3 Republic of Karelia

Republic of Karelia

Republic of Karelia
Республика Карелия (Russian)
—  Republic  —


Coat of arms
Anthem: Anthem of the Republic of Karelia
Coordinates: 63°49′N 33°00′E / 63.817°N 33°E / 63.817; 33Coordinates: 63°49′N 33°00′E / 63.817°N 33°E / 63.817; 33
Political status
Country Russia
Federal district Northwestern[1]
Economic region Northern[2]
Established July 16, 1956[3]
Capital Petrozavodsk
Government (as of August 2010)
 - Head[4] Andrey Nelidov[5]
 - Legislature Legislative Assembly[6]
Area (as of the 2002 Census)[7]
 - Total 172,400 km2 (66,564.0 sq mi)
Area rank 20th
Population (2010 Census)[8]
 - Total 645,205
 - Rank 68th
 - Density 3.74 /km2 (9.7 /sq mi)
 - Urban 78.1%
 - Rural 21.9%
Population (2002 Census)[9]
 - Total 716,281
 - Rank 67th
 - Density 4.15 /km2 (10.7 /sq mi)
 - Urban 75.0%
 - Rural 25.0%
Time zone(s) MSD (UTC+04:00)[10]
ISO 3166-2 RU-KR
License plates 10
Official languages Russian[11]

The Republic of Karelia (Russian: Респу́блика Каре́лия, Respublika Kareliya; Karelian: Karjalan Tazavalda; Finnish: Karjalan tasavalta; Veps: Karjalan Tazovaldkund) is a federal subject of Russia (a republic).



The republic is located in the northwestern part of Russia, taking intervening position between the basins of White and Baltic seas. The White Sea shore line is 630 kilometers (390 mi).


There are about 27,000 rivers in Karelia. Major rivers include:


There are 60,000 lakes in Karelia. Republic's lakes and swamps contain about 2,000 km³ of high-quality fresh water. Lake Ladoga (Finnish: Laatokka) and Lake Onega (Ääninen) are the largest lakes in Europe. Other lakes include:

The Regions of North and South Karelia lie in Finland and the Karelian Republic in Russia. The Karelian Isthmus is now part of Leningrad Oblast.
  • Nyukozero (Nuokkijärvi)
  • Pyaozero (Pääjärvi)
  • Segozero (Seesjärvi)
  • Syamozero (Säämäjärvi)
  • Topozero (Tuoppajärvi)
  • Vygozero (Uikujärvi)

National parks

Natural resources

The most part of the republic's territory (148,000 km², or 85%) is composed of state forest stock. The total growing stock of timber resources in the forests of all categories and ages is 807 million m³. The mature and over mature tree stock amounts to 411.8 million m³, of which 375.2 million m³ is coniferous.

Fifty useful minerals are found in Karelia, located in more than 400 deposits and ore bearing layers. Natural resources of the republic include iron ore, diamonds, vanadium, molybdenum, and others.


The Republic of Karelia is located in the Atlantic continental climate zone. Average temperature in January is -8.0°C, and +16.4°C in July. Average annual precipitation is 500–700 mm.[12]

