History of Alash movement

The Alash movement is a national liberation movement against the colonial policy of the Russian Empire in the first quarter of the 20th century. At the beginning of the last century, most of the territory of the Kazakhs became the property of the Russian state. The number of immigrants increased sharply and the local population was forcibly expelled from the populated lands. The struggle against the policy of tsarism was led by the national intelligentsia, having formed the Alash movement after the First Russian Revolution.The program document of the Alash movement was the Karkaralin petition of the 1905. At the end of 1905, a “Delegate conference”  of representatives of five regions of Kazakhstan   was invited in Uralsk. Here was took  decision  to create a Kazakh national party, which became  the basis of  the “Alash” party later . After the Russian Revolution of October, the life of the people deteriorated, political forces were uncoordinated. In these conditions, the leaders of the Kazakh liberal-democratic movement, taking into account the rapidly changing revolutionary situation and the  opposite goals of the different political forces, decided to quicken the conduct of the General Kazakh Congress.

In July 1917, the First All-Kazak Congress was held in Orenburg.  In the same place the issues of state administration, autonomy, participation in the Constituent Assembly, the formation of a political party, land, the people’s militia, education, the court and other issues were considered. The main decision of the Congress was standing  up for law of  the Kazakhs to territorial-national autonomy within the “Democratic, parliamentary and Federal Russian Republic.”  The main event of the Congress was the decision of formation of the Alash Party.

Democrats- enlighteners A.Bokeikhanov, A.Baitursynov and M.Shokay searched for ways of development of the Kazakh society and directed the work of the Muslim faction in the State Duma.  Thanks to  their initiative, the magazine “Ayqap” (1911), the newspapers “Birlik Tui”, “Sary-Arka”, “Ak Zhol” were created. These editions  conducted a great propaganda and enlightenment work in their pages. The main purpose of the Alash movement was the self-government of the Kazakh people, the right of the people to create an independent state, and the restriction of resettlement from the interior regions of Russia to the Kazakh lands. Representatives of the Alash movement advocated the preservation of traditional livestock, the development of agriculture, industry, trade relations. A significant place in their program was occupied by the development of national culture, education and the Kazakh language. In Russia the Alash movement appeared in the years of  1905-1907 revolution and peaked in 1917.

The leaders of “Alash” and the whole party  did not accept the October Revolution. They united under the slogan “Liberation of the Kazakh people from the colonial yoke!”. Long before the October Revolution, the leaders of the Kazakh liberal-democratic movement widely propagated their programs on the socio-economic and political development of Kazakhstan. On November 21, 1917 was published a draft program of the party “Alash” in the newspaper “Kazakh”. The draft program consisted of ten items: the state structure, local freedom, basic law, religion, power and judgment, the protection of the people, taxes, the  problem about workers, the development of science and education, the land problem. The purpose of the “Alash” party was the re-creation of the national state of the Kazakhs, which disintegrated in the 18th and 19th centuries, the introduction of the institution of the presidency.

The government of the Alash autonomy carried out its activities in a very difficult situation. It began to create local organs of the government in the steppe regions. The central regions of the country were controlled by  the city of  Zhana  Semey ( New Semey), and the western regions controlled by the village of Dahambeit, and there was also the Turgai department of administration. They created new courts and police.

The main program tasks of the party were proclaimed: the liberation of the country from colonial enslavement;  entry of the Kazakh society into the community of civilized countries   from the medieval state; implementation of fundamental changes in the socio-economic and socio-political life of the Kazakh society.

The program of the “Alash” party was of the opinion of  the unification of the Kazakh society not on the basis of the class principle, but on the basis of national unity.

The party “Alash” demanded the adoption of laws on the recognition of land by the property of the Kazakhs and the opening of schools and universities with the native language of leaning, advocated limiting the process of resettlement of peasants to the Kazakh region, the granting of freedom and equality to the poor. Such a program ensure wide popularity to  the party “Alash”.

Despite the fact that all political structures were destroyed by the Bolsheviks, the Alash movement did not immediately leave the arena of political struggle. His principles were supported by T. Ryskulov, S. Asfendiyarov, S. Kozhanov, S. Sadvakasov and J. Mynbayev.

A number of leaders of the Alash movement did not abandon the arena of ideological activity. According to a number of sources, in 1920 A. Bukeikhanov called  young people who were susceptible to the ideas of “Alash” and had not previously been seen in open statements against Soviet power, to join the Bolshevik party, to enter the confidence of the new government and thereby serve the national interests. In the conditions of the Soviet government this call of the leader of the Kazakh intelligentsia was a peculiar way out of the current situation. Dozens of members of Alash party, including S. Sadvokasov, Y. Mustambayuly, Zh. Sultanbekov, N. Nurmakov, having joined to the Bolshevik party, participating in the exercise of supreme power,  they  made every effort for acquiring of  national content by the Soviet authorities in Kazakhstan.

Since the middle of 20 years of  XX century campaign  the official line was conducted to distort key issues of the history of the Kazakh people (the history of Kazakhstan’s accession to Russia and the national liberation movement in the province), and articles were written to order.

