Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic

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Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
Казахская Советская Социалистическая Республика
Қазақ Кеңестік Социалистік Республикасы

Flag Coat of arms
Anthem of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
Location of the Kazakh SSR (red) within the Soviet Union.
Capital Alma-Ata (Almaty)
Languages Kazakh
Government Soviet Socialist Republic
President of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic
 -  1990–1991 Nursultan Nazarbayev
 -  Established 1936
 -  Disestablished 1991
 -  1990 2,717,300 km² (1,049,155 sq mi)
 -  1990 est. 16,711,900 
     Density 6.2 /km²  (15.9 /sq mi)
Calling code +7 31/32/330/33622
Today part of  Kazakhstan

The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (Kazakh: Қазақ Кеңестік Социалистік Республикасы, Qazaq Keñestik Socïalïstik Respwblïkası; Russian: Казахская Советская Социалистическая Республика, Kazakhskaya Sovetskaya Sotsialisticheskaya Respublika) abbreviated to KSSR (Russian: КССР, tr. KSSR), also known as the Kazakh SSR, was one of the constituent republics of the Soviet Union (USSR).

At 2,717,300 square kilometres (1,049,200 sq mi) in area, it was the second largest republic in the USSR, after the Russian SFSR. Its capital was Alma-Ata (today known as Almaty). Today it is the independent state of Kazakhstan in Central Asia. During its existence it was led by the Communist Party of the Kazakh SSR.

The country is named after the Kazakh people, Turkic-speaking former nomads who sustained a powerful khanate in the region before Russian and then Soviet domination. The Soviet Union's spaceport, now known as the Baikonur Cosmodrome, was located in this republic at Tyuratam, and the secret town of Leninsk (now known as Baikonur) was constructed to accommodate its personnel.


Established on August 26, 1920, it was initially called Kirghiz ASSR (Kirghiz Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic) and was a part of the Russian SFSR. On April 15–19, 1925, it was renamed Kazak ASSR (subsequently Kazakh ASSR) and on December 5, 1936 it was elevated to the status of a Union-level republic, Kazakh SSR. During the 1950s and 1960s Soviet citizens were urged to settle in the Virgin Lands of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic. The influx of immigrants, mostly Russians, skewed the ethnic mixture and enabled non-Kazakhs to outnumber natives. As a result, the use of the Kazakh language declined but has started to pick up again since independence, both as a result of its resurging popularity in law and business and the growing proportion of Kazakhs. The other nationalities included Ukrainians, Germans, Jews, Belarusians, Koreans and others; Germans at the time of independence formed about 8% of the population, the largest concentration of Germans in the entire Soviet Union. Independence has caused many of these newcomers to emigrate.

On December 10, 1991 the Kazakh SSR was renamed the Republic of Kazakhstan. It became independent on December 16, becoming the last republic to secede before the final collapse of the Soviet Union.


Kazakhstan’s remoteness from oceans, its vastness, and its mountainous features result in a sharply continental climate with very marked zonality. Solar radiation is considerable because of the southern location and low degree of cloudiness. The sun shines 2, 000 hours a year in the north to 3, 000 hours in the south. Overall radiation increases from 100 kilocalories per sq cm (kcal/cm2) in the north to 140 kcal/cm2 in the south. In the north the winter is cold and long; in the central region, moderately cold; in the south, basically moderately mild and brief; and in the extreme south, mild.

The average January temperature rises from −18 °C in the north to −3 °C in the extreme southern portion of the flat country. In winter, frosts down to −45 °C in the north and central regions and sometimes down to −35 °C in the south occur as a result of the penetration of cold continental arctic air masses from the north and northwest. On the plains the summer is long and dry; in the north, it is warm; in the center, very warm; and in the south, hot.

