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The Sakha (Yakutia) Republic (p=rʲɪsˈpublʲɪkə sɐˈxa jɪˈkutʲɪjə; Саха Өрөспүүбүлүкэтэ, Sakha Öröspǖbülükete) is a of Russia (a ). It has a population of 958,528 (), consisting mainly of ethnic and .

Comprising half of the , it is the in the world at Rosstat (Russian Statistical Service), 2010 (xls). Retrieved 2012-06-15. and the eighth largest territory in the world, if the federal subjects of Russia were compared with other countries. It is larger than and just smaller than which covers an area of . It has a population of fewer than one million inhabitants. Its is the of . The Sakha Republic is one of the ten autonomous Turkic Republics within the Russian Federation.[2] Yakutia also fosters close cultural, political, economic and industrial relations with the independent through membership in organizations such as the and the .[3][4][5]


Sakha stretches to the in the far north and is washed by the and of the Arctic Ocean. These waters, the coldest and iciest of all seas in the northern hemisphere, are covered by ice for 9–10 months of the year. are a part of the republic's territory. After was separated from Canada's , Sakha became the () in the world, with an area of , slightly smaller than the territory of India (3.3 million km²).

Sakha can be divided into three great vegetation belts. About 40% of Sakha lies above the and all of it is covered by which greatly influences the region's ecology and limits forests in the southern region. Arctic and subarctic define the middle region, where lichen and moss grow as great green carpets and are favorite pastures for . In the southern part of the tundra belt, scattered stands of dwarf and grow along the rivers. Below the tundra is the vast forest region. Larch trees dominate in the north and stands of and begin to appear in the south. Taiga forests cover about 47% of Sakha and almost 90% of the cover is larch.

The Sakha Republic is the site of , a project directed at recreating pleistocene tundra grasslands by stimulating the growth of grass with the introduction of animals which thrived in the region during the late  — early period.

Time zones
Sakha spans three different time zones (no Daylight Saving Time in summer):
  1. (YAKT, ). Covers the republic's territory to the west of the as well as the territories of the districts located on the both sides of the Lena River.
  2. (VLAT, ). Covers most of the republic's territory located between 127°E and 140°E .
  3. (MAGT, ). Covers most of the republic's territory located east of 140°E longitude.

Navigable (4,310 km), as it moves northward, includes hundreds of small located in the . Other major rivers include:

There are over 800,000 lakes in the republic. Major lakes and reservoirs include:

Sakha's greatest mountain range, the , runs parallel and east of the Lena River, forming a great arc that begins the and ends in the Laptev Sea.

The runs east of the Verkhoyansk Range and has the highest peak in Sakha, (3,147 m). The second highest peak is reaching 3,011 m.

The borders Sakha in the south.

Natural resources
Sakha is well endowed with raw materials. The soil contains large reserves of , gas, , , , , , and many others. Sakha produces 99% of all Russian diamonds and over 25% of the diamonds mined in the world.

Sakha is known for its extremes, with the being the coldest area in the northern hemisphere. Winters here are extremely cold. Some of the lowest natural temperatures ever recorded have been here. The 's is at , where the temperatures reached as low as in 1892, and at , where the temperatures reached as low as in 1926.

  • Average January temperature: (coast) to (Pole of Cold).
  • Average July temperature: (coast) to (central parts). However, it gets very hot during the day in in July (record = ).
  • Average annual : 200 mm (central parts) to 700 mm (mountains of Eastern Sakha).

Administrative divisions


Early history
The or Yakuts probably settled in the area in the 13th and 14th centuries, migrating north from the area to the . According to their own traditional accounts, the Sakha were driven out of their earlier homeland by the . From their new center along the middle Lena they gradually expanded northeast and west beyond the towards the .

The name Sakha is of Turk origin, "Saqa-Saha" meaning "Cue, Bat". The term Yakut is a Turk word, probably a corruption of zhaqut - yakut "semi-precious stone". The Sakha displaced earlier, much smaller populations who lived on hunting and reindeer herding, introducing the economy of Central Asia. The indigenous populations of and stock were mostly to the Sakha by the 17th century. Scott Polar Research Institute — Republic of Sakha

Russian conquest
The began its conquest of the region in the 17th century, moving east after the defeat of the . , a king of the Khangalassky Yakuts, granted territory for Russian settlement in return for a military pact that included war against indigenous rebels of all North Eastern Asia (Magadan, Chukotka, Kamchatka and Sakhalin). Kull, a king of the Megino-Khangalassky Yakuts, began a Sakha conspiracy by allowing the first stockade construction.

In August 1638, the Moscow Government formed a new administrative unit with the administrative center of Lensky Ostrog (Fort Lensky), the future city of , which had been founded by in 1632.

The arrival of the Russian settlers at the remote in the delta likely also dates to the 17th century.А. И. Гоголев. "История Якутии: (Обзор исторических событий до начала ХХ в.)". (A. I. Gogolev. History of Yakutia: Review of Historical Events to the beginning of the 20th century) Yakutsk, 1999. The was established as part of the Russian Tsardom in 1708.

Russian settlers began to form a community in the 18th century, which adopted certain Yakut customs and was often called Yakutyane (Якутя́не) or Lena Early Settlers (ленские старожилы). However, the influx of later settlers assimilated them into the Russian mainstream by the 20th century.

Russian Empire
In an administrative reform of 1782, was created. In 1805, was split from Irkutsk Governorate.

