The country of Kazakhstan has officially renamed its capital Nur-Sultan, honoring their longtime leader Nursultan Nazarbayev, who resigned in March of 2019 after nearly 30 years in power.
The proposal to change the name came from interim President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on March 20th. It was approved by parliament on March 23rd, and made official in a decree signed by Tokayev. This is actually the fourth time the city’s name has changed in the past 60 years.
Nazarbayev, who had ruled the Central Asian nation since it was still part of the Soviet Union, will remain the head of Kazakhstan’s security council and the ruling Nur Otan party.
“[Nazarbayev’s] opinion will have special, one might say priority, importance in developing and making strategic decisions,” said interim President Tokayev. He believes the resignation of Nazarbayev was a “historic event”, as he was the only man to have led Kazakhstan since emerging from the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Astana, which means “capital” in Kazakh, became the capital of Kazakhstan in 1997, replacing Almaty, which remains the country’s commercial hub and largest population center.
This name change to Nur-Sultan has already been reflected on many governmental websites, including the CIA World Factbook.