Kazakhstan is a little known country in eastern Europe, northern Asia and central Asia that is actually the size of five territories of France but with a population of roughly 17 Million, like the Netherlands. The geography of Kazakhstan is very varied, parts are arid steppe while other parts are fertile. Kazakhstan has large oil and other mineral resources and the potential for economic growth though there is still large scale poverty there.
Kazakhstan is nominally a democracy but the BBC suspects that there is election rigging. Officially there is freedom of the press but in practice newspaper critics of the government are harassed. Kazakhstan applied to join the Council of Europe but will not be accepted without better democracy and more respect for human rights.