In 1863 Russia elaborated a new imperial policy, announced in
the Gorchakov Circular, asserting the right to annex "troublesome"
areas on the empire's borders. This policy led immediately to
the Russian conquest of the rest of Central Asia and the creation
of two administrative districts, the Guberniya (Governorate General)
of Turkestan and the Steppe District. Most of present-day Kazakstan
was in the Steppe District, and parts of present-day southern
Kazakstan were in the Governorate General.
In the early nineteenth century, the construction of Russian
forts began to have a destructive effect on the Kazak traditional
economy by limiting the once-vast territory over which the nomadic
tribes could drive their herds and flocks. The final disruption
of nomadism began in the 1890s, when many Russian settlers were
introduced into the fertile lands of northern and eastern Kazakstan.
Between 1906 and 1912, more than a half-million Russian farms
were started as part of the reforms of Russian minister of the
interior Petr Stolypin, shattering what remained of the traditional
Kazak way of life.
Starving and displaced, many Kazaks joined in the general Central
Asian resistance to conscription into the Russian imperial army,
which the tsar ordered in July 1916 as part of the effort against
Germany in World War I. In late 1916, Russian forces brutally
suppressed the widespread armed resistance to the taking of land
and conscription of Central Asians. Thousands of Kazaks were killed,
and thousands of others fled to China and Mongolia.
Data as of March 1996