-valued. In practice, there are wide and narrow meanings of tliis term. Mass consciousness is the consciousness of large masses, people and the population in its broadest sense. In a narrow sense, mass consciousness is that special form of the ordinary consciousness that appears due to the influence of certain means, and, above all, the media [4]. Ordinary mass consciousness appears in the process of the spiritual assimilation of reality within the context of everyday practical activities. Its specific features are the norms, customs, evaluating representations and needs that express the real values and nonns of society.

Ordinary mass consciousness, on the one hand, is fonned voluntarily and spontaneously; and, on the other, relies on Iiistorical and theoretical prerequisites and organized spiritual labor. In "spontaneous" and "directed" processes of change of the mass consciousness, it is possible to Iiiglilight the various roles of organized and nonorganized social Coimnunities.

In a non-organized social community, a functional element of public consciousness such as belief is fonned, which then becomes a regulator of mass behavior and transfonns itself into the general mood. In an organized social COimnunity, a qualitatively new super-individual education, public opinion, is fonned. The first is connected with the spontaneous process of nonnalizing interpersonal interaction and Coimnunication; and the second with the activity of specialized regulatory social subsystems. The first is carried out by a mutual change in mental states of the individual; the personification of ideas; their acceptance as the individual’s"own"; and the fonna- tion of personal conviction, which is the most powerful regulator of behavior, as an"inner" one is more important to the individual than any external, institutionalized one. In the second case, it is necessary to take into account the specifics of the social and institutional ways in which ideas are fulfilled. It consists of the mediation and functionality of interactions between individuals and the community as a whole [5]. The large-scale changes experienced within a decade have had a significant impact on the mass consciousness. The most important problem of how to form a system of new social values confronts a transitional society.

In a period of social transformation, close attention is paid to mass consciousness by the President of Kazakhstan, N.A. Nazarbayev, who has pointed out: "... despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Kazakhstanis support a reforming course, we should realize that many of those who perceived the need for change in their hearts Iiave not yet comprehended its essence in their minds; and they feel uncertain, not quite clearly imagining their future. The state of some internal discomfort is strengthened by the economic crisis which, for the average person, has primarily expressed itself in the unrestrained growth of prices; a decrease in living standards; and uncertainty caused by many social problems. People are often disoriented by the extremes of the political struggle. Sometimes the most unexpected political speculation finds niches in the public consciousness"[6].

Particular experience lias been gained during the study of the Kazakhstani national consciousness; and its structural components have been identified with greater or lesser precision. Most of the work in tliis area has been carried out by the Kazaklistan Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan - the Center for Strategic Elaboration and Analysis of the Administration of the President of the RoK [7].

Those who study Kazaklistan consider the process of formation and manifestation of the mass consciousness from different positions at the present critical time. According to T Asanov and G. Sheryazdanova, the most important feature of Kazakh people is the authoritarianism of thinking which acts here as a defining characteristic of the deep understanding of the moral source of power among the nomads and authority as the only source of power. Analyzing the typology of political cultures, the authors come to the conclusion that Kazakhstan as a country experiencing radical modernization is in a state of changing political values and political culture [8]. Out of the three existing types of political culture, patrial, patriarchal and activist, the patriarchal-patrial type best fits Kazakhstan (the unconditional subordination of people to the existing order of tilings in the field of power relations, with minimal participation in the political life of society). Tliis type of culture is typical of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes. In the period of "developed socialism", tliis type of the political culture prevailed, since it most of all corresponded to the ideology of opportunism, the conformism of that time. A patriarchal culture is peculiar to traditional, pre-industrial societies with a low level of political consciousness in general and political knowledge in particular. Tliis type is characterized by political apathy, political ignorance and illiteracy. An activist type of political culture is distinguished by developed civic self-awareness; individualism; knowledge of one's rights; political awareness; and involvement in the political life of society [9].

In conditions of market modernization and political transformation in the direction of democracy, the reverse process of the patriarchalization of the political culture is occurring in Kazaklistan. Tliis is confirmed by the sociological data. For while there an external, official orientation towards the democratization of our society, there is an intensification of political indifference, apathy, unbelief and ignorance. The reasons for tliis may be found in the legacy of the totalitarian past - a conformist and passive ideology of "the small screw" in social relations.

L. Adilova links significant differences in the value orientations of citizens in the political life with the specificity of eastern norms and traditions. Kazakhstani society, in her opinion, is characterized by a recognition of a dominant role in the politics of elites and the state, the preference of patronage of the state over the individual, the dominance of values of the corporatism, the attraction to an authoritarian type of the government, the search for a charismatic leader, the sacralization (deification) of rulers and their activity in governing the society [10].

Modem political illiteracy can also be considered as a weakness of political education. Political passivity, lack of civic activity and lack of belief in authorities all testify to the lack of political mobilization; skill; the habit of self-organization; and ignorance of ways of expressing social interests. It is commonly known that social interests are the engine of political relations. The inability and the objective absence of methods promoting the formation of mechanisms for expressing one's interests through political parties, public organizations and movements are the main obstacles to the democratization of our society. In the event of the tendency towards the patriarchalization of political culture, the formation of grounds for democracy and the further democratization of society will remain problematic. The key to the stimulation of political life, individualism and civic initiative are fundamental changes in the economy; and the introduction and expansion of the institution of private property.