Administrative divisions


Early 20th-century photo of a bridge across the Shuya River
2010 Census (preliminary results)[8]
  • Population: 645,205
2002 Census[9]
  • Population: 716,281 (2002 Census)
    • Urban: 537.395 (75.0%)
    • Rural: 178,886 (25.0%)
    • Male: 331,505 (46.3%)
    • Female: 384,776 (53.7%)
  • Females per 1000 males: 1,161
  • Average age: 37.1 years
    • Urban: 35.9 years
    • Rural: 40.6 years
    • Male: 33.9 years
    • Female: 39.9 years
  • Number of households: 279,915 (with 701,314 people)
    • Urban: 208,041 (with 525,964 people)
    • Rural: 71,874 (with 175,350 people)
Vital statistics
Source: Russian Federal State Statistics Service
Births Deaths Birth rate Death rate
1970 11,346 5,333 15.9 7.5
1975 12,748 6,086 17.6 8.4
1980 12,275 7,374 16.6 10.0
1985 13,201 8,205 17.1 10.7
1990 10,553 8,072 13.3 10.2
1991 8,982 8,305 11.4 10.5
1992 7,969 9,834 10.1 12.5
1993 7,003 11,817 9.0 15.1
1994 6,800 13,325 8.8 17.2
1995 6,729 12,845 8.8 16.7
1996 6,461 11,192 8.5 14.7
1997 6,230 10,306 8.3 13.7
1998 6,382 10,285 8.5 13.8
1999 6,054 11,612 8.2 15.7
2000 6,374 12,083 8.7 16.5
2001 6,833 12,597 9.4 17.4
2002 7,247 13,435 10.1 18.7
2003 7,290 14,141 10.2 19.9
2004 7,320 13,092 10.4 18.5
2005 6,952 12,649 9.9 18.1
2006 6,938 11,716 10.0 16.8
2007 7,319 11,007 10.6 15.9
2008 7,682 11,134 11.1 16.2
  • Ethnic groups

According to the 2002 Census, ethnic Russians make up 76.6% of the republic's population, while the ethnic Karelians are only 9.2%. Other groups include Belarusians (5.3%), Ukrainians (2.7%), Finns (2.0%), Vepsians (0.7%), and a host of smaller groups, each accounting for less than 0.5% of the total population. 4,886 people (0.7%) did not indicate their nationality during the Census.

census 1926 census 1939 census 1959 census 1970 census 1979 census 1989 census 2002
Russians 153,967 (57.2%) 296,529 (63.2%) 412,773 (62.7%) 486,198 (68.1%) 522,230 (71.3%) 581,571 (73.6%) 548,941 (76.6%)
Karelians 100,781 (37.4%) 108,571 (23.2%) 85,473 (13.0%) 84,180 (11.8%) 81,274 (11.1%) 78,928 (10.0%) 65,651 (9.2%)
Belarusians 555 (0.2%) 4,263 (0.9%) 71,900 (10.9%) 66,410 (9.3%) 59,394 (8.1%) 55,530 (7.0%) 37,681 (5.3%)
Ukrainians 708 (0.3%) 21,112 (4.5%) 23,569 (3.6%) 27,440 (3.8%) 23,765 (3.2%) 28,242 (3.6%) 19,248 (2.7%)
Finns 2,544 (0.9%) 8,322 (1.8%) 27,829 (4.2%) 22,174 (3.1%) 20,099 (2.7%) 18,420 (2.3%) 14,156 (2.0%)
Vepsians 8,587 (3.2%) 9,392 (2.0%) 7,179 (1.1%) 6,323 (0.9%) 5,864 (0.8%) 5,954 (0.8%) 4,870 (0.7%)
Others 2,194 (0.8%) 20,709 (4.4%) 29,869 (4.5%) 20,726 (2.9%) 19,565 (2.7%) 21,505 (2.7%) 25,734 (3.6%)

The Karelian language is close to Finnish, and in recent years, it has been considered by some authorities as a dialect of Finnish. Nevertheless, Eastern Karelian is not completely mutually intelligible with Finnish and could be considered a separate language. Finnish was the second official language of Karelia from the Winter War 1940 up until the 1980s,[13] when perestroika began. Currently Russian is the only official language of the republic, but there is a motion in the republic's government to make Karelian official as well. Finnish has also again been proposed as a second official language for the republic, but the proposal has never been implemented, although Karelian, Veps and Finnish are recognized as "national languages" of the republic.[14]


Karelia's Gross regional product in 2007 was 109.5 billion rubles.[15] This amounts to 151,210 rubles per capita, which is somewhat lower than the national average of 198,817 rubles.[16]


