Republic of Kazakhstan
CAPITAL : Astana (as of December 1997; formerly Almaty)
FLAG : Light blue with a yellow sun and soaring eagle in the center and a yellow vertical ornamentation in the hoist.
ANTHEM : National Anthem of Kazakhstan .
MONETARY UNIT : The tenge ( T ), issued in 15 November 1993, is the national currency, replacing the ruble ( R ). There is a coin, the tyin. One hundred tyin equal one tenge. As of May 2003, T 1 = $0.00661 (or $1 = T 151.2), but exchange rates fluctuate widely.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is in force.
HOLIDAYS : New Year, 31 December–1 January; International Women's Day, 8 March; Nauryz (Kazak New Year), 28 March; Solidarity Day, 1 May; Victory Day, 9 May; Independence Day, 25 October.
TIME : 5 PM = noon GMT.
The topography of Kazakhstan is varied, as it extends from the Volga River to the Altai Mountains, and from plains in western Siberia to central Asian oasis and desert. About 12% of Kazakhstan's land is arable with less than 1% under irrigation.
The country has an arid continental climate. In January, the mean temperature is -5° C (23° F ). Rainfall averages between 25 cm (9.8 in) and 38 cm (15 in). Because of the wide ranges in elevation in the country, there are wide variations in temperature and rainfall.
The sparse plant covering in the desert consists of saltworts, wormwoods, alhagi, and a haloxylon typical of the southern desert. Animals include the antelope, sand cat, and jerboa.
Kazakhs constituted about 53% of the population in 1999 and Russians, about 30%. The remaining population consists of Ukrainians (4%), Uzbeks (3%), Germans (2%), Uighur (1%), and other groups collectively constituting about 7%.
Fisheries are concentrated around the Caspian Sea, and are of some importance to the local economy. The total catch in 2000 was 25,774 tons, all from inland fishing. Freshwater bream and Azov sea sprat were the principal species.
Only 4.5% of Kazakhstan is covered by forests and woodlands; forestry is of little commercial importance. Imports of forestry products amounted to nearly $88 million in 2000.
Approximately 73 insurance companies were registered in 1999.
As of 1 January 1994, 458,700 households were on waiting lists for housing in urban areas. In 2000, there were about 10,500 new housing units built. About 91% of the population had access to improved water sources and 99% had access to improved sanitation systems.
Kazakhstan has no territories or colonies.
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George, Alexandra. Journey into Kazakhstan: The True Face of the Nazarbayev Regime. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 2001.
Kazakhstan. Minneapolis: Lerner, 1993.
Kazakhstan. Washington, D.C.: International Monetary Fund, 1992.
Nazpary, Joma. Post-Soviet Chaos: Violence and Dispossession in Kazakhstan. Sterling, Va.: Pluto Press, 2002.
Olcott, Martha Brill. Kazakhstan: Unfulfilled Promise. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2002.
World Bank. Kazakhstan: The Transition to a Market Economy. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1993.