J. Dzhunusova believes that ideas about an absent or basic political culture is incorrect. A political culture is always present in society; it is only important to find out the prevailing type. For the native etlmos of Kazakhs, traditional political cultme has been typical in many ways, where there are no specialized political roles. Members of society are aware of the existence of political institutions (state, law, political movements); and even have particular feelings towards them - hostility, pride and so on - and can assess them as legitimate or illegal; but the attitude to the political system as a whole is passive. Tlris type of political culture has existed since the colonization period and has been convenient to the authorities for all subsequent decades [11].

The famous scholar N. Aimekulov suggests taking into account the civilizational and cultural peculiarity of the Kazakhs: their post-nomadic mentality as individuals who have not had long traditions of organized (agricultural or industrial) labor, the developed cultme of entrepreneurship and the ethics of selfless capitalization of the accumulated wealth and its productive use. In addition, Kazaklis inherit the traditional tolerant mentality of nomads who, in disputed and severe cases, have typically resorted not to violence or a blood feud, but to the peaceful, consensual forms of charges through the bey courts and Othertraditional institutions [12].

Indeed, in political and social actions aimed at the mass of people, consideration of mentality becomes absolutely necessary. Under mentality, in our opinion, it is necessary to understand the complex of formal and informal norms, stereotypes of the consciousness, behavior and Coimnunication, the individual’s way of thinking and self-consciousness, reflecting the system of values, traditions and Iiabits, national and other characteristics inherent in general to a certain social and demographic group of people or residents of a particular location. As a matter of fact, mentality is a regularly reproducible and internally consistent way of perceiving the surrounding reality that has developed in a certain part of the population and is accepted by this part of the population as true and correct.

The type of political culture directly affects the type of political consciousness and degree of the civil selfidentification. According to Kazakh researchers, there are two main types of the political consciousness in our society - liberal and neo-communist. The current process of the capitalization of relations creates a conflict of values resulting from the contradiction between the political present and past. The basis for the contradiction between the liberal and neo-communist positions, in their opinion, lies in the difference of attitude towards the key concept in politics - power. The following features are inlierent to the liberal-democratic type of the political consciousness mediated Airough an attitude towards power:

  1. Activist political culture.
  2. Egalitarianism is a trait that determines the equality of starting conditions for the growth.
  3. Individualism, strict pragmatism [13].

Patrial political culture is based on the alienation of oneself from power, considering oneself not as a subject but as the object of power relations. Patriality also determines the following traits: paternalism; escape from participation in power relations; and the imposition of responsibility on a strong state. Patriarchalization also results from the alienation of power and the unwillingness to interfere in power relations. The alienation of power occurs when we consider ourselves as a part of the dominating general interest, i.e. the collectivism. The conclusion of this analysis on comparison of types of the political cultme is that for the formation of an active civil position, civil self-identification, it is necessary to change the attitude towards the key concept in politics - the power.

The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, N.A. Nazarbayev, stressed that during the transitional period: "all social transformations shall be carried out in accordance with the existing psychology and traditions of people, the obligatory consideration of rudiments left in our minds and actions form the former totalitarian regime which we cannot quickly free from, no matter how much we want to" [14].

Based on the results of a republican sociological survey conducted by the Kazaklistan Development Institute ("Is the development of Kazakhstan sustainable?"), the authors come to a conclusion about the level of politicization in our society [15]. Among those issues considered priorities by citizens, the primary concern to be stressed is the expansion of crime in society; problems of the economy and social security; and only then issues of politics and problems of national relations. Respondents note a Iiigh level of passivity and authoritarian political flunking, which is confirmed by our thesis about the existence of our patriarchal-patrial political culture. Only 31.3% of citizens agree to visit the protest meetings and even then only with local authorities. The percentage of permanent participants in political speeches is 11.6%; and 5.4% of them are the most active. Other citizens are not ready to take an active part in political activities. Out of this, we can draw conclusions about the low political mobilization, the aggregation of social interests of the citizens and the weak structure of social interests. Thus, among Kazakhstanis, to a far degree, there is not "interest in politics, but rather only the concern for it".

The decrease of interest in politics, the unwillingness to identify oneself with certain political forces, understand their arrangement, participate in the political life, while maintaining statist attitudes, may, in our view, be considered not only as a sign of a poor political culture and an underdeveloped political consciousness, but also as a tendency to demonstrate a protective instinct.

The attractive conclusions are those drawn on the basis of sociological studies on analysis of the structure of the mass political consciousness in Kazakhstan, where the issue of the prevalence of the type of political consciousness in Kazakhstan has been considered [16]. The analysis was conducted on the basis of five hypothetical types of political thought: liberal, democratic, communist, right-wing authoritarian and national. The result of sociological analysis was the identification of two main types of political consciousness: liberal-democratic and left-wing authoritarian, where the left-wing authoritarian (neo-communist type) one is more widespread. Left-wing authoritarianism is understood as a policy of the state’s control of economy, the return to the statist-egalitarian model with certain attributes of democracy in the form of freedom of speech, conscience and other liberal rights. Particularly important is the study of political activity, political sentiments and the political consciousness of the population of Kazakhstan. Y. Babakmnarov points out that the interests in relation to the political system have been Structmed in three levels in Kazaklr society:

Firstly, the correction of a course of rendered reforms towards its greater socialization.

