The historical discourse in the Addresses of President N.A.Nazarbayev

06 September 2016
The historical discourse in the Addresses of President N.A.Nazarbayev
Occasional emergence of ‘history’ in the political discourse is a common phenomenon all over the world.

It is well known that forming historical consciousness and collective memory, history plays and important role in the formation of identity and forming national idea and ideology of the country. Therefore, the occasional emergence of ‘history’ in political discourse is a common phenomenon all over the world. 

 History is given a significant place in independent Kazakhstan and various public events, large-scale programs as ‘Cultural heritage’ and ‘People in the flow of history’; celebrations of anniversaries of historical dates, commemoration of the tragic events can be the evidence of it. 

 History has a special role in the speeches of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A.Nazarbayev. The objective of the article is to analyze the use of term ‘history’ and historical discourse in the speeches of the head of the state on the examples of annual addresses of President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A.Nazarbayev to the people of Kazakhstan. 

 President’s Address is a traditional that started in 1997. 20 addresses have been issued during that period (1997-2015). The following should be noted in the analysis of address content: 

 -Address of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A.Nazarbayev to Kazakhstan people (September 1999) — ‘Stability and safety of the country in the new century’. In comparison with the Addresses that issued before and after, a significant place is given to the history of the country in the Address of 1999. The first paragraph of the Address is called ‘History and independence’, which briefly describes history of the country: from emergence of states of ancient Turks in Eurasia to historical significance of the first decade of the country’s independence.

 — Address of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A.Nazarbayev to the people of Kazakhstan (April 2003) — ‘Main directions of internal and foreign policy’. During the Address, President announced launching the program ‘Cultural heritage’ and its aims. ‘Cultural heritage’ aimed at the study, restoration and conservation of historical and cultural heritage of the country, revival of historical and cultural traditions, propaganda of cultural heritage of Kazakhstan abroad is one the largest programs, which has no analogies in the former Soviet space.

 -Address of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A.Nazarbayev to the people of Kazakhstan (December 14, 2012) — ‘Strategy ‘Kazakhstan −2050’: New political course of the established state’ emphasized the necessity of works on formation of the nation’s historical consciousness.

 -The national idea of ‘Mangilik El’ is revealed in the Address of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan (November 11, 2014) — ‘Nurly zhol — a way to future’. 

 Historical discourse is more common in Addresses of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A.Nazarbayev than it was mentioned above. The word ‘history’ is found 71 times in twenty Addresses, ‘tarikh’ — 5, ‘historical’ — 44, ‘tarikhi’ — 3. 

 Being an integral part of the public consciousness, history represents a unique phenomenon — human memory, which serves as a lesson and example for the next generation. Through the comparison of historical events and eras, analysis of past experience, President called for an objective assessment of sociocultural, political and economic challenges of our time. For instance, it states in the Address of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N.A.Nazarbayev to the people of Kazakhstan (October, 1997): ‘Many of us are having difficult times. But when it was easy? Was it easy for our grandfathers and fathers in this century: in civil war, in times of famine and pestilence, in the years of mass repressions, in the Great Patriotic War or in the post-war devastation? It is history, of course. Even today 800 million people are starving every year, many hundreds of millions people have no roofs over their heads. Millions are dying in bloody wars...’. 

 Another aspect of the use of history is directly related to the celebration of anniversaries, for instance, the 550th anniversary of the Kazakh Khanate, the 20th anniversary of Constitution and Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, celebration of victory in the Great Patriotic War (occurs several times in connection with 60, 65 and 70th anniversaries of victory). Thus, the analysis of Address texts emphasizes the special role of history in public policy, where it appears in various forms: history — lesson, history — memory, history —experience. 

 By А.Т. Smetova 


Use of materials for publication, commercial use, or distribution requires written or oral permission from the Board of Editors or the author. Hyperlink to National Digital History portal is necessary. All rights reserved by the Law RK “On author’s rights and related rights”. To request authorization email to or call to (7172) 79 82 06 (ext.111)


To leave comment you must enter or register

The «Bolashak» program celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Did you participate in the program?