General information: The native Kazakhs are the descendants of the Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes that appeared in the region in the 13th century. and rarely united in a single state. The region was conquered by Russia in the 18th century, and in 1936 Kazakhstan became a Soviet republic. During the 1950-1960s. here, virgin lands were intensively developed by the forces of people who arrived from all over the Soviet Union. The influx of settlers (mostly Russians, although there were representatives of many other nationalities) led to ethnic diversity and the predominance of non-Kazakhs in the region. The country’s independence led to the fact that many of the settlers were forced to emigrate. Now the country faces the problems of finding a national identity, using rich energy resources and exporting them to world markets, strengthening relations with neighbors and other foreign powers.
Location: Central Asia, northwest of China.
Geographical coordinates: 48° 00′ N. latitude, 68° 00′ E
Reference map: Commonwealth of Independent States.
Area: total: 2,717,300 km2; land surface area: 2,669,800 km2; water surface area: 47,500 km2
Comparative area: slightly less than four states of Texas.
Land borders: total: 12,012 km; with neighboring states: with China 1,533 km, with Kyrgyzstan 1,051 km, with Russia 6,846 km, with Turkmenistan 379 km, with Uzbekistan 2,203 km.
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked); note: Kazakhstan has access to the coast of the Aral (1,070 km) and Caspian (1,894 km) seas.
Maritime claims: none (landlocked).
Climate: continental; arid and semi-arid; cold winters and hot summers.
Relief: plains stretching from the Volga to the Altai and from Western Siberia to the oases and deserts of Central Asia.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Kaundu depression -132 m; highest point: Khan-Tengri peak 6,995 m.
Natural resources: large reserves of oil, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromium, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium.
Land use: arable land: 12%; cultivated land: 11%; pastures: 57%; forests and plantations: 4% others: 16% (1996 est.).
Irrigated lands: 22,000 sq. km. (1996 est.).
Natural hazards: earthquakes in the south; sat down in the Alma-Ata region.
Current environmental issues: contamination with radioactive and toxic substances in the places of their production and around military training grounds scattered throughout the country; the resulting deterioration in public health and the state of the environment; industrial emissions in some cities; intensive use of water from the rivers that feed the Aral Sea for irrigation leads to the drying up of this lake and the appearance of a layer of natural salts and sand on the dried surface, which rise into the air and are carried by the wind during dust storms; pollution of the Caspian Sea; soil pollution caused by overuse of pesticides; and salinization caused by poor infrastructure and poor irrigation.
International agreements on environmental protection: member: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution; signed but not ratified: Kyoto Protocol.
Note to the section “Geography”: landlocked; Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq. km. around the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
Population: 16,731,303 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 26.73% (male 2,271,866; female 2,200,078); 15 to 64 years old: 66.03% (male 5,358,535; female 5,688,550); over 65: 7.24% (male 412,761; female 799,513) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.03% (2000 est.).
Birth rate: 17.3 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 10.61 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -6.43 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; up to 15 years: 1.03 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.94 male/female; over 65: 0.52 male/female; for the general population: 0.93 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 59.17 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 63.29 years; men: 57.87 years; women: 68.97 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 2.07 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.04% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 3,500 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: less than 100 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Kazakh; adjective: Kazakh.
Ethnic groups: Kazakhs 53.4%, Russians 30%, Ukrainians 3.7%, Uzbeks 2.5%, Germans 2.4%, Uighurs 1.4%, other 6.6% (1999 census).
Believers: Muslim 47%, Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%.
Language(s): Kazakh (state) 40%, Russian (official, used in business and everyday communication) 66%.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 98%; men: 99%; women: 96% (1989 est.).
Common long form: Republic of Kazakhstan;
conventional short form: Kazakhstan; local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy local short form: no; former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
State structure: republic. See a2zgov.com to know more about Kazakhstan government and politics.
Capital: Astana; note: government moved from Almaty to Astana in December 1998.
Administrative divisions: 14 regions and 3 cities of central subordination (qalasy)*: Akmo-la (Astana), Aktobe, Almaty, Alma-Ata*, Astana*, Atyrau, Baikonur*, Batyz Kazakhstan (Oral), Dzhambul (Taraz; former Dzhambul), Karaganda, Kyzyl-Orda, Kustanai, Mangystau (Aktau; former Shevchenko), Ongtustik Kazakhstan (Chimkent), Pavlodar, Soltustik Kazakhstan (Petropavlovsk), Shygyz Kazakhstan (Oskemen; former Ust-Kamenogorsk); note: administrative divisions have names derived from the names of their administrative centers (with the exception of those whose names of administrative centers are given in brackets); in 1995, the governments of Kazakhstan and Russia entered into an agreement under which Russia would lease an area of 6,000 square kilometers for 20 years, including the Baikonur cosmodrome and the city of Baikonur (formerly Leninsk).