Secondly, the strengthening of the liberal orientation of reforms and the modernization of the country.

Tliirdly, the stabilization of an existing political regime [17].

In March 1996, the Kazakhstan Development Institute conducted a common republican sociological survey for the adult population in all regions of the country and Almaty city with a representative sample of 3000 respondents. The questions were drawn up in such a way as to cover the main types of political consciousness inlierent in Kazaklistani society. As shown by the survey, there is a contradiction in the structure of mass consciousness, expressed in a vivid imbalance of its economic and political components. If the communist approach dominates in economic issues, then the democratic one dominates in politics.

42% of the respondents believe that the state should manage the entire economy in favor of maintaining the coimnon social equality. Except for 3% of liberals and 14% of those who have found it difficult to answer, the absolute majority of the population approves the government's intervention in the economy in various forms. 33% of the respondents supported the dominance of private initiative with various versions of statism or without it. 53% of the respondents spoke from an anti-marketing position. Thus, a significant part of the population of Kazakhstan is not ready to move away from the active regulatory role of the government in the economy.

When choosing the optimal type of property, the communist approach still has the greatest support (37%). At the same time, 11% of the respondents believe that private property will lead the country to prosperity, and 31% of respondents favor the predominance of private property combined with state property. Based on this data, it may be stated that in the republic there is an approximate parity of forces of supporters of private and state property.

29% of the population clearly disagrees with the establishment of "a firm-hand" regime. However the same number of respondents agree with it provided that human rights are respected to prevent the real risk of mass bloodshed. The idea of establishing an "iron" order to return to the past is popular among 12% of respondents, for purposes of the support of market transformations -11%, for purposes of the support of nation - 8%. Therefore, the support Ofliberal and democratic requirements for the respect of human rights can be provided depending on the circumstances of 30-60% of the republican population, and the basis for establishing "the iron order" is at least 8%, and at most 60%.

On the issue of the need for plurality and political freedoms, the liberal-democratic course is supported by the overwhelming majority of respondents (67%). 2% of the respondents are hostile to democratic freedoms, as "they threaten the prospect of marketing transformations" (right-wing authoritarianism) and 7% are also hostile to them as "there is the pressure of common people's will on parts" (communistic type of the consciousness). It follows therefore that the policy of the elimination of democratic transformations and threatening human rights will get a negative response in the majority of population.

Regarding the process of deepening social inequality, 33% of the respondents consider it necessary to return to the COimnnnist model of state revenue regulation, 12% are hostile to the social differentiation due to the split of their ethnicity into rich and poor, 20% regard the stratification as a natural process, and 24% % support the state’s creation of equal starting opportunities without guaranteeing an equality of results. Thus, the models of the state as "night watclunan" and as a provider of "general welfare" get approximately equal support from the population.

The comparatively low proportion of people who haven’t defined their attitude towards the deepening of social inequality and the establishment of "an iron order" is indirect evidence of the relevance of these problems and the Sliarpening of their perception by the mass consciousness. Tliis factor considerably reduces the field for maneuver in these issues, since the overwhelming majority of the population has already defined their opinions.

The study has shown the existence of the strong attitude towards "backward authoritarianism", i.e. towards the free political sphere with the non-free economic one, in other words - towards the neo-commnnism. The electorate of neo-commnnist forces can be 37-42% and orthodox COimnunist forces - 7-12%. Upon approximately equal share of supporters of the right-wing, left-wing and national "iron order", the neo-commnnist scenario of development of the political process has certain prospects.

The most emphatic lines of the differentiation of a Strnctme of the political consciousness are at the level of education, age and occupation. The neo-commnnist variant of development is preferred mainly by people over 50 years old, with primary and secondary education and working professions. These categories of the population constitute the potential electorate of neo-commnnists. On the contrary, the course of reforms finds the greatest support among the more educated and younger population.

The above contradiction between the economic and political components of the mass consciousness determines the Stmctnre of the emerging opposition towards the course of reforms. In the political sphere, the main criticism will originate from "the right wing" under democratic slogans and the respect of human rights; and in the economic sphere from "the left-wing" under the slogans of return to the communist model of the economy and social stratification. All this may lead to the multivariant development of the political process in Kazaklrstan in the context of its legitimization in the court of public opinion, as well as the formation of a bilateral structure of the opposition to the course of reforms as well as the strengthening of neo-commnnist wing of the opposition.

In 1999, the presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Kazaklistan. The expert group VIProblem identified the most acute problems OfKazaklistani society which prevent mobilization of the electorate during elections. According to an expert survey, these include:

  1. poverty (92% of the respondents);
  2. unemployment (78%);
  3. Iiigh levels of crime (62%);
  4. degradation of small towns and villages (60%);
  5. the environment (51%);
  6. reduction of the cultural level of the population, its marginalization (48%);
  7. problems of the democratization of social processes (16%) [18].

