The president noted the symbolism of handing out the honours under the huge flag, which had just been raised.
“We publicly applaud everyone who throws in his lot for the protection of the motherland,” he said to the assembled graduates and a flag-waving crowd behind them. “Kazakhstan is a peaceful, tolerant country; a good neighbour and a worthy partner for all countries in the world. But our armed forces are on guard for the security and sovereignty of the country, and to protect the peaceful life of the people of Kazakhstan… As the Supreme Commander-in-Chief, I congratulate graduates from all parts of the country on this significant event in their lives.”
The president also instructed the graduates on the duties they were assuming. “Officers! Young soldiers and officers are now training in all regions of the country. Tomorrow you will become their mentors and brothers. Pay attention, give them care, teach them; help them to become real defenders of the motherland,” he said.
Speaking of Astana and the anniversary of the capital, Nazarbayev called the city “a national dream that came true.” He also noted the significant growth of the country’s economy in the 15 years since Astana became its capital.
“Hundreds of thousands of people of Kazakhstan from all parts of the country made their contributions to construction and development of the capital city. For every citizen, Astana is a piece of our motherland that we are all building with our own hands,” the president said.
“Today, Astana is the innovative core of Kazakhstan. It has given life to new sectors of our industry that had never been here before: the construction of locomotives and engines, cars and helicopters. In the new universities, students are preparing for the new innovative industry of the country. Astana has become the new spiritual and cultural centre of Kazakhstan,” the president said. He called Astana a symbol of unity, saying that was why its 15th anniversary was an appropriate national holiday, and wished the assembled crowd a happy capital anniversary.