Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; Russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstán), also spelled Kazakstan, is a country that stretches over a vast expanse of Asia and a former republic of the now extinct USSR. It has borders with Russia, the People's Republic of China, and countries of Central Asia, such as Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and has a coastline on the Caspian Sea.
Kazakhistan is a Turkic nation. Kazakhstan is the ninth-largest country in the world by area, but its semi-deserts (steppe) make it only the 57th country in population, with approximately 6 persons per sq km (16 per sq mi). Kazakhstan's population ranges from 15,143,704 (CIA World Factbook 2004) to 16,798,552 (Encarta Encyclopedia Online ), depending on the source.
|Official languages||Kazakh, Russian|
|Prime minister||Daniyal Akhmetov|
| Ranked 9th|
- Total (2001)
| Ranked 57th|
|Independence - Declared -||From the Soviet Union, December 16, 1991|
|Time zone||UTC +4 to +6|
|National anthem||Anthem of the Republic of Kazakhstan|
Main article: History of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan, once colonized by Czarist Russia, was absorbed into the Soviet Union following the Russian Revolution of 1917, led at that time by V.I. Lenin. During the reign of Stalin Kazakhstan was known for its Steplag correctional facility and for hosting deported Chechens, Koreans and Volga Germans. Later Kazakhstan became a site for several ambitious successful Soviet projects: the Semipalatinsk Test Site and nuclear laboratories, Baikonur space facility, and fallowing of virgin lands.
Kazakhstan proclaimed its independence in the early 1990s, immediately following the breakdown of the U.S.S.R. The current President of Kazakhstan is Nursultan Nazarbayev.
In 1997 the capital of Kazakhstan moved from the southern city of Almaty to Akmolinsk (Akmola), later renamed to Astana, a city closer to the geographic center of the country. This decision was partly based on the prediction by geologists that Almaty would suffer a severe earthquake in the near future.
Main article: Politics of Kazakhstan
Although Kazakhstan is considered to have made greater progress in the field of democratic reforms, compared to the other Central Asian countries, the situation is far from perfect and international and non-governmental human rights organizations often point to frequent violations of human rights by state officials. The most famous recent case is the trial of opposition journalist Sergei Duvanov. The media is also very tightly controlled by members of the president's immediate family which significantly limits air time and press space for his opponents.
The 1999 election was illegally held two years ahead of scheduale and Nursultan Nazarbayev won by a large margin keeping him in power since 1990. Many argue that repressive tactics like prohibiting those accused of "administrative offenses", such as attending meetings of groups not authorized by the government, from running for political office. High fees for running also prohibit many from entering politics without seeking the president's financial endorsements.
Kazakhstan is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Main article: Oblystar of Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is divided into 14 oblystar (singular - oblysy) and 3 cities (qala, singular - qalasy)*:
Almaty, Almaty*, Aqmola (Astana), Aqtobe, Astana*, Atyrau, Batys Qazaqstan (Oral), Bayqongyr*, Mangghystau (Aqtau; formerly Shevchenko), Ongtustik Qazaqstan (Shymkent), Pavlodar, Qaraghandy, Qostanay, Qyzylorda, Shyghys Qazaqstan (Oskemen; formerly Ust'Petropavl" title ="Petropavl">Petropavl), Zhambyl (Taraz; formerly Dzhambul)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses); in 1995 the Governments of Kazakhstan and Russia entered into an agreement whereby Russia would lease for a period of 20 years an area of 6,000 km² enclosing the Bayqongyr (Baykonur) space launch facilities and the city of Bayqongyr (formerly Leninsk).
Main article: Geography of Kazakhstan
- Cities of Kazakhstan
- Rivers and lakes include:
Main article: Economy of Kazakhstan
Main article: Demographics of Kazakhstan
The main ethnic groups in Kazakhstan are Kazakhs (Qazaq) 46%, Russians 34.7%, Ukrainians 4.9%, Germans 0.2%, Uzbeks 2.3%, Tatars 1.9% (as of 1996). Note: Before 1991 three million Germans lived in Kazakhstan.
Main article: Culture of Kazakhstan
- Communications in Kazakhstan
- Transportation in Kazakhstan
- Military of Kazakhstan
- Foreign relations of Kazakhstan
- List of Kazakh historical figures
In part because of the country'Steppe" title ="Steppe">steppe, the Soviet government used Kazakhstan as its nuclear testing site, and this, along with near-absent pollution controls, has contributed to an alarmingly high rate of disease in many rural areas. Kazakhstan has identified at least two major ecological disasters within its borders-- the shrinking of the Aral Sea and radioactive contamination at the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing facility (in fact a large zone south of Koursatov) and along the Chinese border.
The Central Asian Regional Environmental Center is located in Kazakhstan, which fosters regional cooperation on environmental issues.
Kazakhstan possesses the Soviet equivalent to the United States'Cape_Canaveral" title ="Cape Canaveral">Cape Canaveral, where they have launched their version of the space shuttle and the well-known space station Mir. Russia currently leases approximately 6,000 km² of territory enclosing the Baikonur Cosmodrome space launch site in south central Kazakhstan.
The name of the city of Almaty, 'Father of Apples'Apple" title ="Apple">apples that grow naturally in the area.
The popular TV creation of Sacha Baron Cohen (aka Ali G) of "Borat" represents a seemingly naive Kazakhstan television reporter uncovering the inconsistencies of western culture. Interestingly, the ambassador from Kazakhstan to the United Kingdom was insulted by the character claiming it was far from an authentic representation of Kazakhstan.
Talented cyclist Alexander Vinokourov represents Kazakhstan in his cycling career for the German T-mobile team. Vinokourov has an impressive cycling record finishing third overall in the 2003 Tour de France.
- Travel guide to Kazakhstan from Wikitravel
- http://freedomhouse.org/research/nattransit.htm - the truth about transitioning democracies (scroll down and click on NIT 2004 country reports)
Map of contaminated zones in red]
|Countries in Central Asia|
|Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)|
|Armenia | Azerbaijan | Belarus | Georgia | Kazakhstan | Kyrgyzstan | Moldova | Russia | Tajikistan | Turkmenistan | Ukraine | Uzbekistan|
cy:Kazakstan da:Kasakhstan de:Kasachstan et:Kasahstan es:Kazajstán eo:Kazaĥio fi:Kazakstan fr:Kazakhstan id:Kazakhstan it:Kazakistan he:קזחסטן lt:Kazachija ja:カザフスタン nds:Kasachstan nl:Kazachstan no:Kasakhstan pl:Kazachstan pt:Cazaquistão ru:Казахстан sa:कजाकस्थान sk:Kazachstan sl:Kazahstan sv:Kazakstan tt:Qazaqstan th:ประเทศคาซัคสถาน uk:Казахстан zh:哈萨克斯坦