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Kazakhstan's First President Nursultan Nazarbayev (File photo)
Kazakhstan's First President Nursultan Nazarbayev (File photo)

Kazakh's Nursultan Nazarbayev retains prominence despite ceding presidency

ANI | Updated: Nov 29, 2021 17:39 IST

Nur-Sultan [Kazakhstan], November 29 (ANI): Even after ceding his position as Kazakhstan's President in 2019, Nursultan Nazarbayev remains a prominent leader of the country- primarily because of his "moral authority."
Dmitry Babich, a Moscow-based journalist, writing in Astana Times, explained how Kazakhstan's leader gain popularity all across the world.
In an article titled "The Secret of Nazarbayev" published in December 2020, Babich noted Nazarbayev is praised and valued by the supporters of the Soviet Union and its passionate critics, by Russians and Kazakhs, by Asian and Western presidents, by communists and anticommunists.
"There is no question about the respect and love for Nursultan Nazarbayev from his own people, Kazakhs and non-Kazakhs living in Kazakhstan. A bright boy born in a simple farmer family at the piedmont of Alatau mountains, he grew from a simple metal worker to the position of the first president of independent Kazakhstan. He gave Kazakhs not just their first independent state (which was an achievement in itself), he made that state a modern, fast-developing country," the journalist wrote.
Nazarbayev, currently serving as the Chairman of the Security Council of Kazakhstan since August 1991, previously served as the first President of Kazakhstan, in office from 24 April 1990 until his formal resignation on 20 March 2019.
Kazakhstan began its journey towards modernisation in the 1990s, post the breakup of the Soviet Union and Nursultan Nazarbayev becoming the first President of the then young state.
Nazarbayev played the same large-scale role in the history of Kazakhstan as world-famous reformers such as Ataturk in Turkey, Charles de Gaulle in France, Mahathir Mohammad in Malaysia, Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore, Mahatma Gandhi in India and others, played in the development of their respective countries.
Elected by the people to the highest post of the country on December 1, 1991, Nazarbayev's first words after becoming the First President were, "at the very edge of the abyss."
It was a time when the Kazakh leader chose the national strategy adequate to the realities and the creation of a capable model of public governance -- which became the decisive factor for the effectiveness of Kazakhstan.
Babich observed that Nazarbayev is praised and respected by people around the former Soviet Union.
The journalist notes that people remember and value his quality which in the Soviet times was called "internationalism" and which comprises a variety of positive meanings in the modern English language.

"It is not just tolerance, it is something more. Since his childhood, Nazarbayev lived inside the amalgam of representatives of all ethnic groups inhabiting the Soviet Union (and it was one-sixth of the world's landmass)," he wrote.
Western leaders and the presidents of Russia and Turkey also give their due to Nazarbayev - if only because Kazakhstan is the only country in the post-Soviet space that managed in the 30 tumultuous years of independence to preserve good relations with both Russia and the West, carefully avoiding confrontation with anyone.
"So, what is the secret of Nursultan Nazarbayev, why is he praised by almost everyone? Let it be my guess, but I stand by it: because he never lets himself be lulled by the praise. For all of his life, Nazarbayev chose the hard ways over easy ones, and warned of dangers looming ahead at the seemingly peaceful moments of general relaxation. This is the secret of his popularity and his longevity in power," he wrote.
In the 1970s, Nazarbayev grew from a regional leader in the Karaganda region to the top of Soviet Kazakhstan's government.
In 1984, he became the prime minister. People would later remember this period as the "years of stagnation," when Leonid Brezhnev's ruling elite helped itself to the "fruits of developed socialism" without caring much about the people's situation.
The journalist argued against it saying it wasn't a period of stagnation for Kazakhstan.
"Kazakhstan was getting its own industry, 'the hen laying the golden eggs,' which will save it, when Kazakhstan becomes an independent state in 1991. Magnitogorsk, Karaganda Metallic Plant... Now the golden eggs are being laid for the Soviet budget. But Kazakhstan's people will profit from them too, when times change. And Nazarbayev knew they would change," the journalist writes.
Lauding the Kazakh leader for his credibility, the journalist says that Nazarbayev never betrayed people, ideas and countries - unlike many former Soviet citizens.
"When Nazarbayev was elected the President of Kazakhstan on Dec.1, 1991, the republics of Soviet Central Asia fulfilled their commitments to the Soviet Union long after the Baltics, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova stopped fulfilling theirs," he wrote.
He further added Nazarbayev fulfilled his commitments too, and even planned to sign a new Union Treaty with Gorbachev on December 9, 1991.
"Kazakhstan became an independent state without a single shot fired, without violence, but with uncertainty ahead. The new country is born, but it is very rare that we see a smile on Nazarbayev's face on the photos from that time. As usual, he was preparing for the world," he added. (ANI)