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Politics

Kazakhstan aims to swap Cyrillic for Roman letters by 2025

Change signals a priority shift from the 'Russian world' world to globalization

Kazkommertsbank, which also uses the Romanized name Kazkom, is in the process of rebranding to Qazkom as the use of the Western alphabet spreads. (Photo by Naubet Bisenov)

ALMATY, Kazakhstan For more than 75 years, the Kazakh language has been written in Cyrillic, the alphabet of Russian and other Slavic tongues. But President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who led Kazakhstan to independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991, is stepping up plans to switch to the Roman alphabet used in the West, even as Russia attempts to exert greater regional influence.

Nazarbayev, who is keen to raise Kazakhstan's global profile, directed officials in April to finalize plans for the switch-over by the end of this year, targeting a full conversion by 2025. The process could cost government agencies as much as $300 million in training and new signage.

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