Kazakhstan became an independent country in 1991, and they celebrate their Independence Day on December 16th. Before 1991, Kazakhstan was part of the U.S.S. R., often called “the Soviet Union.”
The “stan” at the end of Kazakhstan’s name means “land of.” Many countries in the region end in “stan.” Kazakhstan means “land of the Kazakh people,” Tajikistan means “land of the Tajik people,” Afghanistan is “the land of the Afghan people,” etc.
But earlier this year, the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, said that he might want to change the name of his country. He feels that Kazakhstan does not get enough attention from the rest of the world because its name ends in “stan.”
As an example, President Nazarbayev notes that people in other countries pay attention to Mongolia, but Mongolia does not end in “stan.” Perhaps people might pay more attention to Kazakhstan if it had a different name, the president said. He suggested that maybe it should be called “Kazakh Eli,” which means “Kazakh Nation.”
New Rules for Christians
President Nazarbayev has been the leader of his country for more than 20 years. In recent years his government has put rules in place that have made it harder for churches to remain open and Christians to share their faith.
- Several central Asian countries end in “stan,” meaning “land of.” Besides England, how many countries can you name that end in “land?”
- Do you think changing Kazakhstan’s name will help the country?
- If it were illegal for you to talk to people about Jesus and to encourage them to follow Him, would you still do it?
Photo credit: Jeremy T. Lock / Wikipedia