Nursultan Nazarbayev

Nursultan Nazarbayev
Нұрсұлтан Назарбаев
President of Kazakhstan
Assumed office
24 April 1990
Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin
Nurlan Balgimbayev
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
Imangali Tasmagambetov
Daniyal Akhmetov
Karim Massimov
Preceded by Position established
Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
In office
22 February 1990 – 24 April 1990
Prime Minister Uzakbay Karamanov
Preceded by Kilibay Medeubekov
Succeeded by Erik Asanbayev
Leader of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan
In office
22 June 1989 – 14 December 1991
Preceded by Gennady Kolbin
Succeeded by Position abolished
Prime Minister of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
In office
22 March 1984 – 27 July 1989
President Kilybai Medeubekov
Preceded by Bayken Ashimov
Succeeded by Uzaqbay Qaramanov
Personal details
Born 6 July 1940 (1940-07-06) (age 71)
Chemolgan, Soviet Union
(now Kazakhstan)
Political party Nur Otan (1999–present)
Other political
Communist Party (Before 1991)
Spouse(s) Sara Alpysqyzy
Religion Sunni Islam

Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev (Kazakh: Нұрсұлтан Әбішұлы Назарбаев [nʊrsʊlˈtɑn æbəʃʊˈlɯ nɑzɑrˈbɑ.jɪf]; Russian: Нурсултан Абишевич Назарбаев [nur.suɫˈtan ɐˈbʲi.ʂɨ.vʲɪt͡ɕ nə.zɐrˈba.jɪf]) (born 6 July 1940) has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation received its independence in 1991, after the fall of the Soviet Union. In April 2011, President Nazarbayev was reelected to another five-year term receiving 95.54 percent of the vote with 89.9 percent of registered voters participating (up from 76.8 percent in the 2005 presidential election).


Rise to power

In 1984 Nazarbayev became the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, working under Dinmukhamed Kunayev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan.[1] He served as First Secretary of the Kazakh Communist Party from 1989 to 1991.

Nazarbayev criticized Askar Kunayev, head of the Academy of Sciences, at the 16th session of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan in January 1986 for not reforming his department. Dinmukhamed Kunayev, Nazarbayev's boss and Askar's brother, felt deeply angered and betrayed. Kunayev went to Moscow and demanded Nazarbayev's dismissal while Nazarbayev's supporters campaigned for Kunayev's dismissal and Nazarbayev's promotion. Mikhail Gorbachev accepted the resignation of a deflated Kunayev, replacing him with Gennady Kolbin, an ethnic Russian, triggering three days of riots known as the Jeltoqsan.

Nazarbayev replaced Kolbin, who despite his office had little authority in Kazakhstan, on 22 June 1989.[1] He was Chairman of the Supreme Soviet (head of state) from 22 February, to 24 April 1990. Nazarbayev was elected President of Kazakhstan by the Supreme Soviet on 24 April. He won the 1991 presidential election on 1 December, winning 91.5% of the vote in an election in which no other candidate ran against him.[2]


Nazarbayev with George W. Bush at the White House in September, 2006

Nazarbayev renamed the former State Defense Committees as the Ministry of Defense and appointed Sagadat Nurmagambetov as Defense Minister on 7 May 1992. The Supreme Council, under the leadership of Speaker Serikbolsyn Abdilin, began debating over a draft constitution in June 1992.

The constitution created a strong executive branch with limited checks on executive power. Opposition political parties Ezat, Zheltoqsan and the Republican Party, held demonstrations in Almaty from 10 June-17 calling for the formation of a coalition government and the resignation of the government of Prime Minister Sergey Tereshchenko and the Supreme Council. Kazakh security personnel forcibly put down the protest on 18 June 1992. The Parliament of Kazakhstan, composed of Communist Party legislators who had yet to stand in an election since the country gained its independence, adopted the constitution on 28 January 1993.[3]

An April 1995 referendum extended his term until 2000. He was re-elected in January 1999 and again in December 2005. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe criticized the last presidential election as falling short of international democratic standards.[4] An election requires two or more candidates running in opposition. A single candidate is not an election but a referendum. On May 18, 2007, the Parliament of Kazakhstan approved a constitutional amendment which would allow Nazarbayev to seek re-election as many times as he wishes. This amendment applies specifically and only to Nazarbayev: the original constitution's prescribed maximum of two presidential terms will still apply to all future presidents of Kazakhstan. [5]

Nazarbayev appointed Altynbek Sarsenbayev, who at the time served as the Minister of Culture, Information and Concord, the Secretary of the Kazakh Security Council, replacing Marat Tazhin, on 4 May 2001. Tazhin became the Chairman of the National Security Council, replacing Alnur Musayev. Musayev became the head of the Guards' Service of the President.[6]

Nazarbayev with Dmitry Medvedev in Astana, 2008

His government's policies are considered moderate and maintain a balance between the United States and Russia. Notwithstanding Kazakhstan's membership in the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (now the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), under Nazarbayev the country has had good relations with Israel. Diplomatic relations were established in 1992 and President Nazarbayev paid official visits to Israel in 1995 and 2000.[7] Bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to $724 million in 2005. He initiated the move of the administration from Almaty to Astana.

