The most important events and headlines that shaped the outgoing year
In general, 2021 has been a tumultuous year for the whole planet: the continuation of the pandemic, the emergence of new strains of the virus, a dramatic power shift in Afghanistan, the assassination of the President of Haiti and the migration crisis in Europe. However, despite the unforeseen circumstances that distracted the world, we must not forget about the interesting events that attracted the attention of many people. The chairmanship of Kazakhstan in the EAEU, elections to the Majilis, the participation of the President of Kazakhstan in the Special Session of the World Health Assembly of the WHO, the census of the population in Kazakhstan, and the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo are among the most important occasions of the past year. As 2021 comes to an end, El.kz portal has compiled a list of the year's most significant, vivid and memorable events.
Kazakhstan's chairmanship of the EAEU
In 2021, Kazakhstan took over the chairmanship of the Eurasian Economic Union. According to official information, the EAEU was formally established on May 29, 2014, when founding member states Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union, which entered into force on January 1, 2015.The organization was created on the initiative of the first President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Abishuly Nazarbayev.
The EAEU has been established to create the conditions for sustainable economic development in the member countries in order to improve the living standards of their populations and increase their competitiveness in the context of the global economy. Being a landlocked country, Kazakhstan has declared the reduction of transport costs as the most important systemic aspect of its economic growth and diversification. Correspondingly, it increased the competitiveness of Kazakhstani products in external markets.
Nowadays, more than 25 memorandums on cooperation between the EAEU and various countries, including Mongolia, Chile, Peru, Singapore, and Cambodia, have been undersigned as well. The Free Trade Agreement with Vietnam, the first preferential agreement within the EAEU, entered into force on October 5, 2016.
The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, outlined the main priorities of Kazakhstan's chairmanship in the EAEU during a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.
In particular, this is considered the full implementation of the Treaty on the EAEU, the elimination of barriers, the development of mutually beneficial cooperative and international cooperation, the improvement of the procedures for the formation of the staff of the Commission and strengthening of its functionality and responsibility.
Parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan
On January 10, 2021, elections were held for the Majilis, which is the lower house of parliament. The corresponding decree was signed by the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, on October 21, 2020.
The presidential decree stated that “To appoint the next elections of deputies to the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, elected by the party lists, for January 10, 2021”.
Earlier, the CEC of the Republic of Kazakhstan registered the party lists of candidates for the deputies of the Majilis from five parties: Nur Otan, the Ak Zhol Democratic Party, the People's Party of Kazakhstan, the Auyl People's Democratic Patriotic Party, and the ADAL political party. The ruling Nur Otan party won a landslide victory. Two other parties, Ak Zhol and the CPPK, have also scored the necessary threshold of votes and have been pinned to the three parties.
Meanwhile, the regular elections of the deputies to the Majilis, elected by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, took place on January 11. They were elected by their own representatives at the session of the assembly.
The presidential decree stated that “To appoint the next elections of deputies to the Majilis of the Parliament of the Republic of Kazakhstan, elected by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, for January 10, 2021”.
Census of population in Kazakhstan
In August 2020, it became known that the National Population Census in Kazakhstan had been postponed to October 2021. Previously, the census was planned to be held from October 1 to 30, 2020. However, due to the current situation with the spread of COVID-19, it was decided to postpone the National Census to October next year.
The national census of the population of Kazakhstan was held from October 1 to October 30, 2021. The Prime Minister, Askar Mamin, reported the results to the Head of State. The total number of Kazakhstani people in accordance with the results of the census was 19,169,550 people, including men – 48.71% and women – 51.29%.
The average age of the population is 31.94 years old. 33.97% of our compatriots are children under the age of 17, and 19.72% are young people aged 14–28. The share of Kazakhs in the ethnic composition reached 70.18%.
The number of citizens of working age in the country was 11,320,410 people, or 59.05% of the population of Kazakhstan.
An important musical event of the outgoing year – the "Grammy Awards-2021" – took place in Los Angeles, on January 31, 2021. The 63rd annual ceremony of the Grammy Awards is not the be-all, end-all of music achievement, or even an accurate representation of the most adventurous, unique music being made today, but it is the standard barometer of commercial success.
This year’s ceremony was different from all awards shows over the last 12 months. The ceremony was originally scheduled for January 31, and the event was postponed because of the pandemic. The 84 award presentations were broadcast not from the Staples Center and Nokia Theatre, but from the Los Angeles Convention Center. The performances have been spread out throughout Los Angeles. The main televised show was hosted by Trevor Noah of "The Daily Show". As with other award shows held during the pandemic, there was no live audience for the Grammys this year, saving a limited number of performers and nominees.
The 2021 Grammy Awards were history-making in more ways than one. Billie Eilish became the first soloist in this century to win the category "Record of the Year" two years in a row. Beyoncé also became the performing artist with the most career Grammy wins ever after picking up trophies for "Black Parade" and "Savage" with Megan Thee Stallion. At this year's ceremony, Beyoncé led the way with nine nominations, making her the most nominated female artist of all time. Dua Lipa and Taylor Swift, who both took home trophies for their respective 2020 albums, were right behind her with six nominations each.
