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Kazakh Parliament Considers Renaming Capital After Nazarbaev

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev gestures during a ceremony to mark the Day of the First President in Astana on December 1.
A state-controlled group in Kazakhstan is proposing that the Kazakh capital, Astana, be renamed after longtime President Nursultan Nazarbaev.

At a news conference in Almaty on December 11, the chairman of the Echo of December organization, Tolegen Alzhan, said the proposal had been sent to the parliament and the Ministry of Culture and Information.

Alzhan said the parliament's lower chamber had decided to officially consider the proposal.

He added that it was up to the nation of Kazakhstan whether it renames the capital Nazarbaev or Nursultan.

The capital’s current name, Astana, means "the capital" in Kazakh.

The city's historic name was Aqmola, which means "white gravestone."

That traditional name was abandoned in 1998, a year after President Nazarbaev moved the capital from the southeastern city of Almaty to its current location in the north.

Based on reporting by KazTAG and Kazinform