Kazakhstan is the largest country in Central Asia (2,724,900 square kilometers) and the second most populous, with about 18 million inhabitants. It bridges Europe and Asia, not only because of its geographical position, but also by reason of its ethnic composition. In addition to hosting various ethnic groups of Central Asian origin (such as the Uzbeks), it is home to elements of European populations, such as Germans and Poles, as well as Ukrainians and Russians. Shortly before and during the Second World War, 102,000 Poles were resettled there from the western territories of the Soviet Union and 306,000 Germans from the Volga region. In addition, Chechens, Ingushetians, Caucasian Balkars, Crimean Tatars and Koreans from the Far East were forcibly transferred to the area.