Industrial activity in Karelia is dominated by the forest and wood processing sector. Timber logging is carried out by a large number of small enterprises whereas pulp and paper production is concentrated in five large enterprises, which produce about a quarter of Russia's total output of paper.[17] Three largest companies in the pulp and paper sector in 2001 were: OAO Kondopoga (sales of $209.4 mln in 2001), Segezha Pulp and Paper Mill ($95.7 mln) and OAO Pitkjaranta Pulp Factory ($23.7 mln).[12]

In 2007, extractive industries (including extraction of metal ores) amounted to 30% of the republic's industrial output.[15] There are about 53 mining companies in Karelia, employing more than 10,000 people.[18] One of the most important companies in the sector is OAO Karelian Pellet, which is the 5h largest of Russia's 25 mining and ore dressing enterprises involved in ore extraction and iron ore concentrate production. Other large companies in the sector were OAO Karelnerud, Mosavtorod State Unitary Enterprise and Pitkjaranta Mining Directorate State Unitary Enterprise.[12]

Processing industries contributed 56,4% of the overal production in 2007. The latter figure includes pulp-and-paper (23.6%), metals and metal-working (7.9%), woodworking (7.1%), foodstuffs (5.8%) and machine-building (3.9%). Production and distribution of electicity, natural gas and water made up 13.6% of the region's output.[15]


Karelia has a relatively well developed network of transport infrastructure. Water communications connect Karelia with the Barents, Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas through the system of rivers, lakes and canals. Federal railway (see Murmansk Railway) and automobile highways cross Karelia and connect Murmansk Region and Murmansk sea port with St. Petersburg, Moscow, the center of Russia and with Finland. Regular airline service connects Petrozavodsk with Joensuu and Helsinki in Finland.[19] A fast fibre-optic cable link connecting Finnish Kuhmo and Karelian Kostomuksha was built in 2007, providing fast telecommunications.[15]

Foreign trade

The Republic's main export partners in 2001 were Finland (32% of total exports), Germany (7%), Netherlands (7%) and the United Kingdom (6%).[12] Main export products were lumber (over 50%), iron ore pellets (13-15%) paper and cardboard (6-9%) and sawn timber with (5-7%). Many of Karelia's companies have received investments from Finland.[12]


Historically, Karelia was a region to the northwest of Russia, east of present-day Finland, controlled by the Novgorod Republic. From the 13th century and onwards, various parts were conquered by Sweden, and incorporated into Swedish Karelia until they were lost to Russia by the Treaty of Nystad in 1721.

In 1920, the province became the Karelian Labour Сommune. In 1923, the province became the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Karelian ASSR). From 1940 it was made into the Karelo-Finnish SSR, incorporating the Finnish Democratic Republic which nominally operated in those parts of Finnish Karelia that were occupied by the Soviet Union during the Winter War. Annexed territories were incorporated into Karelo-Finnish SSR, but after the Continuation War the Karelian Isthmus was incorporated into the Leningrad Oblast. Its status was changed back to an ASSR in 1956. During the Continuation War in 1941 Finland occupied large parts of the area but was forced to withdraw in 1944. Though Finland is not currently pursuing any measures to reclaim Karelian lands ceded to Russia, the "Karelian Question" is still a topic present in Finnish politics.

The autonomous Republic of Karelia in its present form was formed on November 13, 1991.


The highest executive authority in the Republic of Karelia is the Head of the Republic. As of 2010, the Head of the Republic is Andrey Vitalyevich Nelidov, who was elected in June 2010.

The parliament of the Republic of Karelia is the Legislative Assembly comprising fifty deputies elected for a four year term.

The Constitution of the Republic of Karelia was adopted on February 12, 2001.


View of the old town of Kem in 1916, photograph by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky

Karelia is sometimes called "the songlands" in the Finnish culture, as Karelian poems constitute most of the Karelo-Finnish epic Kalevala.