Independence: December 16, 1991 (until 1991 – as part of the Soviet Union).
National holiday: Republic Day, October 25 (since 1990); on this day Kazakhstan declared its sovereignty.
Constitution: adopted by national referendum on August 30, 1995; the first independent constitution was adopted on January 28, 1993.
Legal system: based on the civil law system.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal.
head of state: President Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV (Chairman of the Supreme Council since 22 February 1990, elected President 1 December 1991);
head of government: Prime Minister Kazymzhomart TOKAYEV (since October 2, 1999);
Government: council of ministers appointed by the president; elections: the president is elected by popular vote for a seven-year term; elections last held 10 January 1999, one year ahead of schedule (next to be held in 2006); note – the presidential term should have expired, in accordance with the results of the referendum on April 30, 1995, in 2000; the prime minister and his first deputy are appointed by the president; election results: Nursultan NAZARBAYEV elected president; percentage of votes cast: Nursultan NAZARBAYEV 79.8%, Serikbolsyn ABDILDIN 11.7%, Gani KASYMOV 4.6%, others 1.5%; note: President NAZARBAYEV also expanded his powers by decrees – only he can initiate changes to the constitution; appoint and remove the government; dissolve parliament; hold referendums at their own discretion;
Legislature: bicameral Parliament; consists of the Senate (47 seats; 7 senators are appointed by the president; the rest are elected by popular vote: two from each region and from the city of Alma-Ata; term of office – 6 years) and the Mejlis (67 seats; with the addition of 10 seats on the “party list” a total of 77 seats are obtained; deputies are elected by popular vote for 5 years); note – when the number of regions was reduced to 14, the Senate ended up with 37 seats; some senators are re-elected every two years; elections: Senate – last held 17 September 1999 (next to be held in 2001); Majlis – last held on 10 and 24 October 1999 (next to be held in 2004); election results: Senate, distribution of votes between parties: NA; distribution of seats among parties: no data; 16 seats occupied as a result of elections in 1999, candidates were proposed by local councils; Majlis, distribution of votes between parties: no data; distribution of seats among parties: Otan 23, Civic Party 13, Communist Party 3, Agrarian Party 3, People’s United Party 1, independent candidates 34; note – most independents are affiliated with semi-state businesses and other pro-government institutions.
Judiciary: Supreme Court (44 members); Constitutional Court (7 members).
Political parties and leaders: Agrarian Party (Romin MADENOVJ); Alash (Alash) (Soverkazhy AKATAYEV [Soverkazhy AKATAYEV]); AZAMAT Movement (Petr SVOIK, Murat AUEZOV, Galym ABILSIITOV, co-chairs); Civic Party (Azat PERUASHEV, First Secretary); Communist Party of Kazakhstan (CPC) (Serikbolsyn ABDILDIN, First Secretary); Forum of Democratic Forces (Nurbulat MASANOV, Amirzhan KOSANOV, Seidakhmet KUTTYKADAM); Labor Movement (Madel ISMAILOV, Chairman); Orleu Movement (Seidahmet KUTTYKADAM); Otan (Sergei TERE-SCHENKO, Chairman); Movement of Pensioners – Generation (Irina SAVOSTINA, Chairman); People’s Congress of Kazakhstan (NKK) (Olzhas SULEIMENOV); People’s United Party (Umirzak SARSENOV [Umirzak SARSENOV]); Party of National Unity (Nursultan NAZARBAYEV); Republican People’s Party of Kazakhstan (Akezhan KAZHEGELDIN [Akezhan KAZHE-GELDIN]).
Political pressure groups and their leaders: International Bureau for Human Rights in Kazakhstan (Executive Director Yevgeniy ZHOVTIS).
Participation in international organizations: AsDB, CCC, CIS, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECO, ESCAP, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, IDA, IDB, IFAD, IFC, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, NAM (observer), OAS (observer), OIC, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO (observer).
Diplomatic Representation in the USA: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Kanat SAUDABAYEV; office: 1401 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; phone:  (202) 232-5488; fax:[\\ (202) 232-5845; Consulate: New York.
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Richard H. JONES; embassy: 99/97А Furmanova Street, Almaty, Kazakhstan 480091; mailing address: American Embassy Almaty, Department of State, Washington, DC 20521-7030; phone:  (3272) 63-39-21, 50-76-23, 50-76-27; fax:  (3272) 63-38-83, 50-76-24.
Description of the flag: the surface is sky-blue (symbolizes the infinity of the sky), in the center is a golden sun with 32 rays; from the side of the pole there is a golden national ornament.