Kazakhstan: Sports, Politics and Passionarity

Yesterday, Adam Kesher, a Kazakh blogger, asked a pretty rhethoric question about the state of Kazakh passionarity and devotion to the homeland, but surprisingly received a variety of answers [ru]:

Lately, I have heard a story of how Belarusians were celebrating their first Vancouver medal in Minsk. In Kazakhstan it's hard to imagine such massive and public festivity. Our first medal was hardly covered even by the official media; the popular rejoicing was manifested in one-line long blog post and facebook status … There are no fans here – and it is not only about sports. There is a lack of enthusiasts or just people, who are able to express themselves out.

Well, I can't say that there is no national pride at all, but it's a bit condescending. There is a notorious stereotype about the Kazakh laziness. But what is primary here – laziness or inertness, idleness or ignorance, indifference or lack of faith in ourselves and our country? There is an opinion that Tzarist regime and Bolsheviks kicked out our passionarity and inculcated reticence and the instinct of “staying aside” because “nothing can be changed”. Is it for ever?

Here is a row of comments to the topic, varying from the issues patriotism to sports, culture and politics [ru].

To be an enthusiast means to love your country, to be proud of it and to believe that it is a worthy one. That's a massive problem in Kazakhstan. There is a lot of patriots, but little love to the country. But I don't think it's for ever, just because nothing is forever”, says Rillyah.

Farwood explains his vision:

The reason is because we all are temporary citizens. Everybody is saving money to emigrate. Because we were never told that this is our country everlastingly, that we are the citizens and have real rights. That's it. Turks in Germany were told – “you are here to stay”. We were not. Whose country is this?

Restec notes disappointedly:

From the mass media and billboards we know that there can be only one hero in the country…

Pacifistt adds:

It's ridiculous to discuss love to the homeland in the LiveJournal, which is blocked in Kazakhstan.

Mantrovkz sees the root of evil in media situation, namely – absence of quality domestic TV content:

As a result, we live in the Russia's information field. Those who still watch domestic channels receive distorted messages – “state policy is more important than sports etc.

But not everybody thinks there is a problem actually. Ghola-tleilaxu writes:

I think there are two reasons for that. 1. Winter sports are not too interesting for our population … 2. Crisis gives a hard time for everybody, people are less interested in sports. Summer Olympics always were a big deal here – especially performance of the Kazakh boxers.

Fw82 agrees:

It's more banal – winter sports are not Kazakh ones. Besides, timing of broadcast were not convenient. Besides, our population is not urbanized enough – so, everything is yet to come!

Roman Litov insists that sports fans are not a myth in Kazakhstan:

When we won Serbians in 2007 (UEFA qualifiers), people leaving the stadium were very festive, singing songs and giving cheerful hugs to each other. When Shishigina won her gold, people were driving around the city with national flags on their cars.

Samshib notes that

one silver medal is not a sufficient reason for mass popular rejoicing, while modesty is a virtue.

and Pycm is satisfied with such discretion in the society:

Modern sports in general is hardly a pleasant spectacle. Moreover, when the state tries to eulogize it, the whole stuff start smell like fascism. So, I think that reaction in Kazakhstan is normal.

1 comment

  • […] Voices Online has a report up on the reaction to Kazakhstan’s silver medal. Citing the post on Adam Kesher’s LJ (RUS) about how Kazakhstan seemed to be indifferent to […]

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