Toponyms are significant linguistic elements that reflect a nation’s worldview, history, customs and culture as well as forming a bridge between the past and the future. They are merits that will always freeze in people’s minds and remain there as a means of spiritual richness for centuries. The geographical names, which bear in them national elements, remain in people’s historical memory when identified with certain objects and concepts and, thus, pass on from generation to generation.Toponyms generally bear clues regarding which nation the name belongs to, as they reflect the way of life of peoples in a given region. This issue is directly related to the region’s administrative system, political ordern, language, etc. The changing political circumstances play a significant role in the change in toponyms. Under the Soviet rule, many place names were changed in Kazakhstan. Even though this process started in the Tsarist regime, it was seen that the number of the changes in place names was big enough to wipe off a nation’s historical memory. Names are exposed to change under the influence of the new world order in the eyes of the law. The new ideology based on the ideas of freedom and equality dominating the period after the October Revolution in Russia became determinatve in Kazakhstan toponyms. The social and political reasons behind the change in the place names in Kazakhstan during Soviet rule comprise the central subject of this study. The history, source, reasons of change, the usage by the people and the present usage of place names will be scrutinized in detail with such examples as Vernıy, Perovsk, Çernyayev, Pavlodar, Petropavlovsk, Vannovka, etc.
Keywords: Language Policy, Kazakhstan toponyms, Soviet period, Toponymy.