Siberia

Coordinates: 60°0′N 105°0′E / 60.000°N 105.000°E

Siberia

Russian: Сибирь (Sibirj)
       Siberian Federal District        Geographic Russian Siberia        North Asia
       Siberian Federal District

       Geographic Russian Siberia

       North Asia
CountryRussia, Kazakhstan
RegionNorth Asia, Eurasia
PartsWest Siberian Plain
Central Siberian Plateau
others...
Area
 • Total13,100,000 km2 (5,100,000 sq mi)
Population
(2017)
 • Total36,000,000
 • Density2.7/km2 (7.1/sq mi)

Siberia (/saɪˈbɪəriə/; Russian: Сиби́рь, tr. Sibírj;, IPA: [sʲɪˈbʲirʲ] (listen)) is an extensive geographical region spanning much of Eurasia and North Asia. Siberia has historically been a part of modern Russia since the 17th century.

The territory of Siberia extends eastwards from the Ural Mountains to the watershed between the Pacific and Arctic drainage basins. The Yenisei River conditionally divides Siberia into two parts, Western and Eastern. Siberia stretches southwards from the Arctic Ocean to the hills of north-central Kazakhstan and to the national borders of Mongolia and China.[1] With an area of 13.1 million square kilometres (5,100,000 sq mi), Siberia accounts for 77% of Russia's land area, but it is home to approximately 36 million people—27% of the country's population. This is equivalent to an average population density of about 3 inhabitants per square kilometre (7.8/sq mi) (approximately equal to that of Australia), making Siberia one of the most sparsely populated regions on Earth. If it were a country by itself, it would still be the largest country in area, but in population it would be the world's 35th-largest and Asia's 14th-largest.

Worldwide, Siberia is well known primarily for its long, harsh winters, with a January average of −25 °C (−13 °F),[2] as well as its extensive history of use by Russian and Soviet administrations as a place for prisons, labor camps, and exile.

Etymology

The origin of the name is unknown. Some sources say that "Siberia" originates from the Siberian Tatar word for "sleeping land" (Sib Ir).[3] Another account sees the name as the ancient tribal ethnonym of the Sirtya (also "Syopyr" (sʲɵpᵻr)), an ethnic group which spoke a Paleosiberian language. The Sirtya people were later assimilated into the Siberian Tatars.

The modern usage of the name was recorded in the Russian language after the Empire's conquest of the Siberian Khanate. A further variant claims that the region was named after the Xibe people.[4] The Polish historian Chyliczkowski has proposed that the name derives from the proto-Slavic word for "north" (север, sever),[5] but Anatole Baikaloff has dismissed this explanation. He said that the neighbouring Chinese, Turks, and Mongolians, who have similar names for the region, would not have known Russian. He suggests that the name might be a combination of two words with Turkic origin, "su" (water) and "bir" (wild land).[6]

Prehistory

The region has paleontological significance, as it contains bodies of prehistoric animals from the Pleistocene Epoch, preserved in ice or in permafrost. Specimens of Goldfuss cave lion cubs, Yuka (mammoth) and another woolly mammoth from Oymyakon, a woolly rhinoceros from the Kolyma River, and bison and horses from Yukagir have been found.[7]

The Siberian Traps were formed by one of the largest-known volcanic events of the last 500 million years of Earth's geological history. Their activity continued for a million years and some scientists consider it a possible cause of the "Great Dying" about 250 million years ago,[8] – estimated to have killed 90% of species existing at the time.[9]

At least three species of human lived in Southern Siberia around 40,000 years ago: H. sapiens, H. neanderthalensis, and the Denisovans.[10] In 2010 DNA evidence identified the last as a separate species.

History

Choris, Tschuktschen
Chukchi, one of many indigenous peoples of Siberia. Representation of a Chukchi family by Louis Choris (1816)

Siberia was inhabited by different groups of nomads such as the Enets, the Nenets, the Huns, the Scythians and the Uyghurs. The Khan of Sibir in the vicinity of modern Tobolsk was known as a prominent figure who endorsed Kubrat as Khagan of Old Great Bulgaria in 630. The Mongols conquered a large part of this area early in the 13th century.

Map Siberian route
The map of the Siberian Route in the 18th century (green) and the early 19th century (red).

With the breakup of the Golden Horde, the autonomous Khanate of Sibir was established in the late 15th century. Turkic-speaking Yakut migrated north from the Lake Baikal region under pressure from the Mongol tribes during the 13th to 15th century.[11] Siberia remained a sparsely populated area. Historian John F. Richards wrote: "... it is doubtful that the total early modern Siberian population exceeded 300,000 persons."[12]

The growing power of Russia in the West began to undermine the Siberian Khanate in the 16th century. First, groups of traders and Cossacks began to enter the area. The Russian Army was directed to establish forts farther and farther east to protect new settlers from European Russia. Towns such as Mangazeya, Tara, Yeniseysk and Tobolsk were developed, the last being declared the capital of Siberia. At this time, Sibir was the name of a fortress at Qashlik, near Tobolsk. Gerardus Mercator, in a map published in 1595, marks Sibier both as the name of a settlement and of the surrounding territory along a left tributary of the Ob.[13] Other sources contend that the Xibe, an indigenous Tungusic people, offered fierce resistance to Russian expansion beyond the Urals. Some suggest that the term "Siberia" is a Russification of their ethnonym.

