Yakutia

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Республика Саха (Якутия)
Саха Республиката
Sakha Republic (Yakutia)
Flag of Yakutia
Subdivision of: Russian Federation
Cities:  
 Capital: Yakutsk (193,000)
 Other: -
Languages:  
 Official: Russian, Yakut
 Others: many other languages
President: ...
Prime minister: ...
Area: ...
Population: ca. 950,000 inhabitants
Established: 1991, after the fall of the SNOR regime
Location of Yakutia in the Russian Federation
Location of Yakutia in the Russian Federation

Yakutia (also Sakha Republic) is situated in NE Siberia. With approx. 3 mln km² it is the second largest republic of the Russian Federation, covering about 20% of its area. Sakha stretches to the Henrietta Islands in the far north and is washed by the Arctic Ocean (Laptev and Eastern Siberian Seas). These waters, the coldest and iciest of all seas in the northern hemisphere, are covered by ice for 9-10 months of the year. The Stanovoy Ridge borders Yakutia in the south, the upper reaches of the Olenyok river form the western border, and Chukotka forms the eastern border.

Yakutia can be divided into three great vegetation belts. About 40% of Yakutia lies above the Arctic circle and all of it is covered by eternally frozen ground - permafrost - which greatly influences the region's ecology and limits forests in the southern region. Arctic and subarctic tundra define the middle region, where lichen and moss grow as great green carpets and are favorite pastures for reindeer. In the southern part of the tundra belt, scattered stands of dwarf Siberian pine and larch grow along the rivers. Below the tundra is the vast taiga forest region. Larch trees dominate in the north and, in the south, stands of fir and pine begin to appear. Taiga forests cover about 47% of Yakutia and almost 90% of this cover is larch. Yakutia's greatest mountain range, the Verkhoyansk, runs parallel and east of the Lena river, forming a great arc that begins the Sea of Okhotsk and ends in the Lappet Sea (Arctic Ocean). This great range has hundreds of small tributaries which flow into the Lena as it moves northward. The Cherky Range runs east of the Verkhoyansk and has the highest peak in Yakutia, Peak Pobeda (5,147 m). Even further east are the gold-rich Kolyma Mountains, which stretch all the way to Chukotka.

The population of Yakutia is about 1 million, representing over 120 nationalities. The indigenous Sakha-Yakuts are the largest group, making up approximately half the population, followed by Russians who constitute 40,3 % of the population. Russian and Yakut, a Turkic language, are the official languages used in the republic. One of the most interesting national minorities are Zoggians.

Yakutia is famous for its raw materials. The soil contains large reserves of oil, gas, coal, diamonds, gold and silver. Industry generates 43% of the gross national product stemming primarily from mineral exploitation. The indigenous peoples are well-known as hunters, fishermen and reindeer herders. The capital of Yakutia is Yakutsk. Sakha is also known for its climate extremes, with Verkhoyansk being the coldest spot in the northern hemisphere, where the temperatures reach as low as -70°C in January.

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