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General information about the Republic of Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is situated in Central Asia, deep in the Eurasian continent.
Its territory is as large as 2,724,900 sq km (i.e. 1,049,150 sq miles). In terms of the area it is the second largest among the CIS states. It occupies the ninth place in the world according to its square after Russia, China, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, India and Australia. In fact the territory of Kazakhstan exceeds that occupied by twelve countries of the European Union.

Kazakhstan borders upon the following states: China- 1.460 km - long border; Kyrgyzstan - 980 km; Turkmenistan - 380 km; Uzbekistan - 2.300 km; the Russian Federation - 6.467 km. Total length of borders amounts to 12.187 km.
The territory of the Republic stretches on from the low reaches of the Volga in the West to the foothills of the Altai mountains in the East - for some 3,000 km ( a distance that spans two time zones), from West Siberian lowland in the North to the desert of Kyzylkum and the mountain range of Tien Shan in the South for some 2,000 km.
The northernmost point in Kazakhstan - 55'26'' NL - corresponds to the southern latitude of the central part of the East-European plain and to the southern part of the British Isles (the latitude of Moscow). As to the southernmost point - 40'56'' NL - it corresponds to latitudes of Transcaucasis and Mediterranean countries of Southern Europe (the latitude of Madrid, Istanbul and Baku).
Yet remoteness of the country from oceans and vastness of its territory determine climatic conditions.

The climate of the country is sharply continental. Average temperature in January varies within - 19° - - 4° C while average July temperature fluctuates within + 19° - + 26° C. The lowest temperature in winter may go down to - 45° C with the highest one in summer + 30° C.
The population numbers some 15,074,2 thousands people (01.01.2005). Population density is as high as 5,5 people per 1 sq km.
The capital is the city of Astana (since December 10, 1997) whose population is as large as 528,000 people.
Administratively Kazakhstan is comprised of 14 regions, 84 cities of which 39 refer to those of Republican and regional subordination, 159 districts, 241 settlements, 2,042 aul (rural) counties.
In terms of the number of the population cities of Kazakhstan may be subdivided into several categories:
- those having 300-400 thou. residents (Karagandy, Shymkent, Pavlodar, Taraz, Ust-Kamenogorsk);
- those with 200-280 thou. residents (Uralsk, Temirtau, Kostanay, Aktobe, Petropavlovsk, Semipalatinsk);
- those with 110-160 thousand residents (Zhezkazgan, Yekibastuz, Kyzylorda, Aktau, Kokshetau, Atyrau).
Most numerous are cities numbering less than 50,000 residents.
Kazakh is the official language. This notwithstanding, in State institutions and local administration bodies along with the Kazakh language they speak Russian quite officially.
Monetary unit is tenge which is equal to 100 tyins. It was introduced on November 15, 1993.
National holiday - Independence Day (December, 16-17).
There are 8,500 big and small rivers in Kazakhstan. The length of seven largest rivers exceeds 1000 km. The largest ones are the Ural and the Emba flowing into the Caspian Sea, the Syrdaria falling into the Aral Sea while the Irtysh, the Ishim and the Tobol run all across the Republic to eventually reach the Arctic Ocean.
There are 48,000 big and small lakes in Kazakhstan. The largest among them are the Aral Sea, Balkhash, Zaisan, Alakol, Tenghiz and Seletenghiz. Besides Kazakhstan shares the larger portion of the nothern and half of the eastern littoral of the Caspian Sea - the largest ever sea on the planet. The length of the coast line of the Caspian Sea (its Kazakhstani portion) is 2,340 km. Steppes occupy some 26% of the territory of Kazakhstan. 167,000,000 ha account for deserts (44%) and semi-deserts (14%) with forests occupying 21,000,000 ha.
When speaking about the flora and fauna of the Republic, we have to mention 155 species of mammals, 480 and 150 species of birds and fish respectively and about 250 species of medicinal herbs. Worth noting is that such exceedingly rare plant as santonica wormwood grows nowhere else but in the South of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is rich with commercial minerals. In terms of chromium, vanadium, bismuth and fluorine reserves Kazakhstan knows no second in the world while in resources of iron, chromite, lead, zink, tungsten, molybdenum, phosphorite, copper, potassium and cadmium the country holds one of the leading places.
On the territory of the country they have discovered nearly 160 deposits of oil and gas. Their reserves - known to this day - are approximately equal to present day resources of the whole of the Western Europe. These oil and gas fields contain about 20,000,000,000 barrels of oil and 700,000,000 ton of gas condensate. Sum total of the cost thereof is estimated in the region of USD 4 bln. The Tenghiz field only ranks as one of the largest deposits of the world.
Coal reserves in Kazakhstan reach 160,000,000,000 ton. The Republic numbers 10 coal fields of bituminous and brown coal, 155 deposits all in all.
Iron ore resources (containing 50-60% of pure iron) in the Republic surpass those of many a country in the world.
Kazakhstan is the second richest country in the world (after Russia) with regard to phosphorite reserves while phosphorite deposits of Zhanatas and Karatau in terms of thickness and quality are second to none in the world.
Kazakhstan holds one of the first places in the world as to the production of aluminium.
The Republic harbours uncommonly superb resources of copper ore. Zhezkazgan ore deposits are second largest in the world as to their potential.
The territory of Kazakhstan affords infinite resources of salt and construction materials.
The already prospected deposits serve a fine basis for the development of mining, coal-mining, metallurgy, oil-and-gas and chemical industries.
Kazakhstan's share in world output of commercial minerals and products of procession thereof (according to estimates of the Union Bank of Switzerland) in the days of the late USSR amounted to the following: Beryllium - 24%, Zink - 7%, Tantalum - 33%, Titanium - 26%, Chromite - 27%, Copper - 3%, Barite - 7%, Molybdenum - 3%, Lead - 7%, Bauxites - 1%, Uranium -14%, Manganese - 5%, Silver - 6%, Iron ore - 2%, Tungsten - 12%, Gold - 1%.
The Emblem of Kazakhstan has the traditional form of a circle. This form close to perfection had special value for the nomad. It is a symbol of eternal and wise course of time, circulation of life in the nature. The central element which has incorporated the basic idea of the Kazakhstan Emblem is shanyrak - the round aperture crowning the dome of yurta. The smoke above shanyrak, visible from far away and promising warm reception seen to the traveler from time immemorial was a symbol of family well-being, peace and calmness.

