On languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan

Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 11 July 1997 No. 151

Unofficial translation

      Footnote. Throughout the text numbers “I-VI” after the words “Chapter” are substituted respectively with the numbers “1-6” in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 22 December 2004 No. 13 (shall be enforced from 01.01.2005).

      This Law shall establish legal bases of functioning of languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan, the duties of the state in creation of conditions for their study and development, shall provide equally respect treatment to all, without exception, languages used in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Chapter 1. General provisions

Article 1. Basic definitions, used in this Law

      In this Law shall be used the following basic definitions:
      1) diaspora – part of people (ethnic group), living outside of the country of its historical origin;
      2) onomastics –a branch of linguistics, that studies the proper names, history of their origin and transformation;
      3) onomastic Commission - an advisory and consultative body that elaborates proposals on formation of unified approaches on the naming and renaming of administrative-territorial units, components settlements, airports, ports, railway stations, railway stations, subway stations, bus stations, coach stations, physiographic and other objects of government property on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, refinement and change of the transcription of their names and assigning the proper names of persons to state legal entities, legal entities with the participation of the state, as well as to the restoration and preservation of historical names as an integral part of the historical-cultural heritage of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
      4) spelling - proofing, system of rules that determine a uniform way of speech (words and grammatical forms) in writing;
      5) the Republican terminological Commission - an advisory and consultative body that elaborates proposals in the field of terminological vocabulary of Kazakh language in all sectors of the economy, science, technology and culture;
      6) toponymy - section of onomastics, studying names of geographical objects, patterns of their occurrence, change and functioning;
      7) transliteration - letter-by-letter transmission of texts and individual words of one graphics system using another graphics system;
      8) authorized body - central executive body that carry out guidance and cross-sector co-ordination in the scope of languages development.
      Footnote. Article 1 is in the wording of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 21.01.2013 no. 72-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of three months after its first official publication).

Article 2. Subject of regulation of this Law

      The subject of regulation of this Law shall be social relations arising in connection with the use of languages in activities of governmental, non-governmental organizations and local government.
      This Law shall not regulate the use of languages in interpersonal relations and in religious associations.

Article 3. The legislation on languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan

      The legislation on languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be based on the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan, shall consist of this Law, other regulatory legal acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan regarding the use and development of languages.
      The legislation on languages shall apply to citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan, foreigners and persons without citizenship, permanently residing in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Article 4. State language of the Republic of Kazakhstan

      State language of the republic of Kazakhstan shall be Kazakh language.
      State language shall be the language of public administration, legislation, judicial and administrative procedure, acting in all fields of public relations on the territory of the state.
      The duty of every citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be the mastery of the state language that shall be the most important factor in the consolidation of the people of Kazakhstan.
      The government and other governmental, local representative and executive bodies shall be obliged to:
      fully develop the state language in the Republic of Kazakhstan, strengthen its international authority;
      create all necessary organizational, material and technical conditions for unrestricted and free mastery of the state language by all citizens of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
      assist to Kazakh diaspora in preservation and development of their native language.

Article 5. The use of Russian language

      In governmental organizations and local government on a level with Kazakh language officially shall be used Russian language.

Article 6. The state care of languages

      Every citizen of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be entitled to use their native language, freely choose the language of communication, upbringing, education and creative work.
      The state shall promote conditions for the study and development of languages of Kazakhstan people.
      In places of compact residence of national groups upon carrying out of measures can be used their languages.

Article 7. Inadmissibility of prevention to the functioning of languages

      In the Republic of Kazakhstan shall not be permitted infringements of rights of citizens according to their language.
      Actions of officials, hindering the functioning and learning the state and other languages in Kazakhstan, shall entail liability in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
      Footnote. Article 7 as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 27.06.2007 No. 315 (shall be enforced from the date of official publication).

Chapter 2. Language in governmental and non-governmental organizations and local government

Article 8. The use of languages

      Language of work and the proceedings of governmental bodies, organizations and bodies of local government of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be the state language, on a level with Kazakh officially shall be used Russian language.
      In work of non-governmental organizations shall be used state language and other languages if necessary.

Article 9. Language of acts of governmental bodies

      Acts of governmental bodies shall be developed and adopted in state language, and if appropriate, their development can be conducted in Russian with the provision, if possible, of its translate into other languages.

Article 10. Language of maintaining documents

      The conduct of the accounting, statistical, financial and technical documentation in the system of governmental bodies, organizations of the Republic of Kazakhstan, regardless from the form of ownership, shall be provided in state and Russian languages.
      Participants of the regional financial center of Almaty shall be entitled to maintain documentation in state and (or) Russian and (or) English languages.
      Footnote. Article 10 as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 05.06.2006 No. 146 (the order of the entry into force see article 2).