By the mid-17th century, Russia had established areas of control that extended to the Pacific. Some 230,000 Russians had settled in Siberia by 1709.[14] Siberia was a destination for sending exiles.[15]

The first great modern change in Siberia was the Trans-Siberian Railway, constructed during 1891–1916. It linked Siberia more closely to the rapidly industrialising Russia of Nicholas II. Around seven million people moved to Siberia from European Russia between 1801 and 1914.[16] From 1859 to 1917, more than half a million people migrated to the Russian Far East.[17] Siberia has extensive natural resources. During the 20th century, large-scale exploitation of these was developed, and industrial towns cropped up throughout the region.[18]

Novosibirsk-Karimov
Siberian Cossack family in Novosibirsk

At 7:15 a.m. on 30 June 1908, millions of trees were felled near the Podkamennaya Tunguska (Stony Tunguska) River in central Siberia in the Tunguska Event. Most scientists believe this resulted from the air burst of a meteor or a comet. Even though no crater has ever been found, the landscape in the (sparsely inhabited) area still bears the scars of this event.[19]

In the early decades of the Soviet Union (especially the 1930s and 1940s), the government established the Gulag state agency to administer a system of penal labour camps, replacing the previous katorga system.[20] According to semi-official Soviet estimates, which were not made public until after the fall of the Soviet government, from 1929 to 1953 more than 14 million people passed through these camps and prisons, many of which were in Siberia. Another seven to eight million people were internally deported to remote areas of the Soviet Union (including entire nationalities or ethnicities in several cases).[21]

Half a million (516,841) prisoners died in camps from 1941 to 1943[22] due to food shortages caused by World War II. At other periods, mortality was comparatively lower.[23] The size, scope, and scale of the Gulag slave labour camps remains a subject of much research and debate. Many Gulag camps were positioned in extremely remote areas of northeastern Siberia. The best known clusters are Sevvostlag (The North-East Camps) along the Kolyma River and Norillag near Norilsk, where 69,000 prisoners were kept in 1952.[24] Major industrial cities of Northern Siberia, such as Norilsk and Magadan, developed from camps built by prisoners and run by former prisoners.[25]

Geography

Physical map of Northern Asia.
Altai Kutscherla-See
Altai, Lake Kutsherla in the Altai Mountains
26 swiatoinos
The peninsula of Svyatoy Nos, Lake Baikal
Siberian autumn in taiga.
Siberian taiga

With an area of 13.1 million square kilometres (5,100,000 sq mi), Siberia makes up roughly 77% of Russia's total territory and almost 10% of Earth's land surface (148,940,000 km2, 57,510,000 sq mi). While Siberia falls entirely within Asia, many authorities such as the UN geoscheme will not subdivide countries and will place all of Russia as part of Europe and/or Eastern Europe. Major geographical zones include the West Siberian Plain and the Central Siberian Plateau.

Eastern and central Sakha comprises numerous north-south mountain ranges of various ages. These mountains extend up to almost 3,000 metres (9,800 ft), but above a few hundred metres they are almost completely devoid of vegetation. The Verkhoyansk Range was extensively glaciated in the Pleistocene, but the climate was too dry for glaciation to extend to low elevations. At these low elevations are numerous valleys, many of them deep and covered with larch forest, except in the extreme north where the tundra dominates. Soils are mainly turbels (a type of gelisol). The active layer tends to be less than one metre deep, except near rivers.

The highest point in Siberia is the active volcano Klyuchevskaya Sopka, on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Its peak is at 4,750 metres (15,580 ft).

Mountain ranges

Lakes and rivers

Grasslands

Geology

The West Siberian Plain consists mostly of Cenozoic alluvial deposits and is somewhat flat. Many deposits on this plain result from ice dams which produced a large glacial lake. This mid- to late-Pleistocene lake blocked the northward flow of the Ob and Yenisei rivers, resulting in a redirection southwest into the Caspian and Aral seas via the Turgai Valley.[27] The area is very swampy, and soils are mostly peaty histosols and, in the treeless northern part, histels. In the south of the plain, where permafrost is largely absent, rich grasslands that are an extension of the Kazakh Steppe formed the original vegetation, most of which is no longer visible.

The Central Siberian Plateau is an ancient craton (sometimes named Angaraland) that formed an independent continent before the Permian (see the Siberian continent). It is exceptionally rich in minerals, containing large deposits of gold, diamonds, and ores of manganese, lead, zinc, nickel, cobalt and molybdenum. Much of the area includes the Siberian Traps—a large igneous province. This massive eruptive period was approximately coincident with the Permian–Triassic extinction event. The volcanic event is said to be the largest known volcanic eruption in Earth's history. Only the extreme northwest was glaciated during the Quaternary, but almost all is under exceptionally deep permafrost, and the only tree that can thrive, despite the warm summers, is the deciduous Siberian Larch (Larix sibirica) with its very shallow roots. Outside the extreme northwest, the taiga is dominant, covering a significant fraction of the entirety of Siberia.[28] Soils here are mainly turbels, giving way to spodosols where the active layer becomes thicker and the ice content lower.

Осенний лес в горах Восточных Саян, Бурятия, Россия
Autumn forest in the eastern Sayan Mountains, Buryatia

The Lena-Tunguska petroleum province includes the Central Siberian platform (some authors refer to it as the Eastern Siberian platform), bounded on the northeast and east by the Late Carboniferous through Jurassic Verkhoyansk foldbelt, on the northwest by the Paleozoic Taymr foldbelt, and on the southeast, south and southwest by the Middle Silurian to Middle Devonian Baykalian foldbelt.[29]:228 A regional geologic reconnaissance study begun in 1932, followed by surface and subsurface mapping, revealed the Markova-Angara Arch (anticline). This led to the discovery of the Markovo Oil Field in 1962 with the Markovo 1 well, which produced from the Early Cambrian Osa Horizon bar-sandstone at a depth of 2,156 metres (7,073 ft).[29]:243 The Sredne-Botuobin Gas Field was discovered in 1970, producing from the Osa and the Proterozoic Parfenovo Horizon.[29]:244 The Yaraktin Oil Field was discovered in 1971, producing from the Vendian Yaraktin Horizon at depths of up to 1,750 metres (5,740 ft), which lies below Permian to Lower Jurassic basalt traps.[29]:244

Climate

Russia vegetation

     polar desert      tundra      alpine tundra      taiga      montane forest
     temperate broadleaf forest      temperate steppe      dry steppe

Vegetation in Siberia is mostly taiga, with a tundra belt on the northern fringe, and a temperate forest zone in the south.

