SPECIAL REGIONAL CONSIDERATIONS - KAZAKHSTAN
ADOPTION ALERT from the U.S. Department of State
Kazakhstan is officially known as the Republic of Kazakhstan. It is a country located in Eurasia and is ranked as the ninth largest country in the world. It is also the world's largest landlocked country. It is equivalent to the size of Western Europe. It is neighbored clockwise from the north by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and also borders on a significant part of the Caspian Sea. While located primarily in Asia, a small portion of Kazakhstan is also located west of the Urals in Eastern Europe. The capital moved in 1997 to Astana from Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city.
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 (2009 census), Kazakhstan has the 62nd largest population in the world, though its population density is less than 15 people per square mile.
Kazakhstan declared itself an independent country on December 16, 1991, the last Soviet republic to do so. The years following independence have been marked by significant reforms to the Soviet-style economy and political monopoly on power. The country has enjoyed significant economic growth since 2000, partly due to its large oil, gas, and mineral reserves. Other major exports of Kazakhstan include wheat, textiles, and livestock. Kazakhstan is the seventh-largest producer of wheat in the world. However, despite the strength of Kazakhstan's economy for most of the first decade of the 21st century, the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 has exposed some central weaknesses in the country's economy.
Kazakhstan is a constitutional republic with a strong presidency. The president is the head of state. The president also is the commander in chief of the armed forces and may veto legislation that has been passed by the Parliament. President Nursultan Nazarbayev has been in office since Kazakhstan became independent.
1 Kazakhstan, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazakhstan