The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

The Republic of Sakha
(Yakutia)

The Republic of Sakha is the largest region of Russia. By area it surpasses Argentina. Yakutia is one of the rare places on Earth with pristine nature. 80% of the territory is covered by taiga forests. The region has many rivers and lakes and rich fauna. Mountains and uplands prevail in the landscape.

The administrative center is the city of Yakutsk

Area 3 083 423 km².

Population 964 330 people (2018).

Population density 0,31 people per km² (2018)

Web site: www.sakha.gov.ru

Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Chukotka Autonomous Region Magadan Region Kamchatka Krai Sakhalin Region Khabarovsk Krai Amur Region Primorsky Krai Jewish Autonomous Region Republic of Buryatia Zabaykalsky KraiRussian Far East

History

1632, when the Cossack Petr Beketov founded stockaded town Lensky Ostrog on the right bank of Lena River, is considered as the year of Yakutia's entry into Russia. Soon an independent Yakut County with direct subordination to the Siberian department was formed here. Later it transformed into Yakut region of Irkutsk province. Since its foundation, the city of Yakutsk has become not only the administrative, military, commercial, cultural, and religious center of Yakutsk County, but also the home base for exploration and development of new territories in the Far East and the northeast of Asia.

At the beginning of the XX century, agriculture was the main occupation of the population of Yakut region. At the same time, the foundation for the industry of local importance was laid. Sawmill, leather and foot-wear factory, and brickworks were launched. Fish catch in the lower reaches of Lena River and salt production continued.

The region received a new incentive for further development in the post-war period. Chulmanskoye and Neryungrinskoye coal deposits and Taezhninskoye and Sivaglinskoye iron ore deposits were discovered in the Southern Yakutia. Long-term survey works of presence of oil-and-gas in Yakutia were crowned with success. By the end of the 70s, almost the entire volume of diamonds, antimony and significant share of gold, mica, and tin of the country were mined here.

Geographical location

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is located in the north-eastern part of Eurasia and is a part of the Far Eastern Federal District. Yakutia is the largest territorial entity of the Russian Federation. The total area of continental and island (Lyakhovsky, Anzhu and De Long Islands which are a part of the Novosibirsk Islands of the Arctic Ocean) of Yakutia makes 3.1 million sq km. More than 40% of the republic's territory lies in the Arctic Circle. There are three time zones in the republic.

The length of Yakutia in the latitudinal direction makes 2500 km, in the meridional 2000 km. In the west, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) borders Krasnoyarsky Krai, in the southwest Irkutsk Region, in the south Amur and Chita Regions, in the southeast Khabarovsk Krai, in the east Magadan Region and Chukotka Autonomous District. In the north, its natural boundaries are formed by the Laptev and the East Siberian seas. The total length of the sea coastline exceeds 4,5 thousand km.

Time zone

The territory of Yakutia extends over three time zones having the difference with Moscow time of +6, +7, +8 hours. To date, Yakutia is one of the most detached and hard-to-reach regions of the world in terms of transport: 90% of the territory has no year-round transport connection.

Physical and geographical characteristics

Specific feature of Yakutia consists in diversity of natural conditions and resources, which is caused by its physical and geographical location. Biggest part of the territory is covered by mountains and plateaus, which account for more than 2/3 of its surface; the share of lowlands makes only 1/3. The highest point - Mount Pobeda (3147 m) - is located on Cherskogo ridge.

Almost the entire continental part of Yakutia is a zone of centuries-long entire permafrost. The average capacity of the frozen layer reaches 300-400 m, and in the basin of Vilyuy River this value makes 1500 m: this is the maximum freezing of rocks in the world.

Natural resources

Yakutia is one of the rare places on Earth with pristine nature and amazing variety of flora and fauna. The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) accounts for more than 30% of the wilderness of Russia, or more than 10% of wilderness in the world. More than 90% of Yakutia's territory is not affected or poorly affected by industrial development and forms the ecosystem with undisturbed course of the natural processes.

Yakutia has one of the greatest numbers of rivers (700 thousand) and lakes (over 800 thousand) in Russia. The total length of all its rivers is about 2 million km. The largest navigable rivers: Lena, Vilyui, Aldan, Kolyma, Indigirka, Olekma, Anabar, and Yana.

The territory of Yakutia lies within the boundaries of four geographical zones: taiga forests (almost 80% of the area), tundra, forest tundra, and the arctic desert.

Yakutia is a part of taiga and tundra zoogeographical zone with incredibly rich fauna.

Climate

In many respects, the natural and climatic conditions of Yakutia are extreme. First of all, Yakutia is the coldest of the inhabited regions of the planet. The climate is distinctly continental, with long winter and short summer periods. The maximum range of the mean temperatures of the coldest month (January) and the warmest month (July) makes 70-75C. By the absolute value of the minimum temperature (up to -70C) and its total duration (from 6.5 to 9 months per year) the republic has no analogues in the northern hemisphere.