M. Mashan believes "it can be clearly seen that this list is more beneficial to the opposition which can accuse the ruling elite and the loyal political parties of incompetent administration" [19]. We agree with tliis point of view; although the Stmcture of mass political consciousness is Cliaracterized by disruptiveness, inconsistency, a tendency to rapid, unexpected change, which is especially acute during the period of election campaigns.

Representing a system of value orientations in relation to power, political experience and traditions, the political Cultme of Kazakhstani society is of a mixed type with the predominance of elements of a partial type at the moment. It is characterized by the personification of power; and monistic rather than pluralistic ideas about the shape that nationhood should take. At the domestic level, preferences more often include a state leader with "strong personality" and a "strong hand" etc.

Today, it is necessary to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the main components and the factors for the formation and expression of the mass consciousness of the Kazakhstani people. In our opinion, the following are the most important dominant factors that have previously Iiad and continue to have a decisive impact on the destiny of the consciousness of our people:

  1. Iiistorical (Iiistorical memory of the people, the idea of common origin and common Iiistorical destinies);
  2. political (related to the formation of the Kazakhstani nationhood);
  3. cultural (the Kazaklistani culture in all its structural elements);
  4. social (the social self-consciousness is contradictory as it reflects the interests and self-consciousness of different social strata and classes;
  5. moral and psychological (national psychology);
  6. ethnic (related to the attitude to other people and nations, other ethnic groups).

The main contradiction of the current stage of the development of Kazaklistani society is the contradiction between traditional values and forming values adequate to the market and social democracy. The reality is that mutually exclusive social subcultures often coexist in a transitional society; for example, among young people there are legitimate and non-conventional forms of political activity, peaceful and violent forms of political participation. It is necessary to take into account the level of political Ciiltme in its national and ethnic dimension; psychological factors in the consciousness and behavior of individuals and social groups; the existence of an alternative political culture; great difficulties of political socialization; and, in general, the entry of the younger generation into society.

In recent years, there has been a steady shift in the erosion of values which are traditional for Kazakhs; the values which have remained stable in the new society for so long that they seemed to be invariant with respect to it. However, the stability of value systems was rather associated with their inertia and the population seeing the ongoing changes as a temporary phenomenon. The awareness of the long-term nature of the latter led to the beginning of serious sliifts in the value systems of Kazakhstanis which are just beginning to unfold. The most noticeable sliift in value systems has developed in those values associated with material factors. In recent years, such factors as the attitude to various forms of the property, including the one mediated by hiring, have begun to work quite actively, so that those people who have an outlook most typical within Kazaklistan are more disadvantaged during tliis stratification in comparison with those who have a more western individualistic mentality.

Until the new regime is embodied in the values and ideals which the population is accustomed to, the institutional reorganization of the post-communist state cannot be considered as complete. If democratic institutions and economic resources can be "transplanted" from the outside (or their introduction is facilitated and their sustainability is ensured by the positive and negative sanctions designed to maintain and strengthen new democratic regimes), then "the spirit of people" or "the mental programming" of the society necessary to activate the mechanisms of new institutions, are not so easily amenable to the external intervention" [20].

The establishment of a sustainable civil society cannot be initiated from the outside. It is obvious that the formation of a political and cultural model of the civil confidence and self-determination in a multinational state can be accelerated to some extent within the frameworks of the legal regulation. However, legal regulations cannot eventually create such models, the moral and cultural components of which have not been borrowed.

Analysis of sociological research makes it possible to distinguish the following features of the Kazakhstani political culture:

  1. significant political, ideological and cultural differences between the regions of the country and the city of Almaty. They are determined by political, economic and ethnic differences between the largest southern, northern, western, central and eastern regions OfKazakhstan;
  2. in the situation of post-soviet Kazaklistan with the presence of a huge Russian diaspora, ethnic factors play an essential role. Today, ethnicity, in addition to its cultural function, also plays the role of a mechanism for the political mobilization of citizens for objective reasons. On the basis of ethnic factors, social and political organizations are being formed, social and cultural policies are being implemented, and there is a latent inter-civil confrontation. In the mass consciousness, holding the state or other appointments is often associated with the ethnicity of persons who hold them, but not with their business qualities;
  3. there is the absence of a solidary public opinion, when political groups are formed not according to the social and class principle, but according to the clan-corporate nature of political relations. The consequence of traditional political culture is a situation when its bearers latently turn to a more limited political subsystem: ethnos, location, confession, etc.;
  4. the lack of traditions for the Iiannonization of interests as a consequence of the subordination subculture; and the low level of political activity on the part of the population.

The differentiation of social and psychological tension is traced in various regions OfKazakhstan. Thus, the situation in regions bordering with Russia is not only different from the situation in other regions of the country as a whole, but it is also internally differentiated. Tlris can be seen from the analysis of the sociological survey data in the context of individual regions conducted by the Information and Analytical Center of the Administration of the President of the Republic OfKazakhstan in the mid-1990s (the data for Almaty are also given for the comparison).

