Mon, 26 Sep 2022

Kazakhstan again renames capital as Astana

Robert Besser
22 Sep 2022, 06:59 GMT+10

ASTANA, Kazakhstan: In the latest effort from politicians to distance themselves from the former Soviet republic's first president, Kazakhstan's parliament renamed the country's capital city from Nur-Sultan to Astana.

The steppe city, known as Tselinograd in the Soviet era, became the capital in 1997 and was renamed Astana the following year.

Kazakhstan's former president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, said at the time that he wanted the capital to be located closer to the country's geographical center, as the previous capital, Almaty, is located in the country's southeast.

When Nazarbayev resigned after three decades in power in 2019, his successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, renamed Astana as Nur-Sultan in his honor.

However, after violent street protests over fuel prices in January, Tokayev appeared to have a falling out with Nazarbayev, who resigned his remaining positions, while many of his relatives lost their government jobs.

Last week, the Kazakh parliament voted to change the country's constitution and revert to the earlier name of the capital, Astana.

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