The foreign policy includes actions and policies of one state-actor toward others international actors in order to achieve national goals of the country. This process is important for the state because it influences economic prosperity, domestic policies, maintaining sovereignty, shaping national identity and other aims of the government. National identity and foreign policy processes are interconnected with each other in a way that both of them directed for understanding values, goals and ideas of the certain nation. As Hill and Wallace says on their relationship: ‘Effective foreign policy rests upon a shared sense of national identity, of a nation-state’s `place in the world’, its friends and enemies, its interests and aspirations.
These underlying assumptions are embedded in national history and myth, changing slowly over time as political leaders reinterpret them and external and internal developments reshape them’. According to them, national identity of the country influences on effective foreign policy, so there can be said that foreign policy decisions can shape national identity of the country vice versa.
National identity process can be considered as one of the complicated one for the country which can be shaped from different perspectives, as for example it can be shaped with the big influence of one political leader who will use common history and myths of the country, or it can be shaped by foreign policy decisions which shape national image of the country and its population on international level.
Kazakhstan is one of the former Soviet Socialistic republics which gained its independence after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and started to develop itself as strong independent country. The country is 9th largest country in the world with plenty of natural resources, with variety of ethnic nations and with high level of economy. The government of the sovereign Kazakhstan with its president Nursultan Nazarbayev developed strategic plan for the prosperity of the country. Gaining sovereignty was very important for the population, so the government tries to do everything that in their hands for not losing their independence. Some of the main goals of this strategic plan was developing national identity of the country, creation of national image on the international arena and gaining recognition by the international community. Considering history of Kazakh population, they were under the Soviet rule for a long time influenced by their ideology, interests, culture, language and other things, so one of the main goals for creation national identity of Kazakhstan was to escape from Russian influence on the people’s minds. The government developed such important policies to increase national feelings of the population as process of Kazakhization and language policies in Kazakhstan, publishing all necessary documents, making changes in their Constitution and introducing other domestic policies for introduction main elements of these processes. Domestic policies were not enough, so the government decided to use foreign policy decisions for strong nation building process, because the way how the country presents itself on international arena, population will follow, value and develop themselves and their interests. Kazakhstan created foreign policy’s strategies, one of them was developing mutli-vector foreign policy of the country for balancing relations, not only between big powers as the United States, China and Russian Federation, but also with other countries. Other foreign policy strategy was representation the country and gaining its place on international arena with own national interests, values and culture. The government implemented strategic plan for gaining international recognition by Western public and Western politics, for maintaining and strengthening their sovereignty and developing the concept of ‘Eurasianism’ which they developed as well as for national identity process presenting Kazakh population as ‘Eurasians’ and along with for foreign policy strategy, because it helped to achieve main important foreign policy goals. Kazakhstan is one of the former Soviet Socialistic countries who achieved its main foreign policy and national identity goals which led to the prosperity and development of sovereign Kazakhstan. This work aims to research relationship of national identity and foreign policy decisions through the following question: How do foreign policy decisions of Kazakhstan shape the process of nation building in the country? The hypothesis that was developed for this dissertation answering research question is that foreign policy decisions shape national identity of Kazakhstan through the development of their image and representation themselves on international arena.
Mainly this thesis work is based on qualitative approach, because it explores, analyzes and investigates all necessary data about national identity and foreign policy of Kazakstan through the secondary sources. The aim of this work is to examine the influence of foreign policy decisions on national identity in the case of Kazakhstan, providing the analysis of foreign policy’s policies shaping the sense of national identity among the Kazakh population. For the analysis of foreign policy events, the thesis is used such secondary data as books, articles in newspapers, analytical papers and journal articles. The dissertation is structured in a following way. The first chapter provides theoretical and conceptual framework, analyzing different definitions of the ‘national identity’ term and identifying one which is more applicable for the thesis. Also it discuses features of constructivism theory the dissertation based on, which explains relationship between two processes. The second chapter analyzes historical background of Kazakhstan, discussing events which became roots for national identity building process, and provides policies on this process which were implemented after the country gained independence. The third chapter of the thesis provides analysis of foreign policy policies that were developed, which influenced on shaping nation-building process of the country. Finally, conclusion summarizes all main points and findings of the research giving suggestions for the further research in this certain area.