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 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: 16,566,675 (2012E—UN); 17,522,010 (2012E—US Census). Emigration of ethnic Russians, Germans, and Ukrainians after independence, coupled with a declining birth rate (the lowest in Central Asia), caused a net decrease from the 1989 total of 16,536,511 to 14,953,100 in 1999.
Major Urban Centers (2009C): ASTANA (formerly Tselinograd and then Akmola, 678,000), Almaty (formerly Alma-Ata, 1,421,000). Formal transfer of the government from the former capital, Almaty, to Astana occurred in ...