Article 11. Language of responses to appeals of citizens

      Responses of governmental and non-governmental organizations to appeals of citizens and other documents shall be given in state language or in the language of appeal.

Article 12. Language in the Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies

      In the Armed Forces of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as in all types of military and paramilitary forces, organizations of the state control and supervision, the legal protection of citizens and law enforcement agencies shall be ensured the functioning of the state and Russian languages.

Article 13. Language of court proceeding

      Legal proceedings in the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be conducted in state language, and in legal proceedings on a level with state language shall be used Russian language or other languages if necessary.

Article 14. Language of process on cases concerning administrative offences

      Process on cases concerning administrative offences shall be carried on in state language and in other languages if necessary.

Article 15. Language of transactions

      All transactions of individuals and legal entities in the Republic of Kazakhstan, committed in writing, shall be in state and Russian languages with the application, if necessary, of translation into other languages.
      Transactions with foreign individuals and legal entities, committed in writing, shall be in state and on mutually acceptable language.
      Participants of regional financial center of Almaty shall be entitled to make transactions in state and (or) Russian and (or) English languages.
      Footnote. Article 15 as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 05.06.2006 No. 146 (the order of the entry into force see article 2).

Chapter 3. Language in the field of education, science, culture and mass media

      Footnote. The title of Chapter 3 as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 27.06.2007 No. 320 (the order of the entry into force see article 2).

Article 16. Language in the field of education

      In the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be provided creation of children's pre-school organizations operating in state language, and in places of compact residence of national groups in their languages.
      Language of education, upbringing in children's homes and equated to them organizations shall be defined by local executive bodies, taking into account national composition of their population.
      The Republic of Kazakhstan shall ensure acquisition of primary, basic secondary, general secondary, technical and professional, post-secondary, higher and postgraduate education in state, Russian and, if necessary and possible, in other languages. In educational institutions state language and Russian language shall be compulsory academic subjects and shall be included in the list of disciplines, included in the document on education.
      Footnote. The title and article as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 27.06.2007 No. 320 (the order of the entry into force see article 2).

Article 17. Language in the field of science and culture

      In the Republic of Kazakhstan in the filed of science, including the design and thesis defence, shall be ensured functioning of state and Russian languages.
      Cultural events shall be held in state and in other languages if necessary.
      Footnote. The title and Article as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 27.06.2007 No. 320 (the order of the entry into force see article 2).

Article 18. Language of print and mass media

      The Republic of Kazakhstan shall ensure functioning of state and other languages in printed editions and mass media.
      With the purpose of creation necessary language environment andproper functioning of state language, the volume of television and radio programs on TV, radio channel, regardless of their ownership forms, in state language on time must not be less than total volume of television and radio programs in other languages.
      Footnote. Article 18 as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 18.01.2012 no. 546-IV (shall be enforced upon expiry of thirty calendar days after its first official publication).

Chapter 4. Language in the names of settlements, proper nouns, visual information

Article 19. The order of usage of place names, names of organizations

      Traditional, historically established Kazakh names of administrative-territorial units, the constituent parts of settlements as well as other physiographic objects in other languages must be played according to the rules of transliteration.
      Names of governmental organizations, their structural units shall be given in state and Russian languages. Name of joint, foreign organizations - with transliteration in state and Russian languages.
      Footnote. Article 19 as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 21.01.2013 no. 72-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of three months after its first official publication).

Article 20. Spelling of personal names, patronymics and surnames

      Spelling of personal names, patronymics, surnames in official documents must correspond to the legislation and regulatory legal acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan.

Article 21. Language of requisites and visual information

      Texts of seals and stamps of governmental bodies shall contain their names in state language.
      Texts of seals, stamps of organizations, irrespective from forms of property, shall be made in state and Russian languages.
      Forms, signs, announcements, advertisements, catalogues, price lists, and other visual information shall be in state and Russian languages and in other languages if necessary.
      Commodity labels (tabs) with special information, marking, instructions to goods produced in Kazakhstan must contain the necessary information in state and Russian languages.
      Commodity labels (tabs) with special information, marking, instructions to the goods of foreign production shall be provided with the translation into state and Russian languages at the expense of means of importing organizations.
      All texts of visual information shall be in the following order: left or top-to – in state, right or on bottom - in Russian, shall be written in the same size letters. When the need arises, the texts of visual information can be provided additionally in other languages. Herewith the font size must not exceed requirements established by regulatory legal acts. Oral information, announcements, advertisements shall be in state, Russian and in other languages if necessary.

Article 22. Language in the field of communications

      In the field of communications within the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be ensured functioning of state and Russian languages. Postal - telegraph departure outwards of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be produced according to international rules.
      Footnote. Article 22 is in the wording of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 21.11.2008 No. 89-IV (the order of the entry into force see article 2).

