Area: 2.7 million sq. km. (1.05 million sq.
mi.); ninth-largest nation in the world; the
size of Western Europe.
Major cities: Astana (capital, June 1998),
Almaty (former capital), Karaganda, and Shymkent.
Terrain: Extends east to west from the Caspian
Sea to the Altay Mountains and north to south
from the plains of Western Siberia to the oasis
and desert of Central Asia.
Climate: Continental, cold winters and hot
summers; arid and semi-arid.
Border lengths: Russia 6,846 km., Uzbekistan
2,203 km., China 1,533 km., Kyrgyzstan 1,051
km., and Turkmenistan 379 km.
Population (January 2008 est.): 15.6
million--down from 16.2 million in 1989; second
most-populated country in Central Asia.
Large-scale emigration of ethnic Russians,
Germans, and Ukrainians accounts for most of the
population decrease since 1989.
Population growth rate (2007 est.): 1.08%.
Population distribution: 52.8 % of population
lives in urban areas. The largest cities include
Astana (capital) with a population of 602,480,
Almaty (former capital) 1.3 million, Karaganda
453,400, Shymkent 545,400, Taraz 340,000,
Ust-Kamenogorsk 310,000, Pavlodar 300,000.
Population density: 14.5 people per sq. mi.
(U.S. density, 2000: 79.6 people per sq. mi.).
Ethnic groups (2002): Kazakh 55.8%, Russian
28.3%, Ukrainian 3.3%, Uzbek 2.6%, German 1.8%,
Uyghur 1.5%, other 5.0%.
Religion: Sunni Muslim 47%, Russian Orthodox
44%, Protestant 2%, other 7%.
Language: Kazakhstan is a bilingual country.
Kazakh language has the status of the "state"
language, while Russian is declared the
"official" language. Russian is used routinely
in business; 64.4% of population speaks the
Health (2007 est.): Infant
mortality rate--27.4/1,000. Life
expectancy--67.22 years (male 61.9 yrs.;
female 72.84 yrs.). Health
est.)--30.3 doctors and 68.2 hospital beds per
Education: Mandatory universal secondary
education. School system consists of
kindergarten, primary school (grades 1-4),
secondary school (grades 5-9), and high school
(grades 10-11). Literacy
Work force (2007 est., 8.16 million): Industry
and construction--18.1%; agriculture
and fishing--32.9%; services--49%.
Independence: December 16, 1991 (from the Soviet
Declaration of sovereignty: October 25, 1990.
Constitution: August 30, 1995 constitution
adopted by referendum replaced a 1993
prime minister, Council of Ministers. Legislative--Senate
and Mazhilis. Judicial--Supreme
Administrative subdivisions: 14 oblasts plus 2
cities--Almaty, the former capital, and Astana,
the current capital; and the territory of
Baykonur, which contains the space launch center
that the Russians built and now lease.
Ten political parties are registered: Nur Otan
("The Light of Fatherland" in Kazakh), Azat
("Free"; formerly known as True Ak Zhol), the
National Social Democratic Party, Ak Zhol
(Bright Path), Auyl (Farm), the Communist Party
of Kazakhstan, the Communist People's Party,
Party of Patriots, Adilet (Justice), and
Suffrage: Universal, 18 years of age.
GDP (2007): $102.5 billion.
Exchange rate (period average): 122.55 KZT/U.S.
$1 in 2007.
GDP growth rate: 9.5% (2002); 9.2% (2003); 9.6%
(2004 est.); 9.7% (2005 est.); 10.7% (2006);
GDP per capita (2007, purchasing power parity):
Inflation rate: 6.6% (2002); 6.8% (2003); 6.7%
(2004 est.); 7.5% (2005); 8.4% (2006); 18.8%
(2007 year-over-year); 10.8% (2007 average).
Trade: Exports (2007
est.)--$44.88 billion. Imports (2007
Gross external debt: $18.2 billion (2002); $22.9
billion (2003); $32.71 billion (2004); $43.40
billion (2005); $73.46 billion (2006); $96.37
Central Bank's foreign exchange reserves: $4.96
billion (2003); $7.07 billion (2005 est.);
$19.04 billion (Feb. 2008).
National (oil) fund reserves: $3.6 billion
(2003); $5.1 billion (2004); $10.1 billion
(2006); $22.6 billion (Feb. 2008).
