Kazakhstan: officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a country in Central Asia and Europe. The ninth largest country in the world by land area, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of 2,727,300 square kilometres (1,053,000 sq mi) is larger than Western Europe. It is neighbored clockwise from the north by Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and also borders on a large part of the Caspian Sea. Although Kazakhstan does not share a border with Mongolia, its most easterly point is only 38 kilometres (24 mi) from Mongolia's western tip. The terrain of Kazakhstan includes flatlands, steppe, taiga, rock-canyons, hills, deltas, snow-capped mountains, and deserts. With 16.6 million people (2011 estimate) Kazakhstan has the 62nd largest population in the world, though its population density is less than 6 people per square kilometre (15 per sq. mi.). The capital was moved in 1998 from Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city, to Astana.
Kazakhstan is one of the Turkic states.
For most of its history, the territory of modern-day Kazakhstan has been inhabited by nomadic tribes. By the 16th century, the Kazakhs emerged as a distinct group, divided into three Jüz. 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 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times before becoming the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936, a part of the USSR.
Kazakhstan declared itself an independent country on December 16, 1991, the last Soviet republic to do so. Its communist-era leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became the country's first president, a position he retains today. President Nazarbayev maintains strict control over the country's politics. Since independence, Kazakhstan has pursued a balanced foreign policy and worked to develop its economy,