The Karelians have been traditionally Russian Orthodox, known in Finland for their small chapels called tsasouna (variant spelling of Russian "часовня" "chasovnya", chapel) associated with villages or graveyards. However, first Catholicism and then Lutheranism was brought to the area by the Finnish immigrants during Sweden's conquest of Karelia and some Lutheran parishes remain in Karelia.

See also



  1. ^ Президент Российской Федерации. Указ №849 от 13 мая 2000 г. «О полномочном представителе Президента Российской Федерации в федеральном округе». Вступил в силу 13 мая 2000 г. Опубликован: "Собрание законодательства РФ", №20, ст. 2112, 15 мая 2000 г. (President of the Russian Federation. Decree #849 of May 13, 2000 On the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in a Federal District. Effective as of May 13, 2000).
  2. ^ Госстандарт Российской Федерации. №ОК 024-95 27 декабря 1995 г. «Общероссийский классификатор экономических регионов. 2. Экономические районы», в ред. Изменения №5/2001 ОКЭР. (Gosstandart of the Russian Federation. #OK 024-95 December 27, 1995 Russian Classification of Economic Regions. 2. Economic Regions, as amended by the Amendment #5/2001 OKER. ).
  3. ^ "Карельский государственный архив новейшей истории. Путеводитель". Приложение "Административно-территориальное устройство Республики Карелия". 2003.
  4. ^ Constitution, Article 46.
  5. ^ Official website of the Republic of Karelia. Andrey Vitalyevich Nelidov
  6. ^ Constitution, Article 32
  7. ^ Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21). "Территория, число районов, населённых пунктов и сельских администраций по субъектам Российской Федерации (Territory, Number of Districts, Inhabited Localities, and Rural Administration by Federal Subjects of the Russian Federation)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002). Federal State Statistics Service. http://perepis2002.ru/ct/html/TOM_01_03.htm. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  8. ^ a b Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2011). "Предварительные итоги Всероссийской переписи населения 2010 года (Preliminary results of the 2010 All-Russian Population Census)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2010). Federal State Statistics Service. http://www.perepis-2010.ru/results_of_the_census/results-inform.php. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  9. ^ a b Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек (Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002). Federal State Statistics Service. http://www.perepis2002.ru/ct/doc/1_TOM_01_04.xls. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  10. ^ Правительство Российской Федерации. Постановление №725 от 31 августа 2011 г. «О составе территорий, образующих каждую часовую зону, и порядке исчисления времени в часовых зонах, а также о признании утратившими силу отдельных Постановлений Правительства Российской Федерации». Вступил в силу по истечении 7 дней после дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Российская Газета", №197, 6 сентября 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Resolution #725 of August 31, 2011 On the Composition of the Territories Included into Each Time Zone and on the Procedures of Timekeeping in the Time Zones, as Well as on Abrogation of Several Resolutions of the Government of the Russian Federation. Effective as of after 7 days following the day of the official publication).
  11. ^ Official the whole territory of Russia according to Article 68.1 of the Constitution of Russia.
  12. ^ a b c d e "Republic of Karelia". Russia: All Regions Trade & Investment Guide. CTEC Publishing LLC. 2003. 
  13. ^ http://www.helsinki-hs.net/news.asp?id=20020129IE17
  14. ^ http://gov.karelia.ru/News/2004/03/0318_08_f.html
  15. ^ a b c d The Republic of Karelia in 2007 Helsinki School of Economics
  16. ^ Валовой региональный продукт на душу населения Федеральная служба государственной статистики
  17. ^ Regional characteristics. Republic of Karelia Helsinki School of Economics
  18. ^ "Mining industry of the republic has summed up its work in the first six months of the year". Republic of Karelia. http://www.gov.karelia.ru/gov/News/2009/07/0727_06_e.html. Retrieved 2009-08-03. 
  19. ^ The Republic of Karelia


External links

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