Dariga Nazarbayeva

Dariga Nursultanqyzy Nazarbayeva (Kazakh: Дариға Нұрсұлтанқызы Назарбаева, Darıǵa Nursultanqyzy Nazarbaeva), born 7 May 1963) is a Kazakh politician. She is a member of the Mazhilis since 2021 and has served prior from 2004 to 2007, then again from 2012 to 2015. From 2014, Nazarbayeva was the Deputy Chair of Mazhilis until she became Deputy Prime Minister, where served from 2015 until she became the member of the Senate in 2016. She served as the Chair of the Senate of Kazakhstan from 2019 to 2020 and is the daughter of former President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Dariga Nazarbayeva
Дариға Назарбаева
Dariga Nazarbayeva 2019-10-17.jpg
Nazarbayeva in 2019
Member of the Mazhilis of Kazakhstan
Assumed office
15 January 2021
7th Chair of the Senate of Kazakhstan
In office
20 March 2019 – 2 May 2020
DeputySergey Gromov
Bektas Beknazarov
Asqar Şäkirov
Preceded byKassym-Jomart Tokayev
Succeeded byMäulen Äşimbaev
Member of the Senate of Kazakhstan
In office
15 September 2016 – 2 May 2020
Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan
In office
11 September 2015 – 13 September 2016
Prime MinisterKarim Massimov
Bakhytzhan Sagintayev
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 57)
Temirtau, Kazakh SSR, Soviet Union
Political partyNur Otan (2006−present)
Other political
Asar (2003−2006)
ParentsNursultan Nazarbayev
Sara Alpysqyzy
Alma materMoscow State University

Early life and educationEdit

Nazarbayeva was born at Temirtau in 1963. In 1980, she completed K. Satpayev Gymnasium No. 56 in Alma-Ata.[1][2]

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.[3]

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 PhD degree in political sciences at the Russian Academy of State Service.[4]


Khabar AgencyEdit

Dariga Nazarbayeva started her career in 1992, when she became the Vice-President of the Bobek Children’s Charity Fund established by her mother Sara Nazarbayeva. The Fund became the first organization in independent Kazakhstan to help children.[5]

In 1994, Dariga Nazarbayeva became the Vice-President of the Television and Radio of Kazakhstan Republican Corporation. In 1995, the Khabar TV channel was created based on the information service of Kazakh TV. Run by Dariga Nazarbayeva, Khabar managed to develop its own correspondent network, acquire the latest equipment and take a leading position among the country’s TV channels. In addition to Khabar, the organisations associated to Dariga 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.[5]

In 1998, Khabar was transformed into a closed joint-stock company, and Nazarbayeva took the post of the President of the Company, and in 2001, the position of the Chairperson of the Board of Directors. In interviews, she often noted that she thought of the TV channel as "her child".[5]

In 1999, the first retro festival Alma-Ata is My First Love! under Nazarbayeva’s patronage took place at the Alatau Resort; the festival was organized by the Khabar Agency. The main idea of the festival was to preserve the spiritual connection between the generations of Almaty residents, support the status of Almaty as the cultural center of the country and reproduce the spiritual atmosphere and unique culture of the city of the 1960s-early 1980s.[6]

In June 2001, at the World Congress on Information Cooperation Information: The 21st Century Challenge, Nazarbayeva proposed to establish a permanent Eurasian Media Forum. She noted that the participants could discuss the issues of creating the Eurasian information space, the relations between the government and the media and the ethical standards of journalism. The first Eurasian Media Forum was held in April 2002 in Almaty; the President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev opened the Forum by delivering a welcome speech.[7]

In 2002, the first Congress of Journalists of Kazakhstan opened; on April 27, Nazarbayeva was elected as the Chairperson of the Executive Committee at the meeting of the initiative group of the Congress of Journalists of Kazakhstan. The Congress raised the issue of creating a code of ethics for journalists in the country for the first time.[5]

First President’s FoundationEdit

Since 2007, Nazarbayeva has been the Director of the Foundation of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, engaged in public and charity activities, participated in international conferences and symposia. The Foundation operates in three main areas: 1) youth programs (help to unleash and realize the intellectual and creative potential of Kazakhstan's youth supporting their researches and projects and holding scientific and creative events); 2) social projects and charity; 3) an analytical center – Institute of World Economics and Politics.

Social and charity activitiesEdit

Since the late 1990's, Nazarbayeva has regularly appeared on the screens of Kazakh TV channels as a singer, given many charity concerts, including on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Her repertoire includes Kazakh folk songs, Russian romances, opera arias and songs by Joe Dassin. According to Nazarbayeva, her voice was trained by a professional teacher of the Almaty Opera Nadiya Sharipova who brought up the famous tenor Alibek Dnishev.

