Kazakhstan is the most Russified of the former Soviet Republics in Central Asia, not just because there is a large Russian minority in the country, but because the lifestyles of ethnic Kazakhs changed during the Soviet Union. Much of this Russification happened at the same time as the Virgin Lands Campaign (1954-1965), which was an effort to transform grassland in Siberia and northern Kazakhstan into a grain belt. My thesis looks at the central-planned farming practices that were used in the northern steppes, or the “virgin lands,” the mass migration of Slavs to the region during the Campaign and the institutionalization of Islam. I analyzed the reasoning behind these policies and how they impacted Kazakhs in the northern steppes. Since the Soviet Union relied on the support of ethnic Russians throughout all 15 of its Republics, all of its initiatives were crafted to promote a Russian-influenced way of life among all of its citizens, even when that was not the intent.
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