The climate of Siberia varies dramatically, but it typically has short summers and long, brutally cold winters. On the north coast, north of the Arctic Circle, there is a very short (about one-month-long) summer.

Almost all the population lives in the south, along the Trans-Siberian Railway. The climate in this southernmost part is Humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with cold winters but fairly warm summers lasting at least four months. The annual average is about 0.5 °C (32.9 °F). January averages about −20 °C (−4 °F) and July about +19 °C (66 °F) while daytime temperatures in summer typically are above 20 °C (68 °F).[30][31] With a reliable growing season, an abundance of sunshine and exceedingly fertile chernozem soils, southern Siberia is good enough for profitable agriculture, as was proven in the early 20th century.

By far the most commonly occurring climate in Siberia is continental subarctic (Koppen Dfc or Dwc), with the annual average temperature about −5 °C (23 °F) and an average for January of −25 °C (−13 °F) and an average for July of +17 °C (63 °F),[32] although this varies considerably, with a July average about 10 °C (50 °F) in the taiga–tundra ecotone. The Business oriented website and blog Business Insider lists Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon, in Siberia's Sakha Republic, as being in competition for the title of the Northern Hemisphere's Pole of Cold. Oymyakon is a village which recorded a temperature of −67.7 °C (−89.9 °F) on 6 February 1933. Verkhoyansk, a town further north and further inland, recorded a temperature of −69.8 °C (−93.6 °F) for three consecutive nights: 5, 6 and 7 February 1933. Each town is alternately considered the Northern Hemisphere's Pole of Cold, meaning the coldest inhabited point in the Northern hemisphere. Each town also frequently reaches 86 °F (30 °C) in the summer, giving them, and much of the rest of Russian Siberia, the world's greatest temperature variation between summer's highs and winter's lows, often being well over 170–180+ °F (94–100+ °C) between the seasons.[33] The rural locality of Delyankir, also in the Sakha Republic, is another candidate for the "Northern Pole of Cold", as its average temperature throughout all winter months is lower than that of either Oymyakon or Verkhoyansk, and it also has a lower yearly average temperature.[34] Its record low of −65 °C (−85 °F) is slightly higher than the record lows set at Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk, however.

Southwesterly winds bring warm air from Central Asia and the Middle East. The climate in West Siberia (Omsk, Novosibirsk) is several degrees warmer than in the East (Irkutsk, Chita) where in the north an extreme winter subarctic climate (Köppen Dfd or Dwd) prevails. But summer temperatures in other regions can reach +38 °C (100 °F). In general, Sakha is the coldest Siberian region, and the basin of the Yana River has the lowest temperatures of all, with permafrost reaching 1,493 metres (4,898 ft). Nevertheless, as far as Imperial Russian plans of settlement were concerned, cold was never viewed as an impediment. In the winter, southern Siberia sits near the center of the semi-permanent Siberian High, so winds are usually light in the winter.

Precipitation in Siberia is generally low, exceeding 500 millimetres (20 in) only in Kamchatka where moist winds flow from the Sea of Okhotsk onto high mountains – producing the region's only major glaciers, though volcanic eruptions and low summer temperatures allow limited forests to grow. Precipitation is high also in most of Primorye in the extreme south where monsoonal influences can produce quite heavy summer rainfall.

Researchers, including Sergei Kirpotin at Tomsk State University and Judith Marquand at Oxford University, warn that Western Siberia has begun to thaw as a result of global warming. The frozen peat bogs in this region may hold billions of tons of methane gas, which may be released into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas 22 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.[36] In 2008, a research expedition for the American Geophysical Union detected levels of methane up to 100 times above normal in the atmosphere above the Siberian Arctic, likely the result of methane clathrates being released through holes in a frozen 'lid' of seabed permafrost, around the outfall of the Lena River and the area between the Laptev Sea and East Siberian Sea.[37][38]

Fauna

Panthera tigris altaica 13 - Buffalo Zoo
A Siberian tigress and cub.

Order Artiodactyla

Order Carnivora

Family Felidae

Family Ursidae

Flora

Borders and administrative division

Siberian Cities Map
Map of the most populated area of Siberia with clickable city names (SVG)

The term "Siberia" has a long history. Its meaning has gradually changed during ages. Historically, Siberia was defined as the whole part of Russia to the east of Ural Mountains, including the Russian Far East. According to this definition, Siberia extended eastward from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific coast, and southward from the Arctic Ocean to the border of Russian Central Asia and the national borders of both Mongolia and China.[47]

Soviet-era sources (Great Soviet Encyclopedia and others)[48] and modern Russian ones[49] usually define Siberia as a region extending eastward from the Ural Mountains to the watershed between Pacific and Arctic drainage basins, and southward from the Arctic Ocean to the hills of north-central Kazakhstan and the national borders of both Mongolia and China. By this definition, Siberia includes the federal subjects of the Siberian Federal District, and some of the Ural Federal District, as well as Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, which is a part of the Far Eastern Federal District. Geographically, this definition includes subdivisions of several other subjects of Urals and Far Eastern federal districts, but they are not included administratively. This definition excludes Sverdlovsk Oblast and Chelyabinsk Oblast, both of which are included in some wider definitions of Siberia.

