Dariga Nazarbayeva

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Dariga Nazarbayeva
Дариға Назарбаева
Dariga Nazarbayeva 2019-10-17.jpg
Nazarbayeva in 2019
7th Chair of the Senate
In office
20 March 2019 – 2 May 2020
DeputySergey Gromov
Bektas Beknazarov
Asqar Şäkirov
Preceded byKassym-Jomart Tokayev
Succeeded byMäulen Äşimbaev
Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan
In office
11 September 2015 – 13 September 2016
Prime MinisterKarim Massimov
Bakhytzhan Sagintayev
Member of the Senate
In office
15 September 2016 – 2 May 2020
Deputy Chair of the Mazhilis
In office
3 April 2014 – 11 September 2015
ChairKabibulla Dzhakupov
Preceded byKabibulla Dzhakupov
Succeeded byAbai Tasbolatov
Leader of Nur Otan in the Mazhilis
In office
3 April 2014 – 11 September 2015
LeaderNursultan Nazarbayev
Preceded byNurlan Nigmatulin
Succeeded byKabibulla Dzhakupov
Member of the Mazhilis
Assumed office
10 January 2021
In office
15 January 2012 – 11 September 2015
In office
19 September 2004 – 20 June 2007
Chair of the Asar
In office
25 October 2003 – 4 July 2006
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Personal details
Dariga Nursultanqyzy Nazarbayeva

(1963-05-07) 7 May 1963 (age 58)
Temirtau, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union
Political partyNur Otan (2006−present)
Other political
Asar (2003−2006)
ParentsNursultan Nazarbayev
Sara Alpysqyzy
Alma materMoscow State University

Dariga Nursultanqyzy Nazarbayeva (Kazakh: Дариға Нұрсұлтанқызы Назарбаева, Dariğa Nūrsūltanqyzy Nazarbaeva), born 7 May 1963) is a Kazakh businesswoman and politician who is the daughter of long-time dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev. She has been a member of the Mazhilis (the lower house of the Kazakhstani parliament) since 15 January 2021, a post that she occupied from 2004 to 2007 and 2012 to 2015. She was Deputy Chair of Mazhilis from 2014 to 2015 until being appointed as a Deputy Prime Minister under Massimov's cabinet. In 2016, Nazarbayeva became a member Senate of Kazakhstan in 2016. She served as the Senate Chair from 2019 to 2020. Nazarbayeva is the eldest daughter of Nursultan Nazarbayev who was the President of Kazakhstan from 1990 to 2019.

Nazarbayeva began her career in 1994 in media business as she headed Khabar, the largest national television agency in Kazakhstan. In 2003, she founded the Asar party and the following year later in 2004 for the first time, Nazarbayeva was elected to the Mazhilis. While serving the post there, the Asar in 2006 merged with the Nur Otan, a ruling party that was led by her father Nazarbayev. Following the dissolution of the Mazhilis in 2007, Nazarbayeva did not run for re-election and remained out of politics until her eventual return in 2012 to the Mazhilis seat where she was the Deputy Chair and parliamentary leader of Nur Otan. In 2015, Nazarbayeva was appointed by her father as Deputy Prime Minister under PM Karim Massimov before then returning to the Parliament in 2016 as a Senator. After her father's resignation from presidency in 2019, Nazarbayeva took over Kassym-Jomart Tokayev's role as the Senate Chair, while Tokayev in turn, became the President of Kazakhstan. In 2020, she was unexpectedly removed from the post by Tokayev shortly before returning to the Mazhilis once more in 2021.

Because of Nazarbayeva's high-ranking official positions and relations with her father, it has been widely speculated that she is potentially being prepared for presidency as a way to succeed Nazarbayev's legacy in a nepotist fashion despite the dismissed claims by Nazarbayev himself.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Nazarbayeva was born at Temirtau in 1963. In 1980, she completed K. Satpayev Gymnasium No. 56 in Alma-Ata.[3][4] From 1980 to 1983, she studied at the history department at Moscow State University. In 1985, she graduated from the S. M. Kirov Kazakh State University.[5] In 1991, she defended her thesis for a candidate degree in historical sciences at the Moscow State University. In 1998, she defended her thesis for Ph.D degree in political sciences at the Russian Academy of State Service.[6]


