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National Geographic compared Nazarbayev to Peter I

29 february 2012, 10:15
Astana city. Photo courtesy of ngm.nationalgeographic.com
Astana city. Photo courtesy of ngm.nationalgeographic.com
An article about Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan was published in the National Geographic, well-known magazine that is focused on geography, nature, history, science and culture.

Picturesque buildings of Astana city are mentioned in the essay titled Tomorrowland. They are Astana Tower Business Center that is being called banana because of its bright yellow front face, a cluster of apartment towers Seven barrels , Ministry’s of Transport and Communications building that was called cigarette lighter by Astana citizens, Baiterek monument, Khan Shatyr shopping mall and so on.

The author article compared the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev to Peter the Great who have laid the foundation of Saint Petersburg in XVIII and moved the capital to it. Peter wasn’t afraid of unhealthy climate and tough Baltic environmental conditions as he was sure of strategic importance of the new city's location.

So did Nazarbayev who moved the capital of Kazakhstan from the pleasant city of Almaty to cold and windswept Astana. Many people were uncertain of success then. However everything has changed later on. Billion of dollars were invested into the new capital, prominent architectures were invited. Astana population increased from 300 thousand to 700 thousand.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky once described Saint Petersburg as "the most theoretical and intentional town on the whole terrestrial globe," and its nature as atrophied and sickly girl. But eventually the Russian city took on a life of its own, endured, and prospered. Why is Astana any worse?

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