Kazakhstan to celebrate its president’s birthday, Astana’s founding in July

June 23. New Kerala

The month of July will be a significant one in Kazakhstan’s fledgling history, with its people gearing up to celebrate their President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s 70th birthday, and the 13th anniversary of the founding of the capital city of Astana.

Coincidentally, these two landmark events fall on the same day – July 6 – and there is an expectation in the air, both in Kazakhstan and in world capitals where Kazakh diplomatic missions exist.

The two events assume significance in the context of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when Kazakhstan became one of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and was precariously placed politically and economically.

The creation of a new state and preservation of its statehood demanded economic and political reforms. Nobody was ready to move from Almaty, the existing capital, to new capital, as a shift to a new place demanded huge investments whereas state coffers were far from full. Even salaries were not paid in time.

In 1994, President Nazarbayev signed a Presidential Decree on moving the capital from Almaty to Akmola (now known as Astana).

The decision to transfer was taken on July 6, 1994. The day was proclaimed National day – Day of Birth of the New Capital.

Astana was chosen as the new Kazakh capital because of its advantageous geopolitical location; considerable industrial potential; existence of essential resources for development of construction industry; availability of highly skilled urban workforce; a large private sector and potentialities for entrepreneurship development; political and social stability in the region and availability of free lands for further urban development.

Akmola was renamed as Astana in 1998. Astana translates from the Kazakh language as “capital”.

Today, Astana is growing very rapidly as the administrative and business centre of

Kazakhstan, with over 200 joint ventures and foreign companies in operation.

The majority of these companies belong to Turkey, Russia, Germany, Kyrgyzstan and Switzerland.

Astana is a member of the International Association of Capitals and Cultural Cities of the CIS along with 40 other cities of the CIS and the Baltic Republics.

It has close bilateral relations with 13 cities and regions of the CIS and foreign countries, and is one of the biggest centres of culture and the arts in Kazakhstan.

In 2001, sanction was given for the creation of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) and it is expected to operate until January 1, 2017.

Astana is a major centre of activity and hub of national and international transport links. The extensive traffic is mainly due to strong economic ties between South and Central Kazakhstan, Western Siberia and the Ural region, the Volga region and Central Russia.

Astana lies in the North of the central part of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Its territory is as large as 96,800 sq km.