Kazakhstan? What’s up with Kazakhstan?
Kazakhstan is the largest of the former Soviet republics and is still home of Russia’s equivalent to Cape Canaveral, the Baykonur Cosmodrome, which Russia now leases from the Kazakhstani government. Kazakhstan has over 15 million people spread over land roughly four times the size of Texas. And like Texas Kazakhstan is known for oil. And oil is what has fueled the economy since its independence in 1991. It’s capital is a city named Astana. The country is predominantly native Kazakhs, a mixture of Turkic and Mongol nomadic tribes but has a significant Russian minority. 47% of Kazakhstan is Muslim with 44% being Russian Orthodox.
So can these upset minded Kazakhstani defeat the USA today? Two members play in the NHL, goalkeeper Avalanche goaltender Vitaliy Kolesnik and forward Nik Antropov of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Most of the rest play in the Russian Elite league, considered among the best in Europe. Their biggest achievement on the world stage recently might be their upset of Germany at the 2005 World Championships. Not quite the kind of talent that should be able to defeat the USA, but we all remember yesterday and Latvia.
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