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Kazakh MP Suggests Modifying Country’s Name

Friday 25 January 2019

STANA (Eurasianet) — A member of parliament in Kazakhstan has dusted off a recurrent old favorite, proposing that the countrys’ name be changed to Kazakh Republic.

Speaking on January 23, Azat Peruashev, leader of the government-approved astroturf opposition party Ak-Zhol, said that the name-change would be a suitable way to mark the 100th anniversary of the creation in 1920 of a Kazakh republic with the Soviet Union.

“We need to call things by their name: black is black and white is white. And Kazakhs are Kazakhs”, he said. Peruashev said that the new name would restore historic justice and boost unity and amity among all ethnicities. His strongest argument appeared to be that President Nursultan Nazarbayev is already on record as having made similar suggestions.

In February 2014, Nazarbayev floated the idea of ditching the -stan and renaming the country Kazak Eli, or “Kazakh People”. The implication often aired is that the -stan ending, which is derived from a Persian root and means land, leads many outsiders to lump nations like Kazakhstan with perceived hotspots like Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nazarbayev said:

The ending of our country’s name is -stan, like the other countries in Central Asia. At the same time, many foreigners are drawn to Mongolia, a country of just two million people whose country does not have the -stan ending.

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