Kazakh President sets out his vision for the modernization of Kazakhstan’s identity

On 12 April, Nursultan Nazarbayev, the President of Kazakhstan, published an article titled “Course towards the future: modernization of Kazakhstan’s identity”, in which he set out his vision for the modernization of Kazakhstan’s identity and society.

In this article, President Nazarbayev explained: “The large-scale [economic and political] reforms that we have started should be complemented with advanced modernization of our identity. This won’t just complement political and economic modernization but provide its core.”

Earlier this year, President Nazarbayev announced the ‘Third Modernization of Kazakhstan’, which involves creating a new model of economic growth that will ensure the country’s global competitiveness. The modernization includes five main priorities, which are designed to ensure economic growth and sustainable development to help Kazakhstan join the top 30 most developed countries by 2050.

In January, the President also set out steps to increase the powers of parliament. He stated that these constitutional reforms, which have been adopted in March, are aimed at furthering the democratic development of Kazakhstan, as the Government will be more accountable to parliament.

Setting out the agenda for the coming years, President Nazarbayev proposed in the article a number of concrete projects. These include specifying a timeline for transitioning the Kazakh language to the Latin alphabet by 2025, translating the world’s 100 best textbooks on the humanities into the Kazakh language, promoting Kazakhstan’s national holy sites domestically and Kazakhstan’s modern culture globally. Other projects include encouraging a stronger “neighbourhood” and local identity as part of a wider national one, and acknowledging individuals who contributed to the achievements of Kazakhstan over the last 25 years.

Nazarbayev noted that “the first condition for successful modernization is maintaining national culture and tradition”, adding, however, that “this does not mean preservation of everything in the national culture.” He explained: “We need to separate those aspects which give us confidence in the future and those that hold us back.”

The President further noted that aspects of the modernization will include making education the top priority for Kazakh youth and ensuring that Kazakh citizens are computer literate, have foreign language proficiency and cultural openness.