The general psychological background in the regions makes it possible to differentiate them according to the degree of social tension (see the Table 1). Optimism as the most positive social attitude is more typical for the residents of the Semipalatinsk and Pavlodar regions. Tliis tendency becomes clearer if we take the summary of responses of the respondents stating that the prevailing attitude is optimistic and calm. In Pavlodar region, the figure is 40.8%; and in the Semipalatinsk region it is 35.1%. The least optimistic and calm respondents are those who live in the North Kazaklistan region, where the figure is 21.2%; in East Kazakhstan (21.4%); and Kostanay (23.1%). Anxiety and uncertainty are inherent to the respondents of these regions to a great extent. East Kazakhstan stands outhere: 61.3% of its residents are concerned about their current position [21].

The dynamics of the social well-being of respondents in tliis region is presented in the Table 2. These tables show that since 1993 there has been a decrease in the share of people being at the borderline of anger and despair, and an increase of those who feel that anxiety and uncertainty has become the predominant attitude of the majority of residents of their region.

Monitoring of the development of social and political situation in the Republic OfKazakhstan (April 1999) shows a rather Iiigh level of social tension. The dynamics of the situation in the first quarter of 1999 were determined by financial and economic events: the revision of the budget for 1999 and the devaluation of the national currency. The main factor responsible for raising the level of social tension is the non-payment of salaries and pensions. However, the development of the social and political situation is in general based on a number of factors: political (the completion of the presidential elections, the expectation of changes, the change of government, the correction of the course of reforms, global domestic and foreign policy initiatives); economic and social (the budget crisis, the aggravation of situation in terms of the payment of pensions, the reduction of staff in budget organizations, the reorganization in a health care system, etc.); ethnic (the destabilizing impact of protest actions of Kmdish population, the growth of etlmo-conflict potential among activists of Uyghur national cultural center, etc.) [23].

The differentiation of political activity of the population deserves attention. The social and psychological tension caused by the low level of incomes and the untimely payment of salaries is Clianneled along three main directions:

  1. support of the activity of opposition political parties and movements;
  2. readiness for political protest;
  3. readiness for emigration.

In regions with a critical social and psychological background, the support for opposition parties and movements is Iiigher than support for those loyal to the government. In North Kazakhstan, the Coimnunist Party is supported by 13.2% of the respondents; the Kazakh “Azat” by 3.9%; the Slavic "Lad" by 3,1%; and the Social Party by 2,3%, totalling 22.5%. On the other hand, the pro- presidential PNEK is supported by 9,3%; and the pro- presidential Democratic Party by 2.3%: 11.6% in total. In the same region, the rating of Cossack organizations is notably low and amounts to 0.8%, as well as the rating of the Labor Movement, also at 0,8%. In Kostanay region, the Coimnunists also take first place with 9.5%. However PNEC gets 7.1% support. At the same time, the opposition parties (the Coimnunist Party; “Lad”; “Azat”; the Cossack organizations; the Social Party; and the Labor Movement) gather 21.5% in total; and the pro-government parties (the Democratic Party, Pnek) 10.7%. In East Kazakhstan, the Coimnunists have almost identical support of 9.3%, PNEK 9.3% and “Lad” 8.7%. The population of West Kazakhstan region is most critical towards the authorities and most supportive of the opposition parties: the Coimnunist Party has 16.2% support, the Cossacks 6.9% (the Iiighest indicators for the region), and “Lad” 5.4%. If one adds the rating of the Social Party at 2.3% and “Azat” at 2.3%, then the opposition has the support of 33.1% in total; which is a tliird of the population.

Almost the same situation exists in Almaty, where the Sympatliies of the respondents are divided between the Coimnunists (15.6%) and "Azamat" (14.4%); another 40% feel negatively towards all parties; and 27.8% found it difficult to answer. Only PNEK has 3.3% out of the number of loyal parties. In Kokshetau region, the largest support is given to the Communists (14.2%) and PNEK (8.7%).

Of favorable regions, Pavlodar and Semipalatinsk stand out by the degree of support for the opposition and pro-government parties. In Pavlodar region, the uniqueness of the situation is in the Iiigh political activity of the population - many parties have a quite Iiigh rating here. Although the Communists have 14.5% of support here, “Lad” records 5,9%; and at the same time the Democratic Party has 7.2%, PNEK 6.6% and NKK (the People's Congress OfKazakhstan) 5.3% (NKK traditionally refers to a moderate opposition, but it is associated with the authorities in a strategic course). In total, the main opposition parties have 20.4% and the pro-government parties 19%, i.e. approximately equal numbers of supporters.

The situation is even more prominent in Semipalatinsk region. Here, PNEK has 19.4% of the support (an absolutely Iiigh indicator among all parties and regions), NKK 6.7% and the Democratic Party 5.2%. The communist party enjoys the support of 8.2% of the population, while “Lad” and “Azat” record only 0.7%. These moni- taring stadies convince one that, even if the social and economic situation worsens, the current opposition organizations are not able to meet the expectations of change among the population.

Another indicator of the level of social tension is willingness to participate in protest action. Analyzing the data of a sociological survey on this issue, it is possible to come to two conclusions: the most critical regions in terms of the degree of tension are NorthKazakhstan, East Kazakhstan and West Kazakhstan, as well as the Kokshetau regions. In addition, the most acute problem is the problem of delays in the payment of salaries and pensions. More than 50% of respondents in these regions are ready to engage in protest action due to delays in payments.