Represented on the Emblem tundyk - the antiaircraft aperture of yurta reminds the bright sun on the background of the peaceful sky. Dome poles - uyk, in regular intervals missing from the center on a blue field of the Emblem remind beams of the sun - a source of life and warmth. Zhandarbek Melibekov and Shota Ualikhanov, the authors of the project, coult solve the problem of the image kerege - sliding trellised bases of yurta. Crosswise, threefold, kuldereushi of shanyrak symbolize unity of three zhuzs which provides its durability. Thus, the language of heraldry authors has reflected peaceful essence of Kazakhs. Coded, but, nevertheless, clear language the Kazakhstan Emblem calls all people of republic to become under the general shanyrak, to aspire into strong powerful bearing designs of our general house - Kazakhstan.

Following component of composite structure of the arms are gold wings, with horns in the form of a half moon, fantastic racers - tulpars. This is a whole accord of symbolical values. Fearlessness, force, insight and resoluteness ... This way are read the figures of these mythical animals. Gold wings of racers remind also sheaves of gold ears that allocates with their additional value - work, abundance and material welfare.

The five-pointed star crowning the Kazakhstan Emblem possesses quite concrete semantics: the country is opened for dialogue with all five continents. Color scale of the Emblem is already traditional Kazakhstan bicolor gold and blue. The first speaks about the light future of people of Kazakhstan. The second is about its unity, about aspiration of the country to live in full harmony with the entire world.

Birthday of the State Emblem of Republic of Kazakhstan is on 4th of June, 1992. The today's Emblem of sovereign Kazakhstan has grown out creative search of two known architects - Zhandarbek Melibekov and Shota Ualikhanov who managed to win a hard competition in which participated 245 projects and 67 descriptions of the future Emblem.

Gold and blue are colors of the national flag of the Republic of Kazakhstan. It is the symbol of new Kazakhstan, the main attribute of its newest history. There is pure blue sky in which the steppe eagle soars warmed by beams of the sun. At the stick of the flag as though continuation of millions hands of Kazakhstan people holding it, the ancient Kazakh ornament «koshkar - muiz» - «the mutton horns» rises. The author of the flag, became Shaken Niyazbekov who announced to the world about the birth of sovereign Kazakhstan. His project of the national flag of the Republic of Kazakhstan has won complex competition in which more than 600 projects participated.

Transparent blue of the sky, pure depth of water ... Light blue color always associated mankind with cleanliness of thoughts. Shaken Niyazbekov has chosen this shade as demonstration of unity of people of Kazakhstan, harmony of cultures and ideas of indivisibility of the state. The sun, eternal sun ... Its sign is life, great circulation of the nature. Granting fertile warmth, it granted also abundance. Thirty two beams of the sun on the flag of Kazakhstan have the form of grain - bases of well-being.

