Central Asia :: Kazakhstan
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Kazakhstan
Location of Kazakhstan
 
Map of Kazakhstan
Introduction ::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 in 1991 caused many of these newcomers to emigrate. Kazakhstan's economy is larger than those of all the other Central Asian states combined, largely due to the country's vast natural resources and a recent history of political stability. Current issues include: developing a cohesive national identity; expanding the development of the country's vast energy resources and exporting them to world markets; achieving a sustainable economic growth; diversifying the economy outside the oil, gas, and mining sectors; enhancing Kazakhstan's competitiveness; and strengthening relations with neighboring states and other foreign powers.
Geography ::Kazakhstan
Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural (Zhayyq) River in eastern-most Europe
48 00 N, 68 00 E
total: 2,724,900 sq km
country comparison to the world: 9
land: 2,699,700 sq km
water: 25,200 sq km
slightly less than four times the size of Texas
total: 12,185 km
border countries: China 1,533 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,224 km, Russia 6,846 km, Turkmenistan 379 km, Uzbekistan 2,203 km
0 km (landlocked); note - Kazakhstan borders the Aral Sea, now split into two bodies of water (1,070 km), and the Caspian Sea (1,894 km)
none (landlocked)
continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid
vast flat steppe extending from the Volga in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east and from the plains of western Siberia in the north to oases and deserts of Central Asia in the south
lowest point: Vpadina Kaundy -132 m
highest point: Khan Tangiri Shyngy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m
major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium
arable land: 8.28%
permanent crops: 0.05%
other: 91.67% (2005)
35,560 sq km (2003)
109.6 cu km (1997)
total: 35 cu km/yr (2%/17%/82%)
per capita: 2,360 cu m/yr (2000)
earthquakes in the south; mudslides around Almaty
radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with former defense industries and test ranges scattered throughout the country pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because the two main rivers that flowed into the Aral Sea have been diverted for irrigation, it is drying up and leaving behind a harmful layer of chemical pesticides and natural salts; these substances are then picked up by the wind and blown into noxious dust storms; pollution in the Caspian Sea; soil pollution from overuse of agricultural chemicals and salination from poor infrastructure and wasteful irrigation practices
party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol
landlocked; Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing the Baykonur Cosmodrome; in January 2004, Kazakhstan and Russia extended the lease to 2050
People ::Kazakhstan
15,399,437 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
0-14 years: 21.8% (male 1,717,469/female 1,643,920)
15-64 years: 70.2% (male 5,279,292/female 5,534,607)
65 years and over: 7.9% (male 426,494/female 797,655) (2009 est.)
total: 29.6 years
male: 28.1 years
female: 31.3 years (2009 est.)
0.392% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
16.6 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 127
9.39 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75
-3.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
urban population: 58% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.2% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.54 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 25.73 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 86
male: 30.15 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 67.87 years
country comparison to the world: 152
male: 62.58 years
female: 73.47 years (2009 est.)
1.88 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 147
0.1% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 119
12,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 97
fewer than 500 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93
noun: Kazakhstani(s)
adjective: Kazakhstani
Kazakh (Qazaq) 53.4%, Russian 30%, Ukrainian 3.7%, Uzbek 2.5%, German 2.4%, Tatar 1.7%, Uygur 1.4%, other 4.9% (1999 census)
Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%
Kazakh (Qazaq, state language) 64.4%, Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the "language of interethnic communication") 95% (2001 est.)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.5%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.3% (1999 est.)
