Kassym-Jomart Tokayev

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Kassym-Jomart Tokayev
2nd President of Kazakhstan
Assumed office
20 March 2019
Prime MinisterAskar Mamin
Preceded byNursultan Nazarbayev
Chairman of the Senate of Kazakhstan
In office
16 October 2013 – 19 March 2019
PresidentNursultan Nazarbayev
Preceded byKairat Mami
Succeeded byDariga Nazarbayeva
In office
11 January 2007 – 15 April 2011
PresidentNursultan Nazarbayev
Preceded byNurtai Abykayev
Succeeded byKairat Mami
Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva
In office
12 March 2011 – 16 October 2013
Preceded bySergei Ordzhonikidze
Succeeded byMichael Møller
4th Prime Minister of Kazakhstan
In office
1 October 1999 – 28 January 2002
PresidentNursultan Nazarbayev
Preceded byNurlan Balgimbayev
Succeeded byImangali Tasmagambetov
Personal details
Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich Tokayev

(1953-05-17) 17 May 1953 (age 65)
Alma-Ata, Kazakh SSR, USSR
Political partyNur Otan
Spouse(s)Nadezhda Tokayeva
ResidenceAk Orda Presidential Palace
Alma materMoscow State Institute of International Relations

Kassym-Jomart Kemelevich Tokayev (Kazakh: Қасым-Жомарт Кемелұлы Тоқаев, Qasym-Jomart Kemeluly Toqaev, [qɑˈsəm ʒɔˈmɑrt cɛˌmɛluˈlə tɔˈqɑjɪf], Russian: Касым-Жомарт Кемелевич Токаев, [kɐˈsɨm ʐɐˈmart kʲɪˈmɛlʲɪvɪt͡ɕ tɐˈkajɪf], born 17 May 1953) is a Kazakh politician and diplomat. He took office as the President of Kazakhstan on 20 March 2019,[1][2] succeeding Nursultan Nazarbayev who resigned on 19 March 2019 after 29 years in office.[3] He was Chairman of the Senate of Kazakhstan from 16 October 2013 to 19 March 2019 and from 11 January 2007 to 15 April 2011.[4] Tokayev served as Prime Minister of Kazakhstan from 1 October 1999 to 28 January 2002 and as Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva from 12 March 2011 to 16 October 2013.

Early life[edit]

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev was born on 17 May 1953 in Alma-Ata. His father, Kemel Tokayev (1923–1986), was a World War II veteran and a well-known Kazakh writer. His mother, Turar Shabarbayeva (1931–2001), worked at the Alma-Ata Institute of Foreign Languages.


Tokayev with Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin, 19 January 2000.

In 1970, Tokayev joined the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. In his fifth year, he was sent to training courses at the Soviet embassy in China for six months. Upon graduation from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations in 1975, Tokayev joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR and was posted to the Soviet Embassy in Singapore. In 1979, he returned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR. In 1983, he went to China for training courses at the Beijing Language Institute. In 1984–1985, he served in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He was then posted to the Soviet embassy in Beijing where he served until 1991 as Second Secretary, First Secretary, and Counsellor. In 1991, he enrolled at the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR in Moscow in a training course for senior diplomats.

Domestic policy[edit]

In 1992, Tokayev was appointed as a Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In 1993, he became First Deputy Foreign Minister and in 1994 he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. In March 1999, he was promoted to the post of Deputy Prime Minister. In October 1999, with the endorsement of the Parliament, he was appointed Prime Minister by Decree of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. In January 2002, he resigned and was subsequently appointed Secretary of State – Minister of Foreign Affairs. Tokayev continued to serve as Minister of Foreign Affairs until January 2007 when he was elected Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Foreign Ministry[edit]

Tokayev held the post of Foreign Minister for ten years (1994–1999, 2002–2007).

As a Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tokayev played an active role in the field of nuclear non-proliferation. In 1995 and 2005, he participated in the Review Conferences for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York. In 1996, he signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in New York, and in 2005 the Treaty on a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone in Central Asia (CANWFZ) in Semipalatinsk. He was elected Chairman of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States and of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Tokayev took part in ten sessions of the United Nations General Assembly.

