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Kazakh president's banknote

November 15, 2016

Nursultan Nazarbayev is set to feature on new banknotes to be issued following his decision to freely float the country's currency, with the result that denominations now fit the big importance of the autocratic ruler.

Kasachstan Narsultan Nasarbajew Feiertag anlässlich erster Wahl Präsident 1991
Image: DW

Kazakhstan's central bank announced Tuesday that new 10,000-tenge banknotes that feature the portrait of the 76-year-old veteran leader would be put into circulation on December 1, in time for a holiday celebrating his leadership.

"All Kazakhstan's achievements since independence are inextricably linked to the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev," national bank chairman Daniyar Akishev told a news conference in the capital Astana.

The 10,000-tenge banknote is Kazakhstan's most valuable and worth about $30 or 26.8 euros. But the currency has been under massive selling pressure after the central Asian country decided in August last year to freely float the tenge on currency markets.

Since then, it has lost more than a third of its value as the oil producing country is being hit by a sharp fall in global crude prices and western sanctions imposed on its key trading partner Russia over the Ukraine conflict. 

Nazarbayev's rule over Kazakhstan had begun well before the country gained formal independence from Russia in 1991. He is officially known by the title "Father of the Nation" and the capital Astana has devoted a museum to his achievements.

But the autocrat is not the first ruler in the energy-rich region to adorn a banknote. In neighboring Turkmenistan, late leader Saparmurat Niyazov appeared on the local manat currency but was removed from bills and coins two years after his death in 2006.

Politicians in impoverished Tajikistan have also called recently for banknotes bearing the image of President Emomali Rakhmon, in power since 1992.

uhe/jd (AFP, Reuters)