Podobedova's total of 291 kg, sealed with the last lift of the competition, put her level with Zabolotnaya but because the Kazakh weighed in with a bodyweight 220 grams lower she was awarded the gold. The 291 kg total was a new Olympic record.
The bronze medal went to Belarusian Iryna Kulesha.
Podobedova, 26, competed for Russia until 2006 according to the International Weightlifting Federation website, before re-entering international competition under the Kazakhstan flag in 2009.
Zabolotnaya was only added to the Russian team just over a week ago when her team mate Oxana Slivenko was forced to withdraw for medical reasons.
World champion Nadezda Evstyukhina of Russia made a surprise early exit after she was unable to complete a lift in the snatch section of the competition.
Athletes need to complete both a snatch and a clean and jerk lift to post a total, with the highest combined weight taking the gold.