Survey results: Most Kazakhstani citizens positively assess Nazarbayev’s work as president, generally approve of his decision, but not renaming of the capital

30-50-year old Kazakhstanis most disagree with renaming of Astana

DEMOSCOPE bureau of express monitoring of public opinion conducted the polling on the theme “Renaming of the capital and how Kazakhstan people evaluate Nursultan Nazarbayev”.1813 people from Astana, Almaty, Shymkent and all 14 regions of Kazakhtstan were the participants of the poll. 75% of women and 25% of men over 18 answered the questions.

For this sample, the maximum size of the statistical error with a probability of 95% does not exceed 3%. Interviewing methods – telephone interviews. The survey was conducted from March 29 to March 30, 2019.

The sudden resignation of Nursultan Nazarbayev from the post of president of the country and the renaming of Astana caused a great public outcry. Demoscope Bureau found out what ordinary Kazakhstanis think and expect after Elbasy leaving.

Most Kazakhstanis positively evaluate Nursultan Nazarbayev’s work as president (87%) as well as his voluntary resignation from his post (44%) considering this act timely and worthy of respect. However, opinions on the renaming of the capital against this background are in contrast dividing the society into approximately three large shares – supporters and opponents of Astana rebranding as well as those who are indifferent.

So, 42% of respondents consider the decision to perpetuate the name of the first president reasonable, while 35% take this sharply negative believing that renaming is an irrational expense. 24% of respondents are indifferent to this issue.

It is interesting that the most negative attitude to the renaming of the capital among residents is, in fact, Nur-Sultan (41% versus 28% of the supporters of the new name), as well as the Atyrau region (48% and 28%, respectively). In Almaty, the share of respondents in this regard is approximately equal – 41% for and 39% against.

It is noteworthy that mainly in the northern and western regions there are more opponents of the renaming of the capital, while the southern regions more often support the initiative of the authorities. In no region were more than 53% of respondents who approved the assignment of Astana to the name of the first president.

Thus, out of the predominant share of respondents who positively rated Nazarbayev as president less than half agree with the perpetuation of his name in the new name of the capital.

Respondents in the age segments of 30-39 years old responded most skeptically to the rebranding process of the capital (40% “against”, 29% “for”, 32% “neutral”) and 40-49 years old (42% “against”, 34% “for” and 24% “neutral”). The older the respondents, the more approving their position: 50-59 years old (38% “against”, 42% “for”, 20% “neutral”); 60+ (28% “against”, 52% “for”, 20% “neutral”). The most indifferent age segment is 18-29 years old: 38% are neutral, 31% are for and against.

Actually, Kazakhstanis perceive the current transit of power rather positively. In addition to 44% positively evaluating Nazarbayev’s decision, 23% are “in confusion and do not know what will happen next.” This answer was chosen to a greater extent by women (26% of the total number of women surveyed) and only 16% of the total number of men surveyed. In the context of regions, 38% of the residents of the Turkestan region are at a loss from the appointment of a new president.

16% of all respondents reacted neutrally to transit and had no illusions, as they were convinced that Nazarbayev was de facto the head of state. 12% of citizens believe that “Elbasy should have remained in power until the last.” Only 4% of respondents said that Nazarbayev “had to do it long time ago.”

The results of the survey demonstrate Nazarbayev’s high rating, especially among the older generation: respondents over 60 are almost unanimous in the positive assessment of Elbasy – 90%. The smallest popularity of Nazarbayev among citizens of 30-39 years old is 82%. Women predominantly also positively assess the former president (88%), men – slightly less (83%).

The survey also revealed what merit Nursultan Nazarbayev Kazakhstanis value more than others. 50% of the country’s inhabitants are grateful to Nazarbayev “for a peaceful sky above his head.” Maintaining stability in the country and in the region, strengthening interethnic tolerance is the main merit of Nazabraev’s board, according to half of the respondents.

40% of citizens consider Nazarbayev’s main merit to build an independent Kazakhstan, as well as becoming one of the 50 developed countries in the world. The creation and development of a new capital – Astana / Nur-Sultan, was noted by only 10% of respondents.

As part of the survey, respondents were also asked to rate Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev as president. Almost half of the survey participants (48%) are neutral towards the new president, believing that this appointment is nominal, and in general will not change anything. Oppose them 40% of respondents, considering Tokaev one of the best candidates for the presidency.

7% of citizens think that the presidency of Tokaev is only a stage in the transfer of power to Dariga Nazarbayeva in 2020. 5% of respondents are extremely skeptical towards Tokaev, the new president “does not inspire confidence and optimism.”

During the study, the survey participants named the main tasks of Kasym-Zhomart Tokaev in a new post. Most citizens (43%) see Tokaev’s main task in implementing strategic social state programs adopted by his predecessor.

24% believe that the new president needs to fight corruption and reform the state system. 20% of Kazakhstanis expect Tokaev to increase the number of social programs.

Economic development and small business concern only 12% of citizens. It is characteristic that in the context of regions, improving the conditions for business development, residents of Almaty and Mangistau region are most interested in – 19 and 18%, respectively.


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The project is implemented by the MediaNet International Journalism Centre for Journalism with the support of Konrad Adenauer Foundation Office in Kazakhstan.

The survey data reflect the views of respondents.

Additional information: Snezhana Tsoi, +7 (727) 292-20-46,,

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