If you ask this question to determine the national identity of Kazakhstan, it turns out that there is no single, standard answer for all its citizens. One part of the citizens of Kazakhstan answers “We are Kazakhs” to this question, while another part of the citizens does not want to recognise themselves as Kazakhs and offers another explanation - “We are Kazakhstani”. It turns out that today in Kazakhstan there are two national identities, depending on how different parts of society answer the question: "Who are we?" One of these identities can be defined as Kazakh because it is based on the definition of “we are Kazakhs”. Another identity can be defined as Kazakhstani since it proceeds from the formula “we are Kazakhstanis”.
The word "Kazakh" refer to the indigenous population of Kazakhstan and carry, first of all, an ethnocultural, ethnonational meaning. The word "Kazakhstani" from the Soviet era express the territorial aspect; have an administrative-political and ideological connotation. It refers to the Kazakh SSR and everything that was connected with it. Similarly, this term now refers to the Republic of Kazakhstan.
For example, since Soviet times, the term “Kazakh breed of horses” carries an ethnocultural content, since it refers to the Kazakhs as the indigenous population of Kazakhstan, from ancient times leading a nomadic way of life, engaged in breeding horses and, accordingly, breeding their new breeds. At the same time, the term "Kazakhstan wheat varieties" implies a non-ethnic origin. It means that this wheat variety was grown on the territory of Kazakhstan, but not by the Kazakhs, who, as cattle breeders, were not involved in agriculture.
Historically, it was such that only the term “Kazakhstani” can speak on behalf of all the nationalities of the country, on the whole of Kazakhstani society as a whole. The term “Kazakh” cannot act in this role since they refer only to a part, and not to the entire population of the country. This opinion is firmly established in the public consciousness of Kazakhstan.
It is curious at the same time that, in fact, the word and "Kazakhstani", like the words "Kazakh" and "Kazakh", are loaded with a very definite ethnic meaning. The word “Kazakhstan” itself is translated from the Persian language as “land of the Kazakhs” or “country of the Kazakhs”. Therefore, the word “Kazakh”, “Kazakh” and “Kazakh” are completely identical in their logical content. This means that “Kazakhstani” in its meaning is nothing but “Kazakh”, and the word “Kazakhstani” should be used in the same sense as we use the word “Kazakh”.
Ethnic nationalism, ethnic mobilisation at that time contributed to the growth of national identity of the Kazakh people. The growth of national self-awareness, in turn, contributed to the growth of self-esteem of the Kazakhs, thanks to which the Kazakh identity sought to assert itself in a new quality and to get out of a subordinate position to the Kazakh identity. Kazakh identity more and more began to acquire its own significance and value. In other words, the Kazakh identity has increasingly transformed from an ethnocultural identity to a national, or, more precisely, ethnonational identity.
The thing that looks like a confrontation between the Kazakh and Kazakhstani identities; upon careful analysis, it turns out to be a multitude of alloys of these identities with different specific gravities of one or another. In fact, the national identity of Kazakhstan is a whole range of identities, the poles of which are the orthodox forms of Kazakh and Kazakhstani identities.