Longtime President of Kazakhstan Nazarbayev Abruptly Resigns
WASHINGTON, D.C. March 19, 2019

TO: NCSEJ Leadership and Interested Parties

FROM: Daniel Rubin, Chairman;
Aleksander Smukler, President;
Mark B. Levin, Executive Vice-Chairman & CEO
In a surprise announcement, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his resignation today in a televised address. His country’s ruler for 30 years, Nazarbayev led Kazakhstan during the final years of the Soviet Union and was elected President in 1991. He is the only leader that independent Kazakhstan has ever known. He did not articulate a reason for his sudden resignation.

NCSEJ has met with former President Nazarbayev a number of times. His relationship with Kazakhstan’s Jewish community is very positive, and Kazakhstan-Israel bilateral diplomatic relations are strong. NCSEJ was the sole representative of U.S. Jewish organizations to attend the Sixth Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in October 2018.

Although stepping down as President, Nazarbayev will maintain control of the ruling political party, will remain a member of powerful government councils, and will become chairman for life of the Kazakh Security Council. Speaker of the Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, an ally of Nazarbayev and a longtime friend of NCSEJ, will be sworn in as Acting President on March 20, fulfilling Nazarbayev's remaining term until April 2020.

Pictured: NCSEJ CEO Mark B. Levin with then-Speaker of the Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Astana, Kazakhstan, at the Sixth Congress of the Leaders of World and Traditional Religions on October 11, 2018.
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Founded in 1971, the National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry represents the organized American Jewish community in monitoring and advocating on behalf of the estimated 1.5 million Jews in Eastern Europe and Eurasia, including the 15 successor states of the former Soviet Union.