also spelled Kazakhstan, officially Republic of Kazakstan, Kazakh Qazaqstan Respublikas country of Central Asia. It is bounded on the northwest and north by Russia, on the east by China, and on the south by Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and the Aral Sea; the Caspian Sea bounds Kazakstan to the southwest. Kazakstan's 1,052,100 square miles (2,724,900 square kilometres) make it by far the largest state in Central Asia and the ninth largest in the world. Between its most distant points Kazakstan measures about 1,820 miles (2,930 kilometres) east to west and 960 miles north to south. While Kazakstan was not considered by authorities in the former Soviet Union to be a part of Central Asia, it does have physical and cultural geographic characteristics similar to those of the other Central Asian countries. The capital is Astana (formerly Tselinograd) in the north-central part of the country. Kazakstan, formerly a constituent (union) republic of the U.S.S.R., declared independence on Dec. 16, 1991. Kazakstan's great mineral resources and arable lands have long aroused the envy of outsiders, and the resulting exploitation has generated environmental and political problems. The forced settlement of the nomadic Kazaks in the Soviet period, combined with large-scale Slavic in-migration, strikingly altered the Kazak way of life and led to considerable settlement and urbanization in Kazakstan. The Kazaks' traditional customs uneasily coexist alongside incursions of the modern world. also spelled Kazakhstan, officially Republic of Kazakstan, Kazak Qazaqstan Respublikas the largest country of Central Asia. Kazakstan obtained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It is bounded by Russia to the northwest and north; China to the east; Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, the Aral Sea, and Turkmenistan to the south; and the Caspian Sea to the west. The capital is Astana (formerly Tselinograd). Area 1,052,100 square miles (2,724,900 square km). Pop. (1997 est.) 16,554,000. Additional reading Geography Recent accounts from travelers to Central Asian countries include Philip Glazebrook, Journey to Khiva (1992); Georgie Anne Geyer, Waiting for Winter to End: An Extraordinary Journey Through Soviet Central Asia (1994); Colin Thubron, The Lost Heart of Asia (1994); and Charles Undeland and Nicholas Platt, The Central Asian Republics: Fragments of Empire, Magnets of Wealth (1994). On Kazakstan itself, studies include Thomas G. Winner, The Oral Art and Literature of the Kazakhs of Russian Central Asia (1958, reprinted 1980); and International Monetary Fund, Kazakhstan (1992). History Ren Grousset, The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia (1970; originally published in French, 1939), although dated, is still the most comprehensive and basically sound survey of the region in English. Denis Sinor, Inner Asia: HistoryCivilizationLanguages, 2nd rev. ed. (1971), serves as a broad overview. Additional works on the region's history include Gavin Hambly (ed.), Central Asia (1969; originally published in German, 1966); Geoffrey Wheeler, The Modern History of Soviet Central Asia (1964, reprinted 1975); and A.H. Dani et al. (eds.), History of Civilizations of Central Asia (1992 ). Various topics on Central Asia are treated in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed. (1954 ). The best short sketch on the region's history is found in Eshan Yarshater (ed.), Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 5, fascicles 23 (199091).On Kazakstan itself, studies include George J. Demko, The Russian Colonization of Kazakhstan, 18961916 (1969); Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, A Strategy for the Development of Kazakhstan as a Sovereign State (1994); and Martha Brill Olcott, The Kazakhs, 2nd ed. (1995). Edward Allworth David Roger Smith Gavin R.G. Hambly Denis Sinor Administration and social conditions Government Kazakstan's first postindependence constitution was adopted in 1993, replacing the Soviet-era constitution that had been in force since 1978; a new constitution was approved in 1995. The 1995 constitution provided for legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government dominated by a strong executive. The 1995 constitution established a bicameral legislature consisting of a Senate and an Assembly (Mazhilis). Working jointly, the two chambers have the authority to amend the constitution, approve the budget, confirm presidential appointees, ratify treaties, declare war, and delegate legislative authority to the president for up to one year; each chamber also has exclusive powers. Legislators serve four-year terms: two members of the Senate are elected from each province-level entity (called an administrative-territorial unit) by all legislative members of that unit, with the exception of several appointed by the president; members of the Assembly are elected from population-based constituencies by universal adult suffrage. The president is the head of state and is elected directly for a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms. The president appoints the prime minister and other ministers of the cabinet, as well as the chairperson of the National