Geographic and Governmental Profile of Kazakhstan

Background
Ethnic 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-ethnic Kazakhs to outnumber natives. Independence in 1991 drove many of these newcomers to emigrate. Kazakhstan's economy is larger than those of all the other Central Asian states largely due to the country's vast natural resources. Current issues include: developing a cohesive national identity; expanding the development of the country's vast energy resources and exporting them to world markets; diversifying the economy outside the oil, gas, and mining sectors; enhancing Kazakhstan's economic competitiveness; developing a multiparty parliament and advancing political and social reform; and strengthening relations with neighboring states and other foreign powers.
Location
Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural (Zhayyq) River in eastern-most Europe
Geographic coordinates
48 00 N, 68 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Asia
Area
total:
2,724,900 sq km
rank:
9
land:
2,699,700 sq km
water:
25,200 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly less than four times the size of Texas
Land boundaries
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
Coastline
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)
Maritime claims
none (landlocked)
Climate
continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid
Terrain
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
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Vpadina Kaundy -132 m
highest point:
Khan Tangiri Shyngy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m
Natural resources
major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium
Land use
arable land:
8.28%
permanent crops:
0.05%
other:
91.67% (2005)
Get Chart Code
Get Chart Code
Irrigated land
35,560 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
109.6 cu km (1997)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
35 cu km/yr (2%/17%/82%)
per capita:
2,360 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
earthquakes in the south; mudslides around Almaty
Environment - current issues
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
Environment - international agreements
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
Geography - note
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
Country name
conventional long form:
Republic of Kazakhstan
conventional short form:
Kazakhstan
local long form:
Qazaqstan Respublikasy
local short form:
Qazaqstan
former:
Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
Government type
republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch
Capital
name:
Astana
geographic coordinates:
51 10 N, 71 25 E
time difference:
UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Kazakhstan is divided into two time zones
Administrative divisions
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 [West Kazakhstan] (Oral), Bayqongyr Qalasy [Baykonur]*, Mangghystau Oblysy (Aqtau), Ongtustik Qazaqstan Oblysy [South Kazakhstan] (Shymkent), Pavlodar Oblysy, Qaraghandy Oblysy, Qostanay Oblysy, Qyzylorda Oblysy, Shyghys Qazaqstan Oblysy [East Kazakhstan] (Oskemen), Soltustik Qazaqstan Oblysy (Petropavlovsk), Zhambyl Oblysy (Taraz)
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
Independence
16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
National holiday
Independence Day, 16 December (1991)
Constitution
first post-independence constitution adopted 28 January 1993; new constitution adopted by national referendum 30 August 1995, amended May 2007
Legal system
civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and by the theory and practice of the Russian Federation
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch
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 Serik AKHMETOV (since 20 January 2011), Deputy Prime Ministers Yerbol ORYNBAYEV (since 29 October 2007), Kairat KELIMBETOV (since 20 January 2011)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections:
president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held on 3 April 2011 (next to be held in 2016); prime minister and deputy prime ministers 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
constitutional amendments of February 2011 moved election date from 2012 to April 2011 but kept five-year term; subsequent election to take place in 2016
election results:
Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV 95.5%, other 4.5%
Legislative branch
bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (47 seats; 15 members are appointed by the president; 32 members 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 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 in August 2011 (next to be held in 2014); Mazhilis - last held on 15 January 2012 (next to be held in 2017)
election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Nur Otan 16; Mazhilis - percent of vote by party - Nur-Otan 81%, Ak Zhol 7.5%, Communist People's Party 7.2%, other 4.3%; seats by party - Nur-Otan 83, Ak Zhol 8, Communist People's Party 7
Judicial branch
Supreme Court (44 members); Constitutional Council (seven members)
Political parties and leaders
Adilet (Justice) [Maksut NARIKBAYEV, 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) [Azat PERUASHEV]; Alga [Vladimir KOZLOV] (unregistered); Auyl (Village) [Gani KALIYEV]; Azat (Freedom) Party [Bolat ABILOV] (formerly True Ak Zhol Party); Azat NSDP [co-chaired by Bolat ABILOV and Zharmakhan TUYAKBAY]; Azat and NSDP united in 2009, but the authorities have refused to register Azat NSDP as a single party; Communist Party of Kazakhstan or KPK [Serikbolsyn ABDILDIN]; note - currently suspended; Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan [Vladislav KOSAREV]; National Social Democratic Party or NSDP [Zharmakhan TUYAKBAY]; Nur Otan (Fatherland's Ray of Light) [Nursultan NAZARBAYEV, Nurlan NIGMATULIN] (the Agrarian, Asar, and Civic parties merged with Otan); Patriots' Party [Gani KASYMOV]; Rukhaniyat (Spirituality) [Altynshash ZHAGANOVA]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Adil-Soz [Tamara KALEYEVA]; Almaty Helsinki Committee [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 TUYAKBAY]; Pensioners Movement or Pokoleniye [Irina SAVOSTINA, chairwoman]; Republican Network of International Monitors [Daniyar LIVAZOV]; Transparency International [Sergey ZLOTNIKOV]
International organization participation
ADB, CICA, 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, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO (observer), ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US
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
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Kenneth FAIRFAX
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
Flag description
a gold sun with 32 rays above a soaring golden steppe eagle, both centered on a sky blue background; the hoist side displays a national ornamental pattern "koshkar-muiz" (the horns of the ram) in gold; the blue color is of religious significance to the Turkic peoples of the country, and so symbolizes cultural and ethnic unity; it also represents the endless sky as well as water; the sun, a source of life and energy, exemplifies wealth and plenitude; the sun's rays are shaped like grain, which is the basis of abundance and prosperity; the eagle has appeared on the flags of Kazakh tribes for centuries and represents freedom, power, and the flight to the future
National symbol(s)
golden eagle
National anthem
name:
"Menin Qazaqstanim" (My Kazakhstan)
lyrics/music:
Zhumeken NAZHIMEDENOV and Nursultan NAZARBAYEV/Shamshi KALDAYAKOV
adopted 2006; President Nursultan NAZARBAYEV played a role in revising the lyrics
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

Comments are closed.