Officially recognized unemployment rate: 8.7%
(2003); 8.4% (2004 est.); 8.1% (2005 est.); 7.4%
(2006 est.); 7.1% (2007 est.).
Population below poverty line: 13.8% (2007).
PEOPLE AND HISTORY
Kazakhstan is very ethnically diverse, with only
a slight majority of Kazakhstanis being ethnic
Kazakh. Other ethnic groups include Russian,
Ukrainian, Uzbek, German, and Uyghur. Religions
are Sunni Muslim, Russian Orthodox, Protestant,
and other. Kazakhstan is a bilingual country.
The Kazakh language has the status of the
"state" language, while Russian is declared the
"official" language. Russian is used routinely
in business; 64.4% of the population speaks the
Kazakh language. Education is universal and
mandatory through the secondary level, and the
literacy rate is 98.4%.
Nomadic tribes have been living in the region
that is now Kazakhstan since the first century
BC, although the land has been inhabited at
least as far back as the Stone Age. From the
fourth century AD through the beginning of the
13th century, the territory of Kazakhstan was
ruled by a series of nomadic nations. Following
the Mongolian invasion in the early 13th
century, administrative districts were
established under the Mongol Empire, which
eventually became the territories of the Kazakh
Khanate. The major medieval cities of Taraz and
Turkestan were founded along the northern route
of the Great Silk Road during this period.
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
The process of colonization was a combination of
voluntary integration into the Russian Empire
and outright seizure. The Little Horde and part
of the Middle Horde signed treaties of
protection with Russia in the 1730s and 1740s.
Major parts of the northeast and central Kazakh
territories were incorporated into the Russian
Empire by 1840. With the Russian seizure of
territories belonging to the Senior Horde in the
1860s, the tsars effectively ruled over most of
the territory belonging to what is now the
Republic of Kazakhstan.
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.
Although there was a brief period of autonomy
during the tumultuous period following the
collapse of the Russian Empire, the Kazakhs
eventually succumbed to Soviet rule. In 1920,
the area of present-day Kazakhstan became an
autonomous republic within Russia and, in 1936,
a Soviet republic.
Soviet repression of the traditional elites,
along with forced collectivization in late
1920s-1930s, brought about mass hunger and
starvation, leading to civil unrest. Soviet
rule, however, took hold, and a communist
apparatus steadily worked to fully integrate
Kazakhstan into the Soviet system. Kazakhstan
experienced population inflows of thousands
exiled from other parts of the Soviet Union
during the 1930s and later became home for
hundreds of thousands evacuated from the Second
World War battlefields. The Kazakh Soviet
Socialist Republic (SSR) contributed five
national divisions to the Soviet Union's World
War II effort.
The period of the Second World War marked an
increase in industrialization and increased
mineral extraction in support of the war effort.
At the time of Soviet leader Josif Stalin's
death, however, Kazakhstan still had an
overwhelmingly agricultural-based economy. In
1953, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev initiated
the ambitious "Virgin Lands" program to turn the
traditional pasturelands of Kazakhstan into a
major grain-producing region for the Soviet
Union. The Virgin Lands policy, along with later
modernizations under Soviet leader Leonid
Brezhnev, sped up the development of the
agricultural sector, which to this day remains
the source of livelihood for a large percentage
of Kazakhstan's population.
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
the August 1991 abortive coup attempt in Moscow
and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet
Union, Kazakhstan declared independence on
December 16, 1991.
The years following independence have been
marked by significant reforms to the Soviet
command-economy and political monopoly on power.
Under Nursultan Nazarbayev, who initially came
to power in 1989 as the head of the Kazakh
Communist Party and was eventually elected
President in 1991, Kazakhstan has made
significant progress toward developing a market
economy, for which it was recognized by the
United States in 2002. The country has enjoyed
significant economic growth since 2000, partly
due to its large oil, gas, and mineral reserves.
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
Kazakhstan is a constitutional republic with a
strong presidency. It is divided into 14 oblasts
and the two municipal districts of Almaty and
Astana. Each is headed by an akim (provincial
governor) appointed by the president. Municipal
akims are appointed by oblast akims. The
Government of Kazakhstan transferred its capital
from Almaty to Astana on June 10, 1998.
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. In 1995,
President Nazarbayev called for a referendum
that expanded his presidential powers: only he
can initiate constitutional amendments, appoint
and dismiss the government, dissolve Parliament,
call referenda, and appoint administrative heads
of regions and Astana and Almaty. The prime
minister, who serves at the pleasure of the
president, chairs the Cabinet of Ministers and
serves as Kazakhstan's head of government. There
are two deputy prime ministers and 17 ministers
in the Cabinet.
