Biography and family

Childhood

July 6, 1940 at Ushkonyr zhailau (the summer encampment) of the Trans-Ili Alatau in the family of Abish and Alzhan Nazarbayev was born a long-awaited boy and parents named him Nursultan.

There befallen a great story with a choice of baby’s name. Relatives gathered at the celebration in eager rivalry offered a variety of names. Finally newly-born child’s grandmother Myrzabala suggested: "Let my beloved grandson have two names at the same time - Nur and Sultan, let him be Nursultan".

Like most grandmothers in the world, Myrzabala played a significant role in moulding of a personality of grandson. Nursultan’s mother Alzhan reminisced how Myrzabala gave advices and guidance to children, daughter in law, told about the primordial national traditions and superstitions, actively participated in upbringing of grandson Nursultan.

Myrzabala’s son, the father of Nursultan Nazarbayev - Abish - born in 1903 at the foot of the Alatau mountains in the family of Nazarbay bi (judge).

Abish Nazarbayev was cheerful and respectable man. He is fluent not only in Kazakh, but Russian and Balkar languages. Abish cordially singing Kazakh and Russian songs, was able to listen to the interlocutor, to give good advice. Abish Nazarbayev died in 1971.

Nazarbayev's mother - Alzhan - was born in 1910 in the family of mullah from Kasyk village in Kurday district of Dzhambul oblast.

Alzhan came to Ushkonyr with her father in exile, where he met Abish. No one in the village sings and improvises better than she. Cheerful Alzhan fostered in the son respect and deference to adults, cultivated in a love to national traditions, songs and customs. Alzhan Nazarbayeva died in 1977.

Childhood of Sultan, as he was called in the family fell on hard and difficult war and postwar years.

The victory in the war was achieved due to incredible efforts of the huge state, at cost of millions of human lives. Half-crippled country has just climbed out of the ruins and rebuilt. A few years after the Victory the USSR was involved in a new grueling race, now in the "cold war", and its hardships newly formed heavy burden on the shoulders of ordinary people.

Times were hard, half-starved. But in the memory of a young Nursultan preserved not only the hardships and trials of that time, but warm and loving arms of mother, and father’s caring attention. Close-knit family, brothers and sisters, sincere songs of parents. The beauty of the brilliant peaks of Alatau and exciting boys' game. That was the childhood of all of his peers.

Nursultan saw that his father never sits idle, and therefore tried to help him in everything. At home, in the garden and apple orchard, where he helped his father grow potatoes and apples. Nursultan caring for the cattle, along with his father mowed the hay in the mountains.

One day his father Abish brought home Balkar family of special deported immigrants. Nazarbayev’s family sheltered them and helped to find the work. And Abish Nazarbayev during this time became friends with Balkars and quickly learned their language.

Everybody did in this way in a multinational Chemolgan. No one was divided according to nationality. Nursultan Nazarbayev, later wrote in one of his books, that among the boys, no one remembers who you are - Kazakh, Ukrainian, Chechen or German: "But how to divide them, if the house of the Kazakh family neighbored with home of Meskhetian Turks, and in the following houses lived Bogdan, Richard and Oleg ...". Boyish gangs were separated only according to streets where they lived. Sometimes they fought street to street. But friendship and mutual help have been a way of life.

Despite all the difficulties, boys and girls drawn into the magical world of knowledge, joyful and bright future, full of sense and reason.