Kazakhstan Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022

Basic information about the territory

Kazakhstan Basic Information

Subchapters:

  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

Republic of Kazakhstan (KZ). The Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan also allows the name Kazakhstan.

  • Kazakstan Republikasy – Kazakh name
  • Republic of Kazakhstan – English name

The area of ​​Kazakhstan is 2,724,902 km2. The total length of the border perimeter is 13,349.9 km. The length of the borders with Russia – 7,548.1 km, Uzbekistan – 2,35km, the PRC – 1,78km, Kyrgyzstan – 1,24km and with Turkmenistan 426 km.

As of March 23, 2019, the capital Astana was renamed Nur-Sultan. Check equzhou to learn more about Kazakhstan political system.

The political organization of Kazakhstan is based on the Constitution. On its basis, a presidential-type democracy operates in the country with a lot of powers concentrated in the hands of the president. Following the ongoing constitutional reforms, a change in its text is being prepared. The president is elected for a period of 5 years with a limit of two mandates. The current president of Kazakhstan is Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev.
Executive power in the country rests with the government and its members. Ministers, including the Prime Minister, are appointed by the President.
Legislative power rests with the Parliament, which is divided into the lower chamber (Mažilis) and the Senate. In January 2021, regular elections in Mažilis took place after 5 years. The winner was the pro-presidential party Nur Otan (now Amanat), representatives of the center-right Ak Žol and People’s Party also sat in the lower chamber.

In January 2022, initially socio-economic protests took place in Kazakhstan, which spread from the western regions throughout the country and turned, especially in Almaty and the south of Kazakhstan, into violent demonstrations, vandalism, looting and armed clashes with security forces, including casualties on lives. In response to these events, there was the dismissal of the current government, the assumption of the chairmanship of the Security Council of Kazakhstan (originally belonging to former President Nursultan Nazarbayev for life) by President Tokayev, and the intervention of the armed forces of the Collective Security Treaty Organization at the invitation of President Tokayev. He immediately announced a number of measures in the field of socio-economic and security.

Currently, political and constitutional reforms initiated by the president are taking place in Kazakhstan, which are supposed to suppress the presidential powers in favor of both chambers of the parliament, incl. depoliticization of the office of the president. This internal political power transition is referred to as a transition from a super-presidential system of governance to a presidential system with a strong role of parliament. The reforms are aimed at overall revitalization of the country’s domestic political and social life by facilitating the establishment and operation of political parties and supporting the independence of the media and non-governmental organizations.

Composition of the Government of Kazakhstan as of 13/05/2022:

  • Alichan Smailov – Prime Minister
  • Roman Skljar – 1st Deputy Prime Minister
  • Eraly Tugžanov – Deputy Prime Minister
  • Muchtar Tleuberdi – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Bachyt Sultanov – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Trade and Integration
  • Ruslan Zhaksylykov – Minister of Defense
  • Marat Akhmedzhanov – Minister of the Interior
  • Askar Umarov – Minister of Information and Social Development
  • Kanat Mussin – Minister of Justice Ažar Ginijat – Minister of Health
  • Dauren Abayev – Minister of Culture and Sports Bagdat Mussin – Minister of Digital Development, Defense and Space Industry
  • Bolat Akčulakov – Minister of Energy Dujsenova Tamara – Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population
  • Erbol Karašukeev – Minister of Agriculture Aschat Aimagambetov – Minister of Education and Science
  • Kairbek Uskenbayev – Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development
  • Alibek Kuantyrov – Minister of National Economy
  • Serikkali Brekešev – Minister of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources
  • Yerulan Zhamaubayev – Minister of Finance
  • Yuri Ilyin – Minister for Emergency Situations

Foreign policy of the country

Kazakhstan declares a multi-vector orientation of its foreign policy. A key partner remains Russia, whose political and military influence balances China’s growing economic presence. In relation to Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, Kazakhstan declares neutrality and appeals for an exclusively diplomatic solution to international political disputes, especially under the auspices of the United Nations. In terms of relations with Western powers, the country is aware that the EU in particular is an important trade and investment partner; this direction of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy received a significant boost as a result of Russian aggression in Ukraine, leading to the revival of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy and economic activities towards the EU, including efforts to attract new foreign investments. Another link is cooperation within the Turkic countries, which has a greater influence on decision-making and the sympathies of Kazakhstan in some topics. In general, the current political-strategic direction of Kazakhstan shows an effort to diversify. Check recipesinthebox for Kazakhstan defense and foreign policy.