Other sources may use either a somewhat wider definition that states the Pacific coast, not the watershed, is the eastern boundary (thus including the whole Russian Far East)[50] or a somewhat narrower one that limits Siberia to the Siberian Federal District (thus excluding all subjects of other districts).[51] In Russian, the word for Siberia is used as a substitute for the name of the federal district by those who live in the district itself and less commonly used to denote the federal district by people residing outside of it.

Оперный театр4
Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia
Federal subjects of Siberia (GSE)
Subject Administrative center
Ural Federal District
Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug Khanty-Mansiysk
Kurgan Oblast Kurgan
Tyumen Oblast Tyumen
Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug Salekhard
Siberian Federal District
Altai Krai Barnaul
Altai Republic Gorno-Altaysk
Irkutsk Oblast Irkutsk
Republic of Khakassia Abakan
Kemerovo Oblast Kemerovo
Krasnoyarsk Krai Krasnoyarsk
Novosibirsk Oblast Novosibirsk
Omsk Oblast Omsk
Tomsk Oblast Tomsk
Tuva Republic Kyzyl
Far Eastern Federal District
Buryat Republic Ulan-Ude
Sakha (Yakutia) Republic Yakutsk
Zabaykalsky Krai Chita
Хабаровск, летом на набережной Амура
Amur waterfront in Khabarovsk
VladivostokGoldenHorn
Vladivostok, Primorsky Krai
Якутск. Вид на центральную часть города (2)
Yakutsk is the capital of the Sakha Republic
Federal subjects of Siberia (in wide sense)
Subject Administrative center
Far Eastern Federal District
Amur Oblast Blagoveshchensk
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug Anadyr
Jewish Autonomous Oblast Birobidzhan
Kamchatka Krai Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Khabarovsk Krai Khabarovsk
Magadan Oblast Magadan
Primorsky Krai Vladivostok
Sakhalin Oblast Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Ural Federal District
Chelyabinsk Oblast Chelyabinsk
Sverdlovsk Oblast Yekaterinburg

Major cities

The most populous city of Siberia, as well as the third most populous city of Russia, is the city of Novosibirsk. Other major cities include:

Wider definitions of Siberia also include:

Economy

RF NG pipestoEU
Russia is a key oil and gas supplier to much of Europe.

Siberia is extraordinarily rich in minerals, containing ores of almost all economically valuable metals. It has some of the world's largest deposits of nickel, gold, lead, coal, molybdenum, gypsum, diamonds, diopside, silver and zinc, as well as extensive unexploited resources of oil and natural gas.[53] Around 70% of Russia's developed oil fields are in the Khanty-Mansiysk region.[54] Russia contains about 40% of the world's known resources of nickel at the Norilsk deposit in Siberia. Norilsk Nickel is the world's biggest nickel and palladium producer.[55]

Siberian agriculture is severely restricted by the short growing season of most of the region. However, in the southwest where soils are exceedingly fertile black earths and the climate is a little more moderate, there is extensive cropping of wheat, barley, rye and potatoes, along with the grazing of large numbers of sheep and cattle. Elsewhere food production, owing to the poor fertility of the podzolic soils and the extremely short growing seasons, is restricted to the herding of reindeer in the tundra—which has been practiced by natives for over 10,000 years. Siberia has the world's largest forests. Timber remains an important source of revenue, even though many forests in the east have been logged much more rapidly than they are able to recover. The Sea of Okhotsk is one of the two or three richest fisheries in the world owing to its cold currents and very large tidal ranges, and thus Siberia produces over 10% of the world's annual fish catch, although fishing has declined somewhat since the collapse of the USSR.[56]

While the development of renewable energy in Russia is held back by the lack of a conducive government policy framework,[57] Siberia still offers special opportunities for off-grid renewable energy developments. Remote parts of Siberia are too costly to connect to central electricity and gas grids, and have therefore historically been supplied with costly diesel, sometimes flown in by helicopter. In such cases renewable energy is often cheaper.[58]

Sport

Sibselmash Stadium 1
Bandy at Sibselmash Stadium in Novosibirsk, Siberia's biggest city and the third biggest one in Russia
Открытие XXIX Всемирной зимней универсиады в Красноярске 05
Opening Ceremony of the 2019 Winter Universiade

Professional football teams include FC Tom Tomsk, FC Sibir Novosibirsk and FK Yenisey Krasnoyarsk.

The Yenisey Krasnoyarsk basketball team has played in the VTB United League since 2011–12.

Russia's third most popular sport, bandy,[59] is important in Siberia. In the 2015–16 Russian Bandy Super League season Yenisey from Krasnoyarsk became champions for the third year in a row by beating Baykal-Energiya from Irkutsk in the final.[60][61] Two or three more teams (depending on the definition of Siberia) play in the Super League, the 2016–17 champions SKA-Neftyanik from Khabarovsk as well as Kuzbass from Kemerovo and Sibselmash from Novosibirsk. In 2007 Kemerovo got Russia's first indoor arena specifically built for bandy.[62] Now Khabarovsk has the world's largest indoor arena specifically built for bandy, Arena Yerofey.[63] It was venue for Division A of the 2018 World Championship.

The 2019 Winter Universiade is currently being hosted by Krasnoyarsk.

Demographics

Street Scene in Tomsk - Russia
Tomsk, one of the oldest Siberian cities, was founded in 1604.

According to the Russian Census of 2010, the Siberian and Far Eastern Federal Districts, located entirely east of the Ural Mountains, together have a population of about 25.6 million. Tyumen and Kurgan Oblasts, which are geographically in Siberia but administratively part of the Urals Federal District, together have a population of about 4.3 million. Thus, the whole region of Asian Russia (or Siberia in the broadest usage of the term) is home to approximately 30 million people.[64] It has a population density of about three people per square kilometre.