Kazakh DJ Imanbek Zeikenov has snagged a Grammy for the best remixed recording of the song “Roses”, a chart-topping remake of rapper SAINt JHN’s melodic hit that went viral on TikTok and racked up over 1 billion plays on Spotify.
The 20-year-old self-taught producer and ex-rail transport worker from northern Kazakhstan became the first artist from a post-Soviet country to win the coveted award outside the classical and choral categories. At Sunday's socially distanced event, the unexpected pop star Imanbek made history by edging out remixes by RAC, Morgan Page, Louie Vega, and Haywyre. Imanbek’s unpredicted success, from putting out an illegal remix on social media in 2019 to seeing it become an overnight global phenomenon, reflects the power shift in pop music from industry powerhouses to young audiences.
There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the film industry. In particular, the shooting of a number of films was suspended, and the premieres were delayed as well.
After being postponed for two months due to the ongoing pandemic, “Oscars 2021” finally commenced in April of the outgoing year, recognizing the best films of 2020 and early 2021. The 93rd annual ceremony looked different this year and marked a milestone for diversity with first-time winners and nominees.
For the movie “Nomadland”, Beijing-born Chloé Zhao became the first Asian and second woman ever to win the Best Director award. This movie also took the award for "Best Picture" and Frances McDormand won her award for "Best Actress" in a leading role. The award ceremony also acknowledged Youn Yuh-jung, the first Korean and only the second Asian actress to win an Oscar in the category of “Best Supporting Actress”, for her role in the 2020 drama film “Minari”. The hair stylists of Ma Rainey's movie "Black Bottom", Mia Neal, and Jamika Wilson, took the statue for the "Best Makeup and Hairstyling" category (along with makeup artist Sergio Lopez-Rivera), making them the first-ever black stylists to win in the category.
This year's other notable nominations are the nominations of Riz Ahmed, the first Muslim actor to be nominated for "Best Actor" in a leading role for the movie “Sound of Metal”, as well as Steven Yeun, the first Asian-American actor nominated in the same category for his role in “Minari”. Seasoned actor Anthony Hopkins took the figurine for the "Best Actor" award for “The Father”, marking his second best actor victory (his first win was in 1994 for his role as Hannibal Lecter in "The Silence of the Lambs") and the oldest-ever acting Oscar winner.
The Hong Kong film “Better Days”, nominated for “Best International Feature Film”— the third Hong Kong film ever to be nominated for the award — didn’t get to take the statue as Denmark's movie “Another Round” won the category.
Tokyo Olympic Games 2020
2021 has been an anticipated year for those who are involved in sports too. The Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics are underway after the Games were delayed for almost a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Recalling that the Olympic Games were planned to be held in Japan from July 24 to August 9, 2020. At the end of March 2020, it became known that the Games were postponed due to the strict restrictions of COVID-19. However, the competition has retained the “2020” prefix. Later, the International Olympic Committee approved the new dates for the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. According to the plans, the competition took place from July 23 to August 8, 2021.
Overall, 339 medals were handed out across 33 sports, and the USA Team was the big winner, collecting one third of all of the medals that were awarded there. The US finished with 39 gold, 41 silver, and 33 bronze medals, with their overall tally of 113 medals the largest number achieved by a nation at Tokyo 2020. China finished second with 38 gold, 32 silver and 18 bronze medals, while the host country, Japan celebrated its most successful Games with 27 gold, 14 silver and 17 bronze medals. Britain and the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) rounded off the top five, winning 22 and 20 gold medals, respectively.
At the recently completed XXXII Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, the national team of Kazakhstan received eight bronze medals. For the first time in a quarter of a century, the republic was left without a gold or silver medal, unlike its neighbors from Kyrgyzstan or Turkmenistan. In the team competition, Kazakhstan took 83rd place, losing to almost all the teams from the post-Soviet space.
The Japanese capital pulled the curtains down on one of history's most unique games, handing over the flag to Paris with the message of moving forward while remembering those who lost their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a large firework display adding a burst of sound to the dancing, singing, and merry-making.
Football Championship in Europe
Another competition that sports fans around the world have been waiting for is the European Football Championship, which was supposed to take place in the summer of 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic also affected this occasion.
In March 2020, UEFA announced the postponement of EURO 2020 to 2021 due to the pandemic. The tournament was planned to be held in June-july of the outgoing year. The final stage of UEFA EURO 2020 took place from June 11 to July 11.
Italy continued their 34-match winning streak as they defeated England in the final of the Uefa European Championship (Euro 2020) that went into a penalty shootout after a 1-1 scoreline at the Wembley Stadium in London on Monday. England missed three penalties in the shootout as Italy defeated England 3-2 in the Euro 2020 final. The loss for the home team meant their search for a second major title after their “World Cup-1966” and the first European title continues.
