INFLUENCE OF THE WORLD CENTERS OF POWER ON KAZAKHSTAN AND NEW GEOPOLITICAL TRENDS IN CENTRAL ASIA
Andrei Grozin, Political scientist, Department Head, Institute of the CIS Countries (Moscow, Russia)
Foreign Political Orientations of the Kazakhstani Elites and Western Strategies
The republic is a natural geopolitical core of Central Asia, therefore the game the world centers of power are playing around Kazakhstan is very important for Central Asian politics. This is especially true in a situation where the number of challenges to regional stability is growing and the threats are becoming increasingly dangerous.
Kazakhstan is located deep inside Eurasia; it is a large state (five times larger than France and four times the size of Ukraine); it is ninth in the world in terms of size (2,724,900 sq km). With the largest territorial production complexes found along its frontiers, the country is fairly vulnerable.
Conventionally speaking, described in geographic, economic, and climatic terms, the geopolitical heartland of the Republic of Kazakhstan, a purely continental country, can be identified as a triangle: Almaty-Semipalatinsk-Aktiubinsk. Its eastern flank touches on the geographic center of Eurasia (the 78th meridian and 50th parallel); it includes vast expanses of hummocky topography (Sary Arka), parts of the Turgay Plateau, and the Turgay Lowland. The heartland is economically undeveloped, its poor transport and information infrastructure being hugely overloaded. The central geopolitical space of the Republic of Kazakhstan faces serious environmental problems, while its natural and climatic conditions are adverse. The heartland is depopulated: with an average population density of………………….