The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) (Russian: Республика Саха (Якутия), tr. Respublika Sakha (Yakutiya), IPA: [rʲɪsˈpublʲɪkə sɐˈxa jɪˈkutʲɪjə]; Yakut: Саха Өрөспүүбүлүкэтэ, romanized: Sakha Öröspüübülükete, IPA: [saˈxa øɾøsˈpyːbylykete], "Sakha Republic") is a federal Russian republic. It had a population of 958,528 at the 2010 Census, mainly ethnic Yakuts and Russians.
Comprising half the Far Eastern Federal District, it is the largest subnational governing body by area in the world at 3,083,523 square kilometers (1,190,555 sq mi). Its capital is the city of Yakutsk. It is also known for its extreme and severe climate, with the lowest temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere being recorded in Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon, and regular winter averages commonly being below −35 °C (−31 °F) in Yakutsk. The hypercontinental tendencies also result in very warm summers for much of the republic.
Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)
|Республика Саха (Якутия)|
|• Yakut||Саха Өрөспүүбүлүкэтэ|
Coat of arms
|Anthem: National Anthem of the Sakha Republic|
|Federal district||Far Eastern|
|Economic region||Far Eastern|
|Established||April 27, 1922|
|• Body||State Assembly (Il Tumen)|
|• Head||Aysen Nikolayev|
|• Total||3,083,523 km2 (1,190,555 sq mi)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||0.31/km2 (0.81/sq mi)|
|Time zone||see Time zones|
|ISO 3166 code||RU-SA|
|Official languages||Russian; Yakut|
Sakha stretches to the Henrietta Island in the far north and is washed by the Laptev and Eastern Siberian Seas 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. New Siberian Islands are a part of the republic's territory. After Nunavut was separated from Canada's Northwest Territories, Sakha became the largest subnational entity (statoid) in the world, with an area of 3,083,523 square kilometers (1,190,555 sq mi), 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 Arctic circle and all of it is covered by 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 stands of fir and pine 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 Pleistocene Park, 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 Pleistocene — early Holocene period.
In recent years, global warming has caused the melting of previously frozen soils. Thousands of homes are in danger of collapsing in the mud in summer, while northern villages are overwhelmed by floods.
Sakha Republic is the only subject of Russia which uses more than one time zone. Sakha spans three time zones (no Daylight Saving Time in summer):
There are over 800,000 lakes in the republic. Major lakes and reservoirs include:
The Stanovoi Range borders Sakha in the south.
The Republic's extensive coastline contains a number of peninsulas; from west to east the most prominent are:
From west to east the main islands of Sakha are:
Sakha is well endowed with raw materials. The soil contains large reserves of oil, gas, coal, diamonds, gold, silver, tin, tungsten 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 climate extremes, with the Verkhoyansk Range being the coldest area in the Northern Hemisphere. Some of the lowest natural temperatures ever recorded have been here. The Northern Hemisphere's Pole of Cold is at Verkhoyansk, where the temperatures reached as low as −67.8 °C (−90.0 °F) in 1892, and at Oymyakon, where the temperatures reached as low as −71.2 °C (−96.2 °F) in 1926.
|City||July (°C)||July (°F)||January (°C)||January (°F)|
Average annual precipitation: 200 mm (central parts) to 700 mm (mountains of Eastern Sakha).
Siberia, and particularly Yakutia is of paleontological significance, as it contains bodies of prehistoric animals from the Pleistocene Epoch, preserved in ice or permafrost. In 2015, the frozen bodies of Dina and Uyan the cave lion cubs were found. The region was also the location the bodies of Yuka and another Woolly mammoth from Oymyakon, a Woolly rhinoceros from the Kolyma River, and bison and horses from Yukagir.
Ymyakhtakh culture (c. 2200–1300 BC) was a Late Neolithic culture of Siberia, with a very large archaeological horizon. Its origins were in Sakha, in the Lena river basin. From there it spread both to the east and to the west.
The Turkic Sakha people or Yakuts probably settled in the area in the 13th and 14th centuries, migrating north from the Lake Baikal area to the middle Lena. From their new center along the middle Lena, they gradually expanded northeast and west beyond the Lena basin towards the Arctic Ocean.
