When Kazakhstan declared itself an independent country in 1991 with the fall of the Soviet Union, the newly elected prime minister Nursultan Nazirbyaev set out to try and reclaim the rich cultural heritage of the Kazakhs that had been lost after years of Russian rule and its resulting colonisation.
Border agreements, forced collectivisation under Stalin and the Chinese Cultural revolution were just a few of many factors which led to mass Kazakh migration across regions now known as Bayan-Ölgii (Mongolian’s westernmost state) and Xinjinag (China), where Kazakh culture tradition are still practiced the same way in which they have for hundreds of years. In Bayan-Ölgii, 90% of the native population are Kazakh with Kazakh being the state language also.
This mass migration has led to a cultural crisis in Kazakhstan, where Soviet rule had all but wiped out these cultural traditions. Practices such as the art of hunting with eagles and the nomadic way