Security Committee. The president also appoints the heads of the local government entities, can reverse decisions made by these officials, and has broad authority to issue decrees and overrule actions taken by the ministries. The highest judicial body is the Supreme Court, and there also are a number of lower courts; a Constitutional Council, the members of which are appointed by the president and legislature, reviews constitutional questions. Judges serve life terms and are appointed by the president, with those of the Supreme Court also subject to confirmation by the legislature. The constitution specifies a number of rights to the citizens of Kazakstan, including freedom of speech, religion, and movement. Citizens have the right to work, to own property, and to form trade unions. Despite the democratic language in both the constitutions of 1993 and 1995, in the early years of independence Kazakstan became increasingly authoritarian. The country's first parliamentary elections (1994) were declared illegal by what was then the Constitutional Court. This precipitated the drafting of the 1995 constitution, which expanded the already substantial powers granted to the president by the 1993 constitution. Edward Allworth The Editors of the Encyclopdia Britannica Armed forces Kazakstan possesses a small army, air force, and navy. In 1995 it agreed to partially unite its military with that of Russia, establishing a joint command for training and planning and for border patrols. During the Soviet period, a vast nuclear arsenal was stationed in Kazak territory. Kazakstan ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1993, however, and by 1995 it had dismantled or returned to Russia all of its inherited warheads. Cultural life Kazaks, probably more than any other Central Asian people, show the impact of nearly two centuries of close contact with Russians. Unlike Central Asians to the south of them, Kazaks look more to Russia than to Islamic countries for inspiration in the post-Soviet period. At the same time, Kazak scholars and other intellectuals actively work to reclaim Kazak traditions and distinctive ways of life, including the literary and spoken language of a people whose experience emphasized Russian culture, literature, language, and ways of thinking. Urban Kazaks of both sexes tend to wear modern clothing, but the women of remote villages continue to wear traditional dresses and head scarves. Kazak-made carpets are a common sight, and less-Russified Kazaks often decorate their homes with qoshmas, bright-coloured felt rugs. Oral epics formed the main literary genre among the largely illiterate Kazaks until the 19th century. In the 18th century, as a series of Russian outposts arose along the border of Kazakstan's plains on the north, Kazaks added other written, poetic forms to their literature. Poetry remained the primary genre until prose stories, short novels, and drama were introduced in the early 20th century, before the end of the tsarist era in 1917. Abay Ibrahim Kunanbay-ul (Kunanbayev) in the late 19th century laid the basis with his verse for the development of the modern Kazak literary language and its poetry. (Aqmet) Baytursyn-ul, editor of the influential newspaper Qazaq, led the advance of modern Kazak writing in the early 20th century. Baytursyn-ul, along with Aliqan Nurmuhambet Bokeyqan-ul, Mir Jaqib Duwlat-ul, and, later, Maghjan Jumabay-ul, represented the cream of Kazak modernism in literature, publishing, and cultural politics in the reformist decades before Sovietization set in after 1920. All these figures disappeared into Soviet prisons and never returned, as a result of Joseph Stalin's purges, which destroyed much of the Kazak intelligentsia. An early Soviet Kazak writer, Mukhtar Auez-ul, won recognition for the long novel Abay, based on the life and poetry of Kunanbay-ul, and for his plays, including nglik-Kebek. Kazakstan has a number of modern theatres and offers Uighur, Korean, and Russian musicals, opera, ballet, and puppet performances. Cinemas and art schools, dance ensembles, and music groups are active, as are radio and television broadcasting, the last being especially important in communications with distant farms and villages. Reception from outside Kazakstan, especially from broadcasting stations in nearby Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan and by way of relays from Moscow, enables listeners and viewers to follow programs from many sources. Edward Allworth History Kazakstan to c. AD 1700 The immense size and varied landscape of Kazakstan exclude the possibility of a unified prehistoric culture covering the whole area. The Bronze Age Andronovo culture (2nd millennium BC) spread over much of Kazakstan; it was followed by periods dominated by nomads, producers of the animal art later identified with the Scythians. One can only speculate concerning the ethnic or linguistic identities of these populations; whether or not they were Turkic, they cannot be directly linked with the Kazaks. In the course of centuries, various parts of Kazakstan were incorporated into different empires. During the empire of the Mongols (13th14th centuries AD), most of the territory was part of the ulus (polity) of