Kazakhstan’s National Bank has issued freshly minted coins with engraved texts in the country’s new Latin-based alphabet. The new tenge coins were issued on April 26 in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 tenges, the bank said in a statement.
The 100 tenge coin is worth about 26 U.S. cents at the current official foreign exchange rate. The bank said the new design of the coins was approved by interim President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev, who took office on March 20 — a day after long-time leader Nursultan Nazarbaev announced his resignation from the presidency.
The coins carry Kazakhstan’s state coat of arms with the word Qazaqstan on the reverse and the text Qazaqstan Respyblikasy (Republic of Kazakhstan). The obverse side shows the coin’s nominal value with the name of the national currency, tenge, and the abbreviation of Kazakhstan’s National Bank — QUB.
The new coins do not differ in weight or size from the previous coins that carried inscriptions in the Cyrillic-based alphabet. Nazarbaev announced in April 2017 that all publications, documents, and street signs in Kazakhstan will switch from a Cyrillic-based alphabet to a Latin-based alphabet by 2025.
He signed a decree on the change in October 2017. The move is seen as an effort to emphasize Kazakh culture and distance the country from Russia and the Soviet era. In 1929, Soviet authorities replaced traditional Arabic-based alphabets used by Muslim minorities in the Soviet Union with Latin-based national alphabets.
In 1940, the Latin alphabet was replaced with Cyrillic, the alphabet used in the Russian language. In November, the first Kazakh-language newspaper in post-Soviet Kazakhstan to be printed in the Latin-based alphabet was issued. (RFERL)