Present day Astana boasts new modern government and business offices, a discrete number of good quality hotels to accommodate visitors, apartment blocks matching the European standards, lovely squares and boulevards, modern roads as well as charming river promenade on both banks of the River Ishim. The capitals population is around 70% Russian, Ukrainian and German, and 30% Kazakh. Astana has undergone several identity changes since it was founded in 1830 as a Russian fortress called Akmola (a Kazakh name weaning enther whie tomb, or white plenty) When Nikita Khrushchev announced his Virgin Lands scheme, Akmola became the project's headquarters and was renamed Tselinograd in 1961. After the USSR collapsed, Akmola got back its old name, and would have kept it if Nazarbaev's plan to shift the capital here hadn't attracted such unfavourable comments. Cynics jibed that Akmola would be the president's own political white tomb. thus the place became simply Astana-Kazakh for capital. Reason cited by Nazarbaev for the changed were Astana's more central and less earthquake-prone location than Almaty, and better transport links with Russia.