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Presented at the 18th Annual Conference of the Global Awareness Society International - May 2009

fifteenth century, the ruling structure had split into several large groups known as khanates, including the Nogai Horde and the Uzbek Khanate. Russian traders and soldiers began to appear on the northwestern edge of Central Asian territory in the seventeenth century, when Cossacks established the forts that later became the cities of Oral (Ural'sk) and Atyrau (Gur'yev). Russians were able to seize Kazak territory because the khanates were preoccupied by Kalmyk invaders of Mongol origin, who in the late sixteenth century had begun to move into Kazak territory from the east. Forced westward in what they call their Great Retreat, the Kazaks were increasingly caught between the Kalmyks and the Russians. In 1730, Abul Khayr, one of the khans of the Lesser Horde, sought Russian assistance. Although Abul Khayr's intent had been to form a temporary alliance against the stronger Kalmyks, the Russians gained permanent control of the Lesser Horde as a result of his decision. The Russians conquered the Middle Horde by 1798, but the Great Horde managed to remain independent until the 1820s, when the expanding Quqon (Kokand) Khanate to the south forced the Great Horde khans to choose Russian protection, which seemed to them the lesser of two evils. The Kazaks began to resist Russian control almost as soon as it became complete. The first mass uprising was led by Khan Kene (Kenisary Kasimov) of the Middle Horde, whose followers fought the Russians between 1836 and 1847. Khan Kene is now considered a Kazak national hero (Source: The Library of Congress Country Studies). Present Kazakhstan, the largest of the former Central Asian republics in territory, excluding Russia, possesses enormous fossil fuel reserves as well as plentiful supplies of other minerals and metals. It also is a large agricultural producer of -livestock and grain. Kazakhstan's industrial sector rests on the extraction and processing of these natural resources and also on a growing machine-building sector specializing in construction equipment, tractors, agricultural machinery, and some defense items. The breakup of the USSR in December 1991 and the collapse in demand for Kazakhstan's traditional heavy industry products resulted in a short-term contraction of the economy, with the steepest annual decline occurring in 1994. In 1995–97, the pace of the government program of economic reform and privatization quickened, resulting in a substantial shifting of assets into the private sector. Kazakhstan enjoyed double- digit growth in 2000–01, and a solid 9.5 percent in 2002, thanks largely to its booming energy sector, but also to economic reform, good harvests, and foreign investment. The Central Asian economy is highly dependent upon a few commodities – in particular, Oil and Gas. In 2002, oil production, transportation, and processing accounted for about 16 percent of GDP, while exports of oil and fuel products accounted for 56 percent of the total. Metallurgy (ferrous and non-ferrous metals) and grains are the only other significant export products. Exports of non-extractive commodities mainly grain, cotton and meat products, have been stagnant since 2000, and the economy faced the daunting challenge of diversification. Although income per capita reached US $1510 in 2002, substantial inequalities remain. The Central Asia also has some of the lowest social indicators in the Europe, including those of access to safe drinking


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