Drop the 'stan': Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev mulls renaming the country to Kazak Yeli
Nazarbayev says new name will make it stand out from poorer countries in the region
President Nursultan Nazarbayev has suggested changing the name of Kazakhstan to Kazak Yeli in a bid to differentiate the oil rich nation from its 'poorer' neighbours in central Asia.
Nazarbayev said dropping the 'stan' and renaming the country Kazakh Eli, which stands for 'The Land of Kazakhs', will make it stand out and encourage investment in the mineral-rich nation.
Nazarbayev's press service quoted him as saying: "In our country's name, there is this 'stan' ending which other Central Asian nations have as well.
"But, for instance, foreigners show interest in Mongolia, whose population is just two million people, but whose name lacks the 'stan' ending."
He added: "Probably, we ought to consider with time the issue of adopting Kazakh Eli as the name of our country, but before that, we definitely need to discuss this with the people."
This is not the first time Nazarbayev proposes a radical name change.
In 1998, he moved the capital from Almaty in southeastern Kazakhstan to Akmola in the north. A year later, he decided the new capital should be named 'Astana' in a bid to end a dispute over the meaning of Akmola, which stands for both 'white tomb' and 'white plenty' in Kazakh.
Nickname 'Papa' and 'Leader of the Nation', the 73-year old former steelworker has been in office since 1989 and enjoys vast powers in the country.
Kazakhstan has a population of 17 million people and boasts the largest economy among the region's post-Soviet block, which also includes Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
- 3 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 4 The response to my Pizza Express review has been overwhelming, and taught me a lot about journalism
- 5 Free U2 album: How the most generous giveaway in music history turned into a PR disaster
Scottish independence: Despite defeat history may still point to Alex Salmond as the victor
Scottish independence referendum: Frankie Boyle reacts to nation's 'No' vote - 'To be fair, I've always hated Scotland'
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish referendum: Police struggle to control Unionist rally in Glasgow's George Square
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...
£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...
£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...
£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...