Karem Abdalla pointed me to a new source of data for Kazakhstan. I got the areas of the regions from source , as well as the 2009 census figures rounded to the nearest 100. Source  had exact population figures, which agreed with source  up to rounding, so I used the exact figures.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on 2003-04-03 that the Kazakh leadership was considering reorganizing Kazakhstan into five regions: Central, Eastern, Northern, South, and Western Kazakhstan.
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number I-4, dated 2002-12-10, deletes Bayqongyr city from the list of subdivisions.
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-3 was published on 2002-08-20. It corrects the spelling of the Kazakh name for Kazakhstan from Quazaqstan to Qazaqstan in four places.
ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-2 was published on 2002-05-21. It adds one division to the list of divisions of Kazakhstan. The new division is Astana city. It also changes the spellings of a number of names, all of them transliterated into the Roman alphabet. I have added the ISO code for Astana to the table below.
International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on 1998-12-15. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For Kazakhstan, the draft standard showed nineteen oblasts (regions) and two independent cities. The final standard has dropped five of those regions. The ISO codes for the remaining divisions were unchanged, except as explained below (1).
The U.S. government standard, FIPS PUB 10-4, has also appeared with a revised list of divisions of Kazakhstan in Change Notice 1, dated 1998-12-01. The FIPS and ISO standards are now in agreement.
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Kazakhstan is the northern part of the old governor-generalship of Turkestan under the Russian Empire. During the Russian Revolution, the status of the Central Asian lands was unresolved for a time. On 1920-08-26, the Kirghiz A.S.S.R. was formed, followed by the Turkestan A.S.S.R. on 1921-04-11. In the fall of 1924, the Central Asian republics were reorganized to match nationalities more closely. The northern part of Turkestan was annexed to Kirghiz. In 1925-04, its name was changed from Kirghiz to Kazakh, and on 1936-12-05, it became an S.S.R. (Kazakhskaya Sovyetskaya Sotsialisticheskaya Respublika), with very nearly its modern boundaries. It remained a republic of the Soviet Union until the Union broke up in 1991. (S.S.R. = Soviet Socialist Republic; A.S.S.R. = Autonomous S.S.R. The former was a top-level division of the Soviet Union. A.S.S.R.s were generally subordinate to S.S.R.s.)
land of the Kazakhs, ethnic name from Turkish kazak: free
Kazakhstan is divided into fourteen oblysy (oblasts under the Soviet Union: regions) and three galasy (cities with regional status).
For some time after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazahkstan continued to use the Soviet-era postal codes, six-digit numbers beginning with '4' (or, rarely, '6'). After the reorganization of 1997, a new system of pochtovye indeksy (postal indexes) was developed, and came into force on 2004-12-01. The numbers are still six digits. The first two digits represent a region; the first four, a rayon.
See the Rayons of Kazakhstan page.
The secondary subdivisions of Kazakhstan are rayons and maslikhat.
Note 1: There is some confusion about Bayqonur. In the draft ISO standard, one of the
independent cities is Leninsk, with a code of
LEN. In the final standard, Leninsk is gone and
Bayqonyr (alternate names Baykonyr, Bajkonyr) occupies its place. In the FIPS standard, the name of the
corresponding city is spelled "Bayqongyr". In the Soviet era, Tyuratam, in the Qyzylorda region, was the
headquarters of missile and rocket research at the Baikonur Cosmodrome. It's not shown on Soviet maps for
security reasons. Tyuratam was renamed Leninsk around 1988. The CIA World Factbook 2001 says, "In 1995
the Governments of Kazakhstan and Russia entered into an agreement whereby Russia would lease for a period
of 20 years an area of 6,000 sq km enclosing the Bayqongyr (Baykonur) space launch facilities and the city
of Bayqongyr (formerly Leninsk)." Source  says, "The city of Leninsk—now Turatam—serving
the Baikonur space centre, and formerly one of Kazakhstan's administrative units, was transferred to Russian
jurisdiction in August 1995, for a period of 20 years."
What I make of it is that Bayqonyr (or its spelling variants) is the name of the launch facility and the entire area of the Russian lease. The main city in that lease area is Turatam (Tyuratam), which was known as Leninsk for a short period. To be consistent, the standards should treat the Bayqonyr lease as they treated the Panama Canal Zone or Hong Kong when those were leased territories: it should be given its own country code. However, I find it more fitting to treat it as part of Kazakhstan, with a note about its current status.
Before the dissolution of the Soviet Union, western sources normally used transliterations from Russian names rather than Kazakh names. The standard form of the Russian names of the regions invariably ends in -ская область. I have listed this form only when the suffix -skaya alters the root name. Where region names are the same as capital names, these are also variant names of the capitals.
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