Chagadai. About 1465 some 200,000 dissatisfied subjects of the Uzbek khan Abu'l-Khayr, under the leadership of Karay and Jani Beg, moved into Mughulistan, whose khan, Esen Bogha, settled them between the Chu and Talas rivers. These separatist Uzbeks became known as Kazak (Independent or Vagabond) Uzbeks, and over time a significant differentiation developed between them and the Uzbeks in their respective ways of life: that of the Kazaks was more nomadic, that of the Uzbeks more sedentary. During the late 15th century and throughout the 16th century, the Kazaks were able to consolidate a nomadic empire stretching across the steppes east of the Caspian and north of the Aral Sea as far as the upper Irtysh River and the western approaches to the Altai Mountains. Under Burunduk Khan (ruled 14881509) and Kasym Khan (150918) the Kazaks were the masters of virtually the entire steppe region, reportedly able to bring 200,000 horsemen into the field and feared by all their neighbours. The prevailing view is that the rule of Kasym Khan marked the beginning of an independent Kazak polity. Under his rule Kazak power extended from what is now southeastern Kazakstan to the Urals. Under the successive rule of three of the sons of Kasym Khan (151838), however, there was a partial weakening of the khan's authority, accompanied by a trend, later to become more pronounced, for the khanate to disintegrate into three separate hordes. These were, from east to west: the Great Horde, in present-day southeastern Kazakstan north of the Tien Shan; the Middle Horde, in the central steppe region east of the Aral Sea; and the Little Horde, between the Aral Sea and the Ural River. In each horde the authority of the khan tended to be curtailed by the power exercised by tribal chieftains known as sultans and perhaps even more by the beys and batyrs (the heads of the clans that were the components of each tribe). Nominally, the khans commanded a formidable force of mounted warriors, but, in reality, they depended on the loyalty of the beys and batyrs. The last son of Kasym Khan to rule the Kazak steppes, Haqq Nazar (153880), overcame these obstacles and, having succeeded in reuniting the three hordes, embarked upon systematic raiding into Transoxania, a trend that continued under his immediate successors down to the reign of Tevkkel Khan (158698), who even temporarily occupied Samarkand. By the beginning of the 17th century, the fragmentation halted by Kasym Khan resumed and became endemic; Kazak central power was weak or nonexistent amidst a plethora of petty rulers. From the 1680s to the 1770s, the Kazaks were involved in a series of wars with the Oyrat, a federation of four western Mongol tribes, among which the Dzungars were particularly aggressive. In 168184 the Dzungars, led by Galdan, launched a devastating attack against the Great Horde. The unification by Teke Khan (16801718) of the three hordes brought a temporary reversal in the fortunes of war, and in 171112 a Kazak counteroffensive penetrated deep into Dzungar territory. Teke's achievements were not limited to war; he also was responsible for the creation of a Kazak law code, an amalgam of Kazak customary and Islamic laws. In 1723 Galdan's successor Cevang Rabtan was again on the attack. Aided by Swedish officers who had been made Russian prisoners at the Battle of Poltava (1709) and had found their way to these distant parts, the Dzungars launched a devastating invasion of the eastern Kazak lands. The memory of this national catastrophe, the Great Disaster, has never faded among the Kazaks. The next and last Dzungar invasion hit the Middle Horde, but thanks to the skills of that horde's khan, Abu'l-Khayr (171849), who managed to forge a temporary all-Kazak alliance, it was less devastating. Final deliverance from the Dzungar plague came in the form of Chinese (Manchu) intervention; in 175758 the Ch'ien-lung emperor launched two major campaigns, in the course of which the Dzungars were, for all practical purposes, exterminated and their land incorporated into China. For a time, the wily Ablai Khan of the Middle Horde had chosen not to take sides in the Dzungar-Chinese conflict. But, once the scores were settled, Ablai found it prudent to offer his submission to the Ch'ien-lung emperor. Then, in 1771, Ablai was confirmed as ruler by both the Chinese and the Russians. As a result of the collapse of Dzungar power, the Chinese inherited a vast territory that extended to Lake Balkhash and beyond, far into the Kazak steppes. The brunt of the Dzungar wars was carried by the Great Horde; the Middle and Little hordes fared better, partly because they moved westward toward Russian-held territories. In 1730 Abu'l Khayr, khan of the Little Horde, swore allegiance to the tsarina Anna Ivanovna. Russian and Soviet rule and independence The reverses experienced by the Kazaks at the hands of the Oyrats undoubtedly retarded the emergence of a unified Kazak state and further depressed the prevailing level of Kazak cultural life. It also rendered the Kazaks even less able to resist the encroachments of Russia from the north. The Russian advance onto the Kazak steppe began with the construction of a line of fortsOmsk in 