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

March 21, 2019, 3:00-4:00pm (RSVP requested)
5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC

Join the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute for a talk with Maria Blackwood on the phenomenon of capital relocation in Soviet Kazakhstan. 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? Maria Blackwood will discuss the motivations and the extensive negotiations behind these decisions to move and the various options considered for Kazakhstan’s capital. Her analysis will illuminate Moscow-republic relations in the early Soviet period while also contextualizing our understanding of Astana as the capital of independent Kazakhstan. RSVP is requested.


Maria Blackwood, Title VIII Research Scholar, Wilson Center; Ph.D., Harvard University