In December 2005, President Nazarbayev won a new
7-year term in an election that the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe said fell
short of international standards. Official
results gave the president 91% of the vote,
although independent exit polls found this
figure to be somewhat inflated. Opposition
candidates Zharmakhan Tuyakbay (For a Just
Kazakhstan) and Alikhan Baymenov (Ak Zhol) were
able to compete freely in this election.
Kazakhstan has a bicameral Parliament, comprised
of a lower house (the Mazhilis) and upper house
(the Senate). Ninety-eight members of the
Mazhilis are elected by a party-list vote. Nine
members of the Mazhilis are elected by the
Assembly of Peoples of Kazakhstan. The Senate
has 47 members. Two senators are selected by
each of the elected assemblies (Maslikhats) of
Kazakhstan's 16 principal administrative
divisions (14 regions, or oblasts, plus the
cities of Astana and Almaty). The president
appoints the remaining fifteen senators.
Mazhilis deputies, the government, and the
president have the right of legislative
initiative, though the government proposes most
legislation considered by the Parliament.
President Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party won the
August 2007 elections to the Mazhilis. None of
the remaining political parties won a seat
during the elections, which the Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe said fell
short of international standards.
Principal Government Officials
Head of Presidential Administration--Kairat
Prosecutor General--Rashid Tusupbekov
National Security Committee (KNB) Chairman--Amangeldy
Prime Minister--Karim Masimov
Deputy Prime Minister--Yerbol Orynbayev
Deputy Prime Minister--Umirzak Shukeyev
State Secretary--Kanat Saudabayev
Minister of Agriculture--Akhmetzhan Yesimov
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Marat Tazhin
Minister of Culture and Information--Yermukhamed
Minister of Tourism and Sports--Temirkhan
Minister of Defense--Daniyal K. Akhmetov
Minister of Economy and Budget Planning--Bakhyt
Minister of Education and Science--Zhanseit
Minister of Environmental Protection--Nurlan
Minister of Finance--Bolat Zhamishev
Minister of Health Care--Anatoliy Dernovoy
Minister of Industry and Trade--Vladimir
Minister of Interior--Baurzhan Mukhamedzhanov
Minister of Justice--Zagipa Baliyeva
Minister of Labor and Social Protection--Berdybek
Minister of Transport and Communication--Serik
Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources--Sauat
Minister of Emergency Situations--Vladimir
Chairman of Central Electoral Commission--Kuandyk
Secretary of the Security Council--Berik Imashev
Chairman of the National Bank--Anvar Saidenov
Chairman of the Financial Supervision Agency--Arman
Chairman of the Financial Police--Sarybay
Chairman of the Statistics Agency--Anar
Chairman of the Agency for Management of Land
Chairman of the Agency for the Regulation of
Natural Monopolies--Nurlan Aldabergenov
Chairman of the Information and Communication
Kazakhstan's economy grew by 8.5% in 2007.
Gross domestic product (GDP) grew 10.7% in 2006,
9.7% in 2005, 9.6% in 2004, 9.2% in 2003, and
9.5% in 2002.
Kazakhstan's monetary policy has been largely
well managed. However, in 2007, rapid increases
in global commodity prices helped push inflation
rates as high as 18.8%. Prior to this, inflation
had remained relatively steady at 9.5%, up from
8.4% in 2006. Inflation from 2002-2004 was 6.6%,
6.8%, and 6.7%, respectively. Because of its
strong macroeconomic performance and financial
health, Kazakhstan became the first former
Soviet republic to repay all of its debt to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2000, 7
years ahead of schedule. In March 2002, the U.S.
Department of Commerce graduated Kazakhstan to
market economy status under U.S. trade law. The
change in status recognized substantive market
economy reforms in the areas of currency
convertibility, wage rate determination,
openness to foreign investment, and government
control over the means of production and
allocation of resources.
