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Kazakh Capital Renamed After Nazarbaev Changes Airport Code To NQZ

Nursultan Nazarbaev International Airport received its name in 2017, but retained the Soviet-era code.

The airport in the Kazakh capital, Nur-Sultan, has changed its three-letter code to NQZ from TSE, a year after the city's name was changed from Astana to Nur-Sultan following the sudden resignation of the country's first president, Nursultan Nazarbaev.

The Kazakh Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development said on June 8 that effective immediately, the new code will be used on all tickets, baggage tags, and information boards.

The airport in the Kazakh capital, Nursultan Nazarbaev International Airport, received its name in 2017, but preserved the old three-letter code.

The previous code, TSE, was based on the Soviet-era name of the city -- Tselinograd, which translates to "the city of virgin lands."

The name was given to the city in 1961 during Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev's Virgin Lands campaign in Kazakhstan.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakh authorities returned the city to its historic name, Aqmola. Five years later, the capital was moved from the southeastern city of Almaty.

In 1998, Aqmola was renamed Astana, which means "the capital" in Kazakh.

In March 2019, the day after Nazarbaev's sudden resignation, his successor, then-acting President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev, signed a decree renaming the capital Nur-Sultan to honor Nazarbaev, who ruled the oil-rich country for almost 30 years.

The decision to rename the city sparked protests in the capital and other cities of the tightly controlled former Soviet republic that were violently dispersed by police.

Based on reporting by Kazinform and Tengrinews