Russian, and finding a Kazakh under 70 who does not speakrnRussian requires a long search, generally among the rural yurtsrnand herdsmen. In the “We Look for Work” ads, ethnic labelsrnarc a small percent but are not uncommon.rnAnyone who regularly visits government offices also sees thernfault lines. The higher you go in the bureaucracy, the clearerrnthe divisions. Cabinet ministers are Kazakh. The powerfulrnhrst deputies who influence policy are Kazakh. Almost allrnthe presidential and vice presidential advisors are Kazakhs.rnKazakh ministers and deputy ministers generally outnumberrnRussians by five to one. Department heads who actually getrnthe work done may be Russian or Kazakh. Positions that offerrnopportunities for large bribes and “service fees” arc usual-rn1 Kazakh. This is true from high government offices to thernnotorious and universally despised traffic police, the Gai, whornstand along city streets and flag cars at random for “documentrnchecks.” Their black-and-white-striped batons are moneymakingrnwands.rnA sweeping dismissal of high government officials in mid-rnOctober only strengthened Kazakh domination. Prime MinisterrnTcrcschcnko, once sharing power with Nazarbayev as arnsvnibol of unity, was replaced by a Kazakh. At a news conference,rnthe new prime minister, Akczhan Kazhcgcldin, saidrnRussian flight was motivated by economies, not ethnic conflict.rnThe two, however, are quickly becoming one problem.rnGo’ernmcnt positions often hold the keys to ecoiromic resources,rnsince the government remains the major employerrnand principal owner of the 70 or so giant holding companiesrnthat are supposed to privatize industry and business.rnSome American diplomats have tried to pass off ethnicrnstrife as Kazakh clannishncss. Indeed, their clannishness is thernstrength that creates a family safety net for many troubledrnKazakhs. But it is also exclusive—not only of Russians. InrnWestern Mongolia, where a large number of Kazakhs live,rnMongolians complain that once Kazakhs were allowed into anrnorganization, thcv took over and gave the best posts to otherrnKazakhs. Yet Kazakhstan’s constitution declares “equal rightsrnfor all the citizens in respect to their access to the civil service.”rnIn the factories, especially in northern Kazakhstan’s industrialrnregion, Russians hold over 75 percent of the best bluecollarrnand technical jobs. As unemployment grows, particularlyrnin the rural and arid south, Kazakhs are not happy aboutrnthe number of employed Russians, even those earning asrnlittle as $25 or $40 a month. Many Kazakh laborers work forrnmuch less on collective farms or on ad hoc building crewsrnthat employ recent migrants from the couirtryside. The factrnthat thousands of Russian workers arc leaving for Russia makesrnlittle difference to Kazakhs, many of whom do not have thernskills for the vacated jobs. Other jobs are disappearingrnaltogether, as industries lose their subsidies and go broke.rnKazakhs often see themselves as victims of history, deprivedrnof culture and education. They want compensationrnbefore competition. Before they play with the Russians,rnwho arc generally better educated, have better technical skills,rnand hac more money, the Kazakhs want to level the field.rnThev are hesitant or simply unwilling to compete in any meaningfulrnway—in elections, in the job market, or in the privatizationrnprocess. Americans who understand the mentality ofrnafhrmative action will grasp the Kazakh perspective.rnKazakhstan had elections in March 1994, but only for parliament,rnand almost half the candidates were nominated bvrnPresident Nazarbayev. Foreign observers and the foreign pressrnoverwhelmingly judged the elections unfair—from campaigningrnto vote counting. The president also appoints therncabinet ministers, oblast officials, and city mayors. Under thernlatest reshuffle, a member of the presidential apparat wouldrnbe assigned to each oblast to oversee the local government’srnwork.rnhe Russiansrnin northernrnKazal(hstanrndominate that area as thoroughlyrnas Kazakhs dominate the south, andrnon their northern border lies thernindustrial belt of Russia’s Siberia.rnThe Russians have already begun tornshow their discontent.rnThe president’s grand promises of privatizing governmentrnbusiness and moving assets and earning power into the handsrnof citizens have also become increasingly hollow. Early in thernprivatization effort, the president’s leading advisor, Korean-rnAmerican Dr. Chan Young Bang, said the work was a severerndisappointment. The original plan and later versions relied onrnplacing state enterprises under large holding companiesrnin order to prepare their management, bookkeeping, and productionrnfor privatization. Ambassador William Courtneyrncontinues to justify a big American aid effort (the UnitedrnStates provides over 80 percent of foreign aid to Kazakhstan)rnby citing President Nazarbayev’s edicts and rhetoric and acceptingrnsmall progress as a token of bigger things to come.rnThe most recent change of cabinet ministers and prime minister,rnlike previous housccleanings, was done in the name ofrnreform. At a January meeting contractors for USAID, most ofrnwhom work closely with the Kazakhstani government andrnnonprofit organizations, were significantly more pessimisticrnabout the results than Ambassador Courtney. Perhaps thernnew officials will quicken the pace of privatization, but therncharacter of goverirment and its policies is not likely to changernuntil Nazarbayev allows the citizens a really free choice of representativesrnand president. The more he supports affirmativernaction for Kazakhs, the less likely it is that a free electionrnwould return him or his parliament to office.rnSome of the consultants who hand out and take homernAmerican aid try to paint the ethnic conflict in politicallyrncorrect terms. Erie Rudenshiold of the International RepublicanrnInstitute has argued that Russians have a “Western beliefrnin exploiting profits from the land’s natural resources”rnwhile “ethnic Kazakhs are often opposed to the further rapernof their homeland.” Few things have raped the landscapernmore thoroughly than Kazakh sheepherding. But evenrnAPRIL 1995/19rnrnrn