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Kazakhstan and Russia

At the end of the XVII century Russia continued its aggressive policy. Its borders came right up to the borders of the Kazakh khanate. The construction of Russian towns, fortification, Cossack stanitsas and fortresses began at the Russian-Kazakh border. At that time such towns as Guriev (Atyrau now) and Yaitsky town (Uralsk today) were built. Tauke khan sent ambassadors to Peter I more than one expressing hope for the strengthening of commercial relations. But Peter I appreciated the strategic significance of the Kazakh khanate in the foreign policy of Russia at once. He set a task of Kazakhstan joining to the Russian Empire. At the beginning of the XVIII century the expedition of colonel Bukhgolz was sent to Kazakhstan. It began to found fortresses in the north and east of Kazakhstan. Exactly at that time there were built Omsk, Semipalatinsk and Ust-Kamenogorsk fortresses. Another expedition examined the Caspian Sea coast and composed a map of Priaralie. However, the emperors death hampered to realize the project of the khanate joining to Russia. Meanwhile, the state of Kazakhs was very difficult. The next Dzhungar invasion burst out. Bukhara and Khiva kept armed neutrality from the south, China became more active from the east. In such situation Russia was the lesser part of Evils. After the victory at Anrakai Abulkhair khan, the leader of the Youngest zhuz, turned to the empress Anna Ioannovna with the request of citizenship and protection. In 1734 the entry of the Youngest zhuz under the Russian protectorate was completely registered. Protectorate is a form of colonial dependency when a dependent state keeps sovereignty in all spheres except foreign policy. Abulkhair bound to protect commercial caravans, to give military help, to pay yassak. In return, he asked to build a fortress for him, to secure a title of khan for him and his descendants and to guard from the incursions of Bashkirs, Kalmyks and Yaitsk Cossacks. Russia in its turn pledged to protect from exterior enemies. But this treaty began to be broken by the Russian side.

After the Youngest zhuz had accepted protectorate, the rulers of the Middle and Oldest zhuzes also announced their desire of being under protection. The reason was their aspiration not to give Abulkhair any privileges in intrapolitical struggle. But if they took Russian citizenship, they would tie the khan and the latter would not be able to make use of Russian forces in case of civil strife. Kazakh khans and sultans did not attach importance to this diplomatic act. They expected that this would give them an opportunity to secure north borders and to get military help in the war against the Dzhungars. Besides, they were in need of peaceful and commercial relations with their northern neighbour.

Tsars government did not discharge its obligations before Kazakh khans. Kazakhs did not get military help against Dzhungars. Town-fortress Orenburg built at Abulkairs request became the buttress of Russian administration. Cossack atamans thinking of the north-west territories as of Russian possession began to build fortresses and other military installations without investigating the interest of indigenous population. Further establishment of Russian dominion in Kazakhstan in the XIX century was realized by different methods and means. First of all, it was realized by military and political means the construction of fortification and defensive positions (New-Ishim defence line). Secondly, diplomatically, tsars officials settled disagreement between the sultans and heads of the kins by means of negotiations. Thirdly, by means of social economic methods trade was being developed. Kazakh aristocracy joined to the guarding of commercial caravans, houses for the nobility were being built and so on. At that time foreign policy of the Middle and Oldest zhuzes was difficult. Abylai was elected as a khan and he was the last of the khans fighting for the sovereignty of Kazakhstan. He refused to accept the title of a khan from Yekaterina II even after his confirmation. He also refused to take an oath to take the gifts of tsars government. Following Abulkhair khan he aspired to hold the supremacy in Kazakhstan by dint of Russian influence. To do this he constantly had manoeuvre between Russia, China and Central Asian khanates. However, inevitability of colonialism and loss of political independence by Kazakhs were predetermined. In the 60s of the XIX century the Russian empire swallowed up the Kazakh land. The process finished by open conquest of Turkestan, Shymkent anf other towns of the Oldest zhuz.

After the loss of independence at the territory of Kazakhstan the struggle for sovereignty broke out more than once. The main stages of the Kazakh anticolonial struggle were the movement under the leadership of Syrym Datuly at the end of the XVIII century, peasant revolt of Isabai Taimanuly and Makhambet Utemisuly in 1836 and others. All-in-all historians count more than 400 revolts and riots among Kazakhs.

But by its significance and scale the most demonstrative was the war for the sovereignty of Kazakhstan under the command of Kenessary Kasymuly. Kenessary was Abylai khans grandson. In his person Kazakh people had the last khan, great commander, diplomat and staesman. His revolt distracted forces and means of powerful empire during 10 years and delayed the conquest of the part of the Middle and Oldest zhuzes, of all central Asia.

At the end of the XIX century the beginning of the XX century other forces came on to the arena. There began the movement of intellectual and political elite. The Party Alash appeared and it subsequently made for the appearance of Kazakh autonomy Alash Horde.

The World War I demonstrated the backwardness of tsars Russia in economic and technical aspects. It sharpened all contradictions accumulated in economic and political life of the country. In summer of 1916 a powerful revolt broke out. The reasons of it were confiscation of Kazakhs cattle and property for military needs and continuation of tsars government resettlement policy. This revolt merged with the February Revolution in Russia. The appearance of the Kazakh political party Alash raised the national movement of liberation to a new stage and put a question of territorial autonomy for Kazakhs.

But, if after the February Revolution peoples of the Russian Empire had a chance for self-determination and creation of independent states, then bolsheviks coming to power led to the civil war and the establishment of totalitarian system. In Kazakhstan after the sustained struggle with numerous enemies of the Soviet power the control over its territory was headed by the Kazakh Revolutionary committee. In 1920 Kazakhstan became an autonomy of Russia, Orenburg was proclaimed a capital.

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