Ethnic Kazakhs, a mix of Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes who migrated to the region by 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. Soviet policies reduced the number of ethnic Kazakhs in the 1930s and enabled non-ethnic Kazakhs to outnumber natives. 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) further skewed the ethnic mixture. Non-Muslim ethnic minorities departed Kazakhstan in large numbers from the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s and a national program has repatriated about a million ethnic Kazakhs back to Kazakhstan. These trends have allowed Kazakhs to become the titular majority again. This dramatic demographic shift has also undermined the previous religious diversity and made the country more than 70% Muslim. Kazakhstan's economy is larger than those of all the other Central Asian states largely due to the country's vast natural resources. Current issues include: developing a cohesive national identity, expanding the development of the country's vast energy resources and exporting them to world markets, diversifying the economy, enhancing Kazakhstan's economic competitiveness, and strengthening relations with neighboring states and foreign powers.



Central Asia, northwest of China; a small portion west of the Ural (Zhayyq) River in easternmost Europe

Geographic coordinates

48 00 N, 68 00 E

Map references



total: 2,724,900 sq km
land: 2,699,700 sq km
water: 25,200 sq km

Area - comparative

slightly less than four times the size of Texas

Land boundaries

total: 13,364 km
border countries (5): China 1,765 km, Kyrgyzstan 1,212 km, Russia 7,644 km, Turkmenistan 413 km, Uzbekistan 2,330 km


0 km (landlocked); note - Kazakhstan borders the Aral Sea, now split into two bodies of water (1,070 km), and the Caspian Sea (1,894 km)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


continental, cold winters and hot summers, arid and semiarid


vast flat steppe extending from the Volga in the west to the Altai Mountains in the east and from the plains of western Siberia in the north to oases and deserts of Central Asia in the south


mean elevation: 387 m
elevation extremes: lowest point: Vpadina Kaundy -132 m
highest point: Khan Tangiri Shyngy (Pik Khan-Tengri) 6,995 m

Natural resources

major deposits of petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, manganese, chrome ore, nickel, cobalt, copper, molybdenum, lead, zinc, bauxite, gold, uranium

Land use

agricultural land: 77.4%
arable land 8.9%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 68.5%
forest: 1.2%
other: 21.4% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

20,660 sq km (2012)

Natural hazards

earthquakes in the south; mudslides around Almaty

Environment - current 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

Environment - international agreements

party to: Air Pollution, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol

Geography - note

world's largest landlocked country; Russia leases approximately 6,000 sq km of territory enclosing the Baykonur Cosmodrome; in January 2004, Kazakhstan and Russia extended the lease to 2050

People and Society


18,360,353 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Kazakhstani(s)
adjective: Kazakhstani

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.)


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.)


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

Age structure

0-14 years: 25.68% (male 2,336,444/female 2,378,769)
15-24 years: 14.66% (male 1,371,133/female 1,319,938)
25-54 years: 42.5% (male 3,808,164/female 3,994,781)
55-64 years: 9.77% (male 784,035/female 1,008,935)
65 years and over: 7.4% (male 470,485/female 887,669) (2016 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 50.3%
youth dependency ratio: 40.1%
elderly dependency ratio: 10.1%
potential support ratio: 9.9% (2015 est.)

Median age

total: 30.3 years
male: 29 years
female: 31.6 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

1.09% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

18.7 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

8.2 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Population distribution

most of the country displays a low population density, particularly the interior; population clusters appear in urban agglomerations in the far northern and southern portions of the country


urban population: 53.2% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.86% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

Almaty 1.523 million; ASTANA (capital) 759,000 (2015)

Sex ratio

at birth: 0.94 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.78 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.53 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Child labor - children ages 5-14

total number: 59,254
percentage: 2% (2006 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

12 deaths/100,000 live births (2015 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 20.3 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 22.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 17.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 70.8 years
male: 65.6 years
female: 75.7 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

2.28 children born/woman (2016 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

51% (2010/11)

Health expenditures

4.4% of GDP (2014)

Physicians density

3.62 physicians/1,000 population (2013)

Hospital bed density

7.2 beds/1,000 population (2012)

Drinking water source

urban: 99.4% of population
rural: 85.6% of population
total: 92.9% of population
urban: 0.6% of population
rural: 14.4% of population
total: 7.1% of population (2015 est.)

