5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Capital Relocation and the Making of Soviet Kazakhstan, 1920-1929

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

In the first decade of its existence, Soviet Kazakhstan had three different capitals (Orenburg, Kzyl-Orda, and Alma-Ata), and several other cities were considered as potential centers for the republic. Why did Soviet authorities undergo the difficulty and expense of relocating the administrative center of a vast, sparsely populated republic not just once, but twice within the span of nine years? Title VIII Research Scholar Maria Blackwood discussed the motivations and the extensive negotiations behind these decisions to move and the various options considered for Kazakhstan’s capital. Her analysis illuminated Moscow-republic relations in the early Soviet period and contextualized our understanding of Astana as the capital of independent Kazakhstan.