Kazakhstan: President To Be Buried In The National Pantheon
In Kazakhstan, a National Pantheon will be built in Astana and its new operation provision has already been approved. This provision describes what the Pantheon will be: museum, memorials, garden, and tombs. The document provides who can be buried in the Pantheon, and the first is “Presidents of the Republic of Kazakhstan and members of their families.” Since there is only one President of the Republic of Kazakhstan in the history of independent republic or still alive, it is clear who claims to take the best place.
Further national and local officials are listed by the provision: prime ministers and their deputies, chairs of the parliament chambers and their deputies, state secretaries, heads of the president’s office, chairs of the Constitutional Council, the Supreme Court and the National Bank.
Next are supposed to be ministers, heads of state bodies directly subordinate and accountable to the president, akims (heads of administrations) of regions, cities of republican significance, the capital. Those awarded as Heroes of Kazakhstan or Hero of Labour come after the officials along with those entitled as heroes during the Soviet Union time.
Ordinary citizens, but distinguished ones with such orders as Order of the Golden Eagle or other high awards, or by special decision by President of Kazakhstan will be also be provided with an opportunity to be laid to rest in the National Pantheon, as well as spouses of all deceased individuals listed by the provision.
Talks about the National Pantheon construction appeared in late 2013. Its preliminary cost was determined at 79 billion tenge (more than $250 million at present rate). For the construction of the pantheon, 9,000 hectares of land in the rural district of Kabanbai Batyr were added to the territory of the capital. In early 2017, Minister of Finance Bakhyt Sultanov called the “some phase of the project” will cost 1.7 bln tenge ($5.5 million) not specifying how much it would be at present stage.
Minister of Culture and Sports Arystanbek Mukhamediuly known for his ambiguous statements, explained to journalists a need for the construction: “It is necessary, because there are pantheons in every state. This is a historical phenomenon, and a phenomenon necessary for the society. Why, when we go to large cities, such as Paris, Baku – we see the pantheons everywhere. Because those great personalities who lived and worked in history have the right to become an asset for the next generation. Therefore, we really need to build this pantheon in Astana.”
A list of honoured by the Pantheon caused a flurry of frank mockeries in social networks:
“I liked the list. Let’s start sooner?” the famous designer Nurlan Turekhanov is one of the first who proposed.
“Now there will be a point in the judgements against the big officials: to deprive the right to be buried in the Pantheon,” the opposition politician Amirzhan Kosanov jokes.
It would sound symbolic that Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev became the first visitor to the new railway station in Astana yesterday, and was also the first participant of the National Bank’s programmes for selling refined gold bullion. Previously, President Nazarbayev was the first subway passenger, the first driver of an electric vehicle assembled locally and so on. Therefore, there are no questions who will be the first to enter the Pantheon.
At present, no concrete dates for the completion of the Pantheon construction set in official reports. Earlier, deputy director of the “Astanagenplan” research project institute responsible for the development of the master plan of the burial vault, mentioned in an interview to the agency “Newtimes.kz” that the construction could drag on for a hundred years.