Central Asia: Kazakhstan

About Kazakhstan

Native Kazakhs, a mix of Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes who migrated into the region in the 13th century, were rarely united as a single nation. The area was conquered by Russia in the 18th century and Kazakhstan became a Soviet Republic in 1936. During the 1950s and 1960s agricultural "Virgin Lands" program, Soviet citizens were encouraged to help cultivate Kazakhstan's northern pastures. This influx of immigrants (mostly Russians, but also some other deported nationalities) skewed the ethnic mixture and enabled non-Kazakhs to outnumber natives. Independence has caused many of these newcomers to emigrate. Current issues include: developing a cohesive national identity; expanding the development of the country's vast energy resources and exporting them to world markets; and continuing to strengthen relations with neighboring states and other foreign powers.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Astana; note - the government
Population: 16,731,303 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 35% (1999 est.)
Language: Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 40%, Russian (official, used in everyday business) 66%
Date of independence: 16 December 1991 (from the Soviet U
Form of government: republic
Title of Leader: President
Natural Resources: major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium
Environmental Issues: radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with its former defense industries and test ranges are found throughout the country and pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because the two main rivers whi
Agricultural Products: grain (mostly spring wheat), cotton; wool, livestock
Imports: machinery and parts, industrial materials, oil and gas, vehicles
Exports: oil 40%, ferrous and nonferrous metals, machinery, chemicals, grain, wool, meat, coal
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: Russia 37%, US, Uzbekistan, Turkey, UK, Germany, Ukraine, South Korea (1999)
EXPORTS: EU 23%, Russia 20%, China 8% (1999)


Kazakhstan Headlines


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