Kazakhstan 2018-04-27T19:33:02+00:00

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Kazakhstan – ‘the land of grasslands’

Kazakhstan hangs like a hammock between Russia’s Ural mountains and the Altai range. It borders Mongolia and Western China where lays the steppe of Central Asia, the home of ancient nomadic tribes whose fierceness inspired terror. Cyrus the Great perished at their hands and Alexander the Great’s army despaired at their borders. In his letter to the Colossians, Paul called them Scythians. In the 13th century, Marco Polo travelled through their oasis towns on the Silk Road, merchant routes controlled by great Mongol khans. Genghis Khan’s Mongol hordes left behind an indelible imprint on the Kazakh face and their nomadic society. Until the 19th century, khans ruled the nomadic tribes of Eurasia, powerful dynasties within the different Hordes of the Kazakh Khanate. The Russians were drawn to their fertile pasturelands and fought for themagainst the Mongols, yet their help came at a cost. Russian settlers came gradually to farm the grassy plains so essential for the Kazakh herds. Plagued by civil strife, the Middle and Little Hordes soon acquiesced to Russian rule. Unlike their brother Kazakhs, the tribes of the southern Great Horde united and fought the advancing armies of the Tsar and lost. The Russians, however, couldnot effectively govern the Kazakh auls (communities), until the Soviet era when one man emerged who undertook it with zeal and dared to do in three years what no other had accomplished in three millennia: Stalin… [end of sample extract]

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