Sanitation facility access

urban: 97% of population
rural: 98.1% of population
total: 97.5% of population
urban: 3% of population
rural: 1.9% of population
total: 2.5% of population (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

0.21% (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

23,100 (2015 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

500 (2015 est.)

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

23.5% (2014)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

3.7% (2011)

Education expenditures

3.1% of GDP (2009)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2015 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 15 years
male: 15 years
female: 15 years (2015)

Mother's mean age at first birth

25 (2013 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 3.9%
male: 3.6%
female: 4.3% (2013 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Kazakhstan
conventional short form: Kazakhstan
local long form: Qazaqstan Respublikasy
local short form: Qazaqstan
former: Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
etymology: the name "Kazakh" derives from the Turkic word "kaz" meaning "to wander," recalling the Kazakh's nomadic lifestyle; the Persian suffix "-stan" means "place of" or "country," so the word Kazakhstan literally means "Land of the wanderers"

Government type

presidential 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 has two time zones

Administrative divisions

14 provinces (oblyslar, singular - oblys) and 2 cities* (qalalar, singular - qala); Almaty (Taldyqorghan), Almaty*, Aqmola (Kokshetau), Aqtobe, Astana*, Atyrau, Batys Qazaqstan [West Kazakhstan] (Oral), Mangghystau (Aqtau), Ongtustik Qazaqstan [South Kazakhstan] (Shymkent), Pavlodar, Qaraghandy, Qostanay, Qyzylorda, Shyghys Qazaqstan [East Kazakhstan] (Oskemen), Soltustik Qazaqstan [North Kazakhstan] (Petropavl), Zhambyl (Taraz)
note: administrative divisions have the same names as their administrative centers (exceptions have the administrative center name following in parentheses); in 1995, the Governments of Kazakhstan and Russia entered into an agreement whereby Russia would lease for a period of 20 years an area of 6,000 sq km enclosing the Baykonur space launch facilities and the city of Bayqongyr (Baykonur, formerly Leninsk); in 2004, a new agreement extended the lease to 2050


16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)

National holiday

Independence Day, 16 December (1991)


previous 1937, 1978 (preindependence); latest adopted 28 January 1993, approved by referendum 30 August 1995, effective 5 September 1995; amended several times, last in 2011 (2016)

Legal system

civil law system influenced by Roman-Germanic law and by the theory and practice of the Russian Federation

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Kazakhstan
dual citizenship recognized: no
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Nursultan Abishuly NAZARBAYEV (chairman of the Supreme Soviet from 22 February 1990, elected president 1 December 1991)
head of government: Prime Minister Bakytzhan SAGINTAYEV (since 9 September 2016); First Deputy Prime Minister Askar MAMIN (since 13 September 2016)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president
elections/appointments: president directly elected by simple majority popular vote for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 26 April 2015 (next to be held in 2020); prime minister and deputy prime minister appointed by the president, approved by the Mazhilis; note - constitutional amendments in May 2007 shortened the presidential term from 7 to 5 years and established a 2-consecutive-term limit; NAZARBAYEV has official status as the "First President of Kazakhstan" and is allowed unlimited terms
election results: Nursultan Abishuly NAZARBAYEV reelected president; percent of vote - Nursultan Abishuly NAZARBAYEV (Nur Otan) 97.8%, other 2.2%

