The defense was severely cut and reorganized following
the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Kazakhstan has been a
member of the CSTO, the Collective Security Treaty
Organization, since 1992, with Russian Federation.
Kazakhstan's strategic problem is its position between the
nuclear weapons holders of the Russian Federation and China,
a factor that has been argued in negotiations with the
United States. Kazakhstan, which was previously the third
largest nuclear power in the CIS, undertook to comply with
the START agreement's reduction requirements. All the 1,040
warheads were taken to the Russian Federation for scrapping.
In 1997, an agreement on confidence-building measures was
signed with, among other things, Russian Federation and
China. The last Russian bandages, which had been monitoring
long range rocket launch sites (SS-18), then left
The defense is based on general military duty of 24
months and (2008) comprises 49,000 men. The army, 30,000
men, consists of 10 brigades, etc. The Navy, 3,000 men, has
12 patrol vessels, and the air force, 12,000 men, 163
fighter aircraft, of which 40 are MiG-29. The material is of
Soviet origin and semi-modern. Semi-military units comprise
31,500 men, including 20,000 for internal security and 9,000
for border guard.
Defense spending decreased in 1996-2006 from 2.6% to 0.8%
of GDP. Kazakhstan participates in UN peacekeeping
operations with observers in Iraq and Nepal. To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that KAZ stands for Kazakhstan.
With the opening in May 2001 of an oil pipeline from the
Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, the country's economy got more
opportunities to develop. The pipeline was funded by
Kazakhstan, Russia and the United States.
The country continues to suffer from the extreme
environmental pressures it faced during the Soviet era,
where over 500 nuclear test blasts were conducted in the
area of Semipalatinsk; the chemical waste products from
the many space rockets dispatched from the Baykonur station;
as well as the drought arising from the drying out of Lake
In February 2002, Parliament elected Imangali
Tasmagambetov as new prime minister after Tokayev resigned.
Kazakhstan joined the circle of countries supporting the
US war adventure in the region - the invasions of
Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Specifically, the
country contributed soldiers to clear minefields and also
provided an airport for refueling of US aircraft and
emergency landings. In return, the United States pledged to
contribute to the security of oil pipelines and
installations in the Caspian Sea, investing $ 5 million. US
$ in military equipment and training.
In June 2003, Parliament elected Daniyal Akhmetov as new
prime minister after Tasmagambetov was forced to retire as a
result of controversy surrounding a new law governing
private land ownership.
Religious tensions continued to wane in 2003 when the
Orthodox Church sharply criticized the creation of two
Catholic dioceses in Kazakhstan. It accused the Catholic
Church of launching a campaign to procure proselytes. They
were confirmed the same year that persecution is taking
place by members of the Baptists and Jehovah's Witnesses.
In December 2003, Parliament dealt with a new press law
that established new guidelines for the practice of
journalism and allowed the executive to intervene when the
media resorted to "propaganda", "agitation" or
"dissemination of state secrets". It was possible to
temporarily or permanently close media that violated these
guidelines, and at the same time was prohibited from
"displaying products intended to create sexual interest".
Although the law was passed in the Senate, pressure from
organizations working for free speech led to a number of
changes to the law, but its main line remained.
In January 2004, Parliament passed a new moratorium on
the death penalty, although the government claimed that the
country is not yet ready to give up this penalty, as "the
population continues to support it".