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Nearly 1 Million Kazakhs Have Resettled In Kazakhstan Since 1991

Kazakhstan's government says nearly 1 million ethnic Kazakhs have returned or moved to Kazakhstan since it gained independence in the Soviet collapse of 1991.

In an announcement on January 16, the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development said that as of the start of this year, 952,882 "Oralman" had resettled in Kazakhstan since the government launched a repatriation program shortly after independence.

An Oralman, or Returnee, is an ethnic Kazakh who lived outside Kazakhstan but chose to return or move there after Kazakhstan became a country.

About 4 million ethnic Kazakhs traditionally live outside the borders of modern Kazakhstan, mainly in neighboring countries.

The ministry said 61.5 percent of those who have resettled in Kazakhstan so far came from Uzbekistan, 14.3 percent from China, 9.3 percent from Mongolia, 6.8 percent from Turkmenistan, and 4.6 percent from Russia.

The Oralman make up some 5.5 percent of Kazakhstan's total population, which the government recently announced had reached 17.4 million.

Based on reporting by Kazinform, KazTAG and Interfax