President President Nazarbaev (file photo) (epa)
6 January 2006 -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev has decided to change the music and the wording of Kazakhstan's national anthem.
The old national anthem is being replaced with 'My Kazakhstan', a song written in the 1950s. Nazarbaev inserted words to the text of the song, and is now officially a co-author of the anthem. Kazakh lawmakers passed the changes today.
Explaining the changes, Nazarbaev said the anthem should reflect "the heroic centuries-long struggle" for Kazakh independence.
Lawmakers also passed a law obliging everyone to stand and press the palm of their right hand to the left side of their chest when the national anthem is performed in public.
Nazarbaev won a presidential election in December, extending his 16-year-rule of the oil-rich country with another seven-year term.
RFE/RL's complete coverage and background of Kazakhstan's presidential election on December 4, 2005.