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Kazakh Language: Home

General Resources for Kazakhstan


Facts taken from CIA World Factbook

Country Name: (conventional long form) Republic of Kazakhstan (conventional short form) Kazakhstan

Area: 2,724,900 sq km 

Population: 18,744,548 (July 2018 est.)

Capital: Astana

Ethnic Groups: Kazakh (Qazaq) 63.1%, Russian 23.7%, Uzbek 2.9%, Ukrainian 2.1%, Uighur 1.4%, Tatar 1.3%, German 1.1%, other 4.4% (2009 est.)   

Independence: 16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

Language: Kazakh (official, Qazaq) 74% (understand spoken language), Russian (official, used in everyday business, designated the "language of interethnic communication") 94.4% (understand spoken language) (2009 est.)

Religion: Muslim 70.2%, Christian 26.2% (mainly Russian Orthodox), other 0.2%, atheist 2.8%, unspecified 0.5% (2009 est.)

Time Zone: UTC+6 (11 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time) [Kazakhstan has two time zones]

Measuring System: Metric

Economy: Kazakhstan, geographically the largest of the former Soviet republics, excluding Russia, possesses enormous fossil fuel reserves and plentiful supplies of other minerals and metals, such as uranium, copper, and zinc. It also has a large agricultural sector featuring livestock and grain. 

GDP : $478.6 billion (2017 est.)

Exchange rate (period average): tenge (KZT) per US dollar - 326.3 (2017 est.)

GDP growth rate: 4% (2017 est.), 1.1% (2016 est.), 1.2% (2015 est.) 

Exports: $49.29 billion (2017 est.), $37.26 billion (2016 est.)

Exported Goods: oil and oil products, natural gas, ferrous metals, chemicals, machinery, grain, wool, meat, coal

Officially recognized unemployment rate: 5 % (2017 est)

Population below poverty line: 2.6 % (2016 est.)

General Information

Kazakhstan (Kazakh: Қазақстан, Qazaqstan, pronounced [qɑzɑqstɑ́n]; Russian: Казахстан [kəzɐxˈstan]), officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country located in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of 2,727,300 km² is greater than Western Europe.Kazakhstan is one of the six independent Turkic States. It is neighbored clockwise from the north by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and also borders on a significant part of the Caspian Sea. The capital was moved in 1997 from Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, to Astana.

Vast in size, the terrain of Kazakhstan ranges from flatlands, steppes, taigas, rock-canyons, hills, deltas, and snow-capped mountains to deserts. With 16.4 million people (2010 estimate) Kazakhstan has the 62nd largest population in the world, though its population density is less than 6 people per square kilometre (15 per sq. mi.).

The climate of the country is sharply continental. Average temperature in January varies within - 19° - - 4° C while average July temperature fluctuates within + 19° - + 26° C. The lowest temperature in winter may go down to - 45° C with the highest one in summer + 30° C.

The population numbers some 15,074,2 thousands people (01.01.2005). Population density is as high as 5,5 people per 1 sq km.

The capital is the city of Astana (since December 10, 1997) whose population is as large as 528,000 people.

Administratively Kazakhstan is comprised of 14 regions, 84 cities of which 39 refer to those of Republican and regional subordination, 159 districts,  241 settlements, 2,042 aul (rural) counties.

In terms of the number of the population cities of Kazakhstan may be subdivided into several categories:

  • those having 300-400 thou. residents (Karagandy, Shymkent, Pavlodar, Taraz, Ust-Kamenogorsk);
  • those with 200-280 thou. residents (Uralsk, Temirtau, Kostanay, Aktobe, Petropavlovsk, Semipalatinsk);
  • those with 110-160 thousand residents (Zhezkazgan, Yekibastuz, Kyzylorda, Aktau, Kokshetau, Atyrau).

Most numerous are cities numbering less than 50,000 residents.

Kazakh is the official language. This notwithstanding, in State institutions and local administration bodies along with the Kazakh language they speak Russian quite officially.

Monetary unit is tenge which is equal to 100 tyins. It was introduced on November 15, 1993.

National holidays are Day of the Republic (October,25) and Independence Day (December,16).


Credits: Wikipedia, Kazakh Consulate

Political System

Kazakhstan is officially a presidential republic but displays strong authoritarian characteristics. The first president was Nursultan Nazarbayev until his resignation in 2019, and has been succeeded by Kassym-Jomart Tokayev. The president also is the commander in chief of the armed forces and may veto legislation that has been passed by the Parliament. The prime minister chairs the Cabinet of Ministers and serves as Kazakhstan's head of government. There are three deputy prime ministers and 16 ministers in the Cabinet. 

Kazakhstan has a bicameral Parliament composed of the lower house (the Majilis) and upper house (the Senate). Single mandate districts popularly elect 67 seats in the Majilis; there also are 10 members elected by party-list vote rather than by single mandate districts. The Senate has 39 members. Two senators are selected by each of the elected assemblies (Maslikhats) of Kazakhstan's 16 principal administrative divisions (14 provinces, plus the cities of Astana and Almaty). The president appoints the remaining 7 senators. Majilis deputies and the government both have the right of legislative initiative, though the government proposes most legislation considered by the Parliament.

Credits: Wikipedia, Local Kazakhstan, New York Times 

Picture source: Google Images

Economic Overview

Kazakhstan is important to world energy markets because it has significant oil and natural gas reserves. With sufficient export options, Kazakhstan could become one of the world's largest oil producers and exporters in the next decade. But Kazakhstan’s strategic aspiration is to become a modern, diversified economy with a high value added and high-tech component, well integrated in to the global economy.

Energy sector is viewed as a good basis to achieve this goal

The perspective of the Kazakhstan economy is closely connected with further integration into international economic relations, utilisation of unique reserves of energy and mineral resources, vast possibilities to export industrial and agricultural products, optimum employment of country's transit potential and also with availability of highly qualified specialists in different spheres. During the Soviet period Kazakhstan was an agrarian, raw materials supplier of the former Soviet economy, where the military industry played the major role. The main economic content of more than 10 years of independence has become transition from the central command planning to a market system.

During these years, Kazakhstan has made considerable progress in implementing complex political, economic and social reforms to establish a democratic state with a market economy.

While the country has not experienced political disturbances during the transition period, it has faced numerous economic, social and environmental challenges.

The main goals of current structural policy are diversification and the strengthening of the non-oil sector. A number of development agencies and research centres (Development Institutions) have been established and the Government is looking at establishing techno and science parks to support the diversification of higher-value added industries. But there are certain obstacles inherited from the past to quickly achieve this.


Credits: Oriental Express Central Asia

Intensive Language Programs

The American Association for Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) website has a page that describes intensive programs in Slavic and East European languages as well as in the languages of the Republics of the former Soviet Union. The listings include those programs offered in U.S. (and some Canadian) colleges and universities as well as in programs abroad. This is a free service provided by AATSEEL to such programs.

Each language has its own page, and programs are divided into the following categories: Summer Programs in the U.S., Summer Programs Abroad, and Semester/Year Programs Abroad. Information is added to this page as it is received, so check frequently for updates.

The website has a table which allows you to click on the language you are interested in, and it directs you to links to the program/school websites teaching the language.