The region occupies a considerable area in the sport life of the republic. Sports in Eastern Kazakhstan have some of the best traditions in the country; great skill and popularity are its main characteristics.
The first colonists of the region were Cossacks (not to be confused with Kazakhs) who were the stronghold of the power of the Russian Empire spreading over this territory. Cossacks are a special social group of Russian origin; most of them were indentured servants though ran away in order to win their freedom.
Fondest memory: On the basis of the decree of the Senate of 1760 and 1762, the Russian government exiled peasants from the Russian provinces, including convicts and political prisoners. At the end of the nineteenth century when the Great Siberian Railroad had been constructed a mass migration started. Little by little the migrants from Russia's central provinces settled on the banks of the Irtysh and in the Belagach steppe. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Kazakhs gradually abandoned their nomadic lifestyle and began to settle in the developing towns and cities.
The climate is sharp and continental with wide daily and annual fluctuations in temperature. The winters are long and severe and summers are especially hot. The absolute minimum temperature for the winter is negative 52 degrees Celsius, and a maximum temperature for the summer is positive 46 degrees Celsius. Precipitation depends upon geographical position: the highlands receive more than 1000 - 1500 mm, while low-lying areas receive between 400 - 500 mm. The vegetative period lasts 176 days in the north; in the south it is 198 days.
About 40% of the water resources of the republic are concentrated in East Kazakhstan. There are about 800 rivers that flow in the territory of the region. Their total length is more than 10,000 km.
Fondest memory: The main water tributary is the Irtysh; the largest rivers are the Uba, the Ulba, the Buhtarma, the Kurchum, the Char, and the Kizilsu; the Ust-Kamenogorsk and Buhtarma reservoirs complete our list of major water sources.
A great variety of natural and climate zones are characteristic for East Kazakhstan. Mountainous, mountain-taiga, mountain-meadow, woodland, partially-wooded steppe, steppe, semi-desert and desert landscapes predominate in the region. The mountain systems of Rudny and South Altai, Kalba, and Saur-Tarbagatai occupy the largest area in the territory.
Elevation : From 800 to 4500 meters ; in the Eastern Altai a range of between 3000 and 4000 meters. The highest peak is Belukha at 4506 meters. The mountain ranges are divided by the mountainous hollows of Zaisanskaya and Alakolskaya.