In a 2010 speech marking the opening of the state-of-the-art Nazarbaev University in Astana, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev tasked the university with initiating scientific research into the discovery of the elixir of life.
As RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports
, two years later, the wish of the 72-year-old appears to have come true in the form of a liquid yogurt drink called “nar," Kazakh for nourishment.
On November 1, at the second International Conference on Regenerative Medicine and Qualitative Longevity, Zhaqsybai Zhumadilov, director of the Center of Life Sciences at Nazarbaev University,
announced the great discovery.
“We created a bioproduct called ‘Nar.’ It will be able to improve the quality of life and its prolongation. However there is still work to be done on this bioproduct,” explained Zhumadilov.
Tengrinnews.kz reported that the “nar” will resemble a liquid yogurt drink and will improve digestion and the absorption of nutrients. The government news agency, Kazinform, also reported that those at the conference had the opportunity to taste the “symbiotic bioproduct.”
Zhumadilov, however, pointed out that the drink alone does not extend one’s life.
“It’s just a bioproduct -- not a solution to the issue of longevity,” he said.
That might be a tough pill (or yogurt in this case) to swallow for Kazakhstan’s leader. Since founding the Nazarbaev University, which although funded by the state
, is a “completely autonomous and independent body without any government interference,” research on the issue of longevity has been a key focus of the university.
The septuagenarian leader, who has been running the Central Asian state for over two decades has touched upon the subject of his own immortality several times over the last few years.
when Roman Kim, a delegate to Kazakhstan’s People’s Assembly, who is of Korean descent, proposed that Nazarbaev stay in power until at least 2020, Nazarbaev was quick to respond with a solution.
"Maybe then you'll offer me an elixir of youth and energy,” Nazarbaev replied.
"Maybe you have such potions in Korea.... I'm willing to go on until 2020. Just find me an elixir."
In April 2011, an early election was called after a proposed referendum to extend his term to 2020 was rejected by the country’s Constitutional Council.
In lieu of an elixir, a "nar" might have to do.
-- Deana Kjuka and RFE/RL's Kazakh Service