Familiarity with Kazakhstan’s new name needs time

Photo: Familiarity with Kazakhstan’s new name needs time  / Kazakhstan

Astana, Kazakhstan, Feb.10
By Daniyar Mukhtarov - Trend:

It will take a long time for Kazakhstan to get rid of the 'stan' prefix, according to Kazakh political analyst Eduard Poletaev.

"From a global point of view, Kazakhstan can be positioned in the world without the 'stan' prefix. But how the country's new name will be adopted is a big question. Take for example neighbouring Kyrgyzstan, whose official name is the Kyrgyz Republic. Nevertheless, this country is also called Kyrgyzstan," Edward Poletaev told Trend on Feb.7.

Earlier, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed his opinion with regard to the country's official name.

"There is 'stan' at the end of our country's name as in other Central Asian countries.

"At the same time, foreigners are showing interest in Mongolia with a two million population. But there is no 'stan' at the end of that name. We must consider such a name as 'Kazakh eli', but must discuss this with the Kazakh people," the president said at the Intellectual School in Atyrau.

At the end of his address, the president stressed that the country will achieve all its goals by preserving unity and tolerance.

"Our advantage is in our variety of multi-ethnic people," President Nazarbayev said.

Poletaev believes that even if the president's idea about the renaming of Kazakhstan is supported by the Kazakh nation, the state will be perceived under its established name for a long time.

"More than one generation will need to pass and a number of decades required for the new name to become familiar," Poletaev said.

It is most likely that Kazakhstan will continue to be called as it is, according to the political analyst. Poletaev citing as an example the current name of the Kazakh city of Almaty which was earlier called Alma-Ata.

"Almaty is still called Alma-Ata abroad. For instance, in Russia this is a familiar name for everyone," Poletaev said.

Meanwhile the political analyst stressed that the president's idea about the renaming of Kazakhstan to "Kazakh eli" stems from his 'Mengilik el' idea which is a new ideology proposed by the president when working out single values that will unite the whole Kazakh nation.

"As is known, there are two federal formations. There is 'Gagauz Yeri' or the Gagauz autonomy in Moldova and there is the 'Republic of Mari El' in the Russian Federation. That is to say, in principle we see that such Turkic definition as 'el' already has a place on the world's political map. And from this point of view, it is completely logical that Kazakhstan can declare itself as 'Kazakh eli'," the expert said.

The expert also drew attention to the fact that when speaking about the idea of renaming Kazakhstan, the country's president knowingly mentioned Mongolia.

Mongolia is somehow not adequately perceived as an interesting country by our country. At the same time it shouldn't be forgotten that Mongolia is a big part of Central Asia.

It is a country of nomads like Kazakhstan and is visited by many tourists to understand and learn the values of the nomads. Mongolia leaves us behind for the number of tourists as its name doesn't have the prefix 'stan'. The territory of the seven 'stans' which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan and the five Central Asian republics namely Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan , Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, scares people who are not familiar with our region," Edward Poletaev said.

The political scientist also recalled that the president made the reservation that a serious political decision such as the renaming of the country will not be accepted without the discussion of the whole Kazakh nation.

"The president made a proposal to the public for a serious topic for discussion, since the name of the country is not equal to renaming a street, or even a city. It is obvious that there will be a lot of letters for and against. The time hasn't been marked. However now it is the main theme of the day, though unexpected. So we'll see how the discussion will develop," Eduard Poletaev summed up.

Translated by L.Z.

Edited by S.M.

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