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Kazakhstan's culture is largely influenced by the country's history of nomadic migration. The country has a diverse and eclectic past which can be seen in the local cuisine, music and religion.
Kazakhstan is one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse in the world. This owes in part to its geography, situated in between the major world regions, but also to Soviet ethno-policies and the settlement of European migrants throughout the 20th century. Ethnic and religious tolerance has deep roots in Kazakhstan, and Kazakh nomads are known for their hospitality and openness to external influences.
Today, Kazakhstan hosts nearly 130 different ethnic groups and 17 different religious confessions. In 2010, the ethnic Kazakhs accounted for 65% of the population, the Russians constituted 25.9%, with the remainder being spread among Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Germans, Tatars, Uyghurs, Belorussians, Azeris, Turks, Koreans, Dungans, Poles, Greeks, and other ethnic groups. In the 2009 Census, 70% of Kazakhstan's population identified themselves as Muslim and 26% as Christians, which corresponds roughly with the share of peoples of Asian and European origins in Kazakhstan's population. While historically divided into zhuzes and smaller tribal formations, ethnic Kazakhs still view themselves in terms of a single body or - in popular parlance - “branches of the same Kazakh tree".
During the Russian Empire's colonisation in the 19th Century, more than a million settlers from Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus came to the territories comprising modern day Kazakhstan. In the late 1920s and 1930s, Soviet collectivisation and industrialisation prompted the migration of an additional 1.4 million Europeans. In total, around 800,000 Germans, 185,000 Koreans, 102,000 Polish, 507,000 North Caucasians, and sizeable numbers of Crimean Tatars, Turks, Greeks, and Kalmyks were deported to Kazakhstan under Soviet ruler Joseph Stalin. Kazakhstan's diverse society is an integral part of its nationhood. Thus, “the huge potential for integration into Kazakh culture for every ethnic group of the country", President Nazarbayev has noted, “may be realised only through the open character of the Kazakh culture itself".