The Kazak ASSR was originally created as the Kirghiz ASSR (not to be confused with Kirghiz ASSR of 1926–1936, a Central Asian territory which is now the independent state of Kyrgyzstan) on 26 August 1920, and was a part of the RSFSR. Before the Russian Revolution, Kazakhs in Russia were known as "Kirghiz-Kazaks" or simply "Kirghiz" (and the Kyrgyzes as "Kara-Kirghiz"). This practice continued into the early Soviet period, and thus the Kirghiz ASSR was a national republic for Kazakhs. However, on 15–19 June 1925 the Fifth Kazakh Council of Soviets decided to rename the republic the Kazak Autonomous Socialist Soviet Republic. The capital of the former Kirghiz ASSR, Ak-Mechet, was retained as the seat of the Kazak ASSR but was renamed Kzyl-Orda, from the Kazakh "red centre". In 1927 or 1929[d] the city of Alma-Ata was designated as the new capital of the ASSR. In February 1930, there was an anti-Sovietinsurgency in the village of Sozak. On 5 December 1936, the ASSR was detached from the RSFSR and made the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, a full union republic of the Soviet Union.
The Kazak ASSR that succeeded the recently expanded Kirghiz ASSR included all of the territory making up the present-day Republic of Kazakhstan plus parts of Uzbekistan (the Karakalpak Autonomous Oblast), Turkmenistan (the north shore of Kara-Bogaz-Gol) and Russia (parts of what would become Orenburg Oblast). These territories were transferred from the Kazak ASSR over the following decade.
The administrative subdivisions of the ASSR changed several times in its history. In 1928 the guberniyas, administrative districts inherited from the Kirghiz ASSR were eliminated and replaced with 13 okrugs and raions. In 1932, the republic was divided into six new larger oblasts. These included:
^The Russian name of the republic used the spelling Казак, i.e. Kazak, rather than Казах(Kazakh) which was used for later polities such as the KSSR. The spelling was changed to Казах(Kazakh) in February 1936. The short form of the republic's name in Russian was Казакстан(Kazakstan)
^This modern Cyrillic Kazakh-language form of the republic's name was not used during the existence of the republic. The short form of this name in the Kazakh Cyrillic alphabet is Қазақстан(Qazaqstan), the same as name of the current Republic of Kazakhstan.
^The Kazakh language used the Uniform Turkic Alphabet in the Soviet Union from 1927 until 1940. The short form of the republic's name in this alphabet was Qazaƣьstan.
^Vladimir Babak, et al., eds. Political Organization in Central Asia and Azerbijan: Sources and Documents. Routledge, 2004. p. 90. ISBN 9781135776817
^Niccolò Pianciola; Paolo Sartori (2013). "Interpreting an insurgency in Soviet Kazakhstan : the OGPU, Islam and Qazaq 'Clans' in Suzak, 1930". Islam, Society and States Across the Qazaq Steppe: 297–340.