Tokayev Outlines Values Shaping Kazakh Identity at National Kurultai

ASTANA — President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev emphasized the significance of fostering a new social ethics and outlined pivotal values essential to shaping the identity of the Kazakh nation during his address on March 15 at the National Kurultai in Atyrau, reported the Akorda press service.

Photo credit: Akorda

“A nation aspiring to claim its rightful place in the global community must stride forward with confidence, shedding the complexes and prejudices that diminish its potential,” he prefaced. 

Independence and patriotism

Tokayev highlighted the importance of independence and patriotism. He stressed that safeguarding and advancing the accomplishments of Kazakh Independence hinges on a harmonious fusion of efforts between a just state and conscientious, patriotic citizens, along with continual adaptation of our cultural ethos to contemporary demands.

“As a nation and a responsible member of the international community, we must consistently stand prepared to safeguard national interests, sovereignty, and independence,” he said. “This holds particular relevance today, with the growing trend worldwide to prioritize ‘might over right,’ and the emergence of discourse questioning the sovereignty of certain states deemed ‘second-class’ and destined to be mere satellites.”

Kazakh officials attend the Kurultai. Photo credit: Akorda

He emphasized that in the midst of intense global competition for resources, investments, transportation logistics, and communications, previous notions concerning international issues and their resolutions, including reliance on current regional structures as a universal solution for all economic and political challenges, now appear idealistic and even naive in the context of the modern, complex, and contradictory era.

Tokayev reiterated the need for a comprehensive analysis of global events and their implications on Kazakhstan’s national interests, assigning this task to relevant departments, scientists, and political analysts.

“Our country remains committed to bilateral and multilateral cooperation through constructive dialogue and proactive diplomatic and economic engagements. Our focus remains on integration efforts within the Eurasian space and Central Asian region,” he said.

Unity, another core value according to Tokayev, is fundamental for Kazakh citizens. “Our strength is our unity. Throughout history, our people have surmounted the most daunting trials precisely due to our unity,” he said.

Tokayev highlighted the prevalent altruism in Kazakh society, manifested through the tireless efforts of volunteers, charitable initiatives by businesses, and benevolent acts of all compassionate citizens.

Justice and responsibility

Tokayev underscored justice and responsibility as fundamental values, serving as the moral compass for the state and society, indispensable for achieving social equity, peace, and harmony. He reiterated his vision to build a Just Kazakhstan, which was outlined in his September 2022 state-of-the-nation address.

Photo credit: Akorda

“In this context, there are opinions that the use of the concept of ‘justice’ in political rhetoric and practice supposedly entails certain risks, giving rise to excessive expectations and increasing demands on power.  However, justice entails more than just equitable distribution of resources; it primarily involves ensuring equal distribution of rights and responsibilities,” he noted.

According to the President, justice and responsibility are intertwined concepts, as justice cannot exist without accountability. He spoke about the importance of a responsible approach towards one’s duties and work, highlighting its significance for individual success and the nation as a whole.

Law and order

“Law and order constitute another fundamental value for us. The principle of ‘everyone is equal before the law’ is inviolable,” Tokayev said, stressing the imperative for every citizen to comprehend that the state will not tolerate lawlessness or disorder, including on social media platforms.

He asserted that any unlawful or destructive behavior and deliberate provocations will be firmly dealt with, emphasizing the principle of fostering creative pluralism while firmly rejecting destructive radicalism.

Tokayev called for personal accountability among people to adhere to regulations, emphasizing that maintaining order begins with individual conduct, extending to creating a conducive environment at home, workplaces, and in public spaces.

Hard work and professionalism

Tokayev advocated for hard work and professionalism as essential values for Kazakh citizens. He emphasized the importance of education and broadening horizons, particularly among the youth.

“Popular wisdom says, ‘Hoist your flag on your native land.’ The younger generation must correctly understand the deep meaning of these words. During my visits to the regions, I notice that many young people are reluctant to leave their homeland. On my instructions, 10,000 educational grants were allocated for youth in the western regions in 2022. Unfortunately, a significant part of them was not used. Therefore, the number of grants had to be reduced last year. Young people did not take advantage of the opportunities given to them. What will be the worldview and future of young people stuck in one place?” he remarked.

He urged parents to not hold back their children and instead encourage them to explore opportunities abroad, highlighting the value of gaining diverse perspectives and skills.

“After a child becomes an adult, he must leave his parents’ nest inspired by his goals and dreams. They need to gain knowledge in other regions and even countries. It is important to see with your own eyes how other people live. You should go where there is an opportunity to bring the greatest benefit to yourself and your country,” he said. 

Tokayev urged people to remember their nomadic heritage. “Today, modernized nomadism has become a global phenomenon and a sought-after, generally accepted lifestyle,” he stated, acknowledging the contributions of citizens working abroad to their country’s development.

Creativity and innovation

Concluding his address, Tokayev underscored the importance of creativity and innovation for Kazakhstan’s societal progress. He highlighted the burgeoning creative industry and its potential to drive economic growth, citing the rising global recognition of Kazakh culture across various domains.

“In recent years, the creative industry has shown rapid growth. It is no coincidence that we are talking about the Kazakh cultural wave, which is steadily gaining momentum at the regional and global levels. The enormous creative potential of our nation is expressed in cinema, music, literature, as well as in completely new areas of art. I am confident that the creative industry will become one of the most important points of economic progress for the country,” he said. 

He emphasized the transition towards a post-industrial society, propelled by ideas and innovation, and called for building a knowledge economy based on advanced technologies, including digitalization and artificial intelligence.

According to Tokayev, amidst the digital age, Kazakhstan possesses the potential for a “Kazakh breakthrough” fueled by the talent and ingenuity of Kazakh youth. He advocated for bold, ambitious actions to seize opportunities.

The President urged Kazakh citizens to uphold the presented values to secure a prominent place for the nation in the dynamic 21st century, emphasizing the choice for progress amidst global challenges.

“Indeed, envisioning the future of our nation is a complex endeavor, subject to diverse interpretations. But its primary facets are outlined within a triadic framework, Fair Kazakhstan – Responsible Citizen – Progressive Nation. These interconnected elements form the bedrock of our collective trajectory,” said Tokayev.

Emphasizing the pivotal role of youth in shaping Kazakh destiny, Tokayev underscored their role in steering the nation forward. He urged them to recognize the gravity of their responsibility and stand prepared to fulfill their historic calling.

Tokayev disclosed that Kokshetau will become a host city for the fourth National Kurultai meeting, drawing upon historical resonance and its connection to such prominent figures as Kenesary Khan and Abylai Khan.

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