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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Kazakhstan

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Native 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-Kazakhs to outnumber natives. Independence in 1991 caused many of these newcomers to emigrate. Kazakhstan's economy is larger than those of all the other Central Asian states combined, largely due to the country's vast natural resources and a recent history of political stability. Current issues include: developing a cohesive national identity; expanding the development of the country's vast energy resources and exporting them to world markets; achieving a sustainable economic growth; diversifying the economy outside the oil, gas, and mining sectors; enhancing Kazakhstan's competitiveness; and strengthening relations with neighboring states and other foreign powers. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

Kazakhstan, the largest of the former soviet republics in territory, excluding russia, possesses enormous fossil fuel reserves and plentiful supplies of other minerals and metals. it also has a large agricultural sector featuring livestock and grain. kazakhstan's industrial sector rests on the extraction and processing of these natural resources. the breakup of the ussr in december 1991 and the collapse in demand for kazakhstan's traditional heavy industry products resulted in a short-term contraction of the economy, with the steepest annual decline occurring in 1994. in 1995-97, the pace of the government program of economic reform and privatization quickened, resulting in a substantial shifting of assets into the private sector. kazakhstan enjoyed double-digit growth in 2000-01 - 8% or more per year in 2002-07 - thanks largely to its booming energy sector, but also to economic reform, good harvests, and foreign investment. inflation, however, jumped to more than 10% in 2007. in the energy sector, the opening of the caspian consortium pipeline in 2001, from western kazakhstan's tengiz oilfield to the black sea, substantially raised export capacity. in 2006 kazakhstan completed the atasu-alashankou portion of an oil pipeline to china that is planned in future construction to extend from the country's caspian coast eastward to the chinese border. the country has embarked upon an industrial policy designed to diversify the economy away from overdependence on the oil sector by developing its manufacturing potential. the policy aims to reduce the influence of foreign investment and foreign personnel. the government has engaged in several disputes with foreign oil companies over the terms of production agreements; tensions continue. upward pressure on the local currency continued in 2007 due to massive oil-related foreign-exchange inflows. aided by strong growth and foreign exchange earnings, kazakhstan aspires to become a regional financial center and has created a banking system comparable to those in central europe.

Environmental 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

Government Type

Republic; authoritarian presidential rule, with little power outside the executive branch


15,340,533 (july 2008 est.)


Central asia, northwest of china; a small portion west of the ural river in eastern-most europe


Total: 2,717,300 sq km land: 2,669,800 sq km water: 47,500 sq km

Slightly less than four times the size of texas

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: republic of kazakhstan conventional short form: kazakhstan local long form: qazaqstan respublikasy local short form: qazaqstan former: kazakh soviet socialist republic


Name: astana geographic coordinates: 51 10 n, 71 25 e time difference: utc+6 (11 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time) note: kazakhstan is divided into two time zones

Military Service

18 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 2 years; minimum age for volunteers na (2004)

International Disputes

Kyrgyzstan has yet to ratify the 2001 boundary delimitation with kazakhstan; field demarcation of the boundaries with turkmenistan commenced in 2005, and with uzbekistan in 2004; demarcation is scheduled to get underway with russia in 2007; demarcation with china was completed in 2002; creation of a seabed boundary with turkmenistan in the caspian sea remains under discussion; equidistant seabed treaties have been ratified with azerbaijan and russia in the caspian sea, but no resolution has been made on dividing the water column among any of the littoral states

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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