1716, Semipalatinsk in 1718, Ust-Kamenogorsk in 1719, and Orsk in 1735which was then steadily advanced southward. The Russian advance into Kazak territory was slow and seldom violent but ineluctable; it made full use of Kazak internal divisions and dissensions but, in its essence, was the typical encroachment of sedentary agriculturalists into the lands of nomads. Russian occupation of the Kazak steppe would prove essential for the conquest of Muslim Central Asia. Some Kazaks believed that the Russian presence might at least provide some security against Oyrat raids, and in 1731 the Little Horde accepted Russian protection, followed by the Middle Horde in 1740 and by part of the Great Horde in 1742, although its effect upon the Oyrats was to prove minimal. Finally, after a series of ineffectual Kazak uprisings of which the most extensive was that of Batyr Srym in 179297, Russia resolved to suppress such autonomy as the Kazak khans still possessed. In 1822 the khanate of the Middle Horde was abolished, in 1824 the Little Horde, and in 1848 the Great Horde. Because of Kazakstan's incorporation into Russia, modern ideas found a more fertile ground among the Kazaks than in the semi-independent Uzbek khanates. Russian schooling brought these ideas into Kazak life, and Russian-formed intellectuals such as Chokan Valikanov and Abay Kunanbay-ul adapted them to specific Kazak needs and created a secular culture unparalleled in other parts of Asian Russia. The Kazaks were onlookers rather than participants in the Russian Civil War that followed the fall of the tsarist regime in 1917. A Kazak provisional government formed by the ephemeral Alash Orda political party existed only in name. In 191920 the Bolsheviks' Red Army defeated White Russian forces in the region and occupied Kazakstan. On Aug. 26, 1920, the Soviet government established the Kirgiz Autonomous Republic, which in 1925 changed its name to Kazakh A.S.S.R. From 1927 the Soviet government pursued a vigorous policy of transforming the Kazak nomads into a settled population and of colonizing the region with Russians and Ukrainians. Despite their nomadic, rural existence, the Kazaks were the most literate and dynamic indigenous people in Central Asia. But the collectivization brutally imposed by the Soviet regime resulted in a shocking decrease in the Kazak population: between 1926 and 1939 the number of Kazaks in the Soviet Union fell by about one-fifth. More than 1.5 million died during this period, the majority from starvation and related diseases, others as a result of violence. Thousands of Kazaks fled to China, but less than a quarter survived the journey; about 300,000 fled to Uzbekistan and 44,000 to Turkmenistan. Kazakstan formally became a constituent (union) republic of the Soviet Union on Dec. 5, 1936. During the first secretaryship of Nikita Khrushchev, the role of Kazakstan within the Soviet Union increased dramatically. The Virgin and Idle Lands program launched in 1953 opened up the vast grasslands of northern Kazakstan to wheat farming by Slavic settlers. The importance of Kazakstan also increased through the location on its territory of the main Soviet space-launch centre and a substantial part of the Soviet Union's nuclear weaponry and the sites associated with nuclear testing. For a quarter of a century Kazak politics were dominated by Dinmukhamed Kunayev, first secretary of the Communist Party of Kazakstan from 1959 to 1986. The only Kazak ever to become a member of the Soviet Politburo, Kunayev proved to be not only a masterful Soviet politician but also a man capable of constructive thoughts and achievements. Realizing that Kazaks constituted a minority of Kazakstan's population, he looked with equal care after the needs of both Russians and Kazaks. His dismissal in 1986 by the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev caused the first serious riots of the 1980s in the Soviet Union. Kazakstan declared its sovereignty on Oct. 25, 1990, and declared full independence on Dec. 16, 1991. Under the presidency of Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kazak politics continued to follow the moderate policies of Kunayev. Interethnic tensions were under control. Relations with Russia were close, marked by cooperation on intelligence and an agreement on Russian jurisdiction over the nuclear forces in Kazakstan. Kazakstan joined international organizations such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund and appeared destined for an important role in Central Asia. Denis Sinor The economy Kazakstan possesses abundant natural resources. Its major exports include agricultural products, raw materials, chemical products, and manufactured goods. Privatization of state-owned industries was undertaken during the 1990s. In 1994 Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan formed an economic union that enabled free movement of labour and capital among the three countries and established coordinated economic policies. Resources Among the most important minerals are copper in the central areas and in Aqtbe (Aktyubinsk) province; lead, zinc, and silver in the Rudnyy Altai area and the Dzungarian Alatau and Qaratau (Karatau) spurs; tungsten and tin in the