The leader of Kazakhstan said Thursday that his country should lose the last four letters of its name.
President Nursultan Nazarbayev cited country’s oil wealth as a reason why it should be seen as distinctive from the rest of the Central Asian”‘stans,” Reuters reports. Those include Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, countries that are largely poverty-stricken.
Kazakhstan has seen a large level of investment from foreign corporations since it emerged from the ruins of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago, but Kazakh officials say the country still gets little attention from the rest of the world. Nazarbayev said that the country of 17 million could be renamed ‘Kazakh Ali,’ meaning “the Land of the Kazakhs,” as a way to seem more appealing to potential foreign visitors.
“Foreigners show interest in Mongolia, whose population is just two million people, but whose name lacks the ‘stan’ ending,” the president’s press service quoted him as saying. Nazarbayev said the idea is something “we definitely need to discuss with the people.”