Kazakhstan – the largest country in Central Asia – was rocked by a protest movement that began on Sunday, January 2, 2022, in the countryside after an increase in gas prices, and then spread to a number of cities, including Almaty, the economic capital, and the demonstrations developed into riots that led to deaths and the arrest of thousands.
On the fifth of this January, the government announced its resignation against the backdrop of protests against it, followed by the imposition of a state of emergency throughout the country with the aim of maintaining public security, while dozens of protesters were killed, according to the Ministry of the Interior.
According to observers, the anger of the demonstrators in Kazakhstan is not only in response to the rise in gas prices, but also against former President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who continued to control power behind the scenes despite his resignation.
The birth of the state
1991: Kazakhstan declares its independence from the Soviet Union.
1993: Approved the new constitution, and amended it in 1995.
Capital: On December 10, 1997, after a proposal made by President Nazarbayev in 1994, the capital was moved from Almaty to Astana.
Location: It is bordered to the north by Russia, to the south by China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, to the east by China, and to the west by Russia.
Total area: It is the largest Muslim country in the world, the largest landlocked country in the world, and the ninth largest country in the world in terms of area, with 2,717,300 million square kilometers, of which 47,500 thousand square kilometers are water.
– The borders were drawn with Kyrgyzstan in 2001, with Uzbekistan in 2004 and with Turkmenistan in 2005. There is a dispute with Turkmenistan over the exploitation of resources in the Caspian Sea.
The beaches of Kazakhstan on the Caspian Sea extend 1,894 km.
About 12% of its territory is surrounded by parts of the Altai and Tian Shan mountain range, with altitudes of about 6,995 meters. More than 3 quarters of the country is desert or semi-desert with elevations less than 500 metres. Along the Caspian Sea, the land is below sea level.
There are 7 rivers in Kazakhstan with a total length of about 1,000 km, the most important of which are Chu, Emba, Ily, Irtysh and Ishim.
Kazakhstan is divided into 14 states, 160 provinces and 10 municipalities, and the cities of Almaty, Astana and Bikonur are treated as states.
Climate: Continental, very cold in winter and hot in summer, and annual rainfall is 100-600 mm according to regions.
Population: 15 million and 460 thousand and 484 people (2121 estimations).
Ethnic groups: There are 131 ethnicities in Kazakhstan, Kazakhs constitute 63% of the population. There are Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, Uyghurs, and other ethnicities.
Between 1989 and 1999: about 1.5 million Russians and 500,000 Germans left Kazakhstan, which lost the country a large part of the expertise and technical skills that these groups had provided.
Most of the Kazakh population is rural, concentrated in the northern states.
Language: Kazakh is spoken by about 64.4% of the population and is the official language of the state, while Russian is the language of communication between different ethnicities.
2006: President Nursultan Nazarbayev suggested changing Kazakhstan from the surreal alphabet to Latin.
Religion: Muslims make up about 70% of the population, while those who believe in Christianity make up about 26% of the population, and other religions make up about 4%.
It consists of a head of state and a prime minister, followed by the Council of Ministers. The head of state is the one who sets government policies, and has the power to make constitutional amendments, appoint and dismiss the government, dissolve parliament, and appoint administrative heads of regions. The Office of the President oversees foreign policy and foreign investment operations.
– The head of state appoints the governors of states and provinces, and for every city, province and state, a people’s assembly is directly elected, and his authority is limited to services.
December 1, 1991: Nursultan Nazarbayev assumed the presidency and served as president for 5 consecutive terms until his resignation on March 20, 2019.
2004: Transparency International ranked Kazakhstan 122nd out of a total of 146 countries according to the level of corruption.
May 18, 2007: Kazakhstan’s parliament adopts a constitutional amendment that allows Nazarbayev to run as many times as he wants.
May 22, 2007: According to the constitutional amendments signed by the President of the Republic, the term of office of the President was reduced from 7 to 5 years.
2012: The amendments entered into force.
Powers of the President: Amending the Constitution, determining the executive policy of the government, appointing and dismissing it, dissolving Parliament, appointing 7 of the 39 senators, appointing members of the Central Elections Committee with the approval of the House of Representatives, appointing 3 Supreme Court judges and appointing judges in the rest of the courts, and appointing 3 members of the Council The Constitutional Seven, appointing administrative heads of territories, and state and provincial governors.
The Kazakh parliament consists of two chambers, the Senate, and includes 39 members, 7 of whom are appointed by the president, and the rest are elected by the government councils in their states.
The House of Representatives consists of 77 members who are elected directly by popular vote. The Council has the power to dismiss the head of state with 3 quarters of the votes in the event of treason or complete incapacity.
Males and females over the age of 18 have the right to vote. The Central Elections Committee supervises the elections, and its members appoint the president after the approval of the House of Representatives.
– The president is elected by direct, one-round popular election. Whoever gets the highest votes from the presidential candidates will be the winner without specifying a specific percentage of the highest votes.
There are 10 official political parties in Kazakhstan, the largest of which is the Nurutan People’s Democratic Party.
March 19, 2019: President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced his resignation, stressing that he will remain head of the country’s Security Council, head of the ruling “Nur Otan” (Light of the Nation) party and a member of the Constitutional Council, after he stepped down from power.
March 20, 2019: Senate President Kassym-Jomart Kimilovich Tokayev assumed the post according to the text of the constitution.
April 9, 2019: Tokayev announces early elections.
June 9, 2019: Tokayev is elected president of Kazakhstan with 71% of the vote.
The Supreme Judicial Council and the Supreme Judicial Court constitute the hierarchy of the judicial authority, and the president of the state appoints the head of the council, and in turn the council nominates its members, recommends them to the head of state and ratifies them by the Senate.
3 out of 7 members of the Supreme Court, including the chief justice, are appointed by the head of state, and the rest are appointed by the Senate.
He also appoints and dismisses the President of the Constitutional Council, and the President of the State, the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies share the power to appoint and dismiss two members of the Constitutional Council each. The head of state also appoints the public prosecutor.
The judicial system consists of the Supreme Court and the district and provincial courts. The Supreme Court considers cases brought from lower courts, and the Constitutional Council decides on constitutional issues and its decisions are subject to presidential veto.
Official currency: Kazakhstani tenge.
Oil and gas are the most important economic resources in Kazakhstan, and account for more than half of industrial production.
Unemployment rate: about 4%.
Inflation rate: 8.40%.
Growth rate: 3.5%.
Gross domestic product: $170 billion ( 2021 estimate).
Oil constitutes more than half of Kazakhstan’s industrial output and various industries depend on it, but due to its status as a landlocked country, the cost of transporting oil is rising.
Kazakhstan is rich in minerals such as chromium, coal, copper, gold, iron ore, tungsten, uranium, zinc, nickel and lead.
Kazakhstan is also one of the countries rich in oil and gas, and proven oil reserves are estimated at about 30 billion barrels, and gas reserves are estimated at 100 trillion cubic feet.
Among the most important crops are cotton and grains, and the profession of raising livestock for their meat is also practiced.
– It represents 41.1% of the total domestic production, in addition to industries related to oil and gas, there is the manufacture of machinery, building materials and metal formation.
The most important exports are oil, natural gas, minerals, chemicals and meat. Kazakhstan exports mostly to Switzerland, France and Italy.
The most important imports are machinery and equipment, which are imported from Germany, the United States and China.