Kazakhstan. (Feature Articles)

Article excerpt

Kazakhstan is situated in Central Asia, deep in the Eurasian continent. Its territory covers 2,700,900 square kilometers (i.e. 1,049,150 square miles). In terms of the area it is the second largest among the Commonwealth of Independent States. In fact the territory of Kazakhstan exceeds that occupied by twelve countries of the European Union. Kazakhstan borders upon the following states:

China                   1.460 km long border;
Kyrgyzstan              980 km;
Turkmenistan            380 km;
Uzbekistan              2.300 km;
The Russian Federation  6.467 km.

Total length of borders amounts to 12.187 km.

Historical Setting

Until the arrival of Russians in the eighteenth century, the history of Kazakhstan was determined by the movements, conflicts, and alliances of Turkic and Mongol tubes. The nomadic tribal society of what came to be the Kazak people experienced increasingly frequent incursions by the Russian Empire, ultimately being included in that empire and the Soviet Union that followed it.

The 1 1980s brought glimmers of political independence, as well as conflict, as the central government's hold progressively weakened. An altogether new political atmosphere was swelling up in the country. Young people came out to the square to express a universal protest against the methods resorted to by the administer-and-command system which as of old demonstrated little regard for the opinion of the population of the Republic. On August 19, 1991 there was an abortive coup attempt; by September of the same year, the Communist Party of Kazakhstan was disbanded. On December 16, 1991 a law of constitutional effectiveness was passed and became the law of the Republic of Kazakhstan Independence.

Tremendous natural resources of Kazakhstan, social and political stability in the Republic make this region one of the most attractive objects of capital investments among other republics of the late Soviet Union. The Republic of Kazakhstan has become a full-fledged equal member of the world community. In 1997 the circumstance conditioned by geopolitical and economic considerations of Kazakhstan's development; the decision was made to transfer the capital of the country from Almaty to Akmola. The population Astana is as large as 319,000 people. The official language of the Republic of Kazakhstan is Kazakh.

People of Kazakhstan

The etymology of the name Kazakh is likely derived from a Turkic word meaning "wanderer" or "independent man." The people inhabit an area between the Caspian Sea to the west to Lake Balkash in the east, north of the Syr Darya River and south of the Siberian lowlands.

The Kazakhs were absorbed into the Russian Empire during the 18th century and the Khanates (autonomous rulers) were dissolved during the 19th century. During the Soviet era, Stalin ended the Kazakhs nomadic ways and collectivized the farms or work in the factories. In a show of resistance, many Kazakhs slaughtered their herds, resulting in a famine that left over one million Kazakhs dead. The majority of Kazakhs are Turkic/Mongolian in appearance, with straight black hair, olive complexion, small nose, and typically broad face. Due to intermarriage between the various nationalities there is a wide range of physical appearance.

In 2000 Kazakhstan had an estimated population of 148,419. Representatives of nearly 120 nationalities inhabit the Republic at the moment, more particularly:

Kazakhs     53.4%
Russians    30.0%
Ukrainians   3.7%
Germans      2.4%
Tatars       1.7%

Some 1.4 million Kazaks lived outside Kazakstan, nearly all in the Russian and Uzbek republics. At that time, an estimated one million Kazaks lived in China, and a sizeable but uncounted Kazak population resided in Mongolia.

Kazakhstan and its Economic Potential

Kazakhstan's share in world output of commercial minerals and products of procession thereof (according to estimates of the Union Bank of Switzerland) in the days of the late Soviet Union amounted to the following:

Beryllium   24%
Zink         7%
Tantalum    33%
Titanium    26%
Chromite    27%
Copper       3%
Barite       7%
Molybdenum   3%
Lead         7%
Bauxites     1%
Uranium     14%
Manganese    5%
Silver       6%
Iron ore     2%
Tungsten    12%
Gold         1%

Today Kazakhstan is rich with commercial minerals. …