Nursultan Nazarbayev
Нұрсұлтан Назарбаев
Nursultan Nazarbayev 27092007

Assumed office 
24 April 1990
Prime Minister Sergey Tereshchenko
Akezhan Kazhegeldin
Nurlan Balgimbayev
Kasymzhomart Tokayev
Imangali Tasmagambetov
Daniyal Akhmetov
Karim Masimov
Preceded by Position established

In office
22 June 1989 – 14 December 1991
Preceded by Gennady Kolbin

In office
22 February 1990 – 24 April 1990
Preceded by Bayken Ashimov
Succeeded by Uzaqbay Qaramanov

In office
22 March 1984 – 27 July 1989
Preceded by Bayken Ashimov
Succeeded by Uzaqbay Qaramanov

Born Template:Bda
Chemolgan, Soviet Union (now Kazakhstan)
Political party Nur-Otan (1999–present)
Other political
Communist Party (before 1991)
Spouse Sara Nazarbayeva
Religion Islam

Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev (Template:Lang-kk [nʊrsʊlˈtɑn æbəʃʊˈlɯ nɑzɑrˈbɑjəf]; Russian: Нурсултан Абишевич Назарбаев Russian pronunciation: [ˌnursulˈtan abʲiʃevʲit͡ʃ ˌnazərˈbajev]) (born 6 July 1940 in Chemolgan, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union) has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the Fall of the Soviet Union and the nation's independence in 1991. He is criticised by some for slow action on widespread corruption, suppression of opposition, unfair elections and insufficient freedom of speech.[1]

Rise to power

In 1984 Nazarbayev became the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, working under Dinmukhamed Konayev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan.[2] 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 ignored them both, firing Kunayev but 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.[2] 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.[3]


20060929-5 d-0453-1-515h

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

Nazarbayev renamed the State Defense Committee's to 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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

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.[7]

Medvedev and Nazarbayev

Nazarbayev meeting 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 Organization of the Islamic Conference, 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.[8][9][10] Bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to $724 million in 2005.[10] 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.[11]

Fighting corruption

Transparency International ranked Kazakhstan 124th in its list of countries by corruption in 2004 with a score of 2.2 (on a scale of 0-10 with 0 indicating a "highly corrupt" state).[12]. President Nazarbayev declared a holy war against corruption and ordered the adoption of "10 steps against corruption" [4] to fight corruption at all levels of state and society.

International observers have criticized the Nazarbayev regime for merely paying lip service to anti-corruption efforts. Despite receiving the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe chair in 2010, Kazakhstan has not made significant efforts to address human rights abuses and widespread corruption. The Nazarbayev family itself is embroiled in a series of ongoing investigations by Western governments into money laundering, bribery, and assassinations. Among these investigations are the now infamous Kazakhgate and allegations made by his former son-in-law of vast corruption in the Kazakh government.


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 Iran with a single currency for all Central Asian states. He intends to push the idea forward with Ahmadinejad on an upcoming visit. On one of his speeches however, Kazakh president criticised Iran as one of the countries providing 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."[13] 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."[14]

In April 2008, it was reported by The Observer that Nazarbayev's biography is being written by former UK cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken[15].

2007 presidential address

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."[16]

Olympic torchbearer

On April 2, 2008 Nursultan Nazarbayev became the first torchbearer of Kazakhstan part of the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay in Almaty.[17]

Personal life

He 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 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 Daniyar Khassenov, Kazakhstani businessman.

Nazarbayev is a practicing Muslim. Previously he had atheistic views in the Soviet era,[18] he has now exerted effort to highlight his Muslim heritage by performing the Hajj pilgrimage,[18] and supporting mosque renovations.[19] At the same time attempting to combat terrorism in Kazakhstan.[20]

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.[21] 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.[21] He is also said to have benefited financially from his "special relations" with Kazakh-Israeli billionaire Alexander Mashkevich, who, as of 2004, was believed to control as much as one-fourth of Kazakhstan's economy.[22][23][24][dubious ]

See also

Kazakhstan stamp N.Nazarbaev 1993 50t

A 1993 stamp depicting Nazarbayev


  1. BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Country profiles | Country profile: Kazakhstan
  2. 2.0 2.1 Power and Change in Central Asia, pages 59-61 Google books
  3. Miniature Empires: A Historical Dictionary of the Newly Independent States, page 136 Google books
  4. Russia and the New States of Eurasia: The Politics of Upheaval, pages 317-318 Google books
  5. Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights - Elections
  6. Kazakhstan lifts president's term limit LA Times
  7. Brassey's International Intelligence Yearbook: 2003 Edition, page 272 Google books
  8. [1]
  9. [2]
  10. 10.0 10.1 [3]
  11. Ex-Kazakh Official Who Made a Threat Found Slain - New York Times
  12. 3006681 TI Report Cover
  13. Kazakhstan dismisses alleged anti-Iran comments from president IRNA
  14. EurasiaNet Eurasia Insight - Construction Of Railway To Iran On Agenda Of Turkmenistan Visit - Kazakh Leader
  15. Pendennis: 06 April 2008 | From the Observer | The Observer
  16. Kazakh leader outlines development priorities in annual address BBC News
  17. :: Liter.KZ
  18. 18.0 18.1 Ideology and National Identity in Post-Communist Foreign Policies By Rick Fawn, pg. 147
  19. Moscow News - Local - Moscow's Largest Mosque to Undergo Extension
  20. Kazakstan - Government Mongabay
  21. 21.0 21.1 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. 
  22. Kazhegeldin, Akezhan (December 24, 2004). "The end of the "controlled" democracy". "Respublika". International Eurasian Institute for Economic and Political Research. Retrieved 2006-02-17. 
  23. Rozen, Sami (March 9, 2006). "Kazakh Historian Turned Deputy Minister After Stay in Israel". Axis. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  24. Krichevsky, Lev (18 October 2004). "Wealthy Kazakh businessman looks to make mark on Jewish world". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Bayken Ashimov
Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Kazakh SSR
Succeeded by
Uzaqbay Qaramanov
New title President of Kazakhstan
1990 – Present
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gennady Kolbin
First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan
Title abolished
ar:نور سلطان نزاربييف

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