Kazakhstan. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Kazakhstan is 18,776,718 people in 2020. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) warned at the beginning of the year that the Balchas Lake in eastern Kazakhstan could dry out in the same way as the Aral Sea. Lake Balchasj is Central Asia’s second largest lake, but according to media reports in Kazakhstan, its area has decreased by over 2,000 km 2. The reason is mainly overuse. The lake receives most of its water from the Ili River, which flows to Kazakhstan from China, where water use is growing rapidly in line with economic development.
During the year, the construction of an approximately 300 km long oil pipeline to China was underway. The pipeline will allow Kazakhstan to export oil from the rich deposits in the Caspian Sea to China’s growing energy market. At the same time, Kazakhstan announced plans for a multi-hundred-mile railway line, which will provide faster transportation from China to Europe. According to abbreviationfinder, GOK stands for Kazakhstan in text.
|Gross domestic product (GDP)||$ 478,600,000,000|
|GDP growth rate||4.00%|
|GDP per capita||$ 26,300|
|GDP by sector|
|Proportion of the population below the national poverty line||5.3%|
|Distribution of household income|
|Industrial production growth rate||1.40%|
|Investment volume||31.4% of GDP|
|National debt||20.80% of GDP|
|Foreign exchange reserves||$ 31,440,000,000|
Three opposition parties in Kazakhstan met during a summer in a bloc before the parliamentary elections in September: Kazakhstan’s democratic elections, the Luminous Path (Ak Zhol) and the Communist Party. Their main goal was a decentralization of power gathered in the hands of President Nazarbayev. But the media concentrated its watch on President Otan’s party and on the newly formed party Asar, led by the president’s daughter. According to official results, the president’s party received more than 60% of the vote, Ak Zhol just over 12% and Asar just over 11%. The OSCE election observers stated that the election did not meet international requirements. Among other things, that the media was biased in their coverage during the election campaign. The only opposition politician in the government, Information Minister Altynbek Sarsenbajev, resigned on the grounds that there had been electoral fraud.
In November, two explosive charges were triggered in the presidential party Otan’s premises in Kazakhstan’s largest city Alma-Ata. The Otan leadership claimed that the attacks were intended to create instability in Kazakhstan, and the opposition feared that the regime would use them as a pretext to strengthen its grip on the country’s political life.
Population, society and rights
In 1989, no ethnic group constituted the absolute majority of the Kazakh population, evenly distributed between Kazakhs and Russians. Although the Soviet dissolution led to a massive northward migratory flow of a large part of the Russian minority, it now represents about 24% of the population, and more than 50% in some areas in the northern part of the country. An important presence that is also reflected in the structure of the population by religious belief with 70% Sunni Islamic faith and 26% Orthodox. Minority cults, mainly Buddhist and Jewish, are professed by the remaining 4% of the population.
After 11 September 2001, the authorities imposed strict surveillance on minority cults, subject to stringent registration and monitoring rules; practices defined as ‘silent repression’ by the international NGO Human Rights Watch. Similar restrictions affect the freedom of association and expression of the country’s diverse ethnic identities, as well as non-governmental organizations and opposition movements. In this scenario, the 2012 parliamentary elections and the 2015 presidential elections were no exception, as they were judged neither free nor fair by international observers.
More generally, the level of protection and guarantee of civil and political rights remains inadequate and the transition from the totalitarian system of Soviet origin to a liberal democracy can even be considered in involution. Freedom House has reported slow but steady deterioration over the years. Finally, despite the commitments made by Nazarbayev to stem corruption, the phenomenon remains widespread at all institutional levels.
Despite the evident democratic deficit, a shrewd policy redistributing state resources has ensured the country standard of living and human development. clearly above the regional average. Part of the relevant revenues from the extractive sector was reinvested in the pension, health and education systems. The result is a unique social protection system in the post-Soviet landscape. Furthermore, the creation of a favorable climate for investments by small and medium-sized enterprises has attracted numerous investors, favoring a decrease in the unemployment rate, which reached 5.2% in 2014. The dynamism of the economy and the improvement of the standard of living of the population have induced a reversal of the trend in the national migration rate (which has stood at negative values over the last few years), attracting growing numbers of immigrants from the Central Asian republics and China.