The response to this violence in the spiritual life was the publication of such works of Kazakh history and literature as ” History of the division of the Kazakh land”, “History of the Kazakh people” by Telzhan Shonanov and “Former  the non-Russians” by Koshke Kemengerov, “Materials on the history of the Kyrgyz-Kazakh people ” and “Aktaban shubyryndy “(Great Disasters) by M. Tynyshpayev, collections” Alaman “and” Isatay-Makhambet “, compiled and published by X. Dosmukhamedov and others, which have not lost their scientific and cognitive significance at the present time.

These principles were met by the attempt of M. Zhumabayev, J. Aimautov, Amangali Segizbayev to develop a platform (program) of the literary organization “Alka”, which as a result of the OGPU (United State Political Administration ) intervention did not take shape.

This work was continued also abroad. For example, Mustafa Shokai, published abroad the magazine “Yash Turkestan” (“Young Turkestan”) (1929 – 1939 years.) for 10 years. The emigrated representatives of the Alash movement set the goal of a political struggle for the national freedom of Kazakhstan, and advocated the unification with neighboring Muslim countries. Many members  of  the  Alash movement were repressed.

At the beginning of the 20th century the political guidelines chosen by the Alash Orda leaders and confirmed by the regional congresses of the Kazakhs, remained unchanged, and were focused  to creating the Kazakh autonomy, to convening a constituent assembly and to protecting the rights and freedoms of Kazakh people.


  1. Zhanbosinova A.S. A Short encyclopedia of the history of Alash and Alash-Orda / Chief editor A.U. Kuvandykov; ed .: S.K. Igibaev, G.M. Akhmetov. – Ust-Kamenogorsk: Publishing house “Berel” EKSU named S. Amanzholova, 2013 .– 204 p.
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Additional literature:

  1. Akkululy S. Democratic self-government in the steppe // Spectrum. – 2016 .– December 21. – P.8
  2. Amanzholova D.A. Autonomy of Alash – the idea and practical experience of political and territorial consolidation // History of Kazakhstan: teaching at school. – 2014. – N. 1. – P.16-29
  3. Amanzholova D.A. Alash movement in 1917. – M., 1992 .– 33 p.
  4. Amanzholova D.A. At the bend. Alash is in the ethnopolitical history of Kazakhstan. – Publishing house “Taimas”, 2009. – 412 p.
  5. Amanzholova D.A. Alash-Orda: the essence of truth // Spectrum. – 2016 .– November 16. – P.8
  6. Amanzholova D.A. Alash: The Historical Meaning of Democratic Choice. – Almaty: “Taimas” Publishing House, 2013. – 400 p.
  7. Movement Alash. A collection of materials from the trials of the members of Alash in 3 volumes. Vol. 3. Documents, interrogations and answers. Simultaneous translations. Materials of the courts. Confiscated letters. – Almaty: FF “El-Shezhire”, 2011. – 425 p.
  8. Zhanbosinova A.S. A short encyclopedia of the history of Alash and Alash Horde / Ch. editor A.U.Kuvandykova, S.K.Igibaev, G.M. Akhmetova. – Ust-Kamenogorsk: “Berel” EKSU named after S. Amanzholov, 2013. – 204 p.
  9. Ileusizova B.K. Alash movement / B. K. Ileusizova // History of Kazakhstan: teaching in schools and universities. – 2012. – No. 6. – P. 54-59
  10. Iliuf Kh.M. On the issue of the ethnonym “Alash” // Abai. – 2008. – No. 3. – P.90-92
  11. History of the Western branch of Alash. Collection of scientific articles / ed. M.N. Sdykov. – Uralsk, 2012 .– 356 p.
  12. Kadyrova L. As a legend …: The 90th anniversary of Alashorda // Spectrum. – 2009 .– February 18. – P. 13
  13. Karibzhanova V. P. “Movement” Alash “in 3 V.by Professor T. K. Zhurtbay // History of Kazakhstan: teaching at school. – 2013. – No. 8. – P.38-40
  14. Kemenger K. Alash and national oriental studies // Madeni mura = Cultural heritage. – 2015. – No. 3. – P.118-122
  15. Kuzgumbaeva Zh. G.N Potanin and “Citizens of Alash” // Abai. – 2008. – No. 1. – P.39-43
  16. Kusayynuly K. Studying archival materials of the movement “Alash” // Musl.(Thought). – 2013. – No. 3. – P.77-82
  17. Lamin V. Siberian autonomists and leaders of the “Alash-Horde” // Abai. – 2008. – No. 4. – P.15-17
  18. Maken E.Z. The establishment of Soviet power, the “Alash” movement, the development of industry, science and culture in the 20-30s. // History of Kazakhstan: teaching in schools and universities. – 2009. – No. 11. – P.22-24
  19. Nurmagambetova R.K. Alash and Alash-Orda Movement: Historiography of the Problem 1920-1990s of the XX century. – 2003 .– 153 p.
  20. Slavina L. History under the heading “secret” // 7 days. – 2007 .– 12 Jan. – P.3