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Area Codes in Kazakhstan

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Kazakhstan was one of the most important Union republics during the Soviet era (1920–1991), with a large part of the Soviet Nuclear Arsenal. Extensive oil resources created a good economic development and rising standard of living for many Kazakhs until 2015. The country was ruled by the authoritarian president Nursultan Nazarbayev from independence from 1991 to 2019, when his hand-picked successor Kasym-Zyomart Tokayev took over. However, Nazarbayev has maintained a great political influence.
  • Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Kazakhstan, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.

Geography and climate

Kazakhstan is on the surface the ninth largest country in the world, or just over six times as large as Sweden. It is located in the inland of Asia and has a 700 km long border with Russia in the north. Kazakhstan consists largely of desert and steppe. The country is located in the temperate zone and has a distinct continental climate: quite dry with large temperature differences between day and night and between summer and winter.

Kazakhstan also borders China and the three Central Asian neighboring republics of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Three large saltwater lakes are located wholly or partly in Kazakhstan: the Caspian Sea, the Aral Sea and Lake Balchasj.

From the Caspian Sea to the west, sparsely populated lowlands extend. In the northwest lies the Kirgizstäppen. Intensive cultivation during the 1950s has led to some areas on the Kyrgyz steppe now lacking vegetation. In the north, the country consists of grassy highlands, while sandy deserts spread out in the south. To the east, Kazakhstan rises to a plateau of gently rolling grassy steppes. Here and there are individual forest areas.

Geography and climate of Kazakhstan

The farthest to the east is the Altaj Mountains, and in the southeast is the Tien Shan mountain range. At the border with Kyrgyzstan in the south-east is the Khan Tengri mountain peak, which reaches over 7,000 meters above sea level if the glacier ice is included at the top. In the mountains are wolf, bear and snow leopard. Wildlife on the steppes is more sparse, but in some places there is the rare steppe antelope.

The soils of Kazakhstan are often nutrient-poor and muddy with a naturally high salt content that is not infrequently diluted by irrigation. When it rains, the hard surface layer dissolves to clay. Where hills and hillsides are covered by such soil, heavy landslides can occur during rain or snowmelt.

In the southwest, the country has a coast towards the Caspian Sea, the world's largest lake. To the south, the border with Uzbekistan crosses the Aral Sea. In the early 1960s, the Aral Sea was the world's fourth largest lake, but large parts are now dry due to one of the world's worst environmental disasters (see Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment). Remaining in Kazakhstan is Lake Lilla Aral, which shows signs of recovery.

In northern Kazakhstan, winter lasts from late October to mid-April. There, the average daily temperature in January is –18 degrees to –3 in the south. In July, the average temperature is 20 degrees to the north and 28 to 30 degrees to the south. The climate is colder and the rainfall richer at higher altitudes. In all seasons, strong, dry steep winds can occur, especially in the northern, western and central parts of the country.

FACTS - GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE

Surface

2 717 300 km2 (2018)

Time

Swedish + 4-5 hours

Adjacent country (s)

Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan

Capital with number of inhabitants

Nursultan (formerly Astana) 1,078,000 (official estimate 2019) 1

Other major cities

Almaty 1,900,000, Symmetric 1,000,000, Qaraghandy 498,000, Aqtöbe 488,000 (official estimate 2019)

Highest mountain

Khan Tengri (south-east, 7,010 m asl)

Important rivers

Syr Darya

Largest lake

Lake Balchasj and part of the Caspian Sea and the Aral Sea

Average Precipitation / month

Astana 50 mm (July), 15 mm (Feb)

Average / day

Astana 20 °C (July), –18 °C (Jan)

  1. On March 20, 2019, Astana was renamed Nursultan to honor Nursultan Nazarbayev, who resigned as president a day earlier.Sources

2011

December

Explosion Prison

Twelve people are sentenced to prison for involvement in the assault in Aqtöbe (see April 2011).

At least 15 protesters are killed in Shanghai

At least 15 protesters are shot dead when police enter to clear the square in Zhangözen (see May 2011). Protesters set fire to several buildings in the city, including one of the oil companies' offices. The government faces a state of emergency and Nazarbayev dismisses several executives at the oil companies concerned, including his son-in-law Timur Kulibayev.

November

Parliamentary elections are announced in advance

Nazarbayev dissolves parliament and announces parliamentary elections six months in advance, in January 2012. 53 MEPs have signed a request to have the election postponed so that Parliament can then devote itself to the aftermath of the euro crisis. Otherwise, the election would have been held in August.

October

Islamists are suspected of explosions

Two explosions that occur in Atyrau are reported to require a life. A militant Islamist group that calls itself Jund al-Khilafah (Caliphate's soldiers) says they are behind the deed and states that they want to protest a new law forcing religious organizations to register (see Religion).

August

The ruling party wins Senate elections

An electoral assembly conducts the election of 16 senators. All places go to governing the Fatherland.

July

Struggles with suspected Islamists

Nine suspected Islamists and three police officers die in several violent clashes in Aqtöbe County. Three people also die when an explosive charge explodes.

June

New partial alliance is formed

The Communist Party, together with Forward (Alga) and several individual organizations, form a new political group, the People's Front.

May

Striking oil workers are dismissed

Oil workers in the city of Zhanganga in the west go on strike for higher wages. About a thousand workers are laid off and their lawyers are imprisoned. Strict workers occupy the city's central square.

April

Suspected suicide in Aqtöbe

A man triggers an explosive charge in the city of Aqtöbe in the northwest in what is suspected to be Kazakhstan's first suicide attack.

Almost everyone votes on the president

Nazarbayev wins the presidential election by almost 96 percent of the vote after basically calling on the entire opposition to boycott. The turnout is reported to be just over 95 percent.

February

Presidential elections must be held in advance

As a result of a decision in the Constitutional Court (see January 2011), Nazarbayev announces presidential elections early in April 2011.

January

The President stops attempts to extend his term

President Nazarbayev vetoes Parliament's decision to try to extend his mandate until 2020 (see December 2010).

 

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