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The picture is further complicated by the fact that many Kazakhs and non-Kazakhs are struggling (out of work and living below the poverty level).
Democracy and independence have been hard sells to a people who grew accustomed to the comforts and security of Soviet life. Kazakhstan, approximately 1 million square miles (2,717,300 square kilometers) in size, is in Central Asia, along the historic Silk Road that connected Europe with China more than two thousand years ago.
Many of the non-Kazakh people of Kazakhstan have met attempts by the Kazakh government to make Kazakh the central, dominant culture of Kazakhstan with great disdain and quiet, nonviolent resistance.
The Kazakh steppeland, north of the Tien Shan Mountains, south of Russian Siberia, west of the Caspian Sea, and east of China, has been inhabited since the Stone Age.
It is a land rich in natural resources, with recent oil discoveries putting it among the world leaders in potential oil reserves.
It is located at the base of the Tien Shan Mountains in the far southeast near both China and Kyrgyzstan.
The move of the capital was very controversial among many in Kazakhstan.