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The Kyrgyz public has reacted with surprise to the idea of renaming their capital after a mythical national hero.

Politician Emilbek Kaptagayev wants the city of Bishkek to be known as Manas, a warrior whose adventures make up a massive epic poem dated back to at least the 18th century. The former presidential chief of staff posted on that this would prevent "any temptations that might emerge after the passage of the years" to rename the capital after potentially-divisive politicians.

The impetus for this was the decision of neighbouring Kazakhstan to change the name of its capital city from Astana to Nur-Sultan, in honour of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the country's first president who stepped down last week after nearly 30 years at the helm.

Reaction ranges from exasperation to wry humour, although the proposal does muster some support.

"Manas sounds better than Bishkek, at least from the aesthetic point of view," writes one on Facebook, while another thinks it's an "".But many members of the public want money spent on pressing social problems like pensions and childcare rather than "".

"The people are , while these idiots want to change the names of capital cities," one angry commentator wrote under the Facebook post.

Mr Kaptagayev comes in for some personal criticism too.

"I can see why no-one will give him an official job anymore," writes one sceptic on the news site.

"Do something to develop the city first, then call it what you like. Call it Kaptagayev if you want to," says another.

Alternatively, some called on the politician to change his own name to Manas, or even Bishkek.

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