All Siberians are Russian citizens, and of these Russian citizens of Siberia, most are Slavic-origin Russians and russified Ukrainians.[65] The remaining Russian citizens of Siberia consists of other groups of non-indigenous ethnic origins and those of indigenous Siberian origin.

Among the largest non-Slavic group of Russian citizens of Siberia are the approximately 400,000 ethnic Volga Germans,[66] Russified Romanians with ancestral origins from Bessarabia (present-day Moldova) also live in Siberia. The original indigenous groups of Siberia, including Mongol and Turkic groups such as Buryats, Tuvinians, Yakuts, and Siberian Tatars still mostly reside in Siberia, though they are minorities outnumbered by all other non-indigenous Siberians. Indeed, Slavic-origin Russians by themselves outnumber all of the indigenous peoples combined, both in Siberia as a whole and its cities, except in the Republic of Tuva.

Slavic-origin Russians make up the majority in the Buryat, Sakha, and Altai Republics, outnumbering the indigenous Buryats, Sakha, and Altai. The Buryat make up only 25% of their own republic, and the Sakha and Altai each are only one-third, and the Chukchi, Evenk, Khanti, Mansi, and Nenets are outnumbered by non-indigenous peoples by 90% of the population.[67]

According to the 2002 census there are 500,000 Tatars in Siberia, but of these, 300,000 are Volga Tatars who also settled in Siberia during periods of colonization and are thus also non-indigenous Siberians, in contrast to the 200,000 Siberian Tatars which are indigenous to Siberia.[68]

Of the indigenous Siberians, the Buryats, numbering approximately 500,000, are the most numerous group in Siberia, and they are mainly concentrated in their homeland, the Buryat Republic.[69] According to the 2002 census there were 443,852 indigenous Yakuts.[70] Other ethnic groups indigenous to Siberia include Kets, Evenks, Chukchis, Koryaks, Yupiks, and Yukaghirs.

About seventy percent of Siberia's people live in cities, mainly in apartments. Many people also live in rural areas, in simple, spacious, log houses. Novosibirsk is the largest city in Siberia, with a population of about 1.5 million. Tobolsk, Tomsk, Tyumen, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, and Omsk are the older, historical centers.

Religion

There are a variety of beliefs throughout Siberia, including Orthodox Christianity, other denominations of Christianity, Tibetan Buddhism and Islam.[71] The Siberian Federal District alone has an estimation of 250,000 Muslims. An estimated 70,000 Jews live in Siberia,[72] some in the Jewish Autonomous Region.[73] The predominant religious group is the Russian Orthodox Church.

Tradition regards Siberia the archetypal home of shamanism, and polytheism is popular.[74] These native sacred practices are considered by the tribes to be very ancient. There are records of Siberian tribal healing practices dating back to the 13th century.[75] The vast territory of Siberia has many different local traditions of gods. These include: Ak Ana, Anapel, Bugady Musun, Kara Khan, Khaltesh-Anki, Kini'je, Ku'urkil, Nga, Nu'tenut, Numi-Torem, Numi-Turum, Pon, Pugu, Todote, Toko'yoto, Tomam, Xaya Iccita, Zonget. Places with sacred areas include Olkhon, an island in Lake Baikal.

Transport

Many cities in northern Siberia, such as Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, cannot be reached by road, as there are virtually none connecting from other major cities in Russia or Asia. The best way to tour Siberia is through the Trans-Siberian Railway. The Trans-Siberian Railway operates from Moscow in the west to Vladivostok in the east. Cities that are located far from the railway are best reached by air or by the separate Baikal-Amur-Railway (BAM).

Culture

Cuisine

Stroganina is a raw fish dish of the indigenous people of northern Arctic Siberia made from raw, thin, long-sliced frozen fish.[76] It is a popular dish with native Siberians.[77]

See also

References

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  3. ^ Euan Ferguson (2007-05-19). "Trans-Siberian for softies". the Guardian. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  4. ^ Crossley, Pamela Kyle (2002). The Manchus. Peoples of Asia. 14 (3rd ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-631-23591-0. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
  5. ^ Czaplicka, M.C. (1915). Aboriginal Siberia.
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  8. ^ "Yellowstone's Super Sister". Archived from the original on 14 March 2005. Retrieved 17 April 2010. [...] the Siberian Traps is the prime suspect in wiping out 90 percent of all living species 251 million years ago – the most severe extinction event in Earth's history.. Discovery Channel.
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  10. ^ " DNA identifies new ancient human dubbed 'X-woman'," BBC News. 25 March 2010.
  11. ^ Pakendorf, B.; Novgorodov, I. N.; Osakovskij, V. L.; Danilova, A. B. P.; Protod'Jakonov, A. P.; Stoneking, M. (2006). "Investigating the effects of prehistoric migrations in Siberia: Genetic variation and the origins of Yakuts". Human Genetics. 120 (3): 334–353. doi:10.1007/s00439-006-0213-2. PMID 16845541. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
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Bibliography

Far North (Russia)

The Extreme North or Far North (Russian: Крайний Север, Дальний Север) is a large part of Russia located mainly north of the Arctic Circle and boasting enormous mineral and natural resources. Its total area is about 5,500,000 square kilometres (2,100,000 sq mi), comprising about one-third of Russia's total area. Formally, the regions of the Extreme North comprise the whole of Yakutia, Magadan Oblast, Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Kamchatka Krai and Murmansk Oblast, as well as certain parts and cities of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Komi Republic, Tyumen Oblast, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, Sakhalin Oblast, Khabarovsk Krai, as well as all islands of the Arctic Ocean, its seas, the Bering Sea, and the Sea of Okhotsk.

