The Impact of Digitalization on Political Engagement Among Kazakhstani Youth: A Comparative Study Before and After "Qandy Qantar" (Sanguinary January) of 2022

Zhengisbek Tolen, Nurken Aitymbetov, Talgat Ismagambetov, Yermek Toktarov, Aigerim Alisherova


This study aims to explore the political involvement of Kazakhstani youth prior to and following the tragic events of January 2022 in Kazakhstan. The utilization of social media played a crucial role in mobilizing Kazakh youth during the widespread protest against authoritarian governance in January 2022. The tragic events served as a catalyst, highlighting the inevitability of political and socio-economic reforms in the country. The study employed the theory of political engagement and apperception of the Internet as a virtual realm of political communication as an investigative tool to examine this issue. The article presents sociological data gathered collected from 2013 to 2022, aiming to offer into the impact of modern information technologies, specifically social networks, on the political engagement of Kazakhstani youth. The theory of political engagement enables the identification of the underlying nature of shifts in youth engagement and disengagement during the post-Soviet era. It was during the crisis that notable upsurge in political activity among young people became apparent. A comparison of the data gathered by various sociological centers, employing the respondent interviews, reveals contrasting trends. On the one hand, there is an increase in the activity of expressing personal opinions on social networks. On the other hand, there is a growing detachment from political participation, such as voting in elections and engaging in party memberships, among others. The findings of the study revealed that the political moods of Kazakhstani youth persist after January 2022 without undergoing a transformative shift toward increased party and movement affiliations, active involvement in election campaigns, and voting.  Instead, protest sentiments are once again becoming dormant, which helps to explain the political absenteeism observed among many young individuals.


Digitialization; Internet; Kazakhstani youth; political activity and engagement; social capital and network

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