Republic of Kazakhstan
Political Status: Entered the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic as autonomous republic on August 26, 1920; became constituent republic of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) on December 5, 1936; declared independence on December 16, 1991; current constitution approved by referendum of August 30, 1995, effective from September 6.
Area: 1,049,155 sq. mi. (2,717,300 sq. km.).
Population: 14,953,100 (1999C); 15,260,000 (2006E). Emigration of ethnic Russians, Germans, and Ukrainians after independence, coupled with a declining birth rate (the lowest in Central Asia), has resulted in a net decrease from the 1989 total of 16,536,511.
Major Urban Centers (2005E): ASTANA (formerly Tselinograd and then Akmola, 333,000), Almaty (formerly Alma-Ata, 1,159,000). Formal transfer of the government from the former capital, Almaty, to Astana occurred in June 1998.