He holds the diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.

As Chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of Kazakhstan, Tokayev was elected in 2008 Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

His view on the political system of Kazakhstan: "Strong President, authoritative Parliament, accountable Government" (said at the Parliamentarian Conference in Astana, 24 November 2014).

Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva[edit]

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev with Sergey Lavrov and John Kerry on 13 September 2013

In March 2011, the Secretary-General of the United Nations announced the appointment of Tokayev as Under Secretary-General, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva and Personal Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General to the Conference on Disarmament. He served as Secretary-General of the Conference on Disarmament. He was also the Designated Official for safety and security of UN personnel for Switzerland.

Tokayev holds a Doctorate in Political Science. He is the author of nine books and numerous articles on international affairs. He is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science, a member of the Panel of Eminent Persons at the Munich Security Conference, an Honorary Professor of Shenzhen University, an Honorary Professor and Doctor of the Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, as well as a member of its Board of Trustees. He is also Honorary Dean of the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations. As Director-General of UNOG, he received the "Academicus" award from the University of Geneva. According to the Russian Biographic Institution, Tokayev was admitted as a "Person of the year - 2018".


On 19 March 2019, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his resignation. According to the Constitution of Kazakhstan, in case of early termination of powers, the Speaker of the Senate becomes President until the next election.[5] On 20 March 2019, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev officially took office as President.[6][1][7]

Immediately after the inauguration, Tokayev proposed renaming the capital city of Kazakhstan after his predecessor, and the same day the Parliament of Kazakhstan approved the renaming of Astana to Nursultan.[8][9]

Russian President Vladimir Putin was one of the first foreign leaders to congratulate Tokayev, inviting him to visit Moscow in an joint telephone conversation with him and Nazarbayev.[10] The Chinese government also described Tokayev as an "old friend" and a "good friend".[11] One day after his inauguration, Tokayev and Nazarbayev visited a citzens in a public square in the capital to take part in the Nauryz celebrations and events.[12] A couple days later, he also was the guest of honour at a UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying Group I match between Kazakhstan and Russia.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Tokayev is fluent in Kazakh, Russian, English and Chinese, and has knowledge of French. He is recipient of several state awards of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as awards from other countries. He was President of the Table Tennis Federation of Kazakhstan for 13 years. Tokayev is married to Nadezhda Tokayeva (born 1957), who graduated from the Moscow State Institute for History and Archives. They have one son, Timur Tokayev.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Tokayev sworn in as Kazakhstan's interim president". TASS. 2019-03-20. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  2. ^ "Tokayev sworn in as Kazakhstan's interim president". TASS. 2019-03-20. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  3. ^ "Kazakh President Nazarbaev Abruptly Announces Resignation". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
  4. ^ https://en.tengrinews.kz/kazakhstan_news/Kairat-Mami-to-be-the-new-Senate-Speaker--942/
  6. ^ "Veteran Kazakh leader Nazarbayev resigns after three decades in power". Reuters. 19 March 2019. Retrieved 19 March 2019.
  7. ^ https://kazakhembus.com/2019-03-20-speech-president-kassym-jomart-tokayev
  8. ^ (in Russian) Новый глава Казахстана предложил переименовать Астану в Нурсултан
  9. ^ (in Russian) Парламент Казахстана одобрил переименование Астаны в Нурсултан
  10. ^ http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/60125
  11. ^ https://www.hongkongfp.com/2019/03/20/china-welcomes-new-kazakh-leader-kassym-jomart-tokayev-old-friend-good-friend/
  12. ^ http://www.akorda.kz/en/events/astana_kazakhstan/participation_in_events/participation-in-the-celebration-events-on-nauryz
  13. ^ http://www.akorda.kz/ru/events/astana_kazakhstan/astana_other_events/poseshchenie-matcha-otborochnogo-cikla-chempionata-evropy-po-futbolu-2020-goda#2
Political offices
Preceded by
Nurlan Balgimbayev
Prime Minister of Kazakhstan
Succeeded by
Imangali Tasmagambetov
Preceded by
Nursultan Nazarbayev
President of Kazakhstan