Chapter 5. Legal protection of languages

Article 23. Governmental protection of languages

      State and all other languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be under governmental protection. Government bodies shall create necessary conditions for functioning and development of these languages.
      Development of languages shall be provided by documents of the system of state planning of the Republic of Kazakhstan, providing priority of state language and the phased transition of office work in Kazakh language.
      List of professions, specialty and positions that require the knowledge of state language in a certain amount and in accordance with the qualification requirements shall be established by the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
      Footnote. Article 23 as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 20.12.2004 No. 13 (shall be enforced from 01.01.2005); dated 21.01.2013 No 72-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of three months after its first official publication); dated 03.07.2013 No. 124-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of ten calendar days after its first official publication).

Article 24. Responsibility for violation of legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on languages

      The chief executive officers of governmental bodies or executive secretaries or other officials, determined by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as individuals and legal entities that guilty for violation of legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on languages, shall bear responsibility in accordance with the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
      Refusal by an official to adopt appeals of individuals and legal entities, motivated by ignorance of state language, any interference in use of state and other languages in the field of their functioning, as well as violation of requirements on location of details and visual information shall entail responsibility provided for by laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
      Footnote. Article 24 is in the wording of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 21.01.2013 No. 72-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of three months after its first official publication).

Article 24-1. Competence of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan

      The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall:
      1) create the Republican terminological and onomastic Commission;
      2) approve the standard provision on regional onomastic commissions and onomastic commissions of the cities of republican significance and the capital;
      3) perform other functions assigned to him by the Constitution, this Law, other laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan and acts of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
      Footnote. Chapter 5 is supplemented with the Article 24-1 in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 21.01.2013 No. 72-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of three months after its first official publication).

Article 25. Competence of authorized body

      Authorized body shall:
      1) provide realization of unified governmental policy in the field of languages development;
      2) is excluded by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 03.07.2013 No. 124-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of ten calendar days after its first official publication).
      3) carry out the control over observance of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on languages in central and local executive bodies of oblasts, cities of republican significance and the capital;
      4) give recommendations on elimination of violations of requirements established by the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on languages shall make proposals to relevant bodies on application of disciplinary measures to officials, guilty for violation of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on languages;
      5) organize informational, methodological support of activities for implementation of unified state policy in the field of languages development;
      5-1) ensure activities of the Republican terminological and onomastic commissions;
      6) coordinate activities of onomastic commissions;
      7) develop and approve the forms of mandatory departmental reports, checklists, and criteria for assessing the degree of risk, semi-annual auditing plans in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan «On state control and supervision in the Republic of Kazakhstan»;
      8) exercise other powers provided for by this Law, other laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan, acts of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
      Footnote. Article 25 is in the wording of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 20.12.2004 No. 13 (shall be enforced from 01.01.2005); as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 06.01.2011 No. 378-IV (shall be enforced upon expiry of ten calendar days after its first official publication); dated 05.07.2011 No. 452-IV (shall be enforced from 13.10.2011); dated 10.07.2012 No. 36-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of ten calendar days after its first official publication); dated 21.01.2013 No. 72-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of three months after its first official publication ); dated 03.07.2013 No. 124-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of ten calendar days after its first official publication).

Article 25-1. Competence of onomastic commissions

      1. competence of the Republican onomastic committee shall be:
      1) development of recommendations and proposals on issues of onomastics;
      2) issue of conclusions on naming, renaming of oblasts, regions and cities, as well as refining and changing of transcription of their names;
      3) issuance of conclusions on assignment of names to airports, ports, railway stations, subway stations, bus stations, coach stations, physiographic and other objects of state ownership on the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as renaming, refining and changing of transcription of their names and assigning proper names of persons to state legal entities, legal entities with the participation of the state;
      4) issuance of conclusions on naming, renaming of districts in a city, the constituent parts of cities of regional significance, as well as refining and changing transcription of their names;
      5) agreed conclusions of onomastic commissions of cities of republican significance and the capital on naming, renaming of districts, the constituent parts of cities of Republican significance, capital as well as refining and changing transcription of their names.
      2. Competence of regional onomastic commissions shall be:
      1) Issuance of conclusions on naming, renaming of villages, settlements, rural districts, as well as refining and changing transcription of their names;
      2) Issuance of conclusions on naming, renaming of constituent parts of cities of regional significance, town, village, rural district, as well as refining and changing the transcription of their names.
      3) Competence of onomastic commissions of cities of republican significance, capital shall refer issue of reports by naming, renaming of districts in cities, the constituent parts of cities of republican significance, capital as well as refining and changing the transcription of their names after coordination with the republican onomastic commission.
      4) Local representative and executive bodies’ decision on naming, renaming, as well as refining and changing of transcription of names of administrative-territorial units, the constituent parts of settlements shall be accepted only at presence of positive conclusion of relevant onomastic commissions.
      Footnote. Chapter 5 is supplemented with the Article 25-1 in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 20.12.2004 No. 13 (shall be enforced from 01.01.2005); is in the wording of the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 21.01.2013 No. 72-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of three months after its first official publication).