Nazarbayeva became the vice president of her mother Sara Nazarbayeva's Bobek Children’s Charity Fund.[7]

In 1994, Nazarbayeva became the vice president of the Television and Radio of Kazakhstan Republican Corporation. In 1995, the Khabar TV channel was created. The organizations associated to Nazarbayeva purchased the Europa Plus Radio Station, KTK and NTK television companies and popular newspaper Сaravan. TV-Media and Alma-Media companies were established to manage the new media holding.[7] In 1998, Khabar was transformed into a closed joint-stock company, and Nazarbayeva became President of the Company, and in 2001, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors.[7]

Since the late 1990s, Nazarbayeva has regularly appeared on Kazakh TV as a singer. Her repertoire includes Kazakh folk songs, Russian romances, opera arias and songs by Joe Dassin. In 2011, Nazarbayeva gave a recital “Salem, Russia” in Moscow on the new stage in the Bolshoi Theater, and the Organ Hall of Astana.[8] A Russian company Universal Music filmed her concert performances at various venues for the musical television movie My Star. The two-part film was presented in 2012.[9][10] In 2013, she gave a concert, co-organized by Count Pierre Sheremetev, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, with the Orchestre Lamoureux directed by Dmitry Yablonsky and the Sazgen sazi group directed by Baghdat Tilegenov, and with some artists as the pianist Timur Urmancheev,[11] Sundet Baigozhin or Medet Chotabaev.

Offshore activities[edit]

221B Baker Street, also known as the Sherlock Holmes Museum, is believed to be owned by Nazarbayeva

In 2018, it was revealed by the Panama Papers that Nazarbayeva was the sole shareholder of an off-shore sugar company based in the British Virgin Islands which did business in Kazakhstan. Her son, Nurali, was also named in the papers as being a client of Mossack Fonseca in Panama, and having two companies and luxury yacht also registered in the British Virgin Islands.[12][13] According to Newsweek, "this is a sharp contradiction from Nazarbayev’s frequent appeals to entrepreneurs in the oil-rich country to pay taxes in Kazakhstan."[13] The Panama Papers also suggest she may be the owner, through an off-shore company, of 221B Baker Street, the $183 million property famous as being the fictional address of Sherlock Holmes.[14]

On 10 March 2020, a British court announced the names of the owners of properties worth $100 million, which were issued an UWO in the spring of 2019. The owners turned out to be Nazarbayeva and her eldest son, Nurali Aliyev, with his wife Aida. The representative of the defendants at the hearing explained that the owners can confirm the source of the funds, since at that time they were engaged in business.[15] In April, the High Court of Justice declared the claims by the British law enforcement agencies unfounded and as a result, the case was overturned.[16]

Chair of the Asar (2003–2006)[edit]

In October 2002, Nazarbayeva became the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Choice of the Young People block; it was proposed to create the Congress of Youth of Kazakhstan at the first conference of the block.[17]

In October 2003, Nazarbayeva organized and became the leader of the Asar Republican Party.[18][19][20] In a few months, more than 167,000 applications were collected from those wishing to join Asar; 139,000 applications were processed and authenticated, and 77,000 signatures were submitted to the Ministry of Justice for registration.[21] In December 2003, the party was registered.[22]

According to the results of the elections to the Mazhilis in 2004, the party polled 541,239 (11.38%) votes on a party list basis and ranked the third; Nazarbayeva became a member on the party list in the Mazhilis, and three members from the Asar were elected in single-member constituencies.

On 4 July 2006, an extraordinary party convention was held where they decided to merge with the Otan Republican Political Party (Nur Otan since December 2006), and Nazarbayeva became the Deputy Chair of the Nur Otan.[23][24]

Parliamentarian career[edit]

Member of the Mazhilis (2004–2007, 2012–2015, 2021–present)[edit]

Nazarbayeva at the Mazhilis session, 11 November 2012

In February 2005, a new Deputy Group of Aimak formed in the Parliament, consisting of 36 deputies (28 deputies from the Mazhilis and 8 deputies from the Senate). Nazarbayeva was elected as the group leader. The main goals of the Aimak Deputy Group were to promote and monitor the implementation of existing state and industry programs aimed at regional development, take an active part in the development and legislative support of administrative reform and local self-government and develop entrepreneurship.[25] She remained as a member of the Mazhilis until it's dissolution on 20 June 2007.[26]