total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 16 years (2007)
2.3% of GDP (2005)
country comparison to the world: 163
Government ::Kazakhstan
conventional long form: Republic of Kazakhstan
conventional short form: Kazakhstan
local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy
local short form: Qazaqstan
former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch
name: Astana
geographic coordinates: 51 10 N, 71 25 E
time difference: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
note: Kazakhstan is divided into two time zones
14 provinces (oblystar, singular - oblys) and 3 cities* (qalalar, singular - qala); Almaty Oblysy, Almaty Qalasy*, Aqmola Oblysy (Astana), Aqtobe Oblysy, Astana Qalasy*, Atyrau Oblysy, Batys Qazaqstan Oblysy (Oral), Bayqongyr Qalasy*, Mangghystau Oblysy (Aqtau), Ongtustik Qazaqstan Oblysy (Shymkent), Pavlodar Oblysy, Qaraghandy Oblysy, Qostanay Oblysy, Qyzylorda Oblysy, Shyghys Qazaqstan Oblysy (Oskemen), Soltustik Qazaqstan Oblysy (Petropavlovsk), Zhambyl Oblysy (Taraz)
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 Baykonur space launch facilities and the city of Bayqongyr (Baykonur, formerly Leninsk); in 2004, a new agreement extended the lease to 2050
16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Independence Day, 16 December (1991)
first post-independence constitution adopted 28 January 1993; new constitution adopted by national referendum 30 August 1995
based on Islamic law and Roman law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV (chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 22 February 1990, elected president 1 December 1991)
head of government: Prime Minister Karim MASIMOV (since 10 January 2007); First Deputy Prime Minister Umirzak SHUKEYEV (since 3 March 2009) and Deputy Prime Ministers Yerbol ORYNBAYEV (since 29 October 2007) and Serik AKHMETOV (since 3 March 2009)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 4 December 2005 (next to be held in 2012); prime minister and first deputy prime minister appointed by the president, with Mazhilis approval; note - constitutional amendments of May 2007 shortened the presidential term from seven years to five years and established a two-consecutive-term limit; changes will take effect after NAZARBAYEV's term ends; he, and only he, is allowed to run for president indefinitely
election results: Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV 91.1%, Zharmakhan A. TUYAKBAI 6.6%, Alikhan M. BAIMENOV 1.6%
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (47 seats; 15 members are appointed by the president; other members are elected by local assemblies; members serve six-year terms, but elections are staggered with half of the members up for re-election every three years) and the Mazhilis (107 seats; 9 out of the 107 Mazhilis members are elected by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan, a presidentially appointed advisory body designed to represent the country's ethnic minorities; non-appointed members are popularly elected to serve five-year terms)
elections: Senate - (indirect) last held October 2008; next to be held in 2011; Mazhilis - last held 18 August 2007 (next to be held in 2012)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Nur Otan 16; Mazhilis - percent of vote by party - Nur-Otan 88.1%, NSDP 4.6%, Ak Zhol 3.3%, Auyl 1.6%, Communist People's Party 1.3%, Patriots Party .8% Ruhaniyat .4%; seats by party - Nur-Otan 98; note - parties must achieve a threshold of 7% of the electorate to qualify for seats in the Mazhilis
Supreme Court (44 members); Constitutional Council (seven members)
Adilet (Justice) [Maksut NARIKBAYEV, Zeynulla ALSHIMBAYEV, Serik ABDRAHMANOV, Bakhytbek AKHMETZHAN, Yerkin ONGARBAYEV, Tolegan SYDYKOV] (formerly Democratic Party of Kazakhstan); Agrarian and Industrial Union of Workers Block or AIST (Agrarian Party and Civic Party); Ak Zhol Party (Bright Path) [Alikhan BAIMENOV]; Alga [Vladimir KOZLOV] (unregistered); Auyl (Village) [Gani KALIYEV]; Azat Party (formerly True Ak Zhol Party) [Bolat ABILOV]; Communist Party of Kazakhstan or KPK [Serikbolsyn ABDILDIN]; Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan [Vladislav KOSAREV]; National Social Democratic Party (NSDP)[Zharmakhan TUYAKBAY]; Nur-Otan [Bakhytzhan ZHUMAGULOV] (the Agrarian, Asar, and Civic parties merged with Otan); Patriots' Party [Gani KASYMOV]; Rukhaniyat (Spirituality) [Altynshash ZHAGANOVA]
Adil-Soz [Tamara KALEYEVA]; Almaty Helsinki Group [Ninel FOKINA]; Confederation of Free Trade Unions [Sergei BELKIN]; For Fair Elections [Yevgeniy ZHOVTIS, Sabit ZHUSUPOV, Sergey DUVANOV, Ibrash NUSUPBAYEV]; Kazakhstan International Bureau on Human Rights [Yevgeniy ZHOVTIS, executive director]; Pan-National Social Democratic Party of Kazakhstan [Zharmakhan TUYAKBAI]; Pensioners Movement or Pokoleniye [Irina SAVOSTINA, chairwoman]; Republican Network of International Monitors [Dos KUSHIM]; Transparency International [Sergei ZLOTNIKOV]
