Member of Kazakhstan’s lower house (Mazhilis) of parliament, Azat Peruashev, has suggested changing the country’s name from Kazakhstan to “Kazakh Republic,” according to  

Peruashev, in particular, noted that there will be the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Kazakh Republic within the Soviet Union in 2020.  

The MP recalled that Nursultan Nazarbayev suggested changing the country’s name five years ago during discussion of the “Mangilik Yel” concept.  “I consider that time has come for practical implementation of Yelbasy’s proposals,” Peruashev said.  

Commenting on his initiative, Azat Peruashev has told reporters that he does suggest fully changing the country’s name from Kazakhstan to “Kazakh Republic.”  “We just ask the Government to consider the possibility of using the name “Kazakh Republic” alongside the name “Kazakhstan,” Peruashev said.  

Recall, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev suggested changing his country’s name from Kazakhstan to “Kazakh Yeli”—meaning the “Land of the Kazakhs”—during a visit to the city of Atyrau in February 2014.  By dropping the “stan” from Kazakhstan, the country would differentiate itself from its Central Asian neighbors.

The news of the president’s remarks immediately triggered a lively debate on social media networks and on Twitter and has since continued in the traditional print media.  Initially, the comments were more negative than positive, but once the usual pundits began to weigh in with their analyses, the tide of opinions gradually turned. 

Kazakh patriots have been espousing the idea of dropping the suffix -stan, which means “place of” in Persian. 

Jamestown reported in 2014 that a well-known Kazakh nationalist Aidos Sarym said he supports the idea of rebranding the country.  “In the world’s public opinion, the Stan-countries are not associated with progress and development,” he said.  But Sarym said one should stress the republican character of the nation’s statehood. Hence, he proposed the country should be called “Kazakh Respublikasy [Kazakh Republic].”

Whether the name “Kazakh Republic” would take hold outside Central Asia is questionable. The officially named Kyrgyz Republic—known as the Republic of Kyrgyzstan after independence—is still mostly referred to as Kyrgyzstan.