Serik Rymbetov writes: On July 6, Kazakhstan celebrated Capital City Day in commemoration of former president Nursultan Nazarbayev’s 1994 decision to move the capital from Almaty in the south to Akmola in the north. The capital was subsequently renamed Astana but, following Nazarbayev’s sudden resignation, it has been known as Nur-Sultan since March 2019. July 6 is also Nazarbayev’s birthday. Despite relinquishing the presidency in favor of his anointed successor, Senate speaker Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev, the former head of state has retained the title of Leader of the Nation and the post of chairperson for life of the National Security Council. Unsurprisingly, Nazarbayev is still widely considered, both at home and abroad, as the power behind the throne to whom President Tokayev defers for all key decisions (Inform.kz, March 19, 23, 2019).
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