In the 2012 Kazakh legislative election, Nazarbayeva ran again in the Nur Otan party list which won 83 seats.[27] She headed the Mazhilis Committee on Socio-Cultural Development.[28]

On 3 April 2014, Nazarbayeva was unanimously chosen as a Deputy Chair of the Mazhilis and the parliamentary leader of Nur Otan.[29] On 11 September 2015, she was appointed as a Deputy Prime Minister.[30][31]

Nazarbayeva reappeared on the Nur Otan party-list at a congress on 25 November 2020 where she made her first public appearance since being dismissed from the Senate Chair post, bringing her candidacy to the Mazhilis seat again.[32] The Nur Otan maintained its control over the Mazhilis following the 2021 legislative elections, sweeping 76 seats.[33] From there, she became a member of the Committee for Economic Reforms and Regional Development.[34]

Member of the Senate (2016–2020)[edit]

Nazarbayeva as the Chair of the Senate

On 13 September 2016, Nazarbayeva was appointed to the Senate; she was designated as the head of the Senate's International Affairs, Defense, and Security Committee on 16 September.[35]

Chair of the Senate[edit]

On the same day her father stepped down as the President of Kazakhstan, Nazarbayeva was appointed as the Senate Chair in a unanimous secret ballot on 20 March 2019.[36] She succeeded Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in that role, who was became the acting president of the country.[36] According to The New York Times, this may have been a signal that Nazarbayeva was being groomed to become president herself.[37] Several speculations arose that Nazarbayeva was preparing her presidential bid for the 2019 presidential elections in which the allegations were revealed to be false according to her close aide on 9 April 2019.[38]

On 2 May 2020, she was removed from the Senate and her role as the Chair by Tokayev.[39] Many theories arose that either Tokayev was expanding his political influence or a sign of growing feud between the Kazakhstan's ruling elite.[40] Others claimed that the reason was due to public scandals regarding her son Aisultan and the British court case which ruined Nazarbayeva's reputation and her fathers image.[41][42]

Personal life[edit]


Nazarbayeva's former husband, Rakhat Aliyev in 2007

Nazarbayeva had a long marriage to Kazakh businessman and politician Rakhat Aliyev until their divorce in June 2007. Aliyev held senior posts in Kazakhstan's domestic intelligence agency and foreign ministry, and later as ambassador to Austria.[37] In 2004, a woman alleged to be Aliyev's mistress was found dead, having fallen from a tall apartment building in Beirut.[37] He was stripped of his titles in 2007 after critiquing President Nazarbayev for altering the nation's constitution to allow him to be president for life.[37] Aliyev claimed that his divorce was executed without his consent, and that it was forced by Nazarbayev.[43]

Aliyev was convicted in absentia for various crimes in Kazakhstan. Austria refused to extradite him, but were preparing to try him for the kidnapping and murder of two Kazakh bank officials.[37] Before the trial, he was founded dead in his Austrian jail cell due to alleged suicide.[37]

Nazarbayeva has two sons with Aliyev, Nurali and Aisultan, and a daughter Venera.[44] She is also a grandmother. Nurali's wife gave birth to Laura Aliyeva in 2013.[45]

On 23 January 2020, Nazarbayeva's son, Aisultan, made a public statement on his Facebook page, claiming that his grandfather Nazarbayev was allegedly his dad and that his mother Nazarbayeva has been attempting to kill him while living in London.[46] Nazarbayeva made no responses regarding the case made by her son. The next day on 24 January, a female correspondent from the RFE/RL attempted to receive response from Nazarbayeva regarding her son's claims as she was walking by in the Parliament building hallway where one of Nazarbayeva's security guards ended up grabbing the reporter by the arm and covering her mouth.[47] On 16 August 2020, Aisultan was found dead in London with the cause of his death being allegedly due to cardiac arrest.[48] In response to the incident, Nazarbayeva stated that "my family is devastated at the loss of our beloved Aisultan and we ask for privacy at this very difficult time."[49]


According to Forbes Magazine in 2013 her wealth was about $595 million. It was through her involvement in the companies such as Europe Plus Kazakhstan JSC, NTK, AlmaInvestHolding, Almatystroysnab LLP, and ALMA TV.[50] She also founded Kazakhstan's main TV network, Khabar Agency.[51]


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