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (47 seats; 32 members indirectly elected by majority two-round vote by the oblast-level assemblies and 15 members appointed by the president; members serve 6-year terms, with one-half of the membership renewed every 3 years) and the Mazhilis (107 seats; 98 members directly elected in a single national constituency by proportional representation vote to serve 5-year terms and 9 indirectly elected by the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, a 350-member, presidentially appointed advisory body designed to represent the country's ethnic minorities)
elections: Senate - last held on 1 October 2014 (next to be held in 2017); Mazhilis - last held on 20 March 2016 (next to be held by 2021)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - Nur Otan 16; Mazhilis - percent of vote by party - Nur Otan 82.2%, Ak Zhol 7.2%, Communist People's Party 7.1%, other 3.5%; seats by party - Nur Otan 84, Ak Zhol 7, Communist People's Party 7

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court of the Republic (consists of 44 members); Constitutional Council (consists of 7 members)
judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court judges proposed by the president of the republic on recommendation of the Supreme Judicial Council and confirmed by the Senate; judges normally serve until age 65 but can be extended to age 70; Constitutional Council - the president of the republic, the Senate chairperson, and the Majilis chairperson each appoints 1 member for a 3-year term and each appoints 1 member for a 6-year term; chairperson of the Constitutional Council appointed by the president of the republic for a 6-year term
subordinate courts: regional and local courts

Political parties and leaders

Ak Zhol (Bright Path) Party or Democratic Party of Kazakhstan Ak Zhol [Azat PERUASHEV]
Auyl National Patriotic Party [Ali BEKTAYEV] (Auyl is a September 2015 merger of the Patriots’ Party and the Auyl Social Democratic Party)
Birlik (Unity) [Seril SULTANGALI] (Birlik is an April 2013 merger of Adilet (Justice; formerly Democratic Party of Kazakhstan) and Rukhaniyat (Spirituality))
Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan [Vladislav KOSAREV]
National Social Democratic Party or NSDP [Zharmakhan TUYAKBAY]
Nur Otan (Radiant Fatherland) Democratic People's Party [Nursultan NAZARBAYEV] (the Agrarian, Asar, and Civic parties merged with Otan)

Political pressure groups and leaders

Adil-Soz [Tamara KALEYEVA]
Confederation of Free Trade Unions [Larissa KHARKOVA]
Foundation for Support of Civil Initiatives [Nurul RAKHIMBEK]
International Legal Initiative [Aina SHORMANBAYEVA]
Kazakhstan International Bureau on Human Rights [Yevgeniy ZHOVTIS, Chairman of Bureau's Council, Roza AKYLBEKOVA, director]
Legal Media Centre (sometimes known as the North Kazakhstan Legal Media Centre) [Diana OKREMOVA]
Public Foundation for Parliamentary Development [Zauresh BATTALOVA]
Republican Network of International Monitors [Daniyar LIVAZOV]
Transparency International [Sergey ZLOTNIKOV]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Kayrat UMAROV (since 14 January 2013)
chancery: 1401 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20036
telephone: [1] (202) 232-5488
FAX: [1] (202) 232-5845
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador George KROL (since 18 March 2015)
embassy: Rakhymzhan Koshkarbayev Ave. No 3, Astana 010010
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [7] (7172) 70-21-00
FAX: [7] (7172) 54-09-14
Consulate(s) General: Almaty

Flag description

a gold sun with 32 rays above a soaring golden steppe eagle, both centered on a sky blue background; the hoist side displays a national ornamental pattern "koshkar-muiz" (the horns of the ram) in gold; the blue color is of religious significance to the Turkic peoples of the country, and so symbolizes cultural and ethnic unity; it also represents the endless sky as well as water; the sun, a source of life and energy, exemplifies wealth and plenitude; the sun's rays are shaped like grain, which is the basis of abundance and prosperity; the eagle has appeared on the flags of Kazakh tribes for centuries and represents freedom, power, and the flight to the future; blue and yellow are the national colors

