Nursultan Nazarbayev

Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev (Kazakh: Нұрсұлтан Әбішұлы Назарбаев, romanized: Nūrsūltan Äbışūly Nazarbaev, pronounced [nʊrsʊlˈtɑn æbəɕʊˈlə nɑzɑɾˈbɑjɪf]) or Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev (Russian: Нурсултан Абишевич Назарбаев, pronounced [nʊrsʊɫˈtan ɐˈbʲiʂɨvʲɪtɕ nəzɐrˈba(j)ɪf]; born 6 July 1940) is a Kazakh politician who served as the first President of Kazakhstan, in office from 24 April 1990 until his formal resignation on 20 March 2019, and as the Chairman of the Security Council of Kazakhstan from 21 August 1991 to 5 January 2022, holding the title Elbasy (meaning "Leader of the Nation") since 14 June 2010. He was one of the longest-ruling non-royal leaders in the world, having led Kazakhstan for nearly three decades, excluding chairmanship in the Security Council after the end of his presidency. He was named First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR in 1989 and was elected as the nation's first president shortly before its independence from the Soviet Union. According to some opposition groups he is still the "unofficial leader" and "dictator" of the country. In 1962, while working as a factory steel worker, Nazarbayev joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) where he was prominent member of the Komsomol and a full-time worker for the party. From 1984, Nazarbayev was the Prime Minister of the Kazakh SSR. During his tenure, he was appointed as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan (QKP), the most powerful position in 1989. In April 1990, Nazarbayev was appointed as Kazakhstan's first president by the Supreme Soviet. From there, he supported Russian President Boris Yeltsin against the attempted coup in August 1991 by the Soviet hardliners. The Soviet Union then fell apart after 1991 Soviet coup d'etat failed, though Nazarbayev went to great lengths to maintain close economic ties with Russia by introducing Kazakhstan into the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and eventually the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Nazarbayev is considered by observers to have ruled a dictatorship in Kazakhstan, fueled by growing cult of personality as various institutions, streets, parks, monuments, public holidays, and most notably the capital of Nur-Sultan being dedicated and named after him, while dissent was suppressed in the country and elections were deemed not free and fair. In the country's first open direct presidential election, held in 1991, he appeared alone on the ballot with no opposing candidates and won 98% of the vote. An April 1995 referendum extended Nazarbayev's term until 2000 and in August of that year, a constitutional referendum was held which allowed for a new draft for the Constitution of Kazakhstan that greatly strengthened presidential powers. In 1999, Nazarbayev was re-elected for a second term and again in 2005 and 2011 after a constitutional amendment had granted him to run as president indefinitely. In 2010, he announced reforms to encourage a multi-party system in an attempt to counter the ruling Nur Otan's one-party control of the lower house Mazhilis from 2007. This led to the reinstatement of various parties in Parliament following the 2012 legislative elections, although having little influence and opposition as the parties supported and voted with the government while Nur Otan still had dominant-party control of the Mazhilis. In 2015, Nazarbayev was re-elected for the last time for a fifth term with almost 98% of the vote while in a middle of an economic crisis, as he ran virtually unopposed. In January 2017, Nazarbayev proposed constitutional reforms that would delegate powers to the Parliament of Kazakhstan. In May 2018, the Parliament approved a constitutional amendment allowing Nazarbayev to lead the Security Council for life. In March 2019, he resigned from the presidency amid anti-government protests and was succeeded by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, a close ally of Nazarbayev, who overwhelmingly won the following snap presidential elections in June 2019. He is immune from any criminal prosecution and continued to serve as the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan and Nur Otan Chairman until 2021. Nazarbayev is also a member of the Constitutional Council and an honorary member of the Senate of Kazakhstan, and was chairman of the Security Council until his dismissal from that post in response to the 2022 Kazakh protests.


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