Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev (Kazakh: Нұрсұлтан Әбішұлы Назарбаев ; Russian: Нурсултан Абишевич Назарбаев ) (born 6 July 1940) has served as the President of Kazakhstan since the nation received its independence in 1991, due to the fall of the Soviet Union.
In 1984 Nazarbayev became the Chairman of the Council of Ministers, working under Dinmukhamed Kunayev, the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan. He served as First Secretary of the Kazakh Communist Party from 1989 to 1991.
Nazarbayev criticized Askar Kunayev, head of the Academy of Sciences, at the 16th session of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan in January 1986 for not reforming his department. Dinmukhamed Kunayev, Nazarbayev's boss and Askar's brother, felt deeply angered and betrayed. Kunayev went to Moscow and demanded Nazarbayev's dismissal while Nazarbayev's supporters campaigned for Kunayev's dismissal and Nazarbayev's promotion. Mikhail Gorbachev accepted the resignation of a deflated Kunayev, replacing him with Gennady Kolbin, an ethnic Russian, triggering three days of riots known as the Jeltoqsan.