The name Sakha is of Turkic origin, "saqa-saha" meaning "cue" or "bat". The term Yakut is a Turkic word, a corruption of zhaqut – yakut "precious stone", referring to the ruby. The Sakha displaced earlier, much smaller populations who lived on hunting and reindeer herding, introducing the pastoralist economy of Central Asia. The indigenous populations of Paleosiberian and Tungusic stock were mostly assimilated to the Sakha by the 17th century.
The Tsardom of Russia began its conquest of the region in the 17th century, moving east after the defeat of the Khanate of Sibir. Tygyn, 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 Yakutsk, which had been founded by Pyotr Beketov in 1632.
The arrival of the Russian settlers at the remote Russkoye Ustye in the Indigirka delta likely also dates to the 17th century. The Siberian Governorate 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.
Yakutsk Oblast in the early 19th century marked the easternmost territory of the Russian Empire, including such Far Eastern (Pacific) territories as were acquired, known as Okhotsk Okrug within Yakutsk Oblast. With the formation of Primorskaya Oblast in 1856, the Russian territories of the Pacific were detached from Yakutia.
The Russians established agriculture in the Lena River basin. The members of religious groups who were exiled to Sakha in the second half of the 19th century began to grow wheat, oats, and potatoes. The fur trade established a cash economy. Industry and transport began to develop at the end of the 19th century and in the beginning of the Soviet period. This was also the beginning of geological prospecting, mining, and local lead 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 Tsarist and Communist governments of Russia. Among the famous Tsarist-era exiles were the democratic writer Nikolay Chernyshevsky; Doukhobor conscientious objectors, whose story was told to Leo Tolstoy by Vasily Pozdnyakov; the Socialist Revolutionary and writer Vladimir Zenzinov, who left an interesting account of his Arctic experiences; and Polish socialist activist Wacław Sieroszewski, who pioneered in ethnographic research on Yakut people.
On April 27, 1922, former Yakutsk Oblast was proclaimed the Yakut ASSR, although in fact the eastern part of the territory, including the city of Yakutsk, was controlled by the White Russians (see Yakut revolt).
In 1992, after the fall of the Soviet Union, Yakutia was recognized in Moscow as the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation.
|Average population (x 1000)||Live births||Deaths||Natural change||Crude birth rate (per 1000)||Crude death rate (per 1000)||Natural change (per 1000)||Fertility rates|
Historical population figures are shown below:
|1926 Census||1939 Census||1959 Census||1970 Census||1979 Census||1989 Census||2002 Census||2010 Census1|
|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.|
Before the arrival of the Russian Empire, the majority of the local population was Tengrist, similar to the other Turkic people of Central Asia, or in Paleoasian indigenous shamanism with both 'light' (community leading) and 'dark' (healing through spirit journey) shamans. Under the Russians, the local population was converted to the Russian Orthodox Church 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.
In the 1990s, a neopagan shamanist movement called aiyy yeurekhé was founded by the controversial journalist Ivan Ukhkhan and a philologist calling himself Téris. This group and others cooperated to build a shaman temple in downtown Yakutsk in 2002.
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 worldview 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 syncretism", 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.
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 survey, 37.8% of the population of Yakutia adheres to the Russian Orthodox Church, 13% to Tengrism or Yakut shamanism, 2% to Islam, 1% are unaffiliated Christians, 1% to forms of Protestantism, and 0.4% to Tibetan Buddhism. In addition, 26% of the population deems itself atheist, 17% is "spiritual but not religious", and 1.8% follows other religions or did not give an answer to the question.
The head of government in Sakha is the Head (previously President). The first Head of the Sakha Republic was Mikhail Yefimovich Nikolayev. As of 2010, the president is Yegor Borisov, who took office on May 31, 2010; his vice president is Yevgeniya Mikhaylova.
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.
The republic fosters close cultural, political, economic, and industrial relations with the independent Turkic states through membership in organizations such as the Turkic Council and the Joint Administration of Turkic Arts and Culture.
