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Kazakhstan (The Fires of God)

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Kazakhstan (English)
Timeline: The Fires of God
The Fires of God Kazakh flag.png
Anthem: 
"My Kazakhstan"
The Fires of God Kazakhstan.png
Kazakhstan (in green) and neighbouring countries as of 2015
Capital
(and largest city)
Astana
Official languages Kazakh
Russian
Persian
Demonym Kazakh
Kazakhstani
Government Unitary dominant-party presidential republic
 -  President Nursultan Nazarbayev
 -  Prime Minister Karim Massimov
Legislature Parliament
 -  Upper house Senate
 -  Lower house Mazhilis
Establishment
 -  Independence from the Russian Empire December 25 1991 
Population
 -  2015 estimate 16,395,285 
Currency Tenge

Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a country in Central Asia, with a minor part west of the Ural River and thus in Europe. It has borders with (clockwise from the north) Russia, China and Persia, and also adjoins a large part of the Caspian Sea. The terrain of Kazakhstan includes flatlands, steppe, taiga, rock canyons, hills, deltas, snow-capped mountains, and deserts.

The territory of Kazakhstan has historically been inhabited by nomadic tribes. This changed in the 13th century, when Genghis Khan occupied the country. Following internal struggles among the conquerors, power eventually reverted to the nomads. By the 16th century, the Kazakhs emerged as a distinct group, divided into three jüz (ancestor branches occupying specific territories). The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century all of Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 abolition of the monarchy, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times before becoming the Kazakh Nationalist Republic in 1936, an integral part of the Russian Empire.

Kazakhstan was the last of the Russian Nationalist republics to declare independence following the dissolution of the Russian Empire in 1991; the current President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, has been leader of the country since then. Kazakhstan pursues a balanced foreign policy and works to develop its economy, especially its dominant hydrocarbon industry.

Kazakhstan is populated by 131 ethnicities, including Kazakhs (who make up 63 percent of the population), Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, and Uyghurs. Zoroastrianism is the religion of about 70% of the population, with Christianity practiced by 26%; Kazakhstan allows freedom of religion. The Kazakh language is the state language, while Russian and Persian have equal official status for all levels of administrative and institutional purposes.

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