[Country map of Kazakhstan]



Location: Central Asia, northwest of China

Map references: Commonwealth of Independent States - Central Asian States

total area: 2,717,300 sq km
land area: 2,669,800 sq km
comparative area: slightly less than four times the size of Texas

Land boundaries: total 12,012 km, China 1,533 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,051 km, Russia 6,846 km, Turkmenistan 379 km, Uzbekistan 2,203 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
note: Kazakhstan borders the Aral Sea (1,015 km) and the Caspian Sea (1,894 km)

Maritime claims: none; landlocked

International disputes: Caspian Sea boundaries are not yet determined

Climate: continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid

Terrain: extends from the Volga to the Altai Mountains and from the plains in western Siberia to oasis and desert in Central Asia

Natural resources: major deposits of petroleum, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium

Land use:
arable land: 15%
permanent crops: NEGL%
meadows and pastures: 57%
forest and woodland: 4%
other: 24%

Irrigated land: 23,080 sq km (1990)

current issues: radioactive or toxic chemical sites associated with its former defense industries and test ranges are found throughout the country and pose health risks for humans and animals; industrial pollution is severe in some cities; because the two main rivers which 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 salinization from faulty irrigation practices
natural hazards: NA
international agreements: party to - Biodiversity, Ship Pollution; signed, but not ratified - Climate Change, Desertification

Note: landlocked


Population: 17,376,615 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 30% (female 2,589,509; male 2,664,952)
15-64 years: 63% (female 5,531,519; male 5,371,563)
65 years and over: 7% (female 820,900; male 398,172) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.62% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 19.26 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 7.93 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -5.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 40 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 68.25 years
male: 63.61 years
female: 73.13 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.43 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Kazakhstani(s)
adjective: Kazakhstani

Ethnic divisions: Kazakh (Qazaq) 41.9%, Russian 37%, Ukrainian 5.2%, German 4.7%, Uzbek 2.1%, Tatar 2%, other 7.1% (1991 official data)

Religions: Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox 44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%

Languages: Kazakh (Qazaqz) official language spoken by over 40% of population, Russian (language of interethnic communication) spoken by two-thirds of population and used in everyday business

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1989)
total population: 98%
male: 99%
female: 96%

Labor force: 7.356 million
by occupation: industry and construction 31%, agriculture and forestry 26%, other 43% (1992)


conventional long form: Republic of Kazakhstan
conventional short form: Kazakhstan
local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy
local short form: none
former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic

Digraph: KZ

Type: republic

Capital: Almaty

Administrative divisions: 19 oblystar (singular - oblys) and 1 city (qalalar, singular - qala)*; Almaty Qalasy*, Almaty Oblysy, Aqmola Oblysy, Aqtobe Oblysy, Atyrau Oblysy, Batys Qazaqstan Oblysy (Oral), Kokshetau Oblysy, Mangghystau Oblysy (Aqtau), Ongtustik Qazaqstan Oblysy (Shymkent), Qaraghandy Oblysy, Qostanay Oblysy, Qyzylorda Oblysy, Pavlodar Oblysy, Semey Oblysy, Shyghys Qazaqstan Oblysy (Oskemen; formerly Ust'-Kamenogorsk), Soltustik Qazaqstan Oblysy (Petropavl), Taldyqorghan Oblysy, Torghay Oblysy, Zhambyl Oblysy, Zhezqazghan Oblysy
note: names in parentheses are administrative centers when name differs from oblys name

Independence: 16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday: Independence Day, 16 December (1991)

Constitution: adopted 28 January 1993

Legal system: based on civil law system

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Nursultan NAZARBAYEV (since NA April 1990); Vice President Yerik ASANBAYEV (since 1 December 1991); election last held 1 December 1991 (next to be held NA 1996); results - Nursultan A. NAZARBAYEV ran unopposed; note - NAZARBAYEV has extended his term to the year 2000 by a nationwide referendum held 30 April 1995
head of government: Prime Minister Akezhan KAZHEGELDIN (since 12 October 1994); First Deputy Prime Ministers Nigmatzhan ISINGARIN (since 12 October 1994) and Vitalia METTE (since March 1995)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed by the prime minister

Legislative branch: unicameral
Supreme Council: elections last held 7 March 1994 (next to be held NA 1999); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (177 total) Union Peoples' Unity of Kazakhstan 33, Confederation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan 11, Peoples' Congress of Kazakhstan Party 9, Socialist Party of Kazakhstan 8, Peasant Union of the Republic Kazakhstan 4, Social Movement LAD 4, Organization of Veterans 1, Union of Youth of Kazakhstan 1, Democratic Committee for Human Rights 1, Association of Lawyers of Kazakhstan 1, International Public Committee "Aral-Asia-Kazakhstan" 1, Congress of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan 1, Deputies of the 12th Supreme Soviet 40, independents 62
note: the Supreme Council disbanded 12 March 1995 following a Constitutional Court ruling that the March 1994 elections were invalid

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Political parties and leaders: People's Unity Party (PUP; was Union of People's Unity), Kuanysh SULTANOV, chairman; People's Congress of Kazakhstan (PCK), Olzhas SULEYMENOV, chairman; Socialist Party of Kazakhstan (SPK; former Communist Party), Yermukhamet YERTYSHBAYEV, co-chairman; Republican Party (Azat), Kamal ORMANTAYEV, chairman; Democratic Progress (Russian) Party, Alexandra DOKUCHAYEVA, chairman; Confederation of Trade Unions of the Republic of Kazakhstan; Peasant Union of the Republic Kazakhstan (KPU); Social Movement LAD, V. MIKHAYLOV, chairman; Union of Youth of Kazakhstan; Democratic Committee for Human Rights; Association of Lawyers of Kazakhstan; International Public Committee "Aral-Asia-Kazakhstan"; Congress of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan; Deputies of the 12th Supreme Soviet; People's Cooperative Party, Umirzak SARSENOV, chairman; Organization of Veterans

