MOSCOW, July 6 (RIA Novosti) – A Kazakhstan university professor took the love of his country’s leader to a new level this week, proposing to make the presidential oeuvre a new study subject, local media said.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev, 73, has produced 101 volumes’ worth of reports, addresses, statements, books and articles over his career, Nurali Utkelbayev said, Yujanka.kz news website reported Friday.
“Sometimes they have a global planetary character,” Utkelbayev said about Nazarbayev’s writings.
The economy professor, who teaches at the Shymkent University, did not elaborate on the proposed study subject, but said the idea was tentatively approved by education authorities.
Kazakhstan’s Education and Science Ministry denied plans to introduce “Nazarbayev Studies” in country’s schools or colleges any time soon, Tengrinews.kz reported.
However, some Kazakhs may already be prepared for Nazarbayev Studies: Last fall, a pop quiz on the president’s biography was included on a contest for young leaders held among high school students in the capital Astana.
Nazarbayev has led the Central Asian nation of 16 million since it became independent from the Soviet Union in 1991. The oil-rich country increased prosperity under his rule, though critics have accused Nazarbayev of authoritarianism and instilling a cult of his personality.
Nazarbayev holds the official title of the “leader of the nation” in Kazakhstan, where “distortion” of the presidential biography, as well as abuse of Nazarbayev’s depictions, are criminal offenses.
Local activists also proposed to rename Astana after Nazarbayev last winter, though the idea was so far mothballed.