Post-Soviet Creation is Growing Real Roots

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A view from the Rixos President Astana Hotel in Kazakhstan, where Syrian peace negotiations have taken place.


The Astana opera towers over a windswept plaza in this capital on the Central Asian steppe, a near-copy of Moscow’s neoclassical Bolshoi Theater, right down to the sculpture of galloping horses on the roof informed nytimes

Across a broad avenue stands the tilted, irregular cone of Khan Shatyr, a shopping mall designed as the world’s largest tent. Its roof is supported by a single slanting pole to evoke the nomadic history of the Kazakhs, a Turkic ethnic group slowly reasserting its identity after centuries of Russian rule.

In between stands a fanciful construction all Astana’s own: one of the “ice cities” that dot the freezing capital in winter. Children scoot down ice slides, and at night, ice sculptures glow with candy-colored lights.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union made Kazakhstan an independent state in 1991, it has been cultivating relationships with Russia, its longtime hegemon, and Turkey, which invested early in the new nation and shares some of its cultural roots.

It’s easy to see why Astana was Russia’s choice to host a new track of Syrian peace talks this year. Convening talks five time zones east of Geneva — where talks have been sputtering along without progress for years — underscored what Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, described recently as a desire for a “post-West” international order.

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Khan Shatyr, an Astana shopping mall designed to be the world’s largest tent.



Astana also represents the success of Kazakhstan’s leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, in managing Moscow. The country’s only president since independence — elected five times with 97.5 percent of the vote — Mr. Nazarbayev has created a kind of “authoritarian lite” system that has more in common with the strongman rule in Russia, and increasingly in Turkey, than with Europe.

He has sought to strike a balance between accommodating Russian power and pushing back, and Kazakhstan has avoided the territorial disputes with Russia and the ethnic and religious conflicts that have plagued other post-Soviet states.

“We don’t have such problems,” said Abzal Abdiev, 25, who gave me and two friends an amateur tour of Astana, pointing out the sights with evident pride.

The city’s very existence embodies the anxious, centuries-old dance between Moscow and the mostly Muslim regions that line Russia’s southern periphery, from the states and semiautonomous republics of the Caucasus region north of Turkey all the way to Kazakhstan’s eastern tip, farther east than Kathmandu.

Astana city – is the capital of Republic of Kazakhstan. On  10th December in  1997 the city was named to Akmola and pronounced as the capital of Republic of Kazakhstan. Next year on May 6 of 1998 it was renamed to Astana. Today Astana is an important industrial and cultural center of Kazakhstan, railway and auto-transport junction

It was founded in 1844 as military base, in 1868 Astana obtained the status of the town, and in 1950s of 20 century it became a leading center of development of undercovered and disused lands in the north of the Republic Kazakhstan. The main industries of Altana were represented by agri-mechanical engineering, food industry, refining of the agricultural raw material, and transport. In the earlier times it used to be the fortification found by the Russian Kazakhstani troops in 1830 on the bank of the Ishim river in Karaotkel natural boundary.

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