Uzbeks and Kazakhs August 5, 2008

Uzbeks and Kazakhs have a some kind of rivalry since ancient times, which (supposedly) continues to date. This can be seen in the everyday language that we, Uzbeks, use.

For example, in Uzbek the word “Are you stupid?” can be said in many different ways, the “correct” form of it being “Jinnimisan?”. But many people, at least in Tashkent, use “Qozoqmisan?” which literally means “Are you a Kazakh?” and which is the synonym of “Jinnimisan?”

You can not feel this rivalry in daily life, but the Uzbek language still resembles the old times.


  1. I think this the heritage from times when Kokand hanate ruled much of nowadays Kazakh lands :)

    Comment by Azimuth — August 27, 2008 @ 02:13

  2. Uzbek – Kazakh rivalry has intensified recently and I think Kazakhs have won because of their rapid economic development. Many countries open their regional consulates or embassies in Almaty, not in Tashkent, and the Uzbeks have to travel to Almaty to get a Canadian visa for example. Many foreign businesses have offices and do business in Almaty, not in Tashkent, and Uzbeks go to Almaty to do many of the lower-skilled jobs. In a way, Almaty has already become regional leader.

    Right after independence Uzbekistan was still considered a reginal leader in Central Asia but restrictive business policies of the Uzbek state shooed away many businesses into Kazakhstan and those never returned from there even after the Uzbek state loosened its policies. A the sayign goes, it was a dollar short, an hour late.

    Being Uzbek myself it is painful to watch this but I would give credit to the Kazakhs. The silver lining here, I guess, is that prosperoty is possible in the Central Asia. The Uzbeks will benefit from having a more prosperous neighbor nextdoor in long run.

    Most probably, oil will be instrumental in keeping the Kazakh economy well ahead of the Uzbek economy for decades to come. Only thing left for Uzbeks at this moment is to culturally dominate Kazakhs. When I was working in Almaty I noticed that Kazakhs eat Uzbek food, watch Uzbek movies and listen to Uzbek songs because Uzbeks donimate them in those areas. We don’t watch Kazakh movies or Kazakh music and we don’t eat Kazakh food becuase it is widely beleived to be of inferior taste.

    Comment by Frost007 — October 16, 2008 @ 19:51

  3. Yes, I agree with you, Frost007. But in my opinion, the cultural dominance and expansion is more important and useful than the things Kazakhs achieved lately.

    Comment by Bittabola — October 16, 2008 @ 21:00

  4. Indeed, man does not live by bread alone. However, today’s prosperity is allowing the Kazakhs truly behave as an independent nation. They didn’t recognize S. Ocetia and Abkhazia’s independence, thus not fearing confrontation with Russia. Uzbekistan cannot do it because poverty has tied it to Moscow. Nowadays, the US and the EU cares about Kazakhstan more than it does about Uzbekistan.

    It is because the Uzbeks used to lead a sedantary lifestyle vs Kazakh nomadic lifestyle for centuries, that the Uzbeks were able to develop more refined culture than that of the Kazakhs. Modern Kazakhs are increasingly living in urban areas so they also will refine their culture and doubled with their economic success, they might become the cheif representative of the Central Asia. But I don’t think they can get away too far – as the waying goes “bozoqni qochgani somonxonagacha” and Uzbeks will not be far behind. Not all is lost. Plus, do not forget, living next to a prosperous neighbor is always good. You will do business and get prosperous too. Here is your consolation…


    Comment by Frost007 — October 20, 2008 @ 22:27

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