ADB, CIS, CSTO, EAEC, EAPC, EBRD, ECO, FAO, GCTU, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, MIGA, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, SCO, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer)
chief of mission: Ambassador Yerlan IDRISOV
chancery: 1401 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 232-5488
FAX: [1] (202) 232-5845
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
consulate(s): New York
chief of mission: Ambassador Richard E. HOAGLAND
embassy: Ak Bulak 4, Str. 23-22, Building #3, Astana 010010
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [7] (7172) 70-21-00
FAX: [7] (7172) 34-08-90
sky blue background representing the endless sky and a gold sun with 32 rays above a soaring golden steppe eagle in the center; on the hoist side is a "national ornamentation" in gold
Economy ::Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan, the largest of the former Soviet republics in territory, excluding Russia, possesses enormous fossil fuel reserves and plentiful supplies of other minerals and metals. It also has a large agricultural sector featuring livestock and grain. Kazakhstan's industrial sector rests on the extraction and processing of these natural resources. Kazakhstan enjoyed double-digit growth in 2000-01 and 8% or more per year in 2002-07 - thanks largely to its booming energy sector, but also to economic reform, good harvests, and increased foreign investment; growth slowed to 2.4% in 2008, however, as a result of declining oil prices and a softening world economy. Inflation reached 10% in 2007 and 17% in 2008. In the energy sector, the opening of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium in 2001, from western Kazakhstan's Tengiz oilfield to the Black Sea, substantially raised export capacity. In 2006, Kazakhstan completed the Atasu-Alashankou portion of an oil pipeline to China that is planned in future construction to extend from the country's Caspian coast eastward to the Chinese border. The country has embarked upon an industrial policy designed to diversify the economy away from overdependence on the oil sector by developing its manufacturing potential. The policy changed the corporate tax code to favor domestic industry as a means to reduce the influence of foreign investment and foreign personnel. The government has engaged in several disputes with foreign oil companies over the terms of production agreements, most recently, with regard to the Kashagan project in 2007-08. Since 2007, Astana has provided financial support to the banking sector which has been struggling with poor asset quality and large foreign loans.
$175.8 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
$171.7 billion (2007 est.)
$158.2 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$132.2 billion (2008 est.)
2.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 149
8.5% (2007 est.)
10.6% (2006 est.)
$11,500 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
$11,200 (2007 est.)
$10,400 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 5.3%
industry: 40.9%
services: 53.8% (2008 est.)
8.412 million (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
agriculture: 31.5%
industry: 18.4%
services: 50% (2006)
6.6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
7.3% (2007 est.)
13.8% (2007)
lowest 10%: 3.3%
highest 10%: 26.5% (2004 est.)
30.4 (2005)
country comparison to the world: 112
31.5 (2003)
27.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 33
revenues: $33.47 billion
expenditures: $36.23 billion (2008 est.)
8.9% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
13.7% of GDP (2004 est.)
17% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 198
10.8% (2007 est.)
10.5% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 31
11% (31 December 2007)
$16.12 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 52
$12.74 billion (31 December 2007)
$35.76 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 45
$25.75 billion (31 December 2007)
$44.7 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 60
$43.75 billion (31 December 2007)
$31.08 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 60
$41.38 billion (31 December 2007)
$43.69 billion (31 December 2006)
grain (mostly spring wheat), cotton; livestock
oil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur, iron and steel; tractors and other agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials
2.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94
72.41 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
64.69 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 37
3.617 billion kWh (2007 est.)
3.27 billion kWh (2007 est.)
