Qazaqstan: Adios, Astana!

21 Mar

Well, well, well, it’s been quite the week of changes in our Qazaqstan. On Tuesday, 19 March, long time president Nursultan Nazarbayev dropped his resignation bombshell and on the next day, following his inauguration as Qazaqstan’s second-ever president, Qassym-Jomart Tokayev announced that Astana, which means ‘capital’ in Qazaq, would henceforth be known as Nur-Sultan!

20180706_181915

Just another gloomy day in Nur-Sultan

With this bold move, Qazaqstan became the second country in the world to name its capital after its first president, with the USA’s Washington being the other. It’s interesting that the first name rather than the surname was chosen here. Trying to come up with some other examples of this, We could only think of Gary, Indiana, Mary, Turkmenistan and Sydney, Australia where a first name has been chosen.

4.The First President awaits visitors_paul_bartlett

The First President enjoying some well-earned rest

As Leader of the Nation, Nazarbayev still has a tight grip on the reins of power in Qazaqstan, leaving Tokayev as the Leader of Sorts. Perhaps the choice of Nur-Sultan for the capital’s new moniker was  a warning shot from President Tokayev – surely the plan was for Nazarbayev, or at a pinch, Nur-Astana as the new name for the capital.

Could we be about to see challenges to the Leader of the Nation’s rule for the first time in a generation (or two)? According to Lord Venal, probably not: “When you consider that President Tokayev is a regime insider and a savvy diplomat, than he probably just got confused in all the excitement of being anointed president,” Lord Venal told kazaxia.

 

 

 

 

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