Republic of Kazakhstan

Kazakstan Respublikasy



Kazakhstan is located in the center of the Eurasian landmass in what is known as Central Asia. Kazakhstan is bordered on the east by China, on the south by Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, on the west by the Caspian Sea, and on the north by Russia. The capital city of Astana is located 1,300 kilometers (808 miles) north of Almaty (the former capital), roughly in the center of the country. With a total surface area of 2,717,300 square kilometers (1,049,150 square miles), Kazakhstan is the ninth-largest country in the world, slightly less than 4 times the size of the U.S. state of Texas. The northern border with Russia, which spans 6,846 kilometers (4,030 miles), is the longest continuous bi-national border in the world.

In physical respects, Kazakhstan is a country of superlatives. It sweeps from the high mountain border regions near China across the mineral rich regions of Eastern Kazakhstan, then further west across broad expanses of plains to the oil-rich regions of Western Kazakhstan near the shore of the Caspian Sea. To the north, Kazakhstan is bordered by the taigas of southern Siberia (taigas are subarctic forests that border on the harsher arctic tundra); to the south, Kazakhstan is bordered by the Aral Sea and the deserts of Central Asia. Kazakhstan is rich in oil, gas, and other mineral resources including gold, iron ore, coal, copper, chrome, and zinc. Large oil deposits are located in the western regions of Kazakhstan and in the Caspian coastal region. Massive Soviet Union-era mining and mineral processing complexes are located at various points around the country. Kazakhstan is home to the Baikonur Soviet Cosmod-rome, still used as the launching pad for Russian space flights. Kazakhstan is also home to the main Soviet nuclear weapons testing range, not used since 1992, located near the city of Semipalatinsk in the northeastern part of the country.


The population of Kazakhstan was estimated at 16,733,227 in July 2000, a slight decrease from the 1990 population. In 2000 the birth rate stood at 16.78 births per 1,000 while the death rate was 10.56 deaths per 1,000 persons. Migration out of the country, estimated at 6.7 persons per 1,000, has been a major source of the country's population decline. The population was estimated to be shrinking at a rate of .05 percent a year in 2000.

Kazakhstan is the second largest state in terms of territory to emerge from the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). In December 1991, when Kazakhstan declared national independence from the USSR, the government and economy were still closely tied to the Soviet centralized economic and managerial systems. Kazakhstan's politically moderate, multi-national population was divided roughly in half between indigenous ethnic Kazakhs and other peoples—Russians, Germans, Ukrainians, Chinese, Uygurs, Koreans—as well as dozens of other smaller national and ethnic groups. In 2000 the population was roughly 46 percent Kazakh, 35 percent Russian, 5 percent Ukrainian, 3 percent German, 3 percent Uzbek, 2 percent Tatar. In terms of religious identification, roughly 47 percent of the

population professed Islam, while 46 percent was Russian Orthodox or Protestant.

The Kazakh language belongs to the family of Turkic languages. Turkic languages are far removed in structure and derivation from Indo-European languages. Russian shares many structural features and linguistic roots with other European languages. The Turkic languages, in contrast, have few links with major European languages. Soon after national independence, the Kazakh language was adopted as the official state language of Kazakhstan. Roughly 40 percent of the population of the country lists Kazakh at their principal language, about while 40 percent of the population lists Russian as their principal language. In practice, most government and commerce is conducted in Russian.

Kazakhstan's multicultural composition is a source of both tension and cooperation. Given the roughly equal balance of numbers among the largest ethnic groups, there is a widespread recognition of the need for equal treatment under the law.


Kazakhstan has no territories or colonies.


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Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Kazakhstan. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Hopkirk, Peter. The Great Game: The Struggle for Empire in Central Asia . London: Kodansha International, 1994.

Kalyuzhnova, Yelena. Kazakstani Economy: Independence and Transition. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

Kaser, Michael Charles. The Economies of Kazakstan and Uzbekistan. London; Royal Institute of International Affairs, and Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1997.

Kazakhstan: The Transition to a Market Economy. Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 1993.

Kazecon. <http://www.kazecon.kz/> . Accessed February 2001.

Kazhegeldin, Akezhan. "Shattered Image: Misconceptions of Democracy and Capitalism in Kazakhstan," Harvard International Review . Vol. 22, Winter/Spring 2000.

International Monetary Fund. Republic of Kazakhstan and the IMF. <http://www.imf.org/external/country/KAZ/index.htm> . Accessed February 2001.

The National Bank of Kazakhstan. <http://www.nationalbank.kz/eng/> . Accessed February 2001.

President's Office of the Kazakhstan Government. Welcome to the Official Kazakhstan. <http://www.president.kz/> . Accessed February 2001.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http:// www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html> . Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2000 Country Commercial Guide: Kazakhstan. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/2000/Europe/index.html> . Accessed September 2001.

—Gregory Gleason




Tenge (T). One tenge equals 100 tiyin. No coins exist. Paper currency comes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 tenge as well as 1, 3, 5, 10 and 20 tiyin.


Oil, ferrous and nonferrous metals, machinery, chemicals, grain, wool, meat, coal.


Machinery and parts, industrial materials, oil and gas, vehicles.


US$54.5 billion (in purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).


Exports: US$5.2 billion (1999 est.). Imports: US$4.8 billion (1999 est.).

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