A former minister in the Nazarbayev government, Zamanbek K. Nurkadilov, said that President Nazarbayev ought to answer allegations that Kazakh officials had accepted millions of US dollars in bribes from an intermediary for U.S. oil firms in the 1990s.[8]


In 2004 Transparency International ranked Kazakhstan 122nd (tied with several other nations) in its listing of 146 countries by level of corruption. Kazakhstan's total score out of 10, with 10 being the best, was 2.2 (any score under 3 indicated "rampant corruption).[9] President Nazarbayev declared a holy war against corruption and ordered the adoption of "10 steps against corruption" [10] to fight corruption at all levels of state and society.

A few international NGOs have accused the Nazarbayev government of merely paying lip service to anti-corruption efforts. Despite becoming the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe chair in 2010, some civil activists inside and outside the country stated little was done to address “human rights abuses” and “widespread corruption”. The Nazarbayev family itself was embroiled in a series of investigations by Western governments into money laundering, bribery, and assassinations. Among these investigations was the so-called Kazakhgate, as the result of which the US Department of Justice did not find Nazarbayev family guilty and closed the case in August 2010 [11]

Preventing global nuclear threats

Nazarbayev encouraged the United Nations General Assembly to establish August 29 as the International Day Against Nuclear Tests. In his article he has proposed a new Non-Proliferation Treaty "that would guarantee clear obligations on the part of signatory governments and define real sanctions for those who fail to observe the terms of the agreement."[12]

Dialogue between religions

President Nursultan Nazarbayev has put forward the initiative of holding a forum of world and traditional religions in the capital of Kazakhstan – city of Astana. Earlier the organizers of similar events were only representatives of leading religions and denominations. Among other similar events aimed at establishing interdenominational dialogue were the meetings of representatives of world religions and denominations held in Italian city Assisi in October 1986 and January 2002.[13]

The first Congress of World and Traditional Religions which gathered in 2003 allowed the leaders of all major religions to open wide prospects for mutual cooperation and contributes to overcoming such negative manifestations. In 2009 the third Congress was held in Astana in Palace of Peace and Accord.

Nazarbayev On Various Issues

Views on Iran

In a speech given on 15 December 2006 marking the 15th anniversary of Kazakhstan's independence, Nazarbayev stated he wished to join with Iran in support of a single currency for all Central Asian states. He intends to push the idea forward with Iranian President Ahmadinejad on an upcoming visit. In one of his speeches however, the Kazakh president criticized Iran as one of the countries that provides support for terrorism. The Kazakh Foreign Ministry however, released a statement on 19 December, saying his remarks were not "what he really meant," and his comments were "mistakes."[14] In a recent announcement of a railway link, Nazarbayev expressed religious solidarity with Iran, as he was quoted as saying, "Today I will pay a visit to Turkmenistan where we will agree on the construction of a railway through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Iran with access to the Persian Gulf. This will bring us closer to our Muslim brothers."[15]

In 2009, former UK cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken released a biography of the Kazakhstani leader entitled Nazarbayev and the Making of Kazakhstan. The book takes a generally pro-Nazarbayev stance, asserting in the introduction that he is mostly responsible for the success of modern Kazakhstan.[16]

Call for More Women In Politics

In 2011, President Nazarbayev called on his government to provide increased opportunities for women to serve in leadership positions in politics and government. "I instruct the government, together with the Presidential administration and the national commission for women's affairs, the leadership of the Nur Otan Party, to form a concrete plan effective to 2016 for the promotion of women in taking decisions," he said at the first women's congress.

2011 inaugural Address

Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev delivered his reelection inaugural address on April 8, 2011. In his remarks, President Nazarbayev underscored his commitment to economic reform and diversification, continued economic growth, environmental protection, democracy and political modernization, and regional and international stability.

2007 inaugural address

Присяга Назарбаев.jpg

Nazarbayev delivered his annual presidential address on 28 February 2007. He advocated membership in the World Trade Organization, the establishment of a Eurasian Customs Union, and discussed cooperation with foreign states in the "fight against terrorism and fight against epidemics and environmental disasters."[17]

Olympic torchbearer

On April 2, 2008 Nursultan Nazarbayev acted as the first torchbearer for Kazakhstan as part of the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay in Almaty.[18]

Personal life

He was born in in Chemolgan, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union, and is married to Sara Alpysqyzy Nazarbayeva, with whom he has three daughters; Dariga, Dinara and Aliya. Dariga was married to Rakhat Aliyev, son of a former minister of healthcare, who served as the First Deputy Foreign Minister and twice as the Kazakh Ambassador to Austria. Dinara is married to Timur Kulibayev, son of a former Minister of Construction, who serves as the First Deputy Chairman of the national holding company Samruk-Kazyna, which manages several state-owned companies and, formerly, as the first Vice President of the state-owned petroleum company KazMunaiGas. Aliya is a prominent businesswoman. She was married to a Aidar Akayev, the son of former Kyrgyz President, Askar Akaev. Now she is married to Daniyar Khassenov, a Kazakhstani businessman.

