Kazakhstan may rename its capital again — Analysis

Kazakhstan lawmakers have proposed to once again rename the nation’s capital, arguing that its people have refused to accept the new name of ‘Nur-Sultan’ which was given to the city in 2019.

Friday’s address to parliament was given by the vice-chairman. “Zhana Kazakhstan”Edil Zhanbyrshin said that they would. “historically fair” to restore the former name of the capital, Astana, which had initially been proposed by the country’s first president Nursultan Nazarbayev.

At the request of Kassym-Jomart Tokayev the current president of Kazakhstan, the city was renamed Nur-Sultan in 2013. The name change was made to honour Nazarbayev. He served his country for over 30 years starting in 1991 when it became independent and ending with his formal resignation.

“We consider it wrong when a city is named after a person during his life. The people have also not accepted the new name of the capital,”Zhanbyrshin stated this to the Kazakhstan parliament. According to Zhanbyrshin, the choice of restoring Astana the capital’s name was a mistake. “reflect the contribution of the First President to the formation and development of the main city of the country, and will also meet the needs and expectations of citizens.”

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Kazakhstan’s capital has seen multiple name changes in the past century. In imperial Russia it was called Akmolinsk. It then changed to Tselinograd in Soviet times and finally to Akmola after Kazakhstan gained its independence in 1990. Astana was named in 1997.

Zhanbyrshin’s statement came as President Tokayev called for early elections in the country and has introduced a number of new initiatives and constitutional reforms, including a review of presidential terms. This proposal would restrict the presidency to only a seven-year term. Re-election is not allowed.

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