Expats moving to this gargantuan country will likely experience some degree of culture shock in Kazakhstan, though less so in its major cities. Most expats working in Kazakhstan will need to learn Russian as this is universally understood in the workplace. However, even a few words of Kazakh will be highly appreciated by locals. Although there is some discussion about altering the alphabet and moving the Kazakh language over to Roman script, both Kazakh and Russian are written in the Cyrillic alphabet.
It is a land rich in natural resources, with recent oil Culture in kazakhstan putting it among the world leaders in potential oil reserves. The newly independent Republic of Kazakhstan ranks ninth in the world in geographic size roughly the size of Western Europe and is the largest country in the world without an ocean port.
The Kazakhs, a Turkic people ethnically tied to the Uighur We-goor people of western China and similar in appearance to Mongolians, emerged in from over sixty years of life behind the Iron Curtain.
Kazakhstan, which officially became a full Soviet socialist republic inwas Culture in kazakhstan important but often neglected place during Soviet times. It was to Kazakhstan that Joseph Stalin exiled thousands of prisoners to some of his most brutal gulags.
It was also to Kazakhstan that he repatriated millions of people of all different ethnicities, in an effort to "collectivize" the Soviet Union.
These seventy years seem to have had a profound and long-lasting effect on these formerly nomadic people. The process of shedding the Soviet Union and starting anew as the democratic Republic of Kazakhstan is made difficult by the fact that a large percentage of Kazakhstan is not Kazakh.
Russians still make up Many of the non-Kazakh people of Kazakhstan have met attempts by the Kazakh government to make Kazakh the central, dominant culture of Kazakhstan with great disdain and quiet, nonviolent resistance.
The picture is further complicated by the fact that many Kazakhs and non-Kazakhs are struggling out of work and living below the poverty level.
Democracy and independence have been hard sells to a people who grew accustomed to the comforts and security of Soviet life. Kazakhstan, approximately 1 million square miles 2, square kilometers in size, is in Central Asia, along the historic Silk Road that connected Europe with China more than two thousand years ago.
Five nations border current-day Kazakhstan: China to the east; Russia to the north; the Caspian Sea to the west; and Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan to the south. The area north and west of this is the vast Kazakh steppe. Life on the steppe is harsh, with extreme temperatures and intense winds.
The lands leading up to the Caspian Sea in the west are below sea level and rich in oil. In recent years the sea has severely decreased in size and even split into two smaller seas due to environmental mismanagement. The climate of Kazakhstan is extremely variable. The very south experiences hot summers, with temperatures routinely over degrees Fahrenheit 38 degrees Celsius.
The very north, which is technically southern Siberia, has extreme winters, with lows of well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit degrees Celsiuswith strong winds, making the temperature feel like to degrees Fahrenheit Kazakhstan to degrees Celsius.
There are beautiful parts of Kazakhstan, with lakes and mountains that would rival many tourist destinations in the world. There are also parts of Kazakhstan that are flat and barren, making it seem at times like a forsaken place. The former capital, Almaty, is still the largest city and most important financial and cultural center.
It is located at the base of the Tien Shan Mountains in the far southeast near both China and Kyrgyzstan. The move of the capital was very controversial among many in Kazakhstan. There are three main theories as to why the move was made.
The first theory contends that the move was for geopolitical, strategic reasons. Since Almaty is near the borders with China and Kyrgyzstan which is a friend but too close to the Islamic insurgent movements of Tajikistan and Afghanistanthis theory maintains that the new, central location provides the government with a capital city well separated from its neighbors.
A second theory asserts that the capital was moved because Kazakh president Nursultan Nazarbayev wanted to create a beautiful new capital with new roads, buildings, and an airport. The final theory holds that the Kazakh government wanted to repatriate the north with Kazakhs.
Moving the capital to the north would move jobs mostly held by Kazakhs and people there, changing the demographics and lessening the likelihood of the area revolting or of Russia trying to reclaim it. The population of Kazakhstan was estimated to be 16, in July A census taken just after the fall of the Soviet Union in indicated a population of more than 17 million.
For the best estimates were Kazakhs 46 percent, Russians Many observers predict that continued emigration by non-Kazakhs and encouraged higher birthrates of Kazakhs by the government will lead to Kazakhs increasing their numbers relative to other ethnicities in Kazakhstan. Language is one of the most contentious issues in Kazakhstan.
While many countries have used a common language to unite disparate ethnic communities, Kazakhstan has not been able to do so. Kazakh, the official state language of Kazakhstan, is a Turkic language spoken by only 40 percent of the people.
Russian, which is spoken by virtually everyone, is the official language and is the interethnic means of communications among Russians, Kazakhs, Koreans, and others.
The move to nationalize Kazakhstan through the use of Kazakh has presented two main problems. During Soviet times, when Russian was the only real language of importance, Kazakh failed to keep up with the changing vocabulary of the twentieth century.
In addition, Russian is still very important in the region. Knowledge of Russian allows Kazakhstan to communicate with the fourteen other former Soviet republics as well as with many people in their own country.Kazakhstan is a bilingual country: the Kazakh language, spoken by % of the population, has the status of the "state" language, while Russian, which is spoken by almost all Kazakhstanis, is declared the "official" .
The capital of Kazakhstan was moved in to Astana, in the north-central part of the country far from any of Kazakhstan's borders.
The former capital, Almaty, is still the largest city and most important financial and cultural center. Culture Shock in Kazakhstan Kazakhstan is still seen as a rather unusual expat destination, and there are very few online resources or even guidebooks to help prospective expats prepare for their new life.
Culture of Kazakhstan Kazakh culture and national traditions The Kazakh people are rich in traditions. From birth through old age and death, every step of their lives has historically been marked with celebration.
Even their funeral ceremonies have their own special symbolism. Kazakhstan (the Republic of Kazakhstan) is a large land-locked country spanning central Asia and Eastern Europe. Kazakhstan is the largest land-locked country in the world, and the 9 th largest overall. It shares borders with China, Russia Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, and is considered the dominant economy in Central Asia.
Kazakh Culture Kazakhstan is one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse in the world. This owes in part to its geography, situated in between the major world religions, but also to Soviet ethno-policies and the settlement of European migrants in Kazakhstan.