Yakutsk Oblast in the early 19th century marked the easternmost territory of the Russian Empire, including such  (Pacific) territories as were acquired, known as within Yakutsk Oblast. With the formation of  in 1856, the Russian territories of the Pacific were detached from Yakutia.

The Russians established agriculture in the basin. The members of religious groups who were exiled to Sakha in the second half of the 19th century began to grow , , and . The established a cash economy. Industry and transport began to develop at the end of the 19th century and in the beginning of the period. This was also the beginning of prospecting, , and local production. The first steam-powered ships and barges arrived.

Yakutia's remoteness, even compared to the rest of Siberia, made it a place of exile of choice for both Czarist and Communist governments of Russia. Among the famous Tsarist-era exiles were the democratic writer , (whose story was told to by ), the and writer , who left an interesting account of his Arctic experiences, and Polish socialist activist who pioneered in etnographic research on Yakut people.

Soviet era
On April 27, 1922, former Yakutsk Oblast was proclaimed the , although in fact the eastern part of the territory, including the city of Yakutsk, was controlled by the (see ).

In 1992, after the , Yakutia was recognized in Moscow as the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. Yakutia is historically part of Russian Siberia, but since the formation of the in 2000, it is administratively part of the .


Vital statistics
Source: Russian Federal State Statistics Service


Ethnic groups
According to the , the ethnic composition is:

Historical population figures are shown below:

1 23,864 people were registered from administrative databases, and could not declare an ethnicity. It is estimated that the proportion of ethnicities in this group is the same as that of the declared group.

The official languages are both Russian and , also known as Yakut, which is spoken by approximately 40% of the population. The Yakut language is a member of the language family.

Before the arrival of the Russian Empire, the majority of the local population believed in common to Turkic-language people of Central Asia, or in Paleoasian indigenous with both 'light' (community leading) and 'dark' (healing through spirit journey) shamans. Under the Russians, the local population was converted to the and required to take Orthodox Christian names, but in practice generally continued to follow traditional religions. During the Soviet era, most or all of the shamans died without successors.

Currently, while Orthodox Christianity maintains a following (however, with very few priests willing to be stationed outside of Yakutsk), there is interest and activity toward renewing the traditional religions. As of 2008, Orthodox leaders described the world view of the republic's indigenous population (or, rather, those among the population who are not completely indifferent to religion) as dvoyeverie (dual belief system), or a "tendency toward ", as evidenced by the locals sometimes first inviting a shaman, and then an Orthodox priest to carry out their rites in connection with some event in their life. (An interview with Maxim Kozlov, a Moscow priest who had recently returned from a missionary trip down the Lena along with the Bishop of Yakutsk).

According to the Information Center under the President of Sakha Republic (Информационный центр при Президенте РС(Я)), the religious demography of the republic was as follows: Orthodoxy: 44.9%, shamanism: 26.2%, non-religious: 23.0%, new religious movements: 2.4%, Islam: 1.2%, Buddhism: 1.0%, Protestantism: 0.9%, Catholicism: 0.4%.

According to a 2012 official survey 37.8% of the population of Yakutia adheres to the , 1% are unaffiliated generic , 13% of the population adheres to or Yakut , 2% to , 1% to forms of , and 0.4% to . In addition, 17% of the population deems itself to be "spiritual but not religious", 26% is , and 1.8% follows other religions or did not give an answer to the question.

The head of government in Sakha is the President. The first was . As of 2010, the president is , who took office on May 31, 2010; his vice president is .

The supreme legislative body of state authority in Sakha is a unicameral State Assembly known as the Il Tumen. The government of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic is the executive body of state authority.

Industry generates slightly above 50% of the of Sakha, stemming primarily from mineral exploitation. Industrial enterprises are concentrated in the capital Yakutsk, as well as in , , , , and . The diamond, gold and tin ore mining industries are the major focus of the economy. Uranium ore is beginning to be mined. Turkic-language Sakha are in politics, government, finance, economy and cattle-breeding (horses and cows for milk and meat). The Paleoasian indigenous peoples are hunters, fishermen, and herders. As of 2008, Sakha Republic is the 19th most developed federal subject in Russia.

Water transport ranks first for cargo turnover. There are six river ports, two sea ports ( and Zelyony Mys). Four shipping companies, including the , operate in the republic. The republic's main waterway is the , which links with the rail station of in .

Air transport is the most important for transporting people. Airlines connect the republic with most regions of Russia. has an international terminal.

Two federal roads pass the republic. They are Yakutsk– () and Yakutsk– (). However, due to the presence of permafrost, use of asphalt is not practical, and therefore the roads are made of clay. When heavy rains blow over the region, the roads often turn to mud, sometimes stranding hundreds of travellers in the – Russian Roads

The railroad is currently in operation. It links the with the industrial centers in South Yakutia. Construction of the continues northward; the railway was completed to , across the river from Yakutsk, in 2013.

The most important facilities of higher education include (previously Yakutsk State University) and .

Cultural life of Yakutsk is constantly developing. There are many places worth visiting.

There are State Russian drama theatre named after A. S. Pushkin, Sakha Theater named after P. A. Oiyunsky, State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after D. K. Sivtsev - Suorun Omoloon, Young Spectator's Theatre.

There are numer of interesting museums as well. National Fine Arts Museum of Sakha, Museum of Local Lore and History named after E. Yaroslavsky and the only in the world Khomus Museum and Museum of Permafrost.

National days
  • 27 April — Republic Day
  • 21 June — Ysyakh festival

See also


External links

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