Kazakhs want Russian names removed from mapMay 5th, 2012 - 4:36 am ICT by IANS
Moscow, May 5 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A Kazakh group has asked the government to remove Russian names from the map of Kazakhstan, saying the names were a “gloomy legacy of Soviet totalitarianism”.
The group sent a letter to the government, calling themselves artistic intellectuals.
They said the Russian names were also “menacing reminder of our country’s (Kazakhstan) colonisation”.
Kazakhstan was a former Soviet republic.
In the letter addressed to the government, parliament and constitutional council, the group demanded that government members and 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 constitution, the Kazakh language has the status of the state language. But a point in the constitution says Russian language can be used on par with Kazakh in government organisations and local administrations.
Activists have been demanding that the second point be removed from the constitution. But the government has refused to support the move.