The eagle on out-ethnic sign language always meant pride, authority, width of views and perspicaciousness. High in the sky, directing to the aim, free and strong - in this way the steppe eagle on the Kazakhstan flag appears. This is absolutely distinct embodiment of familiarizing of sovereign Kazakhstan to the world community.

Verses written by Zhumeken Nazhimedenov and Nursultan Nazarbayev
The translation of the National anthem of Republic of Kazakhstan:
In the sky is the gold sun,
In steppe is gold grain.
The legend on courage is my country.
In a gray-haired antiquity
Our glory was born,
Kazakh people are proud and strong.

O, my people! O, my country!
I am a flower grown by you!
I am a song ringing on your lips,
My Native land is my Kazakhstan!
Your open space is vast
Also road is opened in the future.
My people is independent,
Rallied and uniform
As the immemorial friend
Meets new time
Our happy country, our people!

O, my people! O, my country!
I am a flower grown by you!
I am a song ringing on your lips,
My Native land is my Kazakhstan!

He was born on July 6, 1940 in the village of Chemolgan, Kaskelen District, Almaty region. In 1967, he graduated from the Highest Technical Educational Institution at the Karaganada Metallurgic Works.

He is a Doctor in Economics, Academician of the National Academy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, International Academy of Engineering, Russian Federation Academy of Social Sciences, Honorable Professor of the Al-Farabi Kazakh State National University, Honorable Member of the Academy of Science of the Republic of Belarus, Honorable Professor of the Lomonosov Moscow State University.

From 1960 through 1969, he worked at the Karaganda Metallurgical Works.

From 1969 through 1973, he was involved in the Party and Komsomol work in Temirtau of the Karaganda region. From 1973 to 1977, he was a secretary of the party committee at the Karaganda Metallurgic Works.
From 1977 through 1979, he served as secretary, and then second secretary of the Regional Committee of the Party in Karaganda.
From 1979 through 1984, he served as Secretary of the Committee of the Communist Party of the Republic of Kazakhstan. From 1984 through 1989, he was a Chairman of the Ministers Council of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.
From 1989 through 1991, he served as First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kazakhstan. From February to April 1990, he concurrently served as Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic.
Since April 1990, he is a President of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
On December 1, 1991 the first national presidential elections were held where Nursultan Nazarbayev had been supported by 98.7 percent of electors.
On April 29, 1995 the powers of the President Nursultan Nazarbayev have been prolonged till 2000 as a result of the national referendum.
On January 10, 1999 he was elected the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan on the alternative basis with 79.78 per cent of electors.
On December 4, 2005 he was again elected President of the Republic of Kazakhstan supported by 91.15 per cent of electors.
The Chairman of the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan.
The Supreme Commander in Chief of the Armed Services of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The Chairman of the World Association of Kazakhs.
Nursultan Nazarbayev is married to Sara Alpysovna. She chairs the ‘Bobek' International Children Charitable Fund.
The President has three daughters. Dariga is a Doctor in Political Science. Dinara is chairing the Nursultan Nazarbayev Educational Fund. Aliya is a businesswoman, chairing the Elitstroy construction company.

Politics and policy
Political System

The Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan provides for a democratic, secular and presidential system of rule. State governance is divided between executive, legislative and judicial branches. President is a head of state.

On May 21, 2007 President of Kazakhstan signed a Law amending the Constitution. These changes enlarge the power of the Parliament, enhance the role of political parties, thus transforming Kazakhstan from presidential into presidential-parliamentary republic.

Head of State: President Nursultan A. Nazarbayev.

The President of the Republic of Kazakhstan determines the main directions of the domestic and foreign policy of the state and represents Kazakhstan within the country and in international relations.

The President of the Republic is the guarantor of the unity of the people and the state power, inviolability of the Constitution, rights and freedoms of an individual and citizen.

Legislative Branch: Kazakhstan has a bicameral Parliament, which consists of the Senate (the upper house) and Majilis (House of Representative).

The 47-member Senate is made up of two elected representatives from each of Kazakhstan's 14 regions, cities of Astana and Almaty. Representatives serve terms of two, four or six years. Several members of the Senate represent the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan. The Senate is empowered to adopt laws in the period of temporal absence of the Majilis or due to termination of its tenure. Chairman of the Senate Mr. Kassym Jomart Tokayev.

