The Republic of Kazakhstan on 1 December marks the Day of the First President. The date of the celebration is chosen not accidentally, it is closely connected with Kazakhstan’s gaining Independence. It was 1 December 1991 that the first nationwide elections of the president of the then Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic took place. Nursultan Nazarbayev was elected as the head of state.
In order to assess the role of the First President for Kazakhstan, it is worth remembering what happened in the 90s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The planned economy ended in failure, and its remnants were hastily altered to market conditions. In the newly independent countries numerous interethnic and inter-nation conflicts erupted, sometimes openly turning into military action.
Despite all the difficulties of the transition period, Kazakhstan managed to avoid a lot of similar problems and crises that hit the post-Soviet states. In many respects, it is worthwhile to thank the balanced and multi-vector policy of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.Nazarbayev, which allowed for preserving peace and harmony in a multiethnic country. So it is not surprising that a few years later, in 2010, N. Nazarbayev was given the status of “leader of the nation”.
In the early 2000s, the republic managed to successfully avoid the waves of the so-called, “Color revolutions” which literally overwhelmed the post-Soviet countries. And although attempts to destabilize the situation in Kazakhstan have been carried out repeatedly, the presidential thesis “first economy, then politics”, allowed maintaining order in the country.
Another significant step of the First President of Kazakhstan was the transfer in 1994 of the capital from Almaty to the city of Akmola (formerly Tselinograd). The relocation process took four years.
In 1998, quickly, just a few weeks before the official presentation, the city was renamed to Astana
(in translation from Kazakh – “capital”). In a few years, from the provincial town, it turned into a major economic and political center, equipped with modern infrastructure and decorated with architectural delights.
Now Astana is known all over the world. And this is also a great merit of the First President. Kazakhstan’s foreign policy has always been peaceful, and has been committed to mutual cooperation with other countries. Lest we forget, one of the first initiatives of the country (and personally President Nazarbayev) on the world stage was the republic’s refusal to possess nuclear weapons and the elimination of the fourth largest nuclear arsenal. Subsequently, this decision allowed Kazakhstan and its leader to actively advocate for a nuclear-free world and for peace as a whole.
So in 2003 in Astana, in the Palace of Friendship and Accord for the first time an unprecedented event was held, dedicated to issues of inter-faith accord – 1st Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. And, it is worth noting, it was not the last; gradually such Congresses have become a tradition and are now held regularly, every few years.
In 2010, Kazakhstan, the first among the countries of the post-Soviet space, headed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the largest regional structure uniting 56 countries of Europe, Central Asia and North America. And, again, coincidence, on December 1-2, the OSCE Astana Summit took place, in which representatives of the states and governments of the Organization took part. The main topics of the Summit were security issues and the solution of “frozen” conflicts. After the meeting, the famous Astana Declaration was adopted.
And now Kazakhstan is actively continuing its peacekeeping activities. Largely due to the authority of the Kazakh leader, it is in Astana that international negotiations are held to resolve the conflict in Syria.
“At the request of the presidents of Russia and Turkey, Kazakhstan provided a platform for negotiations,” President Nazarbayev himself said during a meeting with the heads of delegations: “Everyone points out the effectiveness of this process. The problems of de-escalation of military operations in several regions have been resolved. Further cooperation mechanisms were developed, and the humanitarian situation improved. ”
In addition, the Kazakh leader is one of the main initiators of integration processes in the post-Soviet space. SCO and CSTO, EurAsEC, the Customs Union, and, finally, the Eurasian Economic Union – the role of Nazarbayev in the creation of these associations cannot be overemphasized.
This year, Astana again found itself at the center of world events. The International specialized exhibition “EXPO-2017” was held in the capital. A huge work was done and an exclusively image-based project, at first glance, turned into a flow of investment for the country and introduction of new, innovative technologies – technologies of the future.
In a word, citizens of Kazakhstan have something to thank their President for and he has something to be proud of. The holiday, celebrated at the state level, is a tribute to the Kazakh people’s respect for their Leader, recognition of his achievements and victories. It should be so. /// nCa, 8 December 2017