A group of Kazakhs asked the government to remove Russian names from the map of Kazakhstan to stop discrimination against the Kazakh language, the Today.kz website said on Friday.
The authors of the letter who call themselves artistic intellectuals said the Russian names were “gloomy legacy of Soviet totalitarianism” and also “menacing reminder of our country’s colonization.” Kazakhstan is a former Soviet republic.
In their letter addressed to the government, parliament and constitutional council, the group of activists also demanded that government members and “other state officials” be required to take exams in the Kazakh language, and proposed a list of jobs with compulsory knowledge of the native language.
Under the current constitution, the Kazakh language has the status of the state language. But the second point of this constitutional article says Russian can be used on a par with Kazakh in government organizations and local administrations.
A similar address was published in the press last September, demanding that the second point of this article be removed from the constitution. But the government refused to support the move.