National symbol(s)

golden eagle; national colors: blue, yellow

National anthem

name: "Menin Qazaqstanim" (My Kazakhstan)
lyrics/music: Zhumeken NAZHIMEDENOV and Nursultan NAZARBAYEV/Shamshi KALDAYAKOV
note: adopted 2006; President Nursultan NAZARBAYEV played a role in revising the lyrics


Economy - overview

Kazakhstan, geographically the largest of the former Soviet republics, excluding Russia, possesses substantial fossil fuel reserves and other minerals and metals, such as uranium, copper, and zinc. It also has a large agricultural sector featuring livesto

Kazakhstan's vast hydrocarbon and mineral reserves form the backbone of its economy. Kazakhstan is landlocked and depends on Russia to export its oil to Europe. In 2010, Kazakhstan joined Russia and Belarus to establish a Customs Union in an effort to boo

The economic downturn of its EEU partner, Russia, and the decline in global commodity prices have contributed to an economic slowdown in Kazakhstan, which is experiencing its slowest economic growth since the financial crises of 2008-09. Kazakhstan devalu

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$460.7 billion (2016 est.)
$464.2 billion (2015 est.)
$458.9 billion (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$128.1 billion (2015 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

-0.8% (2016 est.)
1.2% (2015 est.)
4.3% (2014 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$25,700 (2016 est.)
$26,300 (2015 est.)
$26,300 (2014 est.)
note: data are in 2016 dollars

Gross national saving

25.9% of GDP (2016 est.)
27.2% of GDP (2015 est.)
27.7% of GDP (2014 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 53.7%
government consumption: 13%
investment in fixed capital: 25.1%
investment in inventories: 1.9%
exports of goods and services: 32.8%
imports of goods and services: -26.5% (2016 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 5.1%
industry: 33%
services: 61.9% (2016 est.)

Agriculture - products

grain (mostly spring wheat and barley), potatoes, vegetables, melons; livestock


oil, coal, iron ore, manganese, chromite, lead, zinc, copper, titanium, bauxite, gold, silver, phosphates, sulfur, uranium, iron and steel; tractors and other agricultural machinery, electric motors, construction materials

Industrial production growth rate

1.4% (2016 est.)

Labor force

9.059 million (2016 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 25.8%
industry: 11.9%
services: 62.3% (2012)

Unemployment rate

5.7% (2016 est.)
5% (2015 est.)

Population below poverty line

5.3% (2011 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 3.9%
highest 10%: 23.7% (2011 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index

28.9 (2011)
31.5 (2003)


revenues: $23.35 billion
expenditures: $27.25 billion (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

18.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-3% of GDP (2016 est.)

Public debt

24.1% of GDP (2016 est.)
24.1% of GDP (2015 est.)

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

14.6% (2016 est.)
6.7% (2015 est.)

Central bank discount rate

16% (31 December 2015)
5.5% (31 December 2014)

Commercial bank prime lending rate

12.4% (31 December 2016 est.)
9.56% (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of narrow money

$10.66 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$8.933 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of broad money

$52.89 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$56.49 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Stock of domestic credit

$60.94 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$50.83 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares

$34.89 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$22.97 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$26.23 billion (31 December 2013 est.)

Current account balance

-$2.785 billion (2016 est.)
-$4.436 billion (2015 est.)


$35.28 billion (2016 est.)
$46.29 billion (2015 est.)

Exports - commodities

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

Exports - partners

China 15.1%, Russia 12.3%, France 9.2%, Germany 7.9%, Italy 6.7%, Greece 4.1% (2015)


$24.5 billion (2016 est.)
$33.65 billion (2015 est.)

Imports - commodities

machinery and equipment, metal products, foodstuffs

Imports - partners

Russia 32.9%, China 25.9%, Germany 4.2% (2015)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$30.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$28.07 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Debt - external

$147.7 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$153.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home

$148.1 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$139.2 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad

$35.27 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$33.77 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

tenge (KZT) per US dollar -
348.5 (2016 est.)
221.73 (2015 est.)
221.73 (2014 est.)
179.19 (2013 est.)
149.11 (2012 est.)


