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Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан, Qazaqstan; Russian: Казахстан, Kazakhstán), also spelled Kazakstan, is a country chiefly in Central Asia and a former republic of the now extinct USSR. It has borders with Russia, the People's Republic of China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and has a coastline on the Caspian Sea.

Kazakhstan is the ninth-largest country in the world by area, but its deserts make it only the 57th country in population. Kazakhstan's population is 14,841,900 (2001).

Қазақстан Республикасы
Qazaqstan Respūblīkasy
Республика Казахстан
Respublika Kazakhstan
Official languagesKazakh, Russian
Official scriptCyrillic
Largest CityAlmaty
PresidentNursultan Nazarbayev
Prime ministerDaniyal Akhmetov
 - Total
Ranked 9th
2,717,300 km²
Population  - Total (2001)   DensityRanked 57th 14,841,900 5.5/km²
Independence - Declared - From the Soviet Union, December 16, 1991
Time zoneUTC +4 to +6
National anthemAnthem of the Republic of Kazakhstan
Internet TLD.KZ
Calling Code7

Table of contents
1 History
2 Politics
3 Oblystar
4 Geography
5 Economy
6 Demographics
7 Culture
8 Miscellaneous topics
9 External links


Main article: History of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan, once colonised by Czarist Russia, was absorbed into the Soviet Union following the Russian Revolution of 1917, led at that time by V.I. Lenin. During Stalin time Kazakhstan is known for its Steplag correctional facility and for hosting deported Chechens. Later Kazakhstan became a place for several ambitious successful Soviet projects: Semipalatinsk nuclear laboratories and testing site, 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.


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.

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'-Kamenogorsk), Soltustik Qazaqstan (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 sq km enclosing the Bayqongyr (Baykonur) space launch facilities and the city of Bayqongyr (formerly Leninsk).


Main article: Geography of Kazakhstan


Main article:
Economy of Kazakhstan


Main article: Demographics of Kazakhstan


Main article: Culture of Kazakhstan

Miscellaneous topics

Environmental issues

In part because of the country's enormous deserts, 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, 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, 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' in English, derives from the wild apples that grow naturally in the area.

The popular TV creation of Sacha Baron Cohen of "Borat" represents a seemingly naive Kazakhstan television reporter uncovering the inconsistencies western culture. Interestingly, the ambassador from Kazakhstan to the United Kindom was insulted by the character claiming it was far from an authentic representation of Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan appears in the movies Air Force One (with Harrison Ford), The World is Not Enough (James Bond), and Rollerball (with Jean Reno).

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.

External links

[ Edit {}] Countries in Central Asia
China | Kazakhstan | Kyrgyzstan | Mongolia | Tajikistan | Turkmenistan | Uzbekistan