Kazakhstan replaces former leader with eagle on banknote

ALMATY, Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan’s central bank presented a new banknote design on Friday (Sep 30), identical to an older one with one major exception – former president Nursultan Nazarbayev’s portrait has been replaced with an eagle silhouette.

The move is the latest step taken by the oil-rich Central Asian nation to dismantle the personality cult of its former leader whose era ended with violent unrest this year.

Nazarbayev, who had run the former Soviet republic for three decades, resigned in 2019 and backed career diplomat Kassym-Jomart Tokayev as his successor while retaining sweeping powers as the head of the security council.

Tokayev and Nazarbayev fell out in January when anti-government protests escalated into the deadliest bout of political violence seen by Kazakhstan since it gained independence in 1991.

Tokayev took over as security council chairman and a number of Nazarbayev’s relatives and affiliates left senior public sector positions; Nazarbayev’s nephew was this month sentenced to six years in prison for embezzlement.