In North Kazaklrstan, West Kazaklistan, Kokshetau and Kostanay, the problem of the uninterrupted supply of electricity, water, gas and heating is the second reason for the possible participation of the population in protests. Here, every third person expressed his/her readiness to participate in protest action if this problem is not solved. In the Kokshetau region, almost half of the residents (44.9%), the majority of whom are residents of villages and small towns (52-57%), are dissatisfied with the electricity supply and this problem is permanent and significant as a source of potential conflict. In Pavlodar, Semipalatinsk and East Kazakhstan (regions having their own electricity sources), this problem is not so acute.

In the prosperous Semipalatinsk and Pavlodar regions, the situation is different. In these regions, the second-most important problem has been the infringement of civil rights: 33.6% and 28.9% respectively (the first one being the delay in salaries).

The infringement of the national interests of the respondents may also increase the tendency to favour participation in political action. Thus, in the Semipalatinsk (20.9%), Kokshetau (15.0%) and East Kazakhstan (13.3%) regions, respondents have placed tins option in third place [24].

An important indicator of the social and psychological state of the population is the issue of Citizenslup and the desire to leave and change Citizenslup. The opinions of representatives of different nationalities on the reasons for citizens leaving for permanent residence abroad differ significantly. Kazakhs consider that the reasons for the departure of their fellow citizens are the following: low level of salaries; departure to one’s homeland; and the search for work. Russians record the following reasons for leaving: uncertainty regading the future of cliildren; the absence of social prospects; and the infringement of national rights [25].

The conduct of large-scale and radical transformations in society is accompanied by an increase in social tension. Tliis is a kind of indicator of social crisis. The current complex social and economic situation, which consists of the growth of mass unemployment, the persistence of significant inflation rates, the crisis of nonpayments and the existence of huge overdue amounts of salaries and pensions affects the assessment of the progress of reform by the population (see the Table 3).

The majority of the population does not see any real tangible results of reform, both on the scale of the republic and the region. According to the Table 1, 48.9% of respondents believe that economic reforms in Kazaklistan do not give anything. A similar assessment is given to the progress of reforms in the regions (48.7%). More than a quarter of the population believe that reform in the republic and the region give negative results (respectively, 25.9% and 28.1%). The largest percentage of respondents who assess the progress of reforms in the republic as negative is in the Semipalatinsk region (34.8%), Almaty (33.7%) and the Kostanay region (28.2%). Regarding the assessment of the progress of reforms at the regional level, they are extremely negative in the Semipalatinsk region (53.8%), which is almost two times Iiigher than the republican indicator.

The study of mass consciousness in the transitional period convinces one that the most difficult and long-term miscalculation in the course of reforming is the distortion of the social order caused by power actions or inactions. The low social output of conducted transformations undermines the faith of the population in the ability of government bodies to solve the most important social and economic problems. Tliis is directly related to the assessment of activities of the Govermnent, the Parliament and local authorities for the improvement of economic situation in the country.

Almost half of the respondents believe that the Government's activities (45.5%), Parliament’s activities (43.5%) and local authorities’ activities (41.2%) do not contribute to improving the economic situation in the country. Of the Govermnent1S activities in Kostanay region (51.7%) and Almaty (51%); the Parliament’s activities in Almaty (59.2%) and Semipalatinsk region (47.8%); and the local authorities’ activities in Semipalatinsk region (63.0%), Almaty (52.0%), and Akmola region (45.7%), 26 are more negatively assessed in terms of regions.

The success of social reform depends to a large extent on how painlessly the population is able to adapt to the new social and economic conditions. As shown by the survey data, the population is divided into three categories according to the degree of adaptation to new economic relations.

The most numerous category of the population is the one characterized by an average degree of adaptation. It is more critical in assessing the impact of reforms on the live in comparison with the adapted category. But its criticality is moderate. Unlike individuals with the low adaptation tins category is more optimistic and marks the positive changes along with the difficulties.

According to the survey, tins category is about 40- 45% of respondents. Every tenth respondent changed their place of work and job; almost 8% of the respondents are engaged in small business; the same portion consists of people who have changed their place of work and retained their speciality; and 4% of the respondents were beginning study and took additional work linked to their speciality. A small percentage is people with a Ifigh degree of adaptation, who have taken actions that require additional material costs and moral efforts. Tlris group includes those who started up new businesses (3.9%) or began to learn a new job (3.3%) within the last 2-3 years. A low degree of adaptation is noted in more than 36% of the respondents. Tliis group of respondents stated that they had done nothing to improve their living conditions over the past 2-3 years.

Regarding socially mobile people who are younger than 30, since they are less dependent on an existing way of life, profession or position, a significant part of these people still live with their parents. Adaptation of individuals who are older than 50 is greatly facilitated for them and their children by the availability of certain material (apartment, furniture, car, etc.) and non-material (profession, qualification) benefits with which they enter the market. Among those who have done nothing to solve their life problems for the past 2-3 years are people over 55 years old, mainly pensioners (55.6%) and government employees (49.1%).