Due to the harsh conditions of the area, people who work there have traditionally been entitled by the Russian government to higher wages than workers of other regions. As a result of the climate and environment, the indigenous peoples of the area have developed certain genetic differences that allow them to better cope with the region's environment, as do their cultures.

History of Siberia

The early history of Siberia was greatly influenced by the sophisticated nomadic civilizations of the Scythians (Pazyryk) on the west of the Ural Mountains and Xiongnu (Noin-Ula) on the east of the Urals, both flourishing before the Christian era. The steppes of Siberia were occupied by a succession of nomadic peoples, including the Khitan people, various Turkic peoples, and the Mongol Empire. In the late Middle Ages, Tibetan Buddhism spread into the areas south of Lake Baikal.

During the Russian Empire, Siberia was chiefly developed as an agricultural province. The government also used it as a place of exile, sending Avvakum, Dostoevsky, and the Decemberists, among others, to work camps in the region. During the 19th century, the Trans-Siberian Railway was constructed, supporting industrialization. This was also aided by the discovery and exploitation of vast reserves of Siberian mineral resources.

Indigenous peoples of Siberia

Including the Russian Far East, the population of Siberia numbers just above 40 million people.

As a result of the 17th to 19th century Russian conquest of Siberia and the subsequent population movements during the Soviet era, the demographics of Siberia today is dominated by native speakers of Russian. There remain a considerable number of indigenous groups, between them accounting for below 10% of total Siberian population (About 4,500,000), which are also genetically related to indigenous peoples of the Americas.

Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal (; Russian: о́зеро Байка́л, tr. Ozero Baykal, IPA: [ˈozʲɪrə bɐjˈkaɫ]; Buryat: Байгал нуур, Baigal nuur; Mongolian: Байгал нуур, Baigal nuur, etymologically meaning, in Mongolian, "the Nature Lake") is a rift lake in Russia, located in southern Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast.

Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake by volume in the world, containing 22–23% of the world's fresh surface water. With 23,615.39 km3 (5,670 cu mi) of fresh water, it contains more water than the North American Great Lakes combined. With a maximum depth of 1,642 m (5,387 ft), Baikal is the world's deepest lake. It is considered among the world's clearest lakes and is considered the world's oldest lake – at 25–30 million years. It is the seventh-largest lake in the world by surface area.

Like Lake Tanganyika, Lake Baikal was formed as an ancient rift valley, having the typical long, crescent shape with a surface area of 31,722 km2 (12,248 sq mi). Baikal is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, many of which exist nowhere else in the world. The lake was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. It is also home to Buryat tribes who reside on the eastern side of Lake Baikal, raising goats, camels, cattle, sheep, and horses, where the mean temperature varies from a winter minimum of −19 °C (−2 °F) to a summer maximum of 14 °C (57 °F).The region to the east of Lake Baikal is referred to as Transbaikalia, and the loosely defined region around the lake is sometimes known as simply Baikalia.

List of cities and towns in Russia by population

This is a list of cities and towns in Russia with a population of over 50,000 as of the 2010 Census. These numbers are the population within the limits of the city/town proper, not the urban area or metropolitan area figures.

The list excludes the city of Sevastopol and locations within the Republic of Crimea, since those were not subject to the 2010 Census as constituent parts of Ukraine. The city of Zelenograd (a part of the federal city of Moscow) and the municipal cities/towns of the federal city of St. Petersburg are also excluded, as they are not enumerated in the 2010 Census as stand-alone localities.

North Asia

North Asia or Northern Asia (Russian: Северная Азия, lit. 'Severnaya Aziya'), sometimes also referred to as Siberia or Eurasia, is partly a subregion of Asia, consisting of the Russian regions east of the Ural Mountains: Siberia, Ural and the Russian Far East. The region is sometimes also known as Asian Russia (as opposed to the smaller but more densely populated European Russia to the west). North Asia is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the west by Eastern Europe, to the south by Central and East Asia and to the east by the Pacific Ocean and North America. North Asia covers an area of approximately 13,100,000 square kilometres (5,100,000 sq mi) or 8.8% of the earth's land area, or 1.5 times the size of Brazil. It is the largest subregion of Asia by area, but is also the least populated, with an approximate total population of only 33 million people or 0.74% of Asia’s population. North Asia is solely administrated by Russia, and makes up more than 75% of the territory of the country, but only 22% of its population, at a density of 2.5 people per km2 (6.5 per sq mi). The region of Western Siberia and occasionally Kazakhstan is usually called Northwestern Asia or Northwest Asia; (Russian: Северо-Западная Азия, lit. 'Severo-zapadnaya Aziya'), although the name sometimes refers to Caucasus or nearby provinces.

Topographically, the region is dominated by the Eurasian Plate, except for its eastern part, which lies on the North American, Amurian and Okhotsk Plates. It is divided by three major plains: the West Siberian Plain, Central Siberian Plateau and Verhoyansk-Chukotka collision zone. The Uralian orogeny in the west raised Ural Mountains, the informal boundary between Europe and Asia. Tectonic and volcanic activities are frequently occurred in the eastern part of the region as part of the Ring of Fire, evidenced by the formation of island arc such as Kuril Islands and ultra-prominent peaks such as Klyuchevskaya Sopka, Kronotsky and Koryaksky. The central part of North Asia is a large igneous province called the Siberian Traps, formed by a massive eruption occurred 250 million years ago.

European influences, especially Russian, are strong in the southwestern and central part of the region, due to its high Russian population from Eastern Europe which began to settle the area in the 18th-century CE. The southeastern part is historically under the influence of East Asian cultural sphere, especially the Chinese. Indigenous cultures are mostly strong in the eastern and southern part of the region due to concentrated population of indigenous ethnicities. In recent years there are growing number of movements by the indigenous peoples of the region to preserve its culture from extinction. The region is the home of different peoples such as Turkic, Tungusic and Uralic peoples.

