Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the President of Kazakhstan, returned the former name of Astana to the capital by signing the corresponding amendments to the Constitution.
According to BB.LV, the renaming took place for the sixth time. Initially founded in 1830 as a Cossack settlement, the city was called Akmolinsk. In 1961 it became Tselinograd. In the period from 1992 to 1998 the city was called Akmola. Then it became the “main” city of the country – in December 1997, at the initiative of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the capital of Kazakhstan was moved from Alma-Ata to Akmola, and in May 1998 it was renamed Astana (kaz. – “capital”).
In March 2019, at the initiative of the country’s President Tokayev, Astana was renamed Nur-Sultan, in honor of the first President Nursultan Nazarbayev. However, at the beginning of September 2022, the Zhana Kazakhstan (New Kazakhstan) deputy group of parliamentarians took the initiative to return the capital of the republic to its former name Astana:
“We consider it wrong when during the life of a person a city is called by his name, besides, the people also did not accept the new name of the capital.”
At the same time, many deputies voted in 2019 “for” the renaming of Astana to Nur-Sultan, however, in 2022 they changed their minds. The president of the country was informed about the initiative of the deputies, who agreed to include a proposal to return the former name of the capital of Kazakhstan to the constitutional amendments – they were adopted by parliament on September 16.
Nazarbayev, after whom the capital was named Nur-Sultan, has been the undisputed leader of the country for more than three decades. Since 1991, when the republic gained sovereignty, he has won several presidential elections, most recently in April 2015. His presidential term expired in April 2020, but in March 2019, Nazarbayev announced that he was stepping down as head of state.