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ARMENIANS IN KAZAKHSTAN: I'M AN ARMENIAN BY PASSPORT, BUT I FEEL MYSELF A KAZAKH

29.07.2018

ARMENIANS IN KAZAKHSTAN: I'M AN ARMENIAN BY PASSPORT, BUT I FEEL MYSELF A KAZAKH

Karine Oganissyan, 22, from Karaganda, Kazakhstan, translator


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I'm an Armenian by passport, but I feel myself a Kazakh. I was born in Kazakhstan. My father is Armenian, my mother is Russian. They met in Petropavlovsk. Daddy and his grandfather moved to Kazakhstan in the 80’s for a work. There were many coming to Kazakhstan for work and great prospects. My mother came to Petropavlovsk to study.

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There were no difficulties as we were living in one big state. We’re still friends with the families which moved for work like my father.

My family has been living in Kazakhstan for 30 years. I visited Armenia long ago, so I'm planning to go there when I’m older to look at things from the different angle. My parents lived in Armenia for a while when my elder sister was born.

I think there’re many similarities between Kazakhstan and Armenia. We are hospitable, guests are always welcomed. Both Armenians and Kazakhs have noisy big weddings lasting for a week.

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We have different traditions and religions and religious holidays. However we feel ok living in Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan nature is beautiful, there’re so many mountains and lakes especially in Almaty. We’re fortunate to have a variety of peoples living in Kazakhstan. You can find friends of different nationalities anywhere: in school, university, at work. Our family is multinational, we have many Russian and Armenian relatives. Me and my sister have mixed blood, my sister's husband is Korean, my boyfriend is Russian.

My sister and I visit various Armenian coteries such as Armenian folk dances and language courses not to forget Armenian. We get in touch with other Armenians, visit “The house of friendship”. There are many Armenian events regularly held in the city, e.g. May, 1 concerts where we perform. Armenian singers sometimes perform at “The House of Friendship”.

There are many Armenians in Karaganda. We really love this city.

We aren’t planning to move abroad, I’m to move around Kazakhstan as here I can see further perspectives.


Hayrik Gevorgyan, 23, from Yerevan, Armenia, logistician


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Our family left Yerevan for Kazakhstan in 2000. We were thinking whether to move to Russia or Kazakhstan. We chose Kazakhstan for our parents had been sent here for internship so there were many acquaintances here.

At that time my sister and I were five and eight, we had some language problems. Kazakh language is the main here, but we entered Russian-speaking environment. It was necessary to learn two languages ​​at once. My sister learned the language quickly, while I spent two years in the same class. Anyway, I eventually learned everything, we overcame all the difficulties, since we must respect your country, culture and traditions for we were guests in your country.

Initially we lived in the Akmola region 100 kilometers away from Astana. Daddy moved to Astana for work. Having graduated from school, we entered colleges and universities, now we live in Astana.

Armenians and Kazakhs are hospitable, we’ll never let our guests stay hungry or resentful. Living in Kazakhstan we celebrate both Kazakh and Armenian holidays.

Armenians and Kazakhs are hospitable, we’ll never let our guests stay hungry or resentful


Our peoples like holding magnificent wedding parties with guests not acquainted with the newlyweds. Everyone have fun.

Our traditions differ, some Armenian weddings aren’t celebrated here, e.g. "atanhatic" when a newborn is hidden from all the people until the first tooth grows. As soon as it happens a big celeb is held, guests come to look at the child and give gifts.

As for traditional cuisine, then it is slightly different. Both Armenians and Kazakh love meat, however due to a bad financial situation Armenians had to reconsider their recipes. Today Armenians use beans, cereals, vegetables, greens and dairy products. The kitchen is quite hot and similar to Georgian and Azerbaijani cuisines.

Kazakhstan has a beautiful nature especially in the east, in Burabai and Balkhash. There’re many active recreation spots. I adore the old part of Astana, its embankment and the park. The left bank is admired for its unique architecture.

We often visit Armenia but we aren’t planning to move from Kazakhstan. We’ve merged into Kazakhstan, so have Kazakhstan. This is the country where we grew up. If we were older we might have desire to return to Armenia but now we’re real patriots of Kazakhstan.


Susanna Dallakyan, 26, from Hrazdan, Armenia


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My father moved to Kazakhstan when he was 26, then returned to Armenia to marry my mother and came back to Kazakhstan with our family. We’ve been living here for 26 years.

I'm on maternity leave and run a small business. I used to work in the beauty industry. My family and I actively communicate with other Armenians. We don’t have an official community, but we do get in touch. Recently we’ve visited the opening of a khachkar, a large stone with an Armenian symbol. There were about 40 people gathered, though it was not the whole community usually gathering. Most events are organized by the embassy. We celebrate New Year and other Armenian holidays.

Kazakh and Armenian traditions are very different, wedding traditions especially. For example, a groom's family comes to a bride's home with the closest ones. A bride is worn a veil which is wrapped around her head for seven times while wishes are being made. Then shoes are put on by the bride’s brother. Buffet table and registration come next. Coming to the groom’s, the newlyweds are treated to honey, put lavash on their shoulders and thrown candy to make their lives sweet. Before entering the house, lavash absorbed all the bad is thrown up onto the roof to be pecked by birds.

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Armenians and Kazakhs are similar in their attitude to the elders and the family. We highly appreciate the elders, respect them. Children are protected and treated to as flowers, we participate in our kids’ upbringing.

I’ve often been to Armenia for the last few years. Once we just visited Armenia, another year my sister left to study and I lived there for two years. Then I got married and flew with my husband to Russia, then to Kazakhstan.

A peaceful revolution changed a lot. A new prime-minister Nikol Pashinyan improved the living conditions and the situation as a whole.

I’m planning to live in Kazakhstan, it depends. Kazakhstan is my Motherland, people are kind here, there’s no inequality at all.

Kazakhstan is my Motherland


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