In September 2002, Kazakhstan became the first
country in the former Soviet Union to receive an
investment-grade credit rating from a major
international credit rating agency. Estimated
level of external debt in 2006 was $73.46
billion. In 2005, Kazakhstan's gross foreign
debt was about $43.40 billion. Kazakhstan has
been successful in reducing the ratio of
government debt to GDP in recent years. In 2007,
total governmental debt was $5.7 billion, which
amounts to 5.5% of GDP. In 2000, total
government debt equaled 21.7% of GDP. While
government debt has continued to decrease,
several years of aggressive private-sector
borrowing and lending practices contributed to a
liquidity and credit crunch in 2007. Total
external debt (public and private) increased
dramatically from $73.46 billion (2006) to
$96.37 billion (2007), now equivalent to 94.4%
of GDP. An upturn in economic growth, combined
with the results of earlier tax and financial
sector reforms, dramatically improved government
finances from the 1999 budget deficit level of
3.5% of GDP to a deficit of 0.5% of GDP in 2005.
However, the budget deficit level in 2007 was
$1.8 billion, or approximately 1.7% of GDP.
Government revenues grew from 19.8% of GDP in
1999 to 22.6% of GDP in 2001 to 25.7% of GDP in
2005. Government revenues in 2007, like other
sectors of the economy, declined slightly to
22.7% of GDP. In 2000, Kazakhstan adopted a new
tax code in an effort to consolidate these
gains. On November 29, 2003 the Law on Changes
to Tax Code was adopted, which reduced the value
added tax (from 16% to 13%), the social tax
(from 21% to 13%), and the personal income tax
(from 20% to 10%). Kazakhstan furthered its
reforms by adopting a new land code on June 20,
2003 and a customs code on April 5, 2003.
Further revisions to the customs code are
expected to be adopted in 2008.
Oil and gas is the leading economic sector.
Production of oil and gas condensate in
Kazakhstan amounted to 67.2 million tons in
2007, an increase from 64.5 million tons in
2006. Kazakhstan exported 60.2 million tons of
oil and gas condensate in 2007. Natural gas
production in Kazakhstan in 2007 amounted to
16.6 billion cubic meters. Kazakhstan holds
about 4 billion tons of proven recoverable oil
reserves and 3 trillion cubic meters of gas.
Industry analysts believe that planned expansion
of oil production, coupled with the development
of new fields, will enable the country to
produce as much as 3 million barrels per day by
2015, lifting Kazakhstan into the ranks of the
world's top 10 oil-producing nations.
Kazakhstan's 2005 oil exports were valued at
$17.4 billion, representing over 70% of overall
exports. Major oil and gas fields and their
recoverable oil reserves are Tengiz (7 billion
barrels); Karachaganak (8 billion barrels and
1,350 billion cubic meters of natural gas); and
Kashagan (7-9 billion barrels). Starting in
2004, the Government of Kazakhstan increased its
take of oil deals by increasing taxation of new
oil projects. In 2007, the government amended
the "Law on Subsoil and Subsoil Use." The
amendments give the government the right to
annul or amend subsoil contracts if the
contracts pose a danger to the country's
national economic security interests. The
government insisted it would not use the
amendments retroactively to annul existing
Kazakhstan instituted an ambitious pension
reform program in 1998. There are 14 saving
pension funds, one of which is state controlled.
The National Bank oversees and regulates the
pension funds. The pension funds' growing demand
for quality investment outlets triggered rapid
development of the debt securities market.
Pension fund capital is being invested almost
exclusively in corporate and government bonds,
including Government of Kazakhstan Eurobonds.
The Kazakhstani banking system is developing
rapidly. Its capitalization now exceeds $1
billion. The National Bank has introduced
deposit insurance in its campaign to strengthen
the banking sector. Several major foreign banks
have branches in Kazakhstan, including ABN-AMRO,
Citibank, and HSBC.
Agriculture accounted for 5.82% of
Kazakhstan's GDP in 2007. Grain (Kazakhstan is
the seventh-largest producer of wheat in the
world) and livestock are the most important
agricultural commodities. Agricultural land
occupies more than 220 million hectares, about
68% of which consists of pasture and hay land.
Chief livestock products are dairy goods,
leather, meat, and wool. The country's major
crops include wheat, barley, cotton, and rice.
Wheat is the leading agricultural commodity in
Kazakhstan's export trade. Kazakhstan harvests
14-15 million tons of wheat per year.
Oil, gas, and mineral exports are key to
Kazakhstan's economic success. Since 1993,
Kazakhstan's extractive industries have
attracted $30.7 billion in foreign investment,
which represents almost 76% of the total foreign
direct investment in Kazakhstan for that period.
Kazakhstan has significant deposits of coal,
iron ore, copper, zinc, uranium, and gold.
