Kazakhstan’s industry is largely based on the extraction and processing of the country’s assets of oil, natural gas and minerals. The heavy industry, with the production of weapons, machinery and machine parts, is also important.
The food industry occurs as well as the manufacture of textiles and leather goods. Newer sectors are the paper and pharmaceutical industries.
Kazakhstan’s industry was the Soviet Union’s third in magnitude, but it was outdated and environmentally dangerous by independence in 1991. Large foreign investment has since contributed to a modernization that has increased efficiency, while many environmental problems remain.
Read about oil and natural gas production, mining and environmental problems in Natural Resources, Energy and the Environment.
- COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Kazakhstan. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.
The mosques open in the Nursultan
The almost two-month closure of the capital Nursultan is starting to be eased by allowing mosques, churches and restaurants to open again. Collection for traditional Friday prayers in the mosques is, however, still prohibited and the number of visitors to the worship services is limited. In some mosques, visitors are allowed to stay only 15 minutes and must wear a mouthguard. The big city of Almaty remains in strict quarantine.
Nazarbayev’s daughter is dismissed
President Tokayev dismisses President Nazarbayev’s daughter Dariga Nazarbayeva from the post of President of the Senate, the second highest office in Kazakhstan after the president. According to the constitution, the president is to be succeeded by the president of the Senate if he dies or is forced to resign before the term of office ends. Assessors believe that this may be an underlying power struggle. President Nazarbayev is still considered to have great influence over politics, dismissing his daughter may be an attempt to diminish his informal power.
Oil countries are reducing production
The member countries of Opec agree with Kazakhstan and several other non-oil producing states to reduce their production by a total of 9.7 million barrels per day to increase oil prices. The decrease corresponds to almost a tenth of world production, but it is still uncertain if they succeed in their ambitions to get more paid for the oil. The severe restrictions imposed by the world’s countries to counter the corona pandemic have caused global demand to collapse, for example on aviation fuel.
Big cities are isolated
The country’s two largest cities Almaty and Nursultan are isolated in an attempt to stop the spread of the new corona virus. The military patrols the streets to ensure that residents follow the authorities’ different orders. People who do not live in the two cities are allowed three days to leave and city residents who are not at home are allowed three days to return. Thereafter, trips to and from Almaty and Nursultan are prohibited, and city residents are encouraged to stay home. The military will help disinfect the cities. Kazakhstan has at this time 36 confirmed cases of coronary infection, all in Nursultan and Almaty.
State of emergency throughout the country
President Tokayev faces state-wide emergency permits to try to curb the spread of the new corona virus, which has caused a pandemic. The state of emergency imposes restrictions on entry and exit, as well as on trade and public gatherings. All entertainment venues such as cinemas, theaters and exhibitions are kept closed. At the time of the decision, Kazakhstan has eight confirmed cases of Corona-infected residents.
Regime critics die in police custody
Kazakh activist Dulat Agadil, 42, has died in police custody. Agadil should have been arrested in his home “in a drunken state” and taken into custody in Nursultan, according to police. The day before, according to police, he must have “offended” court officials. Police say Agadil died of heart failure. The death sentence leads to protests outside the Ministry of the Interior. Agadil was repeatedly arrested in connection with his participation in regime-critical demonstrations that lacked the permission of the authorities. In 2019, he spent 60 days in police custody.
Ten dead in ethnic violence
About 10 people are killed and about 140 injured in an outbreak of violence between ethnic Kazakhs and Muslim dungans in some villages in the southern province of Jambyl. The outbreak of violence has its origins in a traffic incident and ends with around 1,000 people being involved in the unrest that takes place during the night between 7 and 8 February. Dungans get houses, cars and other property set on fire. Around 4,500 people are temporarily fleeing across the border to Kyrgyzstan but will return soon as the situation calms down. Five police officers are among the injured, and around 50 people are arrested. The information about ethnically motivated violence is disruptive to the government who wants the outside world to regard Kazakhstan as a stable country without ethnic contradictions. A few days later, President Tokayev dismisses the governor of Jambyl as well as the regional police chief.
During a visit to Kazakhstan, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warns that Chinese investment could threaten Kazakhstan’s independence. At the same time, Pompeo commends Kazakhstan for bringing home nearly 600 suspected IS fighters from Iraq and Syria.