Renaming capital an appropriate way to honour Kazakhstan’s founding president

On March 23, new  President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev signed a decree and a law approving an amendment to Constitution renaming Astana to Nur-Sultan. A bill to rename Astana was approved on March 20 by the Parliament of Kazakhstan. Astana Maslikhat (City Assembly) approved renaming the capital city too.

“I consider it is necessary to immortalise the name of our great contemporary, the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Our capital must be named after Nursultan Nazarbayev. I want to remind you that this proposal was already expressed by the parliamentarians in the declaration adopted November 23, 2016 on the occasion of the 25th Anniversary of Independence of Kazakhstan,” President Tokayev announced March 20 at a joint session of the houses of Parliament.

Renaming Astana in honour of the First President Nursultan Nazarbayev has its patterns and historical sequence. As an example, I’m referring to the history of the leading democracy of our time. In July 1790, the U.S. Congress passed the Residence Act, which approved the creation of the nation’s capital on the Potomac River. In September 1791, commissioners overseeing the new capital’s construction named the city in honour of the first President of the United States, George Washington, during the period of his rule. George Washington has been called the Father of his Country for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.

Of course, it will take some time for people to get used to the new name of the Kazakh capital as it was with Astana, or Akmola earlier. I believe it is the right way to show how grateful we are to our Father of the Nation and that we strongly believe in the bright future of our motherland.


The author is a master student of Institute of Diplomacy at the Academy of Public Administration under the President of Kazakhstan.

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