Sakha (Yakutia) Republic

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is a constituent entity of the Russian Federation. It borders on the Krasnoyarsky Territory in the west, the Irkutsk Region in the southwest, the Amur and Chita Regions in the south, and the Magadan Region and the Chukotka Autonomous Area in the east.

Location

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is located in the northeastern part of Eurasia. Over two-fifths of its territory lies to the north of the Arctic circle.

Yakutia has diverse natural conditions and resources due to its geographical position. Most of its territory is made up of mountains and plateaus (2/3 of the total area) and only a third of its territory is lowlands. The highest peak -Mount Pobeda (3,145 m high) - is in the Chersky Range.

Administrative division

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is comprised of 34 administrative entities: 34 ulus (districts) and one city of republican governance, Yakutsk.

Area

3,103,200 sq km

The total area of the continental and insular territory, including the Lyakhovskye islands, Anzhu, and De Long islands (of the Arctic Ocean's Novosibirsk Islands) is 3.1 million square kilometers. Yakutia is 2,500 km wide from east to west and 2,000 km from north to south. The westernmost point is on the border with the Evenki Autonomous Area (105°east), the easternmost point is on the border with the Chukotka Autonomous Area (165° east), the southernmost point is in Stanovoy Range (55°3039 north), the mainland northernmost point is in Cape Nordvik (74°north), and the northernmost insular point is on Henrietta Island (77°north).

Capital

Yakutsk, 8,468 km from Moscow

Main cities

Yakutsk, Neryungri, Mirny, Lensk, Aldan

Climate

Republic of Sakha has an Arctic belt climate in the north and subarctic (continental) climate in the central part, with an average January temperature of 34.9°C below zero and an average July temperature of 15.2°C above zero.

Almost all of mainland Yakutia is permafrost that turns into intermittent areas only in the extreme southwest. The average density of the permafrost is 300-400 meters, yet in the Viluy River basin it reaches 1,500 meters - the deepest frozen rocks on earth. In Yakutia's mountains, there are 485 glaciers with a total area of 413 sq km and 2,000 cubic metres of fresh water stocks.

Yakutia has a severe continental climate, with long winters and very short summers. The temperatures span between the coldest month (January) and the warmest month (July) is 70-75°C. The republic is unique in terms of the absolute minimum temperatures in its depressions, hollows up to 70°C below zero, and the periods of extreme low temperatures ranging between six and a half to nine months a year.

Major natural resources

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) has diamonds, oil, natural gas, coal, gold, tin and antimony deposits.

With over 700 rivers and 800 lakes, Yakutia is the richest of all Russian regions in water resources. The total length of its rivers is about 2 million kilometres, and they have a potential of 700 billion kW of energy. The largest rivers are the Lena, Viluy, Aldan, and Kolyma.

The territory of Yakutia encompasses four geographical zones: taiga (almost 80%), tundra, forest-tundra, and the arctic desert. Daur larch is the most common tree (85% of the forested area), and cedar elfin wood, spruce, birch, and aspen are found everywhere, Siberian cedar grows in the south and fragrant poplar and chozenia are found in the mountainous regions. The logging resources are estimated at 10.3 billion cubic metres.

The composition and distribution of natural resources are determined by the geological structure on the republic's territory. Over 100 various resources have been identified in the republic and for 40 of them over 1,500 deposits have been found: 700 alluvial and ore gold deposits, 60 tin deposits, 40 deposits of diamonds, 40 coal fields, 30 oil and natural gas fields, 25 deposits of phlogopite mica, etc.

Population

The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)'s population is 949,000 people with 463,200 males and 485,800 females. 64.5% of the population is urban, while the rural residents account for 35.4%.

The economically active population is 611,200, 470,500 of whom are employed in the economic sector. The unemployment rate, calculated using ILO methods, stands at 9.4%, while senior citizens and minors account for 21.8% and 7.16%, respectively. The positive population growth rate is 4.8 per 1,000. The negative migration influx rate is 35 per 10,000.

Over 120 ehtnicities live in the republic; ethnic Yakuts make up 45.5%, Russians, 41.2%, Ukrainians, 3.6%, Evenks, 1.9%, Evens, 1.2%

Administration

President of the Republic: Yegor Borisov

Mayor of Yakutsk: Yuri Zabolev. Elected in the municipal election on December 2nd 2007.

Speaker of the local legislature, Chairman of the State Assembly (Il Tumen): Vitaly Basygysov. Elected Chairman of the State Assembly (Il Tumen) of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) at the first plenary session of the parliament on March 20th 2008.

Regional issues and prospects

The major problems are caused by the republic's disconnect from the main economic space of Russia, unfavorable climatic conditions (late sowing and bedding of cereal crops and vegetables, insufficient vegetation period), and the dependence of the northern district on cargo transportation from the south. Economic prospects are conditioned by the development of the energy sector and transportation infrastructure. Gold, tin, and coal resources present a huge development potential for the republic.

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

Expert RA