Other political or pressure groups: Independent Trade Union Center (Birlesu; an association of independent trade union and business associations), Leonid SOLOMIN, president


Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Tuleutai S. SULEYMENOV
chancery: (temporary) 3421 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 333-4504 through 4507
FAX: [1] (202) 333-4509

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador William H. COURTNEY
embassy: 99/97 Furmanova Street, Almaty, Republic of Kazakhstan 480012
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [7] (3272) 63-24-26
FAX: [7] (3272) 63-38-83

Flag: sky blue background representing the endless sky and a gold sun with 32 rays soaring above a golden steppe eagle in the center; on the hoist side is a "national ornamentation" in yellow


Overview: Kazakhstan, the second largest of the former Soviet states in territory, possesses enormous untapped fossil-fuel reserves as well as plentiful supplies of other minerals and metals. It also has considerable agricultural potential with its vast steppe lands accommodating both livestock and grain production. Kazakhstan's industrial sector rests on the extraction and processing of these natural resources and also on a relatively large machine building sector specializing in construction equipment, tractors, agricultural machinery, and some defense items. The breakup of the USSR and the collapse of demand for Kazakhstan's traditional heavy industry products have resulted in a sharp contraction of the economy since 1991, with the steepest annual decline occurring in 1994. The government has pursued a moderate program of economic reform and privatization which is gradually lifting state controls over economic activity and shifting assets into the private sector. Nevertheless, government control over key sectors of the economy remains strong. Sustained economic hardships and continued pressures from industrial elites will make it difficult for the government to sustain its policies of monetary and fiscal discipline which had brought down inflation by the end of 1994. Continued lack of pipeline transportation for expanded oil exports has closed off a likely source of economic recovery.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $55.2 billion (1994 estimate as extrapolated from World Bank estimate for 1992)

National product real growth rate: -25% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $3,200 (1994 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 24% per month (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 1.1% includes only officially registered unemployed; also large numbers of underemployed workers (1994)

revenues: $NA
expenditures: $NA, including capital expenditures of $NA

Exports: $3.1 billion (1994)
commodities: oil, ferrous and nonferrous metals, chemicals, grain, wool, meat, coal
partners: Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Imports: $3.5 billion (1994)
commodities: machinery and parts, industrial materials, oil and gas
partners: Russia and other former Soviet republics, China

External debt: less than $1 billion debt to Russia

Industrial production: growth rate -28% (1994)

capacity: 17,380,000 kW
production: 65.1 billion kWh
consumption per capita: 3,750 kWh (1994)

Industries: accounts for 26% of net national product; extractive industries (oil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur), iron and steel, nonferrous metal, tractors and other agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials

Agriculture: accounts for 20% of GDP; employs about 26% of the labor force; grain, mostly spring wheat; meat, cotton, wool

Illicit drugs: illicit cultivation of cannabis and opium poppy; mostly for CIS consumption; limited government eradication program; used as transshipment point for illicit drugs to Western Europe and North America from Southwest Asia

Economic aid:
recipient: approximately $1 billion in foreign loans and credits allocated in 1994; disbursements projected at $700 billion through 1995

Currency: national currency the tenge introduced on 15 November 1993

Exchange rates: tenges per US$1 - 54 (yearend 1994)

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 14,460 km in common carrier service; does not include industrial lines
broad gauge: 14,460 km 1.520-m gauge (1990)

total: 189,000 km
paved and graveled: 108,100 km
unpaved: earth 80,900 km (1990)

Inland waterways: Syrdariya River, Ertis River

Pipelines: crude oil 2,850 km; refined products 1,500 km; natural gas 3,480 km (1992)

Ports: Aqtau (Shevchenko), Atyrau (Gur'yev), Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk), Pavlodar, Semey (Semipalatinsk)

total: 352
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 7
with paved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 23
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 5
with paved runways under 914 m: 9
with unpaved runways over 3,047 m: 9
with unpaved runways 2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
with unpaved runways 1,524 to 2,438 m: 25
with unpaved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 65
with unpaved runways under 914 m: 190


Telephone system: 2.2 million telephones; telephone service is poor; about 17 telephones/100 persons in urban areas and 7.6 telephones/100 persons in rural areas; Almaty has 184,000 telephones
local: NA
intercity: land line and microwave radio relay
international: international traffic with other former USSR republics and China carried by landline and microwave, and with other countries by satellite and through 8 international telecommunications circuits at the Moscow international gateway switch; INTELSAT earth station; new satellite earth station established at Almaty with Turkish financial help (December 1992) with 2500 channel band width

broadcast stations: AM NA, FM NA, shortwave NA
radios: 4.088 million (with multiple speakers for program diffusion 6,082,000)

broadcast stations: Orbita (TV receive only) earth station
televisions: 4.75 million

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Republic National Guard, Republic Security Forces (internal and border troops)

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 4,513,089; males fit for military service 3,605,584; males reach military age (18) annually 154,280 (1995 est.)

Defense expenditures: 69.3 billion rubles, NA% of GDP (forecast for 1993); note - conversion of the military budget into US dollars using the current exchange rate could produce misleading results