Kazakhstan within Central Asia has stable, problem-free relations with all its neighbors. The country profiles itself as a stabilizing element on the international scene and often takes steps to resolve disputes amicably. With regard to its history (the Semipalatinsk nuclear site) and the decision to get rid of nuclear weapons after the establishment of KZ as an independent state, Kazakhstan is prominently profiled in the issue of international limitation of the nuclear arsenal, a permanent ban on nuclear tests, etc.

For the strategic partnership with Russia, the key link is a common past and a significant overlap of interests, especially in Central Asia. From an economic point of view, both economies traditionally compete rather than complement each other. However, the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) strengthens the connection between the two economies and facilitates the export of KZ raw materials (e.g. wheat) to the Russian market and, conversely, Russian consumer goods to Kazakhstan. The cooperation in the military and security area and the effort for a coordinated approach to problems and conflicts both in Central Asia and in the Caucasus cannot be overlooked. The Russian minority in the country and Russia’s influence in the media, cultural and educational spheres also play their irreplaceable role in this bilateral line.

In addition to considerable mineral wealth, the importance of the country also lies in its geographical location, where a land connection between China and Europe without sections on the territory of the KZ is basically impossible. Kazakhstan tries to compensate for transport infrastructure projects, often associated with borrowing from Chinese banks, and the import of cheap Chinese consumer goods with an interest in exporting mainly agricultural raw materials and food to the promising Chinese market. Kazakhstan is relatively open to cooperation with China in economic areas, but in all other areas, KZ’s approach to this powerful neighbor is far more cautious. The situation of the Uyghurs in China causes a certain tension within the KZ.

A permanent and continuously strengthening priority of Kazakhstan’s foreign policy, supported by membership in the Organization of Turkic States, is the relationship with the Turkic countries, which includes all the countries of Central Asia with the exception of Tajikistan, as well as Azerbaijan and Turkey. Efforts to coordinate positions or business-economic and cultural cooperation are growing. In addition to Turkey, the main partners are Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan, which has shown interest in strengthening cooperation especially in recent years.

Population

According to the Statistical Committee of Kazakhstanas of April 1, 2022, 19,178 thousand were registered in the country. resident. The population density is 6.89 inhabitants/km2, and therefore one of the lowest in the world. The urban population accounts for approximately 59.5%, with the long-term trend of the population moving from the countryside to the cities continuing. In the 1990s, the natural annual population increase in Kazakhstan was declining (1993-2003). In the nineties of the last century, in addition to the mentioned factor, emigration was a significant factor in the overall decrease in the number of residents of the KZ. It was mainly the emigration of non-Kazakh ethnic groups (Russians, Ukrainians, Germans) to the countries of the former USSR and Germany, when the number of evicted population significantly exceeded immigration. The consistently highest number of emigrations is registered to the Russian Federation, the largest number of immigrations is from Uzbekistan.

During the Stalinist period, members of many nationalities were forcibly resettled in Kazakhstan, such as Chechens, Ingush, Persians, Poles, Uyghurs, Kurds, Koreans, etc. There are currently approximately 147 nationalities and ethnic groups living in Kazakhstan, and the ethnic composition of the population is as follows ( data as of 1/1/2021):

  • Kazakhs – 13,029 thousand (69%)
  • Russians – 3,478 thousand (18.4%) Uzbeks – 620 thousand (3.3%)
  • Uighurs – 278 thousand (1.48%)
  • Ukrainians – 256 thousand (1.36%)
  • Tatars – 199.4 thousand (1.06%)
  • Germans – 17thousand (0.92%)
  • Turks, Koreans, Azerbaijanis, Belarusians, Poles, Bashkirs, etc.

In addition to the ethnic structuring of society, clan structuring and the division into tribal unions, the so-called Older, Middle and Younger žuzas, play an equally important role. These represent specific forms of socio-political organization of the Kazakh nation.

Religious composition:

  • Kazakhs – Sunni branch of Islam (71.3%),
  • residents of European origin – Christianity of various orientations – mainly Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants (23.7%),
  • atheists (4.2%),
  • popular belief (0.4%),
  • Buddhists (0.2%), other (0.2%).

Kazakhstan promotes a policy of religious, ethnic and national tolerance. In the capital of Nur-Sultan, leaders of all world and traditionalist religions meet every three years. The capital also hosts a convention of the Assembly of Nations of Kazakhstan every year.