Industry generates slightly above 50% of the gross national product of Sakha, stemming primarily from mineral exploitation. Industrial enterprises are concentrated in the capital Yakutsk, as well as in Aldan, Mirny, Neryungri, Pokrovsk, and Udachny. The diamond, gold, and tin ore mining industries are the major focus of the economy. Uranium ore is beginning to be mined. The Turkic-speaking Sakha people are engaged in politics, government, finance, economy, and cattle-breeding (horses and cows for milk and meat). The Paleoasian indigenous peoples are hunters, fishermen, and reindeer 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 seaports (Tiksi and Zelyony Mys). Four shipping companies, including the Arctic Sea Shipping Company, operate in the republic. The republic's main waterway is the Lena River, which links Yakutsk with the rail station of Ust-Kut in Irkutsk Oblast.
Air transport is the most important for transporting people. Airlines connect the republic with most regions of Russia. Yakutsk Airport has an international terminal.
Two federal roads pass the republic. They are Yakutsk–Skovorodino (A360 Lena highway) and Yakutsk–Magadan (M56 Kolyma Highway). 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 travelers in the process.
The Berkakit–Tommot railroad is currently in operation. It links the Baikal Amur Mainline with the industrial centers in South Yakutia. Construction of the Amur Yakutsk Mainline continues northward; the railway was completed to Nizhny Bestyakh, across the river from Yakutsk, in 2013. Though this one track railroad from Tommot to Nizhny Bestyakh is under temporary operation (30% of its full capacity), the main customer – the Federal agency for railways declared that this railroad will be in full operation in fall of 2015. Also the private company is now constructing the transport and logistics center in Nizhny Bestyakh.
The most important facilities of higher education include North-Eastern Federal University (previously Yakutsk State University) and Yakutsk State Agricultural Academy.
The State Russian drama theatre named after A. S. Pushkin; the Sakha Theater named after P. A. Oiyunsky; the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre named after D. K. Sivtsev; and Suorun Omoloon, Young Spectator's Theatre are all points of interest in the city.
There are a number of museums as well. These include the National Fine Arts Museum of Sakha, the Museum of Local Lore and History named after E. Yaroslavsky, and the Khomus Museum and Museum of Permafrost.
Во многих случаях нам говорили, что при совершении тех или иных обрядов или просто действий приглашают сначала шамана, потом священника. Правда, именно в таком порядке, признавая христианство чем-то высшим по отношению к местной магической языческой традиции, но это соединяя. Даже среди тех представителей якутской интеллигенции, с которыми мы общались, это стремление к синкретизму было отчетливо приметно.(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).
Aldan Airport (IATA: ADH, ICAO: UEEA) is a civilian airport in Russia located 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) east of Aldan, Aldansky District in the Sakha Republic of Russia. It is 450 kilometres (280 mi) away from Yakutsk.Batagay Airport
Batagay Airport (IATA: BQJ, ICAO: UEBB) is an airport serving the urban locality of Batagay, Verkhoyansky District, in the Sakha Republic of Russia, ashore the Yana River.Chulman Neryungri Airport
Chulman Neryungri Airport (IATA: NER, ICAO: UELL) (Russian: Аэропорт Нерюнгри (Чульман)) is a civilian airport in Yakutia, Russia located 8 km north of Chulman and 40 km north of Neryungri.