1.429 million bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 20
239,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
1.313 million bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 19
164,000 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 55
30 billion bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
33.38 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 24
33.68 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
9.221 billion cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 21
9.517 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 25
2.407 trillion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 13
$6.978 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 30
$-8.226 billion (2007 est.)
$71.97 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 45
$48.35 billion (2007 est.)
oil and oil products 59%, ferrous metals 19%, chemicals 5%, machinery 3%, grain, wool, meat, coal (2001)
China 14.3%, Russia 12.2%, Germany 10.8%, Italy 7.1%, Romania 6.7%, France 5.9%, Turkey 4.1% (2008)
$38.45 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 57
$33.26 billion (2007 est.)
machinery and equipment, metal products, foodstuffs
Russia 36.4%, China 24.3%, Germany 6.1% (2008)
$19.87 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 52
$17.63 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$107.8 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 35
$96.91 billion (31 December 2007)
$55.63 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 50
$41.08 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$2.188 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 62
$3.97 billion (September 2007 est.)
tenge (KZT) per US dollar - 120.25 (2008 est.), 122.55 (2007), 126.09 (2006), 132.88 (2005), 136.04 (2004)
Communications ::Kazakhstan
3.41 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 45
14.911 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 43
general assessment: inherited an outdated telecommunications network from the Soviet era requiring modernization
domestic: intercity by landline and microwave radio relay; number of fixed-line connections is gradually increasing and fixed-line teledensity now exceeds 20 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage is increasing rapidly and the subscriber base now is roughly 100 per 100 persons
international: country code - 7; international traffic with other former Soviet republics and China carried by landline and microwave radio relay and with other countries by satellite and by the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic cable; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (2008)
AM 60, FM 18, shortwave 9 (2008)
12 (plus 9 repeaters) (1998)
.kz
48,873 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 84
2.3 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 66
Transportation ::Kazakhstan
99 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 61
total: 67
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 26
1,524 to 2,437 m: 17
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 9 (2009)
total: 32
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 13 (2009)
4 (2009)
condensate 658 km; gas 11,146 km; oil 10,376 km; refined products 1,095 km; water 1,465 km (2008)
total: 13,700 km
country comparison to the world: 19
broad gauge: 13,700 km 1.520-m gauge (3,700 km electrified) (2008)
total: 91,563 km
country comparison to the world: 53
paved: 83,717 km
unpaved: 7,846 km (2006)
4,000 km (on the Ertis ((Irtysh)) River (80%) and Syr Darya ((Syrdariya)) River) (2008)
country comparison to the world: 26
total: 5
country comparison to the world: 132
by type: petroleum tanker 4, refrigerated cargo 1 (2008)
Aqtau (Shevchenko), Atyrau (Gur'yev), Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk), Pavlodar, Semey (Semipalatinsk)
Military ::Kazakhstan
Kazakh Armed Forces: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Mobile Forces, Air Defense Forces (2009)
18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years; minimum age for volunteers NA (2004)
males age 16-49: 4,176,731
females age 16-49: 4,219,636 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 2,888,931
females age 16-49: 3,550,014 (2009 est.)
male: 139,262
female: 133,047 (2009 est.)
0.9% of GDP (Ministry of Defense expenditures) (FY02)
country comparison to the world: 145
Transnational Issues ::Kazakhstan
Kyrgyzstan has yet to ratify the 2001 boundary delimitation with Kazakhstan; field demarcation of the boundaries with Turkmenistan commenced in 2005, and with Uzbekistan in 2004; demarcation is scheduled to get underway with Russia in 2007; demarcation with China was completed in 2002; creation of a seabed boundary with Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea remains under discussion; equidistant seabed treaties have been ratified with Azerbaijan and Russia in the Caspian Sea, but no resolution has been made on dividing the water column among any of the littoral states
refugees (country of origin): 3,700 (Russia); 508 (Afghanistan) (2007)
significant illicit cultivation of cannabis for CIS markets, as well as limited cultivation of opium poppy and ephedra (for the drug ephedrine); limited government eradication of illicit crops; transit point for Southwest Asian narcotics bound for Russia and the rest of Europe; significant consumer of opiates