Kolbin Ridge and southern Altai; chromite, nickel, and cobalt in the Mugozhar Hills; titanium, manganese, and antimony in the central regions; vanadium in the south; and gold in the north and east. Processing facilities at Aqta u produce large quantities of uranium mined in the Mangghyshlaq area. Much iron ore comes from Qaraghandy and Qostanay (Kustanay), and coal from the Qaraghandy, Torghay (Turgay), Ekibastuz, and Maykuben basins. In 1993 Kazakstan finalized a contract with the Chevron Corporation to exploit the reserves of the Tengiz oil field, one of the world's largest. In the mid-1990s agreements also were sought with foreign investors for the development of oil and natural gas from the Tengiz, Zhusan, Temir, and Kasashyganak wells. The profitability of such ventures rested principally on the establishment of new pipelines. The land Relief Lowlands make up one-third of Kazakstan's huge expanse, hilly plateaus and plains account for nearly half, and low mountainous regions about one-fifth. Kazakstan's highest point, Mount Khan-Tengri (Han-t'eng-ko-li Peak) at 22,949 feet (6,995 metres), in the Tien Shan range on the border between Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, and China, contrasts with the flat or rolling terrain of most of the republic. The western and southwestern parts of the republic are dominated by the low-lying Caspian Depression, which at its lowest point lies some 95 feet below sea level. South of the Caspian Depression are the Ustyurt Plateau and the Tupqaraghan (formerly Mangyshlak) Peninsula jutting into the Caspian Sea. Vast amounts of sand form the Greater Barsuki and Aral Karakum deserts near the Aral Sea, the broad Betpaqdala Desert of the interior, and the Muyunkum and Kyzylkum deserts in the south. Most of these desert regions support slight vegetative cover fed by subterranean groundwater. Depressions filled by salt lakes whose water has largely evaporated dot the undulating uplands of central Kazakstan. In the north the mountains reach about 5,000 feet, and there are similar high areas among the Ulutau Mountains in the west and the Chingiz-Tau Range in the east. In the east and southeast, massifs (enormous blocks of crystalline rock) are furrowed by valleys. The Altai mountain complex to the east sends three ridges into the republic, and, farther south, the Tarbagatay Range is an offshoot of the Naryn-Kolbin complex. Another range, the Dzungarian Alatau, penetrates the country to the south of the depression containing Lake Balkhash. The Tien Shan peaks rise along the southern frontier with Kyrgyzstan. The people The Kazaks are a nominally Muslim people who speak a Turkic language of the Northwest or Kipchak (Qipchaq) group. Fewer than one-fifth of the more than eight million ethnic Kazaks live outside Kazakstan, mainly in Uzbekistan and Russia. During the 19th century about 400,000 Russians flooded into Kazakstan, and these were supplemented by about 1,000,000 Slavs, Germans, Jews, and others who immigrated to the region during the first third of the 20th century. The immigrants crowded Kazaks off the best pastures and watered lands, rendering many tribes destitute. Another large influx of Slavs occurred from 1954 to 1956 as a result of the Virgin and Idle Lands project, initiated by the Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev, himself a Slav. This project drew thousands of Russians and Ukrainians into the rich agricultural lands of northern Kazakstan. By 1989, however, Kazaks slightly outnumbered Russians. In the early years of independence, significant numbers of ethnic Russians in Kazakstan emigrated to Russia. This emigration, along with a return to the country of ethnic Kazaks, changed the demographic makeup of Kazakstan: by the mid-1990s the Kazak proportion was approaching half the total population, while that for the Russians was closer to one-third. The other ethnic groups in Kazakstan include Uzbeks, Uighurs, and Tajiks, along with Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, and Koreans. The urban areas of Kazakstan are still home to more Slavs than Kazaks. Kazaks constitute about half the inhabitants of Almaty, the country's largest city and, until 1997, its capital. About three-fifths of Kazak families live in rural areas. Urbanization in Kazakstan involves much more immigration of foreigners than movement of Kazaks from the countryside into the cities. During much of their long nomadic period, the Kazaks' adherence to Islam remained informal and permissive. When they moved into settlements or sent their children to towns of Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, and Central Asia for an education, that situation changed. There, young Kazaks entered Muslim maktabs or madrassahs, where religion supplied the main subjects and ideology. Thus, the younger generation of intellectuals turned into urban-style Muslims before the Soviet communists took over in the early 1920s. Thereafter, the authorities actively suppressed or discouraged religious life in Kazakstan until the U.S.S.R. disintegrated. Since independence, Kazaks generally have enjoyed freedom of religion.
Meaning of KAZAKSTAN in English
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