Nazarbayev is a practicing[citation needed] Muslim. Previously he espoused anti-religious views in the Soviet era;[19] he has now exerted effort to highlight his Muslim heritage by performing the Hajj pilgrimage,[19] and supporting mosque renovations.[20] At the same time, he has been attempting to combat terrorism in Kazakhstan.[21]

On 4 December 2005 new Presidential elections were held and President Nazarbayev won by an overwhelming majority of 91.15% (from a total of 6,871,571 eligible participating voters) as reported by the Central Electoral Commission of Kazakhstan, an estimation criticized by the OSCE and other election watchdog organizations. Nazarbayev was sworn in for another seven-year term on 11 January 2006.

Nazarbayev himself has been called one of the "ultimate oligarchs" of the post-Soviet central Asia states.[22] He is believed to have transferred at least $1 billion worth of oil revenues to his private bank accounts in other countries and his family controls many other key enterprises in Kazakhstan.[22] He is also said to have benefited financially from his "special relations" with Kazakh-Israeli businessman Alexander Mashkevich, who, as of 2004, was believed to control as much as one-fourth of Kazakhstan's economy.[23][24][25][dubious ]

Honours and awards

See also


  1. ^ a b Sally N. Cummings (2002). Power and change in Central Asia. Psychology Press. pp. 59–61. ISBN 9780415255851. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  2. ^ James Minahan (1998). Miniature empires: a historical dictionary of the newly independent states. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 136–. ISBN 9780313306105. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Karen Dawisha; Bruce Parrott (1994). Russia and the new states of Eurasia: the politics of upheaval. Cambridge University Press. pp. 317–318. ISBN 9780521458955. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  4. ^ Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights – Elections.
  5. ^ Kazakhstan lifts term limits on long-ruling leader - Los Angeles Times. (2007-05-19). Retrieved on 2011-02-03.
  6. ^ Robert D'A. Henderson (21 July 2003). Brassey's International Intelligence Yearbook: 2003 Edition. Brassey's. pp. 272–. ISBN 9781574885507. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  7. ^ Content. Retrieved on 2011-02-03.
  8. ^ Kramer, Andrew E. (14 November 2005). "Ex-Kazakh Official Who Made a Threat Found Slain". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2010. 
  9. ^ 3006681 TI Report Cover
  10. ^ КонтиненТ: казахстан: политика, общество. Retrieved on 2011-02-03.
  11. ^ New York Merchant Bank Pleads Guilty to FCPA Violation; Bank Chairman Pleads Guilty to Failing to Disclose Control of Foreign Bank Account, Department of Justice, August 6, 2010
  12. ^ Right time for building global nuclear security. Chicago Tribune (2010-04-11). Retrieved on 2011-02-03.
  13. ^ Congress of World Religions – About Congress of leaders of world and traditional religions. (2007-10-15). Retrieved on 2011-02-03.
  14. ^ Kazakhstan dismisses alleged anti-Iran comments from president - Irna. Retrieved on 2011-02-03.
  15. ^ [1][dead link]
  16. ^ Aitken, Jonathan (2009). Nazarbayev and the Making of Kazakhstan. London: Continuum. pp. 1–4. ISBN 978-1-44115-381-4. 
  17. ^ ProQuest Login – ProQuest. Retrieved on 2011-02-03.
  18. ^ [2][dead link]
  19. ^ a b Ideology and National Identity in Post-Communist Foreign Policies By Rick Fawn, p. 147
  20. ^ Moscow News – Local – Moscow's Largest Mosque to Undergo Extension
  21. ^ Kazakhstan – Government Mongabay
  22. ^ a b Guriev, Sergei; Andrei Rachinsky (October 2006). "The Evolution of Personal Wealth in the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe" (PDF). United Nations University – World Institute for Development Economics Research. Retrieved 2006-02-17. 
  23. ^ Kazhegeldin, Akezhan (December 24, 2004). "The end of the "controlled" democracy". "Respublika". International Eurasian Institute for Economic and Political Research. Retrieved 2006-02-17. 
  24. ^ Rozen, Sami (March 9, 2006). "Kazakh Historian Turned Deputy Minister After Stay in Israel". Axis. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  25. ^ Krichevsky, Lev (18 October 2004). "Wealthy Kazakh businessman looks to make mark on Jewish world". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  26. ^ "Bearers of decorations: Maarjamaa Risti ketiklassi teenetemärk". Retrieved 2 November 2011. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Bayken Ashimov
Prime Minister of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
Succeeded by
Uzaqbay Qaramanov
Preceded by
Kilibay Medeubekov
Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
Succeeded by
Erik Asanbayev
New office President of Kazakhstan
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gennady Kolbin
Leader of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan
Party dissolved

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