Kazakhstan has stable relationships with all
of its neighbors. Kazakhstan is a member of the
United Nations, Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe, and North Atlantic
Cooperation Council, and will serve as chairman
in office of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe in 2010. It also is an
active participant in the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization's (NATO) Partnership for Peace
program. Kazakhstan also is a member of the
Commonwealth of Independent States and the
Shanghai Cooperation Organization along with
Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and
Uzbekistan. Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus,
Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan established the
Eurasian Economic Community in 2000 to
re-energize earlier efforts at harmonizing trade
tariffs and the creation of a free trade zone
under a customs union. Kazakhstan is the
founding member of the Conference for
Interaction and Confidence in Asia. Kazakhstan
also engages in regional security dialogue with
ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations).
The United States was the first country to
recognize Kazakhstan, on December 25, 1991, and
opened its Embassy in Almaty in January 1992;
the Embassy moved to Astana in 2006. In the
years since Kazakhstan's independence, the two
countries have developed a wide-ranging
bilateral relationship. The current Ambassador
is John Ordway, who assumed his post in
U.S.-Kazakhstani cooperation in security and
non-proliferation has been a cornerstone of the
relationship. Kazakhstan showed leadership when
it renounced nuclear weapons in 1993. The United
States has assisted Kazakhstan in the removal of
nuclear warheads, weapons-grade materials, and
their supporting infrastructure. In 1994,
Kazakhstan transferred more than a half-ton of
weapons-grade uranium to the United States. In
1995 Kazakhstan removed its last nuclear
warheads and, with U.S. assistance, completed
the sealing of 181 nuclear test tunnels in May
2000. Kazakhstan has signed the Conventional
Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (1992), the START
Treaty (1992), the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (1993), the Chemical Weapons Convention,
and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (2001).
Under the Cooperative Threat Reduction program,
the United States has spent $240 million to
assist Kazakhstan in eliminating weapons of mass
destruction and weapons of mass
U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) was
24.6% of total FDI in Kazakhstan in the first
half of 2007. American companies have invested
about $14.3 billion in Kazakhstan since 1993.
These companies are concentrated in the oil and
gas, business services, telecommunications, and
electrical energy sectors. Kazakhstan has made
progress in creating a favorable investment
climate although serious problems, including
arbitrary enforcement of laws, remain. A
U.S.-Kazakhstan Bilateral Investment Treaty and
a Treaty on the Avoidance of Dual Taxation have
been in place since 1994 and 1996, respectively.
In 2001, Kazakhstan and the United States
established the U.S.-Kazakhstan Energy
Sections 402 and 409 of the United States 1974
Trade Act require that the President submit
semi-annually a report to Congress on continued
compliance with the Act's freedom of emigration
provisions by those countries, including
Kazakhstan, that fall under the Trade Act's
Jackson-Vanik Amendment. Bilateral trade in 2005
was valued at $1.64 billion, a 91% increase from
Between 1992 and 2005, the United States
provided roughly $1.205 billion in technical
assistance and investment support in Kazakhstan.
The programs were designed to promote market
reform, to establish a foundation for an open,
prosperous, and democratic society, and to
address security issues.
Since 1993, the U.S. Agency for International
has administered technical assistance programs
to support Kazakhstan's transition to a market
economy, fully integrated into the world trade
system. These programs include cooperation in
privatization, fiscal, and financial policy;
commercial law; energy; health care; and
environmental protection. In 2006, Kazakhstan
became the first country to share directly in
the cost of a U.S. Government's foreign
assistance program. Through 2009, the Government
of Kazakhstan will contribute over $15 million
to a $40 million USAID economic development
project aimed at strengthening Kazakhstan's
capacity to achieve its development goals. The
U.S. Commercial Service provides U.S. business
internships for Kazakhstanis, supports
Kazakhstani businesses through a matchmaker
program and disseminates information on U.S.
goods and services. Additional information is
available on its website: www.buyusa.gov/kazakhstan/en/.
Corpshas about 140 volunteers working
throughout Kazakhstan in business education,
English teaching, and the development of
environmental non-governmental organizations.
Since 2001 and the advent of the war on terror,
the U.S. has assisted Kazakhstan to combat
illegal narcotics, improve border security, and,
more recently combat money laundering and
trafficking in persons.