Low adaptation was most often diagnosed in surveyed workers, engineering and technical employees, engaged primarily in industry. The degree of adaptation is positively influenced by the level of education - the Iiigher it is, the Iiigher the degree of adaptation. Although there are peculiarities here. The psychological mechanism of adaptation of the intelligentsia (doctors, teachers) is complicated by two tendencies: on the one hand, they are satisfied with democratic reforms; and on the other, they are in a state of discomfort as they have found themselves on the periphery of attention of the state's social policy.

Economic difficulties are one of the factors influencing potential migration. The decision to leave the republic was taken by 10% of the respondents. In total, tliis group comprises 3.2% of Kazakhs, 14.5% OfRussians and 20% of the representatives of other nationalities. Socially and professionally, tliis category includes 13.4% of employees, 12.5% of rural farms workers, 12.5% of unemployed people, 12.2% of the industrial workers and 6.8% of pensioners.

The level of social adaptation is directly related to the mood and psychological state of the respondent. The state of constant discomfort is more indicative for the psychological state of the majority of population. Almost 50% of the respondents have experienced stress or irritation; and 21.5% fear or depression for the last three months. Positive emotions are peculiar only for a small part of the respondents. About 16% of respondents stated that they Iiave a normal and even mood at present; and only 2.1% stated that they have a happy mood.

The results of the survey show that a Iiigh degree of discomfort is observed in groups with the low social and status positions. Thus, more than 57.6% of pensioners, 56.5% of industrial workers and 55.1% of employees are constantly in a state of tension or irritation. The largest number of respondents experiencing fear and longing is among employees of the state administration (29.8%), engineering and technical employees (26,5%) and unemployed people (26.3%).

Satisfaction with one’s position is primarily inherent in those groups that are actively involved in ongoing reforms: entrepreneurs; and students who are self-employed. The indicator of psychological comfort among them is 35-45% on average [28].

In the analysis of the mass consciousness, the ethnic factor has substantial significance. For all ethnic groups, peace and tranquility in the republic is the main value. The study of a set of value orientations demonstrates the existence of a number of trends. If Kazaklrs continue the process of national consolidation (high indicators of trust in the authorities, general psychological perception of the situation, certain support of the political course for the formation of a national state), then the differentiation of moods and orientations significantly increase among the Russians depending on the assessment of their prospects. The Iiigher the social potential of an individual is (the resources of youth, education, initiative and activity, mobility), the more often it is characterized by positive assessments of the state of tilings and democratic orientations. And, on the contrary, the deterioration of the former Iiigh position and the subjective understanding of the impossibility of adapting to the new conditions of existence in the national state leads to the strengthening of nostalgic feelings towards the old order and life in the USSR, proRussian orientations, the support of Russian and separatist movements and distrust of the policy of the republican authorities.

According to the results of studies conducted by the Center for the Study of Russian Minorities in CIS Countries, the potential for self-organization, that is the real resources for the political action of the Russians in Kazaklistan, is extremely low. Only 7% (“the Russians themselves”) and 3% of Slavic republican social and political organizations hope for “themselves”. Firstly, various appeals, inquiries to the republican (31%) or Russian authorities (22%), international organizations (9%), press and television campaigns (17%) are seen as the main forms of struggle for their interests. Dynamic actions like meetings, pickets and demonstrations, especially strikes or open resistance to the authorities, seem too radical to respondents (they were noted by 9% and 3% of the respondents, respectively). Actually, political activities (combination into parties and public organizations that are able to put the representatives of their interests into the legislative bodies, the creation of communities, etc.) was given by a smaller number of respondents (18%). On the other hand, 22% of the respondents believe that “no actions and measures will succeed” [29].

According to B. Abdygaliyev, the real rallying of Russians is prevented by the culture of soviet political paternalism, the weakness of civic awareness of the need to participate in the political life, the general distrust to political leaders, except for the President of Kazakhstan, still retaining the personal authority, the apathy and sense of individual helplessness in front of the social forces. Therefore, with the growing discontent, the current support OfRussian social and political organizations is rather weak and it is unlikely that it will take large-scale forms (if the authorities do not launch a mass active power policy against Russian and Cossack organizations and movements). If the Russians (in addition to the general concern with the decrease of level and quality of the life, the security, the uncertainty of the future, experienced by the Kazakhs as well) are concerned about the loss of their former status, then the Kazakhs are more concerned with the living conditions of the nation and the circumstances of the forming national state than the Russians (moral and legal state of the society and its political institutions, the development of national culture, the destruction of natural environment, the maintenance of a necessary level of the health care, the education of younger generation, etc.). Overall assessments of the satisfaction with the conditions of life for the Russians and the Kazaklis differ significantly: 23% and 41%, respectively. B. Abdigaliyev makes the following conclusion: "In my opinion, the nature of differences is attributable to two circumstances: a Iiigher assessment of the former social status of the Russians, their Iiigher level of inquiries and a negative assessment of the current situation, as well as the substantially greater concern for their future" [30].

Tliis analysis allows us to make some conclusions and suggestions.