The IATA code NER and the Russian internal code НРГ also refers to the city of Neryungri.The airport services up to medium-sized airliners. Chulman is designated as one of several emergency airfields for commercial airline cross-polar routes or ETOPS 180/207 Diversion airport.Deputatsky Airport
Deputatsky Airport (IATA: DPT, ICAO: UEBD) is an airport serving the urban locality of Deputatsky, Ust-Yansky District, in the Sakha Republic of Russia.Mirny, Sakha Republic
Mirny (Russian: Мирный, IPA: [ˈmʲirnɨj], lit. peaceful; Yakut: Мирнэй, Mirney, IPA: [ˈmiɾnej]) is a town and the administrative center of Mirninsky District in the Sakha Republic, Russia, located on the Irelyakh River (Vilyuy's basin), 820 kilometers (510 mi) west of Yakutsk, the capital of the republic. As of the 2010 Census, its population was 37,188.Moma Airport
Moma Airport (Russian: Аэропорт Мома, Yakut: Муома аэропорда) (IATA: MQJ, ICAO: UEMA) is an airport in Sakha Republic, Russia, located 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) east of Khonuu, Momsky District. It handles small transport aircraft and contains an extremely spartan layout.Nyurba Airport
Nyurba Airport (IATA: NYR, ICAO: UENN) is an airport serving the urban locality of Nyurba, Nyurbinsky District, in the Sakha Republic of Russia.Olyokminsk Airport
Olyokminsk Airport (IATA: OLZ, ICAO: UEMO) is an airport serving the urban locality of Olyokminsk, Olyokminsky District, in the Sakha Republic of Russia.Srednekolymsk Airport
Srednekolymsk Airport (IATA: SEK) is an airport serving the urban locality of Srednekolymsk, Srednekolymsky District, in the Sakha Republic of Russia. The distance to Srednekolymsk town center is 1 km. The runway is almost directed north/south and the approach/take-off is straight over the town if using the south side of the runway.State Assembly of the Sakha Republic
State Assembly (Il Tumen) is the name for the unicameral legislature of the Sakha Republic, Russia. It is a legal successor of the Supreme Council of the Sakha Republic.The State Assembly comprises seventy deputies who are elected for five-year terms.Suntar Airport
Suntar Airport (IATA: SUY, ICAO: UENS) is an airport, and possible former air base, serving and located 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) north of Suntar, Suntarsky District, in the Sakha Republic of Russia. It is a fairly extensive airfield. The large 300 metres (980 ft) long tarmac area suggests that it was used for deployments of attack or bomber aircraft into the Arctic regions.
There is also a Suntar Khayata mountain range on the Kolyma Highway.Teply Klyuch Airport
Teply Klyuch Airport (Russian: Аэропорт Теплый Ключ) (IATA: KDY, ICAO: UEMH) is an airport serving the urban locality of Khandyga, Tomponsky District, in the Sakha Republic of Russia.Ust-Maya Airport
Ust-Maya Airport (Russian: Аэропорт Усть-Мая) (IATA: UMS, ICAO: UEMU) is an airport serving the urban locality of Ust-Maya, Ust-Maysky District, in the Sakha Republic of Russia.Ust-Nera Airport
Ust-Nera Airport (IATA: USR, ICAO: UEMT) is an airport serving the urban locality of Ust-Nera, Oymyakonsky District, in the Sakha Republic of Russia.Verkhnevilyuysk Airport
Verkhnevilyuysk Airport (Russian: Аэропорт Верхневилюйск) (IATA: VHV, ICAO: UENI) is an airport serving the urban locality of Verkhnevilyuysk, Verkhnevilyuysky District, in the Sakha Republic of Russia.Vilyuysk Airport
Vilyuisk Airport (Russian: Аэропорт Вилюйск) (IATA: VYI, ICAO: UENW) is an airport serving, and located 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) east of, the urban locality of Vilyuysk, Vilyuysky District, in the Sakha Republic of Russia. It accommodates small transport aircraft.Yakutsk
Yakutsk (Russian: Якутск, IPA: [jɪˈkutsk]; Yakut: Дьокуускай, Dokuuskay, pronounced [ɟokuːskaj]) is the capital city of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located about 450 kilometers (280 mi) south of the Arctic Circle.
Yakutsk, with an average temperature of −8.8 °C (16.2 °F), is the second coldest city with more than 100,000 inhabitants in the world after Norilsk, although Yakutsk experiences colder temperatures in the winter. Yakutsk is also the largest city located in continuous permafrost and one of the largest that cannot be reached by road. Yakutsk is a major port on the Lena River. It is served by the Yakutsk Airport as well as the smaller Magan Airport.Zyryanka Airport
Zyryanka Airport (IATA: ZKP, ICAO: UESU) is the main airport serving the locality of Zyryanka, Verkhnekolymsky District in the Sakha Republic of Russia. When it cannot be used, the Zyryanka West Airport complements it.
Google Earth Images of June, 2017 show the runway covered by floodwaters, possibly destroyed.Zyryanka West Airport
Zyryanka West Airport is an airport in Russia, located 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) west of Zyryanka, Verkhnekolymsky District in the Sakha Republic of Russia. It was built during World War II for the Alaska-Siberian (ALSIB) air route used to ferry American Lend-Lease aircraft to the Eastern Front.
It is now barely used, when main Zyryanka Airport cannot be used.
Administrative divisions of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic
|Cities and towns|