Russian Amateur Football League

Russian championship between amateur football clubs (III division) (Russian: Первенство России среди любительских футбольных клубов (III дивизион)) is the fourth overall tier of the Russian football league system. Sometimes it is called Amateur Football League, after the organization that holds the competition (Russian: Любительская Футбольная Лига). The league has amateur-semipro status. At the end of each season ten teams are promoted from the Amateur Football League to the full professional Second Division, located one step above (even though often the winning teams voluntarily choose to stay in the AFL due to higher financial commitments in the Second Division). Bottom-ranked clubs in the first divisions of Moscow, Moscow Oblast, and Siberia may be or are relegated to the second (fifth tier). The league is divided into ten regional divisions.

From 1994 to 1997 a professional fourth-level Russian Third League existed. Its teams moved back to the amateur competition in 1998. For more details, see 1994 Russian Third League, 1995 Russian Third League, 1996 Russian Third League, 1997 Russian Third League.

Current name: Rosgosstrakh Russian Football Championship Division 3 (CFC)

Russian Civil War

The Russian Civil War (Russian: Гражда́нская война́ в Росси́и, tr. Grazhdanskaya voyna v Rossii; 7 November 1917 – 25 October 1922) was a multi-party war in the former Russian Empire immediately after the two Russian Revolutions of 1917, as many factions vied to determine Russia's political future. The two largest combatant groups were the Red Army, fighting for the Bolshevik form of socialism led by Vladimir Lenin, and the loosely allied forces known as the White Army, which included diverse interests favouring political monarchism, economic capitalism and alternative forms of socialism, each with democratic and anti-democratic variants. In addition, rival militant socialists and non-ideological Green armies fought against both the Bolsheviks and the Whites. Eight foreign nations intervened against the Red Army, notably the former Allied military forces from the World War and the pro-German armies. The Red Army eventually defeated the White Armed Forces of South Russia in Ukraine and the army led by Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak to the east in Siberia in 1919. The remains of the White forces commanded by Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel were beaten in Crimea and evacuated in late 1920. Lesser battles of the war continued on the periphery for two more years, and minor skirmishes with the remnants of the White forces in the Far East continued well into 1923. The war ended in 1923 in the sense that Bolshevik communist control of the newly formed Soviet Union was now assured, although armed national resistance in Central Asia was not completely crushed until 1934. There were an estimated 7,000,000–12,000,000 casualties during the war, mostly civilians. The Russian Civil War has been described by some as the greatest national catastrophe that Europe had yet seen.Many pro-independence movements emerged after the break-up of the Russian Empire and fought in the war. Several parts of the former Russian Empire—Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland—were established as sovereign states, with their own civil wars and wars of independence. The rest of the former Russian Empire was consolidated into the Soviet Union shortly afterwards.

Russian Far East

The Russian Far East (Russian: Дальний Восток России, tr. Dal'niy Vostok Rossii, IPA: [ˈdalʲnʲɪj vɐˈstok rɐˈsʲiɪ], literally "The distant East of Russia") comprises the Russian part of the Far East, the eastermost territory of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean.

The Far Eastern Federal District shares land borders with Mongolia, the People's Republic of China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to its south, and shares maritime borders with Japan to its southeast and with the United States to its northeast. Although geographically part of Siberia, the Russian Far East is categorized separately from the Siberian Federal District to its west in Russian geographical schemes.

Russian conquest of Siberia

The Russian conquest of Siberia took place in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the Khanate of Sibir had become a loose political structure of vassalages that were being undermined by the activities of Russian explorers. Although outnumbered, the Russians pressured the various family-based tribes into changing their loyalties and establishing distant forts from which they conducted raids. To counter this, Kuchum Khan attempted to centralize his rule by imposing Islam on his subjects and reforming his tax-collecting apparatus.

S7 Airlines

S7 Airlines, legally PJSC Siberia Airlines (Russian: ПАО «Авиакомпания "Сибирь"» "PАО Aviakompania Sibir"), is an airline headquartered in Ob, Novosibirsk Oblast, Russia, with offices in Moscow. As of 2008, it is Russia's biggest domestic airline, with its main bases at Domodedovo International Airport and Tolmachevo Airport.

Shamanism in Siberia

A large minority of people in North Asia, particularly in Siberia, follow the religio-cultural practices of shamanism. Some researchers regard Siberia as the heartland of shamanism.The people of Siberia comprise a variety of ethnic groups, many of whom continue to observe shamanistic practices in modern times. Many classical ethnographers recorded the sources of the idea of "shamanism" among Siberian peoples.

Siberia Cup

The Siberia Cup was a professional tennis tournament played on indoor hard courts. The event was part of the ATP Challenger Tour and the ITF Women's Circuit. It was classified as a 50K ITF Women's Circuit Tournament. It was held in Tyumen, Russia, from 2011 to 2013.

Siberian Intervention

The Siberian Intervention or Siberian Expedition of 1918–1922 was the dispatch of troops of the Entente powers to the Russian Maritime Provinces as part of a larger effort by the western powers and Japan and China to support White Russian forces against Soviet Russia and its allies during the Russian Civil War. The Imperial Japanese Army continued to occupy Siberia even after other Allied forces withdrew in 1920.

Trans-Siberian Railway

The Trans-Siberian Railway (TSR, Russian: Транссибирская магистраль, tr. Transsibirskaya magistral', IPA: [trənsʲsʲɪˈbʲirskəjə məgʲɪˈstralʲ]) is a network of railways connecting Moscow with the Russian Far East. With a length of 9,289 kilometres (5,772 miles), from Moscow to Vladivostok, it is the longest railway line in the world. There are connecting branch lines into Mongolia, China and North Korea. It has connected Moscow with Vladivostok since 1916, and is still being expanded.