  1. Investigations of value orientations should be conducted within the frameworks of the civilizational approach and take into account both the specifics of the mentality of representatives of different civilizational areas and the peculiarities of the development stage experienced by this society, especially if this society is in the process of transformation.
  2. There is no crisis of values associated with the transformation processes in Kazakhstan; but there are two different coexisting models of value systems, one of which tends towards the post-industrial western model of values, and the other one towards the patriarchal and collectivist model of values. Tlus is to a large extent connected with the status of the country's social and economic development. Therefore, the crisis that Kazaklistan is experiencing now is not a crisis of values within each individual, but a collision of different paradigms of thinking in the matter of choice of the ways for the country's further development; a choice between traditional society and the society where the individual is at the center of attention rather than the community.
  3. As the presidential elections showed, even in conditions of Iiardly taken consequences of the reforms, the majority of population has decided on a modem type of society that has prospects in a dynamically changing world. However, as the elections Iiave once again confirmed, the population of the country is far from being homogeneous in its value orientations. In different regions and different age groups, its deep psychological readiness to live in conditions of the real transformation and modernization of the society is quite various, which risks the serious conflicts if the problem is not taken into consideration by the authorities.

It is impossible to conduct a direct Connectionbetween the improvement (deterioration) of the economy and the public mood. The consciousness inadequately and asynchronously reacts to objective changes. The well-being and the satisfaction of people often do not coincide. Here we are faced with another paradox of the transitivity: the well-being of people starts growing at some stage, and the satisfaction with existing position starts declining, which affect the unpredictable results of elections.

The Ifistorical changes cause the huge psychic tension among the people. And, nevertheless, the analysis of the presidential election shows that the mass and steroid reactions at rallies and demonstrations, in the media, the constant search for new ideals are not typical for Kazakhstanis. If the uncertainty has become one of the most perceptible pain points for many CIS countries, which is perceived as the disaster, the Kazakhstanis perceived this uncertainty as a step for their own choice. The social instinct of people tells them that any sharp 180-degree clianges will create new ones if the old problems haven’t been solved.

The defeat of the communist leader S. Abdildin was predetermined for many objective reasons, the main of which was that the people did not accept the program of "idealizing the past", the program settings of ultimate promises. In the course of the election campaign, even for a significant part of the communist electorate it has become apparent that the communist leader has no clear answers to the direct question "how?"

The voters turned out to be deaf even to a type of the leader of direct action, who has presupposed the establishment of decisive and speedy removal of the most painful problems of the majority’s life. Tlfis role was very well played by Gani Kasymov at the presidential election and the option of "direct action" was quite attractive at the first appearance. But during the election campaign, people began to understand that simple solutions are impractical, and their promises are suspicious. They were more perceived as manipulations for getting voices rather than a program. The people did not support the tendency to find simple solutions for complex problems, to bypass the inevitable difficulties, to shorten the time for achieving the desired condition [31].

It can be stated with the certain assurance that a stage of the primary adaptation of Kazaklistani society to new realities has been passed. The majority of citizens realize that the initiated reforms, including the crisis phenomena accompanying them, are not a temporary phenomenon, that everything is serious and here to stay, and that, accordingly, it is necessary to search for own place in the new system of relations. Tlfis seems to be the source of preservation of the social and political stability, which have failed to shake the permanently present social tension in the society, various social and intra-state conflicts. But the fact that this adaptation is not based on a solid economic foundation and it is rather a social and psychological phenomenon does not provide guarantees that other forms of the organization of public life cannot be solicited by society.

Hence, the presence of two dominants of the public mood - the dissatisfaction with the situation in the country and the actions of the authorities and, accordingly, the desire for change. However, tliis desire is blocked by no smaller, and perhaps an even bigger, Iiankering for the stability, in order to avoid even a worse scenario. The conjuncture of the election campaign only strengthened tliis mood, giving it a personalized character. The figure of the President personified social stability. Thus, the tendency to radical change is indicative for mass consciousness rather than the ordering of the existing social and economic and political system, giving the more fair nature to it with the help of methods and means that do not require the new adaptation.

Mass consciousness in Kazaklistani society is characterized by an eclectic combination of contradictory ideas. The absence of a political and ideological complex, capable to structure and rationally interpret the reality is peculiar for tliis and it creates the need for the formation of a new ideological paradigm being a condition for maintaining the state identity and the stability of a system.

Mistrust of the communist ideology, formed as a result of its dogmatism and ineffectiveness in the context of the new social and political needs of the social development, does not mean the complete displacement of its basic explanatory principles, continuing to exist in combination with the orientation towards liberal, national and other values, from the public consciousness.

The study of mass consciousness, public preferences on the eve and during the election campaigns shows that Kazaklistanbelongs to a true syncretic society where the value of a person is determined by his/her belonging to a specific social aggregate: profession, ethnic group, class, organization - rather than its qualities.



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  21. See: Differentiation of social and political tensions in the regions bordering with Russia. - Almaty, 1996. P. 2.
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  25. See: Ibidem. P. 11.
  26. See: Ibidem. P 4-5.
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  29. See: Russians in Kazaklistan. - M., Center of studying the Russian minorities in CIS countries. 1995. P 5.
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Year: 2018
City: Almaty