Majilis. 98 members of the Majilis are elected in accordance with the proportional electoral system (party lists), 9 - by the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan in order to take into account the interests of the major ethnic groups. Deputies of Majilis serve a term of six years. Chairman of the Majilis Mr.Aslan Mussin.

Government is the supreme executive body of Kazakhstan. Prime-Minister, head of the Government, is appointed by the President after consultations with political fractions of the Parliament and upon approval by the majority of the members of the Mazhilis. The Prime-Minister shall represent the political party having majority in the Parliament.

Judicial branch:

The legal system of Kazakhstan owes its origin to the Continental (Roman-German) legal family. The Constitution, respective normative legal acts, international treaties, as well as the normative resolutions of the Constitutional Council, and Supreme Court of Kazakhstan constitute the actual law in Kazakhstan. The international treaties ratified by Kazakhstan generally have priority over its laws and, such treaties can either apply directly/automatically, or, after the adoption of a law where the treaty itself provides that, for its application, a law must be adopted.

Judicial functions are exercised only by courts of law. Judicial functions are exercised by application of civil, criminal and other forms of judicial proceedings as established by law. The courts of the Republic are as follows: the Supreme Court and local courts of law of the Republic.

Arbitration mechanisms exist in Kazakhstan. In December 2004 Kazakhstan has adopted Laws "On international commercial arbitrage" and "On courts of arbitration" to provide alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

Constitutional Council has a major role in considering disputes on conducting elections. The Council examines the conformity of the laws to the Constitution.

It provides with official interpretation of the Constitutional norms; drwas the conclusions of the observance of the established constitutional proceedings.
Over the years of independence of the Republic of Kazakhstan, sustainable economic growth has been achieved thanks to free private initiative and entrepreneurship development, active foreign trade and investment.

Over the last decade GDP increased more than six-fold from US $22 billion to US $135 billion.

According to the World Bank, Kazakhstan is in the group of middle income countries. GDP per capita exceeds US $8 000. Also, according to the World Bank, Kazakhstan is among the world's top 20 investment destinations. Over the years of independence, around US $100 billion FDI was invested to the republic or 80% of all foreign capital invested in Central Asia.

The country's foreign assets, including the National Fund, amount to tens of billions of dollars. Foreign trade has increased nearly six-fold and exceeds US $80 billion.

Kazakhstan's largest companies have been making business according to international standards and have become recognized in the global market.

Kazakhstan has been significantly contributing to global energy security. It has the world's seventh largest oil reserves, the six largest gas reserves and the world's second largest uranium reserves. By 2017 Kazakhstan will have become one of the world's top ten oil and gas producers.

Kazakhstan has been developing mining, non-ferrous and ferrous metals, engineering and building industries, small- and medium-scaled business and many other industries.

The country is about to enter the World Trade Organization and has been improving its legal framework to comply with the WTO requirements. Kazakhstan has trade and economic relations with more than 140 countries.Having successfully accomplished its transitional stage of economic development, Kazakhstan is going to make a new economic breakthrough and join the world's 50 most competitive nations.

The Republic of Kazakhstan attaches fairly great importance to the development of present-day infrastructure including tourism. Accordingly, there have been signed Agreements on co-operation in the field of tourism with Turkey, Iran, Xinjang Uigur Autonomous Area of China, Moldova, Hungary, the State of Israel, Kyrghyzstan and Egypt.
Currently at the stage of preparation are intergovernmental and interdepartmental agreements with Croatia, Pakistan, Singapore and China.
In 1993 the Republic of Kazakhstan became a full member of the World Tourism Organization.
The body that accomplishes state management in the field of tourism in the Republic of Kazakhstan is the Committee for Regulation of Trade and Tourist Activity of the Ministry for Industry and Trade of Kazakhstan.
Administration is carried out through certain departments of the executive bodies of power, state-owned tourism representations in other countries. For purposes of tourism promotion in Kazakhstan they have elaborated a certain standard-and- legal basis.
There is a Law "On Tourism" enforced in 1992. It embraces virtually all types of tourism and specifies legal, economic, social and organizational fundamentals of undertaking tourism activities on the territory of the Republic. Besides there exist several enactments concerning tourism issues adopted by the Government of the Republic. Incidentally, they include a number of documents regulating licensing of tourism activities.
The year of 1993 highlighted adoption of the National Programme for developing tourism industry in the Republic of Kazakhstan.

