Guide to New Nations: Central Asia
by David Johnson
"Land of the Kazaks," Kazakhstan declared its sovereignty on October 25, 1990, but became independent on December 16, 1991. Soon after the former Soviet republic joined the Commonwealth of Independent States. It has since relinquished nuclear weapons stored on its territory under the Soviet Union. The capital moved to Aqmola (also known as Astana) from Almaty in 1998.
The second largest former Soviet republic in size, Kazakhstan has vast agricultural potential. It also possesses sizable reserves of oil and minerals. Since 1995 it has begun privatization of the economy.