Tag Archives: Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools

Kazakhstan: The Leader’s Fame Knows No Bounds

10 Oct

The cult of personality that has been developing around Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev shows no sign of abating as a Kazakh artist unveils a huge canvas with the president at its centre and a town in Turkey names a street after the long-serving leader.

Kazakh artist Amanat Nazarkul’s masterwork “Astana — The City of Youth and Knowledge” depicts President Nazarbayev surrounded by adoring crowds with white doves flying overhead as he opens a new university facility in the his purpose-built capital city.

Nazurkul took nine months to complete the canvas which contains imagery that harks back to the glory days of socialist realism. He believes his labour of love, which measures 32 square meters, could well be the largest painting in the country — even the former Soviet Union — and is looking for experts to verify this.

AFP reported that the monumental work was commissioned by Maksut Narikbayev, a former politician and now president of the Kazakh Humanities and Law University.

The Turkish town of Kırşehir has jumped on the Nazarbayev bandwagon by naming a street after the man who has been running Kazakhstan since Soviet times. Kırşehir is more commonly associated with the Mevlevi school of Sufism and the mystical side of Islam but it’s now seen fit to call one of its streets after Kazakhstan’s former communist party head.

The governor of Kırşehir province, Ozdemir Kachadzhyk, called it a great honour to name a street after Nazarbayev and praised him with the following:

During his leadership the country has made great achievements, and has become a symbol of prosperity, peace and stability for many nations and states, including Turkey

In recent years President Nazarbayev has been featured in a film, a play, had a statue erected to him in an Almaty park, had a university and a network of schools opened using his name and appeared as the hero of a children’s fairy tale, leading many observers to believe a personality cult may be forming.

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Kazakhstan: Sau Bol Peace Corps

23 Nov

The Peace Corps’ 18-year presence in Kazakhstan was unceremoniously concluded last weekend with the sudden pull out of its remaining 171 volunteers from various projects around the country. Astana cited the reason for the abrupt departure of the volunteers as being “a rather logical step” in light of Kazakhstan’s “great progress in the political and socio-economic development over the 20 years of its independence.” A statement from the Peace Corps echoed this sentiment. 

Does this finally mean that Astana will no longer bang on about Kazakhstan being a ‘very young country’? Let’s hope so as it’s now coming up to its 20th anniversary of independence so it’s about time it took a more mature and responsible attitude.

Other reasons for the abrupt departure were mooted in this piece on Eurasianet including concerns about rape, sexual assault, possible terrorist attacks and alleged espionage.

There was also a lively debate on Registan invoving PC volunteers past and present.

Whatever the real reasons for the pull out, perhaps the Peace Corps had been moving away from its core mission in Kazakhstan – earlier this year Kazaxia was surprised to find Peace Corps volunteers working in the Nazarbayev Intellectual Schools, the country’s flagship secondary education project.

This school project, named, of course, after President Nursultan Nazarbayev, is well financed and even has a budget to employ English native speaker teachers in various subject areas. So why was it using the services of Peace Corps volunteers? Surely, their talents could have been better utilised in schools that weren’t all ready getting so much generous support?

Maybe the rapid development of Kazakhstan was such that there was really no longer a need for the Peace Corps in the general school system, although the new Nazarbayev Intellectual School network still needed the volunteers?