Capital : Alma Ata
Size: 1 049 000 sq m Popn: 17 038 000
The Kazakhs were traditionally a nomadic people but are now largely sedentary. Their region was under Mongol rule from the C13th until it was taken by Russia in the C18th. It joined the USSR as an autonomous republic in 1920 and became a full union republic in 1936. During the 1950s, it came under Soviet leader Nikita Kruschchev's 'virgin lands' programme of agricultural extension which led to harvest failures in the 60s but also brought in so a large an influx of Russian settlers that the Kazakhs became a minority. When Soviet leader Gorbachev had the long-serving Kazakh Communist Party leader, Dinmukahmed Kunayed, replaced by an ethnic Russian, there were violent nationalist riots in Alma Ata.
The 'reform communist' and pro-nationalist, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became leader of the KCP in June 1989 and president of the republic in February 1990. He began a series of economic and cultural reforms, including privatizing the service and housing sectors, and pressed for the signing of a new USSR Union Treaty although he opposed the Moscow coup against Gorbachev in spring 1991 because it was unconstitutional. The KCP was abolished soon afterwards but Nazarbayev helped to prevent uncontrolled disintegration of the USSR.
In December 1991, Kazakhstan joined the Commonwealth of Independent States, the replacement for the USSR and was recognized as independent by the USA. In January 1992, it was allowed to join the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe and in March, the UN. The Nazarbayev promised to remove the nuclear weapons left by the USSR to become nuclear-free, and a trade agreement with the USA was signed in 1992.
Some of these probably belong to ethnic Russians.
This collection of names was compiled by Kate Monk and is ©1997, Kate Monk.
Copies may be made for personal use only.
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