Karelia Republic

Karelia labor commune was established on June 8, 1920 and transformed into Karelia ASSR on July 25, 1923. Next transformation to Karel-Finn SSR took place in 1940. In 1956 turned to Karel ASSR again. Since 1991 the territory was declared Republic of Karelia inside the RF. Capital - Petrozavodsk (population 282.8 thousands), founded in 1703.
Moscow-Petrozavodsk distance - 925 км.

Geographic location. Republic of Karelia is located at the north-west of the Russian European part between the White Sea, Ladoga and Onega lakes. North-south - 650 km, west-east - 250 km. In the west Karelia borders on Finland, in the south – Leningrad and Vologda regions, in the east – on Archangelsk region, in the north – on Murmansk region. In the east it is washed by the White Sea, in the south — Ladoga and Onega lakes.

Natural conditions. Relief: hilly plains with obvious traces of glaciers’ activity (moraine ridges, oses, kames, lake basins). The White Sea coast is abundant in gulfs and bays. Karelia is the land of rivers and lakes. Rivers are relatively short, but high-watered - Kem, Vyg, Shuia. Lakes cover 18% of the Republic territory. The largest ones: Ladoga and Onega. Half of the territory is covered with forests, swamps - about 18%. The climate is both continental and marine: relatively mild and long winter, cool summer, highly humid air, small temperature amplitude. Winter temperature: from -5 to -18 degrees, summer: from +10 to +22 degrees.

Population. Russians constitute the majority. Indigenous and minority (about 80 thousands) people are Karels (Finn-Ugric language family). Religious Karels are orthodox Christians. Kalevala national district and Vepss national volost, populated by Vepps, exist at the Republic territory. After long-termed negative trend the Republic demography shows signs of stability..

State structure. Karelia is a parliamentary republic inside the RF. Two-chamber legislative council, consisting of chamber of republic and chamber of representatives, is the highest legislative body. The government holds the highest executive power; its chairman is elected by direct secret vote by all electors in the Republic for four years.

Economy strong and weak points. Natural resources play most important role in the Republic economic development. Subsoil is saturated with building materials: granite, diabase, quartzite, dolomite, marble; there are deposits of iron ore (Kostomuksha deposit), titaniferous magnetite (Pudozhgor deposit), mica. Karelia is rich with hydro-energy resources. Operative forest stock, covering half of the Republic territory, totals 600 mln cubic meters. Swamps (18% of the territory) contain over 4 bln tons of peat. Lots of fish species have industrial importance: navaga, herring, cod, flatfish, salmon and trout. River and lake tourism is traditionally popular.

Favorable economic-geographic situation of the Republic – bordering on Finland, EU member - is not used to the full. The reasons are weak transport infrastructure and poorly populated territories.

Specialty. Karelia is an industry-agricultural republic. Timber-cutting, wood-processing, pulp-and-paper and fishing industries are dominant in the economy. Main agricultural elements: dairy, potato and vegetables. 2/3 of cultivation areas are meliorated and mostly used for fodder crop.

Main branches of industry are energy based on small hydro-power stations at Suna, Vyg, Kem and other rivers; timber-cutting and wood-processing industry covering over 5% of timber export from Russia; fish processing enterprises. Engineering, metallurgy and ship-building are also developed. Karelia is a Russian monopolist in manufacturing dragging tractors.

Official website: http://gov.karelia.ru/

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