Birthday of the First President of Kazakhstan Date in the current year: July 6, 2024

Birthday of the First President of Kazakhstan On July 6, Kazakhstanis celebrate the birthday of the country’s first president, Nursultan Nazarbayev. This commemoration must not be confused with the Day of the First President of Kazakhstan, a public holiday commemorating the day when Nazarbayev won his first presidential election.

The future first president of Kazakhstan was born on July 6, 1940 in a poor family. After graduating from a technical institute affiliated with the Karaganda Steel Mill in Temirtau, he worked in metallurgy.

Nazarbayev joined the communist party in 1962 and became a full-time worker for the party in 1969. Rising gradually but steadily through the ranks, he was appointed the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Kazakhstan in 1984. Five years later, he became the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan.

In April 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Kazakh SSR named Nazarbayev the President of the Kazakh SSR. Following the failed August Coup in Moscow, he left the Communist Party. On December 1, 1991, Nazarbayev won the first popular presidential election in Kazakhstan. He was the only candidate on the ballot and won over 90% of the vote.

In 1995, a republican referendum extended Nazarbayev’s presidential term for five more years. He was re-elected in 1999 with almost 80% of the vote and then again in 2005, winning more than 90% of the vote.

In 2010, Nazarbayev signed a law that officially secured hist status as the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan – the Leader of the Nation (Yelbasy). In 2011 and in 2015, he was re-elected again, each time gaining more than 95% of the vote.

In total, Nazarbayev had been the leader of Kazakhstan for almost 30 years before announcing his resignation on March 19, 2019. He was succeeded by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, who was appointed as acting president following Nazarbayev’s resignation and subsequently won an early election that took place in June 2019. Despite his resignation, Nazarbayev remains behind the throne of the country.

Outside Kazakhstan, especially in the Western world, Nazarbayev is primarily associated with an authoritarian regime (none of the leaders of the post-Soviet countries stayed in power as long as Nazarbayev), censorship, corruption, and human rights abuse. The media often used the term “Nazarbayev’s cult of personality”, which doesn’t seem too far from the truth, taking into account, for example, that the country’s capital was renamed in Nazarbayev’s honor shortly after his resignation.

Although Nazarbayev’s birthday isn’t a public holiday per se, it coincides with one. The Day of the Capital is celebrated on July 6 because on this day in 1994, it was decided to relocate the capital of Kazakhstan from Almaty to Akmoly (known as Astana between 1998 and 2019 and as Nur-Sultan since March 2019). Of course, the date was chosen deliberately to coincide with Nazarbayev’s birthday; thereby the birthday of the First President of Kazakhstan is celebrated nationwide and is de facto a public holiday, just by another name.

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