Over the half of people in Kazakhstan think that friendly interethnic relations can develop into the conflicts only intentionally

DEMOSCOPE Bureau for Express Monitoring of Public Opinion has conducted a public opinion poll to find out what people in Kazakhstan think about the situation with interethnic unity.

3 192 people from Astana, Almaty and 14 regional centers of Kazakhstan took part in the poll. 69% of women and 31% of men aged over 18 years old were interviewed by phone and online. The statistical error did not exceed 1.75%, with 95% possibility.

The poll was conducted from 15 to 23 August 2016. 

The poll conducted by Demoscope revealed generally positive perception of inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations among the population. However, a series of factors discovered during the interviews raise some concerns.

Over the half of the respondents (61%) think relations between ethnic groups in the country are friendly without any problems. The other stated they are some complications on different levels of interethnic relationships.

23% of the respondents think the relations are not that simple, but only on a mundane level, like in any family. 4% said they are complicated, but stable, non-critical and secure in general. 12% think the aspects connected to inter-ethnic relationships are very complicated becoming worse without possibility to turn into conflicts.

At the same time, the majority of respondents (62%) admit inter-ethnic conflicts are possible but only due to intentionally created reasons and/or in case of provocative actions and/or interference by the third parties. 66% of the respondents, aged 16 to 29 years old, have this opinion.

17% of the interviewees consider conflicts possible because of economic reasons. Among those who emphasize economic factor, the majority lives in Western Kazakhstan (23%) and Aktyubinskaya Oblast (21%).

Only 5% of the respondents think language controversies can cause serious conflicts in Kazakhstan. Another 16% share opinion that unfavorable scenario is possible for combination of the above reasons.

59% of the respondents called themselves Kazakhstan citizens in first place, as for them citizenships is higher priority than ethnicity. 26% of the interviewees perceive citizenship and nationality equally important, while 11% prefer not to mix these spheres.

It is interesting that 81% of the respondents mentioned all of the ethnic groups are equal by the Constitution and law. But 19% are sure not all of the citizens are equal, as particular ethnic groups have more or less rights. Among the interviewees who preferred this answer, 23% were from Atyrauskaya and 24% from Almatinskaya Oblasts. Meanwhile, the first is the most monoethnic region in the country, while the second is the most multinational one.

84% of the respondents have never faced threat and pressure based on ethnic and religious reasons. 13% have sometimes experienced such threat, but they don’t have much concern about that. Only 3% of the interviewees feel threat and pressure regularly or started to feel more often recently.

The inter-religious environment in Kazakhstan seems to be equally favorable. 66% of the respondents think the relationships between different religious groups are friendly enough. 18% called them not simple, but only on mundane level as it is in any family. 12% stated the relationships between religious groups have become worse, which can cause conflicts in the future.

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