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“Thank You for Everything.” Kazakhstanis on Nursultan Nazarbayev’s Resignation

The statement made by Nursultan Nazarbayev on his resignation as the leader of Kazakhstan for the last 29 years has taken people by surprise. Some hope for changes to the better, others say that the successor would pursue the Yelbassy’s (leader of the nation) policy. However, almost all recognise the decency of the first president of Kazakhstan, who was the only president until recently.

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Authors: Indira Asanova (Astana), Asem Zhapisheva (Almaty), Danil Shemratov and Dinara Bekbolayeva (Shymkent)

Although the issue of a possible resignation of the nation’s leader and now ex-president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has been discussed for a long time, even experts couldn’t foresee this situation. According to analysts, Nazarbayev once again has set an example of the leader with strategic vision – by his statement he has launched the scheme designed to maintain his authority, influence and position of his family.

See also: Nazarbayev Resigns, But This is Not Goodbye

In social media, the Kazakhstanis thank Nursultan Nazarbayev for the job he has done and for successes achieved during his presidency.

#nazarbayev resigns. What a twist. He has been president for 28 years 10 months and 23 days.


Nazarbayev has resigned. Thank you for everything

We’ve become witnesses to the historical moment in our country! This is the end of the era and the rebirth of the new one! May God give our country eternal peace and prosperity! Rakhmet, Nursultan Abishuly! Alga Kazakhstan!

According to the survey of the Kazakhstanis in various towns of the country, they seemed to be not prepared for the news. Astana residents recognise the country’s achievements under the presidency of Nursultan Nazarbayev, thank him and hope for positive changes.

Among candidates for the position of a new head of state is Imangali Tasmagambetov, current ambassador of Kazakhstan to Russia. Earlier he was deputy Prime Minister, chief of Ministry of Defence, and also mayor of Astana and Almaty.

See also: Mereke Gabdualiev on pinpoint staff decisions of Nazarbayev before resignation


Daniyar Shaikenov, entrepreneur: This news made me sad because Nazarbayev was ruling Kazakhstan for 30 years, was a good president, and we have succeeded thanks to Nazarbayev.

Renat Kilirov, student: It was strange because it happened all of a sudden. I am shocked. Everything was under control and stable with him. The city has thrived, especially Astana.

Marina Nosova, resident of Astana: It’s sad for the country that he resigned. Maybe, it was inevitable. I hope for more improvements [from the new president], for new positive changes.

See also: Mereke Gabdualiev on pinpoint staff decisions of Nazarbayev before resignation

The residents of southern Kazakhstan have ambiguous attitude towards the president’s resignation. Almaty residents note Nazarbayev’s successes during 29 years of his presidency; however, they have different opinions of the country’s future. Some think there would be no intrigue and next year the president would only pursue the predecessor’s policy.  Others hope for changes and liberalisation.


Karim Kadyrbaev: I am still perplexed. I don’t remember anything like that to happen before. I can’t imagine how people behave when the head of state resigns.  I cannot understand my feelings and emotions. I agree with the people who think that nothing would change because this transit of power was not through election and the person who became the interim [president] (he means former chair of the Senate, Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev) has been with Nazarbayev from the beginning. He is a person of the same system, with the same ideals and values as [Nazarbayev]. I am waiting for the news about the election and the people who will be running for presidency.

Natalia Kudarova: When I heard the news, I was shocked because Nazarbayev was my idol as a progressive figure, wise and educated. I was very disappointed. I hope the new president will pursue the policy chosen by Mr Nazarbayev.

Aleksandr: As they say, make way for youth. Just like Yeltsin made way for Putin, Nazarbayev is trying to do the same… he is not that healthy as he used to be. So, I think it was a good decision.

A resident of Almaty: This person has been in power for 30 years, with good and bad moments. In general, I would say his work was good. I take [his resignation] positively, and I hope there will be positive changes. We expect liberalisation, more freedom, no internet blocking. What we will get remains to be seen.

Shymkent residents hope for positive changes that would follow the shift in power; however, they don’t have high expectations of any changes in the public administration system.

Kairat: I want to believe that the new president will be wise, a man of principle, and very assiduous. A lot of things need to be done in the country. Or even readjusted. I want fewer ostentatious shows like exhibitions or others. If we want to be recognised globally, we shouldn’t be making international presentations, but we should improve our domestic affairs. Only then will we have really high reputation. Above all, I am expecting more deeds, fewer words from the new head of state.

Timur: I hope we will have the age of elective presidents now. Smarter reforms should be pursued. I want to thank Nazarbayev and wish that the new president be not worse than his predecessor.  Or even better.

Alisher: I have no special expectations. It would be just like in Russia and like we used to have – we will have the new president for years to come regardless of the constitutionally fixed presidential term. As for our domestic policy with its good and bad sides, the system is very firm both in economy and in society so it would be very hard to change it.

Our president used to live in Akorda (official residence of the president), while we live in Kazakhstan. He feels more comfortable there. As for us, everything happened.

This article was prepared as part of the Giving Voice, Driving Change – from the Borderland to the Steppes Project implemented with the financial support of the Foreign Ministry of Norway. The opinions expressed in the article do not reflect the position of the editorial or donor.

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