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Kazakh president does national anthem his way

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has decided to change the music and add some lyrics of his own to the country's national anthem ahead of his inauguration for a new term next week.
/ Source: Reuters

After 16 years of humming the same tune on state occasions, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev has decided to change the music and add some lyrics of his own ahead of his inauguration for a new term next week.

Parliament voted on Friday to ditch the Central Asian state’s old national anthem in favor of “My Kazakhstan,” a song written in 1956 and adapted by Nazarbayev, a former Soviet apparatchik appointed to rule the country before the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“The text should reflect the heroic centuries-long struggle of our ancestors for independence,” Nazarbayev wrote in a letter to parliamentarians, explaining his changes.

His lines, roughly translated by Reuters, include: “Look at my country — the legend of courage / In hoary antiquity / Our glory was born / My Kazakh people is proud and strong.”

Until now Kazakhs had sung a Soviet-era national anthem, although its words were changed in 1996.

Nazarbayev, a 65-year-old who started his career as a steelworker, usually appears stern in public but reveals a poetic side on his Web site www.akorda.kz, penning two other songs: “My Country” and “My Land.”

Last month he won a new seven-year term in office with 91 percent of the vote, though international election observers said the poll was flawed, citing ballot box stuffing and the intimidation of opposition campaigners.