Flora and fauna

The trees prevailing in Yakutia include Dahurian larch (85% of the forest area); the other widespread trees are pine, dwarf pine, spruce, birch, aspen, in the southern regions - Siberian cedar, in the mountains - fragrant poplar and Chozenia.

More than ¼ of the republic's area is classified as specially protected natural areas. In Yakutia, there are two reserves of the Russian Federation, 6 national nature parks, for example, the legendary Lensky Pillars that was listed as UNESCO World Heritage in 2012, "Yansky Mammoths" state nature reserve, and other specially protected natural areas.

The fauna of Yakutia includes: in the islands walrus, seal, polar bear; in the continental territory elk, reindeer, musk deer, snow sheep, Manchurian deer, brown bear, wolf, red fox, polar fox, sable, ermine, Siberian weasel, American mink.

About 50 species of fish inhabit marine, river, and lake basins of the republic. Salmon fishes and whitefish prevail. The territory of Yakutia is also known as a place of mass nesting of more than 250 species of birds including some rare birds, such as Ross' gull, white and black cranes, little curlew and gyrfalcon listed in the International Red Book.

Soils

Permafrost and taiga soils can be found almost everywhere in Yakutia. Permafrost and mountain and forest and mountain tundra soils prevail in the mountains. In the central Yakutia, the typical soils are sod-forest, pale-yellow, loamy (partially solodized), alluvial meadow soils, in other parts - mountain-forest, marsh, and tundra-gley soils.

Permafrost floodplain soils occupying significant areas in floodplains of the rivers Lena, Amga, Vilyui, Aldan are the most promising for development and high yields of herbs and crops. The floodplain soils are of great importance. High-yielding hayfields and grasslands are located here. Although subzone of the middle taiga has severe climate, the heat reserves are enough for cultivation of crops and vegetables.

Population

The share of the urban population of Yakutia 64.1%, rural 35.9%.

There are more than 120 nationalities living in the republic. The share of Yakuts in the national composition of the population 49.9%, Russians 37.8%, Ukrainians 2.2%, Evenks 2.2%, Evens 1.6%, Tatars 0.9%. Despite the large area, the territory of Yakutia has been poorly populated throughout the last century: both at beginning and at the end of the century, the average population density was ten times lower than in the European regions of Russia.

Yakutsk, the capital of the Republic of Sakha, is the largest city in the world, located in the permafrost zone.

Administrative and territorial division

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) includes 1 city of republican importance (Yakutsk), 34 ulus (districts) and their naslegs (rural districts), cities of ulus (district) subordination, settlement (settlements of urban type), and villages.

Economy

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is one of the most important mineral-raw materials and mining regions of Russia which takes the lead in the Russian Federation by mining of diamonds, gold, and antimony. Coal, oil, natural gas, platinum, rough semi-precious stones, building materials, and other minerals are mined on a considerable scale for domestic and export purposes. According to rating of the total reserves of all types of natural resources, Yakutia ranks first in the Russian Federation.

Yakutia is the largest oil and gas region playing the key role in diversifying hydrocarbon exports to the east.

Education

There are 647 kindergartens and 652 schools in the republic. 2/3 of schools are located in rural areas. The structure of secondary vocational education consists of 48 establishments including 45 state establishments with 14 branches and 3 non-state establishments. There are 72 professions and 120 specialties. The students can study on state-funded and paid basis.

Professional personnel are trained in 7 establishments of higher education, 9 branches of the central universities, 48 establishments of secondary vocational education. The total number of students exceeds 50 thousand people.

Leading universities of Yakutia:
M.K. Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University,
Yakut State Agricultural Academy,
Arctic State Institute of Culture and Art,
Churapchinsk University of Physical Culture and Sports
V.A. Bosikov Higher School of Music.

Private universities - East-Siberian University of Economics and Management and Yakut Humanitarian University.

Culture

In the region, there are 17 theater and concert establishments; 486 libraries, including 3 libraries of the regional importance; 536 institutions of culture and leisure; 83 museums; 2 cinemas; 84 educational establishments of children's art education (children's art schools).

There are national holiday and regular tours of the leading theatres of the republic in the northern, hard-to-reach settlements.

Religion

There are 158 religious organizations registered in Yakutia. Religious organizations of Yakutia are represented by 14 faiths :

  • Orthodoxy,
  • Islam,
  • Church of Evangelical Christians,
  • Church of Christians of Evangelical Faith,
  • Seventh-day Adventists,
  • Buddhism,
  • Judaism,
  • Catholicism,
  • Bahai,
  • Old-Orthodox Community,
  • Old-Eastern Orthodox Armenian Apostolic Church,
  • New Apostolic Church.