The Newsletter 60 Summer 2012

Kazakhstan and Perestroika: was a chance at "heroism" lost?

Tolganay Umbetalieva

On 17-18 December 1986, a students’ uprising took place in Almaty, the capital of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (KazSSR). The pretext for the riots (commonly referred to as the December events) was the appointment of the non-Kazakh and non-Kazakhstani “person from outside”, G. Kolbin, to the post of the First Secretary of the KazSSR Communist Party. The former First Secretary, D. Konayev, who had been leading the Republic since 1964, was removed from his post “due to the pension age”. The change of leadership in Kazakhstan happened as a result of the rotation of cadres’ launched by M. Gorbachev to realise the newly proclaimed perestroika course.

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