Kazakhstan is marking its 24th Independence Day. According to President Nursultan Nazarbayev, it has become habitual for the people of Kazakhstan to divide their lives into periods of 'before' and 'after' independence.
"On December 16th 1991 Kazakhstan began its new history. We, the people of Kazakhstan, became the founders and pioneers of Kazakhstan’s era of nation ascension," he said in his traditional speech on the eve of the holiday.
"We grow together with the independence of the country," the head of state stressed.
Nazarbayev described the presidential elections, the start of a second five-year plan of industrial development, state program of infrastructure development, the launch of the Eurasian Economic Union, accession to the World Trade Organization, the space flight of the third Kazakh cosmonaut and the creation of an international bank of low-enriched uranium as among the most important events for Kazakhstan this year.
According to tradition, on the eve of Independence Day President Nazarbayev presented state awards to distinguished citizens. This Day will be marked with public holidays on December 16-17.
"I think it would be right for all of us to start preparing for the celebration of the 25th anniversary of our independence next year," the head of state noted.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev signed a constitutional law on independence of the country on December 16th 1991.
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Nazarbayev on his country's national holiday
The Russian head of state praised the "successful development of Kazakhstan as a democratic multi-ethnic state with a strong diversified economy, its international prestige, as well as the country’s contribution to resolving pressing issues on the international agenda," the Kremlin press-service said.
The President of Russia noted the high level of Russian-Kazakh relations and new prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields due to the growing activity of the Eurasian Economic Union.
Putin expressed confidence in further strengthening of the strategic partnership and allied relations between Russia and Kazakhstan in the interests of the two nations.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko congratulated Nursultan Nazarbayev on his own and the Belarusian people's behalf, the press service of the Belarusian leader said.
"Kazakhstan has the right to be proud of its achievements in the strengthening of statehood, maintenance of social accord, building an efficient economy and promotion of the international authority," the message reads.
Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia and Queen of Great Britain Elizabeth II also congratulated Kazakhstan on Independence Day. "Her Majesty the Queen congratulates His Excellency President Nursultan Nazarbayev and the people of Kazakhstan on the Independence Day," the Embassy of Great Britain informs.
The editor-in-chief of the Mir Yevrazii magazine, Eduard Poletayev, told Vestnik Kavkaza that the Kazakh government attaches great importance to this public holiday at all levels.
"This holiday, according to many Kazakh people, should unite the population. Therefore, as a rule, much attention is paid to the qualitative component of this festival. They tend to avoid negative connotations and focus on the advantages of the state independence the country received," Poletaev stressed.
According to him, Kazakhstan has achieved a lot over the past few years. "First of all, Kazakhstan has become an internationally recognized state. Secondly, in many respects it has been an economically successful state for a long time, a leader in the region," the expert assured.