Olzhas Suleimenov

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Olzhas Omarovich Suleimenov
Oljas Suleymenov.jpg
Born (1936-05-18) May 18, 1936 (age 83)
Occupationpolitician, and anti-nuclear activist
Citizenship Soviet Union (former)
Alma materMaxim Gorky Literature Institute
GenreLiterary criticism

Olzhas Omaruli Suleimenov (Kazakh: Олжас Омарұлы Сүлейменов; Russian: Олжа́с Ома́рович Сулейме́нов) is a Soviet poet, Kazakhstani politician, and Soviet anti-nuclear activist.


Suleimenov was born on 18 May 1936 in Alma-Ata. He graduated from Geological Sciences Department of Kazakh State University in 1959. Suleimenov also finished Gorkii Institute of Literature in 1961. Between 1962-1971, he worked at Kazakhskaya Pravda. Suleimenov was awarded Komsomol Prize for Kazakhstan in 1966. Between 1969 and 1989 he was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In 1981 he was a member of the jury at the 12th Moscow International Film Festival.[1] He became First Secretary of the Committee of the Kazakhstan's Writers Union in 1983. He is a Russophone writer.


His most influential work, AZ-i-IA, was published in 1975. The book is about the possible Turkic origin of the Russian chronicle The Tale of Igor's Campaign. AZ-i-IA drew widespread criticism from the literary elite in Russia. Suleimenov was charged with "national chauvinism" and "glorifying feudal nomadic culture."[2] Kazakhstan Communist Party first secretary Dinmuhammad Konayev intervened on Suleimenov's behalf, discussing the content of the book with Leonid Brezhnev and saving Suleimenov's career.
His other works include;

  • Argamaki (1961)
  • Zemlia Poklonis' Cheloveku (1961)
  • Solnechnye Nochi (1962)
  • Dobroe Vremia Voskhoda (1964)
  • God Obez'iany (1967)
  • Glinianaia Kniga (1969)
  • Tiurki v Doistorii : o proiskhzhdenii drevnetiurkskikh iazykov i pis'mennostei (2002)

Political activities[edit]

Suleimenov again became a worldwide name in 1989, when he led the establishment of the international environmental movement Nevada-Semipalatinsk. Nevada-Semipalatinsk campaigned to close nuclear sites in Nevada and in the Semipalatinsk Oblast of Kazakhstan.

After independence, Suleimenov established the Peoples' Congress Party in 1991 and served as the speaker of Parliament from 1993 until 1994. While at the Parliament, he rose to the position of opposition leader, engaging in several political struggles with President Nursultan Nazarbaev. Many opposition leaders urged him to run as a candidate in the next presidential elections.

In 1995, to preempt his potential candidacy, Nazarbayev brokered a deal, and Suleimenov was appointed as Kazakhstan's ambassador to Rome. From 2002 till now he serves as Kazakhstani ambassador at the UNESCO in Paris.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "12th Moscow International Film Festival (1981)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 2013-04-21. Retrieved 2013-01-21. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ Harsha Ram, Imagining Eurasia: The Poetics and Ideology of Olzhas Suleimenov's AZ i IA, Slavic Review, Vol. 60, No. 2. (Summer, 2001), pp. 289-311.