It was built between 1891 and 1916 under the supervision of Russian government ministers personally appointed by Tsar Alexander III and his son, the Tsarevich Nicholas (later Tsar Nicholas II). Even before it had been completed, it attracted travellers who wrote of their adventures.

Transbaikal

Transbaikal, Trans-Baikal, Transbaikalia (Russian: Забайка́лье, tr. Zabaykalye, IPA: [zəbɐjˈkalʲjɪ]), or Dauria (Даурия, Dauriya) is a mountainous region to the east of or "beyond" (trans-) Lake Baikal in Russia.

The steppe and wetland landscapes of Dauria are protected by the Daurian Nature Reserve, which forms part of a World Heritage Site named "The Landscapes of Dauria".

Tunguska event

The Tunguska event was a large explosion that occurred near the Stony Tunguska River in Yeniseysk Governorate (now Krasnoyarsk Krai), Russia, on the morning of 30 June 1908 (NS). The explosion over the sparsely populated Eastern Siberian Taiga flattened 2,000 square kilometres (770 square miles) of forest, yet caused no known human casualties. The explosion is generally attributed to the air burst of a meteor. It is classified as an impact event, even though no impact crater has been found; the object is thought to have disintegrated at an altitude of 5 to 10 kilometres (3 to 6 miles) rather than to have hit the surface of the Earth.The Tunguska event is the largest impact event on Earth in recorded history. Studies have yielded different estimates of the meteoroid's size, on the order of 60 to 190 metres (200 to 620 feet), depending on whether the body was a comet or a denser asteroid.Since the 1908 event, there have been an estimated 1,000 scholarly papers (most in Russian) published on the Tunguska explosion. In 2013, a team of researchers published analysis results of micro-samples from a peat bog near the center of the affected area showing fragments that may be of meteoritic origin.Early estimates of the energy of the air burst range from 10–15 megatons of TNT (42–63 petajoules) to 30 megatons of TNT (130 PJ), depending on the exact height of burst estimated when the scaling-laws from the effects of nuclear weapons are employed. However, modern supercomputer calculations that include the effect of the object's momentum find that more of the energy was focused downward than would be the case from a nuclear explosion and estimate that the airburst had an energy range from 3 to 5 megatons of TNT (13 to 21 PJ).The 15-megaton (Mt) estimate represents an energy about 1,000 times greater than that of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan—roughly equal to that of the United States' Castle Bravo (15.2 Mt) ground-based thermonuclear detonation on 1 March 1954, and about one-third that of the Soviet Union's Tsar Bomba explosion on 30 October 1961 (which, at 50 Mt, is the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated).It is estimated that the Tunguska explosion knocked down some 80 million trees over an area of 2,150 km2 (830 sq mi), and that the shock wave from the blast would have measured 5.0 on the Richter magnitude scale. An explosion of this magnitude would be capable of destroying a large metropolitan area, but, due to the remoteness of the location, no human fatalities were officially documented. Several reports have indicated that two people may have died in the event, but those deaths remain unofficial. The Tunguska event has helped to spark discussion of asteroid impact avoidance.

West Siberian Plain

The West Siberian Plain, also known as Zapadno-sibirskaya Ravnina, (Russian: За́падно-Сиби́рская равни́на) is a large plain that occupies the western portion of Siberia, between the Ural Mountains in the west and the Yenisei River in the east, and by the Altay Mountains on the southeast. Much of the plain is poorly drained and consists of some of the world's largest swamps and floodplains. Important cities include Omsk, Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Chelyabinsk.

Western Siberia

Western Siberia or West Siberia (Russian: Западная Сибирь, translit. Zapadnaja Sibir') is a part of the greater Siberia and mostly located in the Russian Federation. It lays between the region of Ural and the Yenisei River which conditionally divides Siberia into two halves.

The area of Western Siberia is 2.5 million square kilometres. Nearly 80% of Western Siberia is located within the West Siberian Plain. The largest rivers of the region are the Irtysh and the Ob.Since the medieval times, the region was part of Golden Horde. After its dissolution in 15th century, on its territory was formed Khanate of Sibir centered in Tyumen. Since the late 16th century it has been part of bigger Russia after its conquest, while its southern regions became part of the Kazakh Khanate. The modern international borders in the region between Russia and Kazakhstan were formed in late 20th century with dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Climate data for Novosibirsk, Siberia's largest city
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −12.2
(10.0)
−10.3
(13.5)
−2.6
(27.3)
8.1
(46.6)
17.5
(63.5)
24.0
(75.2)
25.7
(78.3)
22.2
(72.0)
16.6
(61.9)
6.8
(44.2)
−2.9
(26.8)
−8.9
(16.0)
7.0
(44.6)
Daily mean °C (°F) −16.2
(2.8)
−14.7
(5.5)
−7.2
(19.0)
3.2
(37.8)
11.6
(52.9)
18.2
(64.8)
20.2
(68.4)
17.0
(62.6)
11.5
(52.7)
3.4
(38.1)
−6
(21)
−12.7
(9.1)
2.4
(36.3)
Average low °C (°F) −20.1
(−4.2)
−19.1
(−2.4)
−11.8
(10.8)
−1.7
(28.9)
5.6
(42.1)
12.3
(54.1)
14.7
(58.5)
11.7
(53.1)
6.4
(43.5)
0.0
(32.0)
−9.1
(15.6)
−16.4
(2.5)
−2.3
(27.9)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 19
(0.7)
14
(0.6)
15
(0.6)
24
(0.9)
36
(1.4)
58
(2.3)
72
(2.8)
66
(2.6)
44
(1.7)
38
(1.5)
32
(1.3)
24
(0.9)
442
(17.4)
Source: [35]
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