The dispute over the name of our “southern capital” arose long ago and periodically flares up again.
During this time, in my opinion, it has acquired a more political color than practical.
In fact, the picture seems to me very simple.
If we speak Kazakh, then we need to use the Kazakh spelling of this word – “Almaty”.
If we speak Russian, then it is necessary to use Russian words from the Russian lexicon. In Russian there is the word “Alma-Ata”, and in most Russian directories this city is called exactly in this way.
There is no political or national background here.
The bearer and “master” of the Russian language are the Russian people, that is, Russia. It’s up to them how to write those or other words in their language. We cannot force Russians to write the names, even of our Kazakhstan cities, as we want. If we use their language, then we must obey their grammar rules and use their words.
This rule is valid all over the world.
For example, many Chinese people probably do not like that their capital in Russian is called not «Бейджин» (Beidjin) (so it would be closer to the original), but «Пекин» (Pekin). But they cannot do anything. It’s not their language, it’s not up to them. Also, the French capital in a strange way from “Pari” (French) or Paris (English) turned into Russian «Париж» (Parizh). The French do not even mind to force Russians to pronounce “Pari” in Russian, and not «Париж» (Parizh). There are many such examples: «Дойчланд» (Doichland) in German, “Germany” in English, “Almaniya” in Turkish; “Roma” in Italian, “Rome” in English, “Рим” (Rim) in Russian, etc.
In the end, the capital of Russia itself in the Kazakh language sounds like «Мәскәу» (Maskau). Russians, on the other hand, do not demand from Kazakhs that their capital be written and read in Kazakh as «Москва» (Moskva). “Hosts” of the Kazakh language, are we, Kazakhs, and we decide how to write and pronounce a particular word in our language.
The same with our southern capital. We should learn from Russian official sources about how to write the name of this city in Russian texts. If it is written as “Alma-Ata”, then it is necessary to write “Alma-Ata” (by the way, it is true: at the disposal of the President of the Russian Federation No. 1495 dated August 17, 1995, it is written that this city should be called “Alma-Ata” .
The same applies to the names of other localities in Kazakhstan.
In Russian texts we should write «Чимкент» (Chimkent) and in Kazakh – «Шымкент» (Shymkent); in Russian we should write «Усть-Каменогорск» (Ust-Kamenogorsk), and in Kazakh – «Өскемен» (Oskemen); in Russian – «Уральск» (Uralsk), and in Kazakh – «Орал» (Oral).
And this will not be an infringement of our national interests. It’s just a grammar of two languages.