The average July temperature increases from 19 °C in the north to 28°–30 °C in the south. In the mountains, summers are brief and moderate; winters are comparatively warm. There is little precipitation anywhere. Average annual precipitation in the forest-steppe is 300–400 mm, in the steppe it decreases to 250 mm, in the Kazakh melkosopochnik it rises to 300–400 mm, and in the semidesert and desert it drops to 200–100 mm. Precipitation is particularly low (less than 100 mm per year) in the area adjoining Lake Balkhash, the southwestern part of the Kyzylkum adjoining the Aral Sea, and the southern Ustiurt. In the foothills and mountains, annual precipitation is 400–1, 600 mm. In the north and center, most of the rain comes during the summer months; in the south, in early spring. Strong winds are characteristic of almost all of Kazakhstan. In winter, southwesterly winds predominate in the north and northeasterly winds in the south; in summer, northerly winds prevail everywhere.

The growing season lasts 190–200 days in the north and 230–290 days in the south.[1]


According to the 1897 census, the earliest census taken in the region, Kazakhs constituted 81.7% of the total population (3,392,751 people) within the territory of contemporary Kazakhstan. The Russian population in Kazakhstan was 454,402, or 10.95% of total population; there were 79,573 Ukrainians (1.91%); 55,984 Tatars (1.34%); 55,815 Uyghurs (1.34%); 29,564 Uzbeks (0.7%); 11,911 Mordovans (0.28%); 4,888 Dungan (0.11%); 2,883 Turkmen; 2,613 Germans; 2,528 Bashkir; 1,651 Jews; and 1,254 Poles.
Table: Ethnic Composition of Kazakhstan (census data)[2]


One of the greatest factors that shaped the ethnic composition of Kazakhstan was 1920s and 1930s famines, caused by Collectivization in the Soviet Union. According to different estimates only in famine of 1930s, up to 40% of Kazakhs (indigenous ethnic group) either died of starvation or fled the territory.[3] Official government census data report the contraction of Kazakh population from 3.6 million in 1926, to 2.3 million in 1939.

Kazakhstan demographics 1897-1970. Major ethnic groups. Famines of 1920s and 1930s are marked with shades.
Nationality 1926 1939 1959 1970 1979 1989
Kazakh 58.5 37.8 30.0 32.6 36.0 40.1
Russian 18.0 40.2 42.7 42.4 40.8 37.4
Ukrainian 13.88 10.7 8.2 7.2 6.1 5.4
Belarusian 0.51 1.2 1.5 1.2 1.1 0.8
German 0.82 1.50 7.1 6.6 6.1 5.8
Tatar 1.29 1.76 2.1 2.2 2.1 2.0
Uzbek 2.09 1.96 1.5 1.7 1.8 2.0
Uyghur 1.01 0.58 0.6 0.9 1.0 1.1
Korean 0.8 0.6 0.6 0.6



Kazakhstan is the largest livestock-raising base in the eastern part of the country; in number of sheep and goats (22.4 percent of the total livestock population of the USSR) and production of wool (21.9 percent of all-Union production), it is second among the Union republics, after the RSFSR; it is third, after the RSFSR and the Ukrainian SSR, in head of cattle (7.3 percent of the cattle population of the USSR) and meat production (7 percent of ail-Union production).

Agricultural production is large-scale and highly—more than 99 percent—mechanized.

According to the 1971–75 five-year plan for the development of the USSR economy, Kazakhstan’s industrial production is to increase by 59 percent, with development of production of the means of production playing a leading role, because of the requirements of all-Union specialization, the existence of vast resources of raw materials in the republic, and the economic efficiency of their exploitation. Electric power, nonferrous and ferrous metallurgy, the fuel industry, machine building, and light industry and the food industry are to develop further. The plan calls for 29.5 billion rubles in capital investment to be directed toward the development of the economy of Kazakhstan and the development of more than 650 new products, a considerable portion of which will be consumer goods.

In agriculture the goal has been set to bring the average annual gross harvest of cereals up to 24 million tons, guarantee stable production, carry out a complex of measures to protect soils against wind erosion, and improve the structure of sown areas. Cattle and sheep raising for meat will develop at an accelerated rate, and the feed base for livestock raising will be strengthened.

There were more than 23, 000 industrial enterprises and factories in Kazakhstan in 1972, more than 2, 000 of which are large-scale. During the eighth five-year plan alone, more than 450 large enterprises and works were put into service and hundreds of mills and factories reconstructed and technically re-equipped. Virtually all of the main branches of heavy industry have been established in the republic.

