Nursultan Nazarbayev erected a gleaming, ego-fueled capital in the middle of the steppe and amassed one of the greatest fortunes on earth.
In 2019, Kazakhstan’s first president Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev finally stepped down after five terms, or 27 years. He’ll be remembered for doing whatever he pleased, from locking up his political challengers to erecting a gleaming, ego-fueled capital in the middle of the steppe like he’s playing SimCity.
So how much wealth did he amass from nearly three decades of unlimited power?
Forbes Kazakhstan has its own rich list, but our sources say the estimates can be wildly off – by over tenfold in some cases. Nazarbayev doesn’t even appear on the list. Forbes.kz says it’s because “he is a statesman, not a businessman.” But he ran the country like a family business, minting billionaires out of his daughters and close allies.