Electricity - access

electrification - total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity - production

99 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

91 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - exports

2.9 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - imports

1.7 billion kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

19 million kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

87.3% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

12.7% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

1.653 million bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

1.466 million bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

142,400 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

30 billion bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

300,000 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

267,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

140,900 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

53,780 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

20.81 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

15.97 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - exports

11.54 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - imports

6.695 billion cu m (2014 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

2.407 trillion cu m (1 January 2016 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

199 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 4,143,100
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 23 (July 2015 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 31.39 million
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 173 (July 2015 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: inherited an outdated telecommunications network from the Soviet era requiring modernization
domestic: intercity by landline and microwave radio relay; number of fixed-line connections is inadequate; mobile-cellular usage has increased rapidly and the subscriber base now exceeds 170 per 100 persons
international: country code - 7; international traffic with other former Soviet republics and China carried by landline and microwave radio relay and with other countries by satellite and by the Trans-Asia-Europe (TAE) fiber-optic cable; satellite earth stations - 2 Int (2015)

Broadcast media

state owns nearly all radio and TV transmission facilities and operates national TV and radio networks; nearly all nationwide TV networks are wholly or partly owned by the government; some former state-owned media outlets have been privatized; households (2015)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 13.23 million
percent of population: 72.9% (July 2015 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 10
inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 71
annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 5,081,631
annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 37,669,008 mt-km (2015)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

UP (2016)


96 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 63
over 3,047 m: 10
2,438 to 3,047 m: 25
1,524 to 2,437 m: 15
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 8 (2013)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 33
over 3,047 m: 5
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 5
under 914 m: 13 (2013)


3 (2013)


condensate 658 km; gas 12,432 km; oil 11,313 km; refined products 1,095 km; water 1,465 km (2013)


total: 14,184 km
broad gauge: 14,184 km 1.520-m gauge (4,056 km electrified) (2014)


total: 97,418 km
paved: 87,140 km
unpaved: 10,278 km (2012)


4,000 km (on the Ertis (Irtysh) River (80%) and Syr Darya (Syrdariya) River) (2010)

Merchant marine

total: 11
by type: cargo 1, petroleum tanker 8, refrigerated cargo 1, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 3 (Austria 1, Ireland 1, Turkey 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Caspian Sea - Aqtau (Shevchenko), Atyrau (Gur'yev)
river port(s): Oskemen (Ust-Kamenogorsk), Pavlodar, Semey (Semipalatinsk) (Irtysh River)


Military branches

Kazakhstan Armed Forces: Ground Forces, Navy, Air Mobile Forces, Air Defense Forces (2013)

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation is 2 years, but Kazakhstan is transitioning to a largely contract force; 19 is the legal minimum age for voluntary service; military cadets in intermediate (ages 15-17) and higher (ages 17-21) education institutes are classified as military service personnel (2016)

Military expenditures

1.21% of GDP (2012)
0.97% of GDP (2011)
1.21% of GDP (2010)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Kyrgyzstan has yet to ratify the 2001 boundary delimitation with Kazakhstan; field demarcation of the boundaries commenced with Uzbekistan in 2004 and with Turkmenistan in 2005; ongoing demarcation with Russia began in 2007; demarcation with China was completed in 2002; creation of a seabed boundary with Turkmenistan in the Caspian Sea remains under discussion; Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia ratified Caspian seabed delimitation treaties based on equidistance, while Iran continues to insist on a one-fifth slice of the sea

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 7,909 (2015)

Illicit drugs

significant illicit cultivation of cannabis for CIS markets, as well as limited cultivation of opium poppy and ephedra (for the drug ephedrine); limited government eradication of illicit crops; transit point for Southwest Asian narcotics bound for Russia and the rest of Europe; significant consumer of opiates