Hero worship of Kazakhstan’s leader hits new heights as country celebrates First President Day





ALMATY, Kazakhstan — Kazakhstan on Saturday observed a new holiday lauding President Nursultan Nazarbayev, part of a growing cult of personality around the leader of the sprawling, resource-rich former Soviet republic.

The highlight of First President’s Day, which marks the anniversary of Nazarbayev’s first election in 1991, was a carefully choreographed pageant by some 30,000 performers in an arena in the capital Astana, including mass singing and banner-waving.

Across the country, schoolchildren and state employees held demonstrations of affection, concerts, and sports events in his honor. To what extent the participation was voluntary was unclear....



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