In the Union-wide territorial division of labor, the Kazakh SSR is distinguished for nonferrous metallurgy (extraction and dressing of complex-metal, copper, and nickel ores, as well as bauxite; and smelting of metallic lead, zinc, copper, and other nonferrous and rare metals). The coal industry, certain branches of the chemical industry, and machine building (rolling equipment, instruments and apparatus, and forging and pressing machines) are also of all-Union significance. Great strides have been made in light industry, particularly wool and tanning, and in the food industry, especially meat, fish, salt, and butter. New branches of all-Union specialization—ferrous metallurgy (the extraction of iron ore and smelting of ferrous metals), petroleum extraction and refining, electric power, and the cotton industry—are developing).[4]

In absolute volume of gross industrial output, Kazakhstan is third among the union republics after the RSFSR and the Ukrainian SSR. The branches of heavy industry are developing

Table 5. Rate of industrial growth by branch (percent of 1960 volume)

Economic 1965 1971
Electric power 195 384
Fuel 131 227
Ferrous metallurgy 255 429
Nonferrous metallurgy 149 236
Chemical and petrochemical industry 203 503
Machine building and metalworking 208 357
Timber, wood products, and paper and pulp industry 136 223
Building materials 174 302
Light industry 140 263
Food industry 159



The Kazakh people have long had a distinctive dance culture. Like other forms of national art, dance was part of the way of life of the nomadic cattle raisers, and all aspects of that way of life were communicated in dance images. This is confirmed by the folk dances that have survived, including work dances (the ormek bi, or weavers’ dance), hunting dances (the koian bi, or the golden eagle’s hunt for the hare, and kusbegi-dauylpaz, or training of the hunting falcon), dance competitions (utys bi), comic, satirical, and humorous dances (nasybaishi), and dances imitating animals (orteke, the jumping goat; kara zhorga and tepenkok, the dance of the racehorse, or the trotter’s race; and aiu bi, the dance of the bear).

In musical folklore there were lyrical dramatized dances with singing and round dances. Festivals based on the calendar of the work year were particularly popular. Competitive dances were performed at these festivals— dances displaying agility and endurance, as well as dance games, and night round dances about campfires. Wedding rites lasted several days and were vividly dramatized presentations in pantomime and comic dances. There were religious dances, performed only by shamans to cure the sick and “drive out the evil spirit.” In contrast to the Uzbeks, Tadzhiks, and other Eastern Muslim peoples, the Kazakhs had pair dances performed by boys and girls (koian berkut).

There were no schools for dance instruction, as there were in India, Japan, China, and other countries of the East; dancers transmitted their art from generation to generation. In the patriarchal-feudal society, each clan had its own professional masters who had the status of court jesters or belonged to the ranks of folk jester-comics, the ku. There were no definitive folk dance forms among the Kazakhs. Improvisation was an indispensable condition of dance folklore. The most characteristic features of dance were expressiveness of execution, abruptness of movement, mobility of the shoulders, “playing” of the joints, tension and agility of the body, and flexibility, which enables the dancers to execute complex acrobatic movements. The combination of vivid emotionality and diverse choreographic patterns was also typical, particularly in the dance competitions (utys bi and sylk-yma).

The dance on horseback was most specific, but it was not bareback riding. All Kazakhs knew how to ride bareback, but it was only the professionals who danced while standing in the saddle; their horses also followed the rhythm. Dance was accompanied by the dombra or drum. The clear and energetic rhythm of the bi kiui (dance melodies) regulated the rhythm and tempo of the dance.

Prejudices hindered the development of dance culture; the art of dance did not spread as widely as music. During the feudal period, dancing for the enjoyment of the people was considered a “contemptible occupation,” the domain of the indigent. With the decay of the patriarchal-clan system and economic and social changes age-old customs and traditions fell into decline; ancient forms of folk dance were degraded, and by the end of the 19th century they had disappeared almost entirely.[5]


  1. ^ "Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic". The Great Soviet Encyclopedia. 1979. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ Валерий Михайлов: Во время голода в Казахстане погибло 40 процентов населения
  4. ^ "Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic". The Great Soviet Encyclopedia. 1979. Retrieved 26 February 2015. 
  5. ^ "Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic". The Great Soviet Encyclopedia. 1979. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 

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