The second-largest of the former Soviet republics, Kazakhstan extends almost 3000 km from the Caspian Sea in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east and 1600 km north to south. It borders Russia to the north and China to the east. Kazakhstan was the last Soviet republic to declare its independence, in 1991. In 1999, elections confirmed the former communist Nursultan Nazarbayev and his supporters in power. Kazakhstan has considerable economic potential, and many Western companies seek to exploit its mineral resources. In this country notebook we would like to introduce Kazakhstan from different aspects a s history culture and other important elements of society.
II.Brief discussion of the country’s relevant history
Kazakhstan has a long and fascinating history, going back thousands of years. Some remnants are still visible today such as Great Silk Road monuments, petroglyphs and sometimes even mysterious archaeological sites. The Amazons might have originated from Kazakhstan, the first steppe nomads are supposed to have emerged from here and it is very likely that Genghis Khan was buried in Eastern Kazakhstan. In recent times more and more details about Kazakh history and culture have been re-discovered, making the country also more and more interesting for domestic and international culture seekers. Traditional nomadic life on the vast steppe and semi-desert lands was characterized by a constant search for new pasture to support the livestock-based economy. The Kazakhs emerged from a mixture of tribes living in the region in about the 15th century and by the middle of the 16th century had developed a common language, culture, and economy. In the early 1600s, the Kazakh Khanate separated into the Great, Middle and Little (or Small) Hordes--confederations based on extended family networks. Political disunion, competition among the hordes, and a lack of an internal market weakened the Kazakh Khanate. The beginning of the 18th century marked the zenith of the Kazakh Khanate. The following 150 years saw the gradual colonization of the Kazakh-controlled territories by tsarist Russia. The process of colonization was a combination of voluntary integration into the Russian Empire and outright seizure. The Russian Empire introduced a system of administration and built military garrisons in its effort to establish a presence in Central Asia in the so-called "Great Game" between it and Great Britain. Russian efforts to impose its system aroused the resentment of the Kazakh people, and by the 1860s, most Kazakhs resisted Russia's annexation largely because of the disruption it wrought upon the traditional nomadic lifestyle and livestock-based economy. The Kazakh national movement, which began in the late 1800s, sought to preserve the Kazakh language and identity. There were uprisings against colonial rule during the final years of tsarist Russia, with the most serious occurring in 1916. The destruction of the nomadic life, prior to and during the Communist period, created a Kazakh diaspora in neighboring countries, especially western China. Since independence in 1991, the government has encouraged the return of ethnic Kazakhs by offering subsidies for returnees. Growing tensions within Soviet society led to a demand for political and economic reforms, which came to a head in the 1980s. In December 1986, mass demonstrations by young ethnic Kazakhs took place in Almaty to protest Moscow's installment of a non-Kazakhstani First Secretary as leader. Soviet troops suppressed the unrest, and dozens of demonstrators were jailed. In the waning days of Soviet rule, discontent continued to grow and find expression under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost. Caught up in the groundswell of Soviet republics seeking greater autonomy, Kazakhstan declared its sovereignty as a republic within the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) in October 1990. Following...