In 1997 the authorities passed yet another document - State Programme of the Republic of Kazakhstan "Regeneration of historic centres of the Great Silk Route, preservation and successive development of cultural legacy of Turkic-speaking states, creation of tourism infrastructure in 1997-2003". In addition, in 1997 they have elaborated a Strategy of tourism development up to the year of 2030.
Nowadays 430 tourism agencies, firms and bureaus of various property forms function in the Republic of Kazakhstan. They employ nearly 6,000 people, 1,500 professional guides.
Kazakhstan tourism firms co-operate with almost 80 countries of the world. Some 25 tourism firms in Almaty and 5 companies in regional centres arrange charter flights to India, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, South Korea, Greece and Poland.

As a matter of fact Kazakhstan provides for all ever known varieties of tourism - cognitive, entertaining, ethnic, ecological, rehabilitative, children-oriented, sportive, hunting, equestrian and adventure ones.
Potential tourists are offered over 700 travel routes around the territory of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan has experienced significant growth of tourist inflow from the UK over last years - in addition to those visiting Kazakhstan to explore the country for business opportunities in different spheres. And with the recent bold visa simplification procedures.
(letters of invitation are no longer required for EU, US and some other citizens) still greater number of visitors to Kazakhstan is expected.

In Kazakhstan you can find a wide range of accommodation - from cosy bungalows on the shore of a crystal-clear lake to luxury 4 and 5 star hotels suitable for the highest-ranking international conferences. All hotels offer genuine Kazakh hospitality, western-style comfort and a warm and caring service.
Kazakhstan may offer 372 hotels of various classes with a simultaneous accommodation of 36,876 people. Almaty can afford offering 25 hotels to the capacity of 4,950 places.
Foreign guests are offered every modern service in such hotels as "Alatau", "Kazakhstan", "Dostyk", "Issyk", "Astana", "Ankara", "Hyatt Regency Almaty", "Intourist"- all of them do offer services that meet world standards.
Given the unique natural beauty and rapid growth of inbound tourism, Kazakhstan government pays a great deal of attention to the promotion of its tourist potential abroad and participates in international travel fairs and exhibitions all around the world on the regular basis. The World Travel Market in London is one of the most important annual events in the tourist sphere for Kazakhstan and that is why Kazakhstan has been taking part in this established exhibition since 2001.
During the WTM-2006, which took place at ExCel in the Docklands, Kazakhstan's stand at the exhibition hosted senior representatives of Kazakhstan's tourist industry, including the largest tour operators, the world-class hotels and the national carrier, Air Astana.
The Republic of Kazakhstan is well known for rather unique natural and geographic diversity.

South-Kazakhstan (Almaty, Jambyl, South-Kazakhstan and Kyzylorda regions) is an area rich with ancient history and culture known for such famous monuments of medieval architecture as mausoleums of Aisha-Bibi, Karakhan, Babadzha-Khatun in Taraz, an architectural ensemble of Khodja Akhmet Yasavi in Turkestan, etc. This list may be nicely supplemented with unique Scythian burial mounds in Semirechje (Almaty region). It is, incidentally, the very region that has played host to the world-famous space-vehicle launching site Baikonyr. Besides, the region affords unique climatic opportunities for recreation, rehabilitation, hunting, alpinism, mountain skiing and skating.

West Kazakhstan (Aktobe, Atyrau, Mangystau regions) is situated on the crossroads of the European and Asian continents in the basin of the Caspian Sea, the Volga and the Ural. It is the location of the world second deepest depression - that of Kargije lying 132 m below sea level, remarkable chalky rocks. One can find here fine areas rich with game which promise good hunting, can entertain ideas of good luck in angling, in water sports. Tremendous scientific interest present reserves and monuments of ancient Mangyshlak and Ustyurt, numerous memorable places evoking Kazakh epos.

North Kazakhstan (Kostanay, North-Kazakhstan and Pavlodar regions). Everything here - landscape, climatic conditions - favour all sorts of tourist recreation - automobile, bicycle, water ones. Health resorts of Kokshetau, Bayan-aul, Muyaldy offer fine rehabilitation opportunities while natural preserves Kurgaldzhino and Naurzum would be quite interesting for amateurs of "cognitive" tourism.

Central Kazakhstan (Karagandy region) displays to perfect advantage one of the largest lakes of the world - the lake of Balkhash supplemented by a unique mountaneous and forest oasis. The area harbours plenty of memorable places exhibiting various archaeological and ethnographic relics.
East Kazakhstan is represented by the Altai and its wooded foothills, the river of Irtysh and such lakes as Zaisan, Markakol, Alakol, Sauskan. Extremely rich are flora and fauna of the region. Besides Semipalatinsk region is the birthplace of the great Kazakh poet - enlightener Abay Kunanbaev, remarkable writer Mukhtar Auezov.