Every year, Kazakhstan traditionally marks the Day of the First President on December 1. This holiday holds a special place in the hearts of all Kazakhstanis. It not only celebrates Nursultan Nazarbayev’s merits as the Leader of the Nation, it also reflects all achievements of sovereign Kazakhstan over a short period of its Independence.
The date of the celebration is chosen not accidentally, it is closely related to Kazakhstan’s independence. It was on December 1, 1991 when the first national elections of the president of the then Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic were held. Nursultan Nazarbayev was elected the head of state.
In order to assess the role of the First President for Kazakhstan, it is worth remembering what happened in the 90s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The planned economy ended in collapse, and its remnants hastily altered to market conditions. In the newly independent countries of the formerly united Union the international and interethnic conflicts raged, sometimes openly turning into military actions.
Despite all the difficulties of the transition period, Kazakhstan has escaped the mass of such problems and crises that have affected the post-soviet states. To a large extent, it is worth thanking the balanced and multivector policy of the President Nazarbaev, which has led to the preservation of peace and harmony in a multinational country. So it is no wonder that a few years later, in 2010, the status of the “leader of the Nation” was assigned to N. Nazarbaev.
In the early 2000s, the Republic succeeded in avoiding a wave of so-called “colour revolutions”, that literally overwhelmed the post-Soviet countries. While attempts to destabilize situation in Kazakhstan have been repeatedly taken, however, the presidential thesis “first economy, then – politics”, allowed to maintain order in the country.
Another landmark step taken by the first President of the Republic was the transfer of the capital from Almaty to Akmola (formerly Tselinograd) in 1994. The redeployment process took four years. In 1998, quickly, literally a few weeks before the official presentation, the city was renamed to Astana (in translation from Kazakh – “capital”). In a few years, it has become a major economic and political centre, equipped with a modern infrastructure and decorated with architectural delights.
Now, Astana is known throughout the world. This is also a great credit for the first president. Kazakhstan’s foreign policy has always been peaceful, and has been committed to mutual cooperation with other countries. It should not be forgotten that one of the first initiatives of the country (and the President Nazarbayev) on the world stage has been the renunciation by the Republic of the possession of nuclear weapons and the elimination of the fourth largest nuclear arsenal. Subsequently, this decision enabled Kazakhstan and its leader to actively advocate a nuclear-free world and the world as a whole.
Thus, in 2003, for the first time, in Astana, the Palace of Friendship and Concord, an unprecedented event was held on the issues of the interfaith accord – The First Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. It is worth noting that it was far from being the last one, and gradually such congresses became almost a tradition and are now held regularly, every few years.
In 2010, it was Kazakhstan, the first country in the post-soviet space that led the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the largest regional structure that brings together 56 countries in Europe, Central Asia and North America. Again, it was a coincidence that it was December 1-2 when the Astana OSCE Summit took place, in which the representatives of the States and Governments of the organization took part. The main topics of the Summit were security issues and the solution of “frozen” conflicts. After the meeting, the famous Astana Declaration was adopted.
Now Kazakhstan is actively continuing its peacekeeping activities. Largely because of the authority of the Kazakh leader, it is in Astana that international negotiations are being held to resolve the conflict in Syria.
– At the request of the Presidents of Russia and Turkey, Kazakhstan provided a site for the negotiations, President Nazarbayev himself stressed during a meeting with the heads of delegations: – “Everyone points out the effectiveness of this process. The issues of de-escalation of military operations in several regions have been resolved. Further cooperation mechanisms have been developed, and the humanitarian situation has improved. “
Moreover, the Kazakhstan leader is one of the main initiators of the integration processes in the post-soviet space. SCO and CSTO, EurAsEC, the Customs Union, and, finally, the Eurasian Economic Union – the role of Nazarbayev in the creation of these associations cannot be overemphasized.
This year, Astana is once again at the centre of world events. The EXPO 2017 international specialized exhibition was held in the capital. A tremendous amount of work has been done and, at an exclusively image-based project has led to a flow of investment and the introduction of new, innovative technologies the technologies of the future.
In a word, citizens of Kazakhstan have something to thank their President for and to be proud of him. The celebration celebrated at the state level is a respect paid by the Kazakh people’s to their Leader, the recognition of his achievements and victories. It should be so.