The United States supports increased citizen
participation in the public arena through
support for non-governmental organizations
(NGOs). Dozens of grants have been provided to
support NGOs that promote an independent media,
legal reform, women's rights, civic education,
and legislative oversight. USAID also has
provided training courses for leaders and
FY 2008 U.S. Assistance to Kazakhstan.]
Kazakhstan's military participates in the
U.S.'s International Military Education and
Training program, Foreign Military Financing, as
well as NATO's Partnership for Peace program. In
2005, U.S. Central Command conducted
approximately 45 bilateral, military cooperation
events with the Ministry of Defense of
Kazakhstan and other agencies, an increase of
more than 100% since 2002. Events vary in size
and scope, ranging from information exchanges to
Kazakhstan has identified a number of major
ecological problems within its
borders--desiccation of the Aral Sea, protection
of the fragile Caspian ecosystem, remediation of
the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing range, cleanup
of the Baykonur launching facility, extremely
polluted cities, desertification, and
development of mechanisms for regional
transboundary water management.
To address the water management problem of the
Syr Darya River, Kazakhstan and other basin
states, with technical assistance from
USAID/Central Asia, established the 1998
Framework Agreement on the Use of Water and
Energy Resources of the Syr Darya Basin.
Kazakhstan became a signatory to the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species
(CITES) in 1999.
The United States and the European Union worked
together with the Ministry of Environmental
Protection to establish an independent,
nonprofit, and nonpolitical Regional
Environmental Center (REC) in Almaty in 2001.
The mission of the REC is to strengthen civil
society and support sustainable development by
promoting public awareness and participation in
environmental decision-making among the
countries of Central Asia. In 2002, the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Embassy,
and Ministry of Environmental Protection signed
a memorandum of understanding to provide the REC
with funding for its grants program.
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials
Ambassador--John M. Ordway
Ambassador's Secretary--Jan van der Zalm
Deputy Chief of Mission--Kevin Milas
Political-Economic Section Chief--Steven Fagin
Public Affairs Officer--Victoria Sloan
Senior Commercial Officer--Stuart Schaag
Management Counselor--Sarah Penhune
Regional Security Officer--Julia Hill
Defense Attaché--COL Mike Hallisey
USAID Mission Director--William Frej
Peace Corps Director--John Sasser
Security Assistance Officer--LTC Michael
Centers for Disease Control Director--Michael
Regional Medical Officer--Dr. Kevin Kilpatrick
U.S. Embassy Contact Information
U.S. Embassy Astana
22-23 Str., No.3, Ak Bulak 4.
Astana, Kazakhstan 010000
Tel: 7-(3172) 70-21-00; Fax: 7-(3172) 34-08-90
U.S. Embassy Branch Office, Almaty
97 Zholdasbekov Str., Almaty 050059
Tel: 7-(3272) 50-48-02
U.S. Commercial Service / Public Affairs Section
Samal 2, 97 Zholdasbekov St., 11th Floor
Almaty, Kazakhstan 480099
Tel: 7-(3272) 50-49-50; Fax: 7-(3272) 50-49-67,
U.S. Agency for International Development
41 Kazybek Street
Almaty, Kazakhstan 480100
Tel: 7-(3272) 50-76-12, 50-76-17; Fax: 7-(3272)
257 Kablukova St,
Almaty, Kazakhstan 050060
Tel: 7-(3272) 58-45-00; Fax: 7-(3272) 58-23-15
In terms of business customs, Kazakhstan is
more European than Asian. It is customary to
shake hands and call people by their first names
at business meetings, as well as at informal
get-togethers. However, men generally do not
shake women's hands in company. Business attire
is generally a suit and tie for men and a suit
or business dress for women. Small gifts--pens,
company logo pins, memo, and books--are
frequently given at the end of an initial
meeting as a token of appreciation. Business
cards are the norm, often in both Russian and
Kazakhstani business people are generally less
direct than American business people, and what
can be accomplished in a few meetings in the
United States might take more in Kazakhstan,
requiring patience and discipline on the part of
the U.S. business people. An experienced and
competent interpreter can add invaluable context
to your business meetings.
It is common in Kazakhstan to have dinner with
business contacts, but usually only after
establishing business contacts in a more formal
setting. Business attire is worn. Usually diners
share a bottle of vodka or cognac and offer
toasts, stating their desire for a fruitful
business relationship and warm personal
relations between partners. After-hours informal
meetings, dinners and toasts, as well as weekend
hunting and barbecues can be very important to
forge business relations.