Article 25-2. Competence of local executive body of an oblast, city of republican significance, capital

      Footnote. The title of Article 25-2 as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 21.01.2013 No. 72-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of three months after its first official publication).

      Local executive body of an oblast, city of republican significance, capital shall:
      1) is excluded by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 03.07.2013 No. 124-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of ten calendar days after its first official publication);
      2) exercise control over compliance with the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on languages by territorial branches of central executive bodies and regional executive bodies;
      2-1) carry out control over observance of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on languages in part of location of details and visual information;
      3) give recommendations on elimination of violations of requirements provided for by the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on languages, apply measures of administrative influence on the basis and according to the procedure provided for by the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on administrative violations;
      3-1) develop and approve an annual audit plans in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan «On state control and supervision in the Republic of Kazakhstan»;
      4) carry out complex of measures of regional significance directed to development of state and other languages;
      5) provide activity of regional onomastic commission, onomastic commissions of city of republican significance, the capital;
      6) perform in the interests of local public administration other powers assigned to local executive bodies by the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
      Footnote. The Law is supplemented with the Article 25-2 in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 20.12.2004 No. 13 (shall be enforced from 01.01.2005); as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 05.07.2011 No. 452-IV (shall be enforced from 13.10.2011); dated 21.01.2013 No. 72-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of three months after its first official publication); dated 03.07.2013 No. 124-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of ten calendar days after its first official publication).

Article 25-3. Competence of local executive body of a district (city of regional significance)

      Local executive body of a district (city of regional significance) shall:
      1) is excluded by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 03.07.2013 No. 124-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of ten calendar days after its first official publication);
      2) carry out activities of district (city of regional significance) level, aimed at the development of the state and other languages;
      3) make proposals to executive authorities of regions on naming and renaming of villages, settlements, rural districts, as well as changing in their transcription;
      4) carry out in the interests of local public administration other powers assigned to local executive bodies by the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
      Footnote. The Law is supplemented with the article 25-3 in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 20.12.2004 No. 13 (shall be enforced from 01.01.2005); as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 05.07.2011 No. 452-IV (shall be enforced from 13.10.2011); dated 21.01.2013 No. 72-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of three months after its first official publication); dated 03.07.2013 No. 124-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of ten calendar days after its first official publication).

Article 25-4. State control over observance of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on languages

      State control over observance of the legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan on languages shall be provided in the form of inspections and other forms.
      Inspection shall be carried out in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On state control and supervision in the Republic of Kazakhstan".
      Other forms of state control shall be implemented in accordance with this Law.
      Footnote. The Law is supplemented with the Article 25-4 in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 06.01.2011 No. 378-IV (shall be enforced upon expiry of ten calendar days after its first official publication).

Article 25-5. Criteria of onomastic work

      Criteria of onomastic work on naming and renaming of administrative-territorial units, components settlements, airports, ports, railway stations, subway stations, bus stations, coach stations, physiographic and other objects of state ownership in the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan, as well as refining and changing of the transcription of their names and assigning proper names of persons by state legal entities, legal entities with participation of the state shall be:
      1) accounting of historical, geographic, natural and cultural particularities;
      2) compliance with norms of literary language;
      3) single assignment of the same title to settlements, parts of settlements within one administrative-territorial unit;
      4) renaming, changing of assigned proper name of a person not earlier than ten years from the date of naming, assigning (changing) of a name;
      5) assignment of proper names of outstanding state and public figures, figures of science, culture and other persons that deserve well of the Republic of Kazakhstan and the world community not earlier than five years from the date of their death.
      Footnote. Chapter 5 is supplemented with the Article 25-5 in accordance with the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 21.01.2013 No. 72-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of three months after its first official publication).

Article 26. Is excluded by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 20.12.2004 No. 13 (shall be enforced from 01.01.2005).

Chapter 6. The use of languages in relations with foreign countries and international organizations

Article 27. Language in international activities

      Activity of diplomatic missions of the Republic of Kazakhstan and representative offices in the Republic of Kazakhstan at international organizations shall be carried out in state language with usage of other languages if necessary.
      Bilateral international treaties of the Republic of Kazakhstan with foreign governments shall be concluded in state language of the Republic of Kazakhstan and other languages agreed upon by the parties.
      Bilateral international treaties of the Republic of Kazakhstan with international organizations and multilateral international treaties of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be concluded in languages that are defined by agreement of the negotiating parties.
      Official receptions and other events with representatives of other States in the Republic of Kazakhstan shall be carried out in state language with translation into other languages.
      Footnote. Article 27 as amended by the Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 30.01.2014 No. 168-V (shall be enforced upon expiry of ten calendar days after its first official publication).

      The President
      of the Republic of Kazakhstan