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Great Kazakh poet and thinker Olzhas Suleimenov turns 79

May 18 2015, 15:58

By Zeena Urynbassarova

Image 0Today Kazakhstan celebrates the birthday of the great Kazakh poet, writer, anti-nuclear activist, environmentalist and thinker Olzhas Suleimenov. Olzhas turned 79.

Suleimenov, whom Russian poet Andrei Voznesensky once aptly called "Asia at the Steering Wheel", has emerged as one of Kazakhstan's and Central Asia's most influential intellectuals, authors, and poets of the last half century. Since 1991, Suleimenov has encouraged Kazakhstanis to embrace globalization, liberal democratic values, a moderate, all-inclusive "civil nationalism," and a balanced approach to building positive relations with both West and East alike.

Suleimenov was born on 18 May 1936 in Almaty. He graduated from Geological Sciences Department of Kazakh State University in 1959 and finished Gorkii Institute of Literature in 1961.

Olzhas Suleimenov has got onto the list of 22 outstanding thinkers whose ideas were published in the book of Piotr Dutkiewicz and Richard Sakwa “22 Ideas to Fix the World. Conversations with the World's Foremost Thinkers".

The book contains thoughts and ideas of famous politicians, economists and public persons from 19 countries of the world.

Suleimenov is best known for his book Az i Ya (Az and Me - The book of a loyal reader) – published, widely debated and the withdrawn from active circulation in the middle of Brezhnev era, Az I Ya quickly established itself as a revisionist text of Brezhnevite and perestroika periods, perhaps the definite intervention by a non-Russian Soviet intellectual to address the question of inter-ethnic relations and their consequences for Russian and Cetral Asian history.

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