For Italy, this is their second European title after 1968 and their first major title since the 2006 World Cup win. This was their second final in the last three European editions. The high-octane clash between the two teams started with England taking the lead in the second minute of the game. However, the initial intensity of the English side dropped, and they were not able to create many chances. In the second half, the Italians took control of the game and started threatening England's goalpost. The breakthrough for Italy came in the 67th minute after defender Leonardo Bonucci scored from close range.
Expo 2020 in Dubai
One of the most exciting events that has been delayed for a year is the international exhibition “EXPO-2020” in Dubai. For the first time in history, an international cultural exhibition is taking place in the Middle East. The event kicked off with an opening ceremony focusing on the power of global collaboration, featuring fireworks and music. This exhibition is one of the first large-scale global events since the pandemic began, as the world is slowly trying to return to normal life and social gatherings.
To combat a global reluctance to travel due to health concerns, organizers will be streaming events online until the end of the exhibition in March 2022. Despite the current global climate, Dubai still expects to boost its economy by attracting 25 million business and tourist visits to the world fair over the six months that it is scheduled.
“Expo 2020” has the attention of the world right now, as it is one of the first major global events open to visitors since the coronavirus pandemic, which shut down large-scale events in March 2020. Once the full site is open, it will include exhibitors from almost 200 countries on the 4.3-square-kilometer site, which has been built in the desert outside of the city.
Kazakhstan has been a member of the International Bureau of Exhibitions since 1997 and has traditionally taken part in EXPO exhibitions since 1998. In 2017, Kazakhstan held the international specialized exhibition “EXPO-2017 Astana”, focusing on future energy technology. According to the official data, Kazakhstan opened its national pavilion at EXPO-2020 in Dubai on October 1, 2021. Kazakhstan’s national pavilion, located in the Opportunities District, is in close proximity to the pavilions of the United Arab Emirates, the United States, Switzerland, Austria, Saudi Arabia, China, Japan, India, and Belarus.
The pavilion of Kazakhstan showed the diversity of the country and how the traditions of the East can be harmoniously combined with modern digital solutions. The first visitors were greeted by the CITIX smartboard, which welcomed them in 15 languages from around the world, assisted them in navigating their zones and neighboring pavilions, shared news and weather reports, and recalled business forums and educational discussions. The CITIX smartboard is Kazakhstani hospitality, and the hospitality is translated into a digital format.
Russian Crew Arrived at Space Station to Film First Movie in Orbit
On October 5, 2021, an unusual ISS (International Space Station) crew departed from the Baikonur cosmodrome for the International Space Station. A Russian actress and director arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) to begin a 12-day mission to make the first movie in orbit.
According to footage broadcast live by the Russian space agency, actress Yulia Peresild, 37, and film director Klim Shipenko, 38, took off from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan as scheduled.
The filmmakers had blasted off from the Russia-leased Baikonur Cosmodrome in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan earlier in October, traveling to the ISS with veteran cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov to film the scenes for "The Challenge".
The film, that is tentatively titled "The Challenge" is about a female doctor flying to the ISS because one of the cosmonauts requires medical assistance. The details are still kept secret, but, in accordance with media sources, the plot revolves around the fact that the cosmonaut, who lost consciousness during the spacewalk, needs urgent heart surgery, but doctors forbid him to return to the Earth. That`s why, the operation was done right at the station.
Russia’s Roscosmos was also dealt a blow after SpaceX last year successfully delivered astronauts to the ISS, ending Moscow’s monopoly on journeys to the orbital station.
In a bid to spruce up its image and diversify its revenue, Russia’s space program revealed this year that it will be reviving its tourism plan to ferry fee-paying adventurers to the ISS.
Active participation of Kazakhstan`s President in international arena
The end of 2021 has been marked by the active participation of the Head of State, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, in a number of important world-class events. On November 29, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan arrived in Switzerland for an official visit.
Noting the leading role of WHO in the fight against the pandemic, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev spoke about the work carried out in this direction and made a number of practical proposals.
The visit to Geneva also includes participation in the special session of the World Health Assembly, meetings with heads of UN and international organizations, participation in the Kazakhstan-Switzerland Investment Round Table and meetings with leading companies.
Earlier, Tokayev took part at the VIII summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking states. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart K. Tokayev, Kyrgyz President Sadyr Japarov, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev and Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban, that is an observer state, attended the summit, that was held on Democracy and Freedoms in the Sea of Marmara.
Ways to further develop cooperation among the friendly countries in every field were also discussed at the summit, during which Turkey assumed the presidency of the organization from Azerbaijan.
In his speech, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev expressed his sincere gratitude to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for organizing the meeting of the Heads of the Turkic-speaking States and for the hospitality shown on Turkish soil.
The Head of State called for the adoption of the documents regulating the relations of the Turkic Council with third countries at the end of the summit. He also expressed confidence that the organization would take its rightful place in the world community.
(Images were taken from open Internet sources)