Kazakhstan: Nazarbaev Renounces The Cyrillic Alphabet

CSTO Rift Grows Between Moscow And Astana
It will be replaced by the Latin alphabet. However, the Russian language will not disappear.

On the eve of the Euro-Asian Economic Cooperation Summit in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, on 14 April, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev addressed the people of his country to inform him that, Of the year 2025 Kazakhstan will completely abandon the Cyrillic alphabet, replacing it with the Latin alphabet. It nevertheless ensures that the Russian language will not completely disappear from the circulation.

According to Kazakh experts, this decision is dictated by President Nazarbaev’s intention to move closer to the Turkish-speaking world, which is a very unfortunate surprise for Russia, which still considered Kazakhstan as an unswerving ally.

A request to Moscow

Among other factors that contributed to this turnaround, the annexation of the Crimea seems to have played a not insignificant role. The Russians, who constitute 20 percent of the Kazakh population, are concentrated in the northern and northeastern regions of Kazakhstan, and some Russian politicians have already suggested linking these territories with Russia to extend the “Russian world”.

However, the geopolitical game initiated by President Nazarbaev is much more nuanced. He does not intend to turn away from Russia, on which the national economy depends to a great extent. But his approach involves in filigree a request to the Russian government to be more conciliatory in the field of common economic interests.

Latinization over ten to fifteen years

At the same time, with regard to the West, it is a demonstration of loyalty and independent position in the context of the deterioration of relations between Russia and the United States.

According to the approximate calculations, the final Latinization of the Kazakh language will take from ten to fifteen years. As long as Mr. Nazarbaev remains in power, Russia will not have to fear great changes in their relations. But these same relations are likely to face a tough test when the current Kazakh president will have to give way to the new generation of politicians.

by Boris Toumanov, Correspondent in Moscow