Nazarbayeva's first solo concert "But Still I Love" was held in Almaty in May 2001, all the proceeds from the concert went towards of veterans of the Great Patriotic War. A year later, in Almaty, a second solo concert, "Singing Again", took place.

In the summer of 2003, by the invitation of the Ministry of Culture of Russia, she gave a recital in the Beethoven Hall at the Bolshoi Theater.

In 2007, Nazarbayeva held a recital in Paris.

In 2009, on behalf of and with the support of Nazarbayeva, the Asar-Bereke Public Fund implemented a project to provide qualified medical services to residents of Kazakhstan's regions, and thousands of specialists were trained for mobile medical complexes capable of working in emergency situations. Since 2019, the Asar-Bereke Public Foundation has been creating conditions for children with cancer by examining and treating them at the Nuclear Therapy Center in St. Petersburg.[8]

On 1 December 2011, Nazarbayeva gave a recital “Salem, Russia” in Moscow on the new stage in the Bolshoi Theater, and on 14 December in the Organ Hall of Astana.[9] 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 February 2012 in Almaty as part of the Together Against Cancer charity project, and in Moscow on 20 April 2012.[10][11]

In June 2012, on the initiative of the Degdar Foundation, the First International Festival of Arts Astana Keshteri (“Evenings of Astana”) was held which was a charity project aimed at making high art as accessible as possible and giving all social groups the opportunity to join masterpieces of world music culture. Within the framework of the project, Nazarbayeva and Alibek Dnishev, Russian organist Rubin Abdullin, pianist Timur Urmancheev, conductor Renat Salavatov, young opera singers Medet Chotabaev and Andrey Tregubenko demonstrated their performance. Tickets for the concert were distributed for free.[12]

On 13 May 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,[13] Sundet Baigozhin or Medet Chotabaev. Among the audience were Aleksandr Orlov, Ambassador of Russia to France, other ambassadors, diplomats or investors, and French writer Jean-Pierre Thiollet.

Offshore activitiesEdit

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

On 21 June 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.[14][15] 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."[15]

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.[16]

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.[17] 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.[18]

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.[19]

In October 2003, Nazarbayeva organized and became the leader of the Asar Republican Party.[20][21][22] 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.[23] In December 2003, the party was registered.[24]

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.[25][26]

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.[27] She remained as a member of the Mazhilis until it's dissolution on 20 June 2007.[28]

In the 2012 Kazakh legislative election, Nazarbayeva ran again in the Nur Otan party list which won 83 seats.[29] She headed the Mazhilis Committee on Socio-Cultural Development.[30]

On 3 April 2014, Nazarbayeva was unanimously chosen as a Deputy Chair of the Mazhilis and the parliamentary leader of Nur Otan.[31] On 11 September 2015, she was appointed as a Deputy Prime Minister.[32][33]

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.[34] The Nur Otan maintained its control over the Mazhilis following the 2021 legislative elections, winning 76 seats.[35] From there, she became a member of the Committee for Economic Reforms and Regional Development.[36]

Senate career (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.[37]

Chair of the SenateEdit

On the same day her father stepped down as the President of Kazakhstan, Nazarbayeva was appointed as the Chair of the Senate in a unanimous secret ballot.[38] She succeeded Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in that role, who was appointed acting president of the country.[38] According to The New York Times, this may have been a signal that Nazarbayeva was being groomed to become president herself.[39]

On 2 May 2020, she was removed from the Senate and her role as the Chair by President Tokayev.[40] Many theories arose that either Tokayev was expanding his political influence or a sign of growing feud between the Kazakhstan's ruling elite.[41]

Personal lifeEdit


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.[39] In 2004, a woman alleged to be Aliyev's mistress was found dead, having fallen from a tall apartment building in Beirut.[39] 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.[39] Aliyev claimed that his divorce was executed without his consent, and that it was forced by Nazarbayev.[42]

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.[39] Before the trial, he was founded dead in his Austrian jail cell due to alleged suicide.[39]

Nazarbayeva has two sons with Aliyev, Nurali and Aisultan, and a daughter Venera.[43] She is also a grandmother. Nurali's wife gave birth to Laura Aliyeva in 2013.[44]

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.[45] 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.[46] On 16 August 2020, Aisultan was found dead in London. The cause of his death was apparently due to cardiac arrest.[47] In response to his death, Nazarbayeva stated "My family is devastated at the loss of our beloved Aisultan and we ask for privacy at this very difficult time."[48]


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.[49] She also founded Kazakhstan's main TV network, Khabar Agency.[50]


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