Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area
// GENERAL INFORMATION
The Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area is located in the central part of Russia in the center of the West Siberian Plain. It borders on the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region in the north, the Komi Republic in the northeast, Sverdlov Region in the southwest, Tobolsky and Uvatsky districts of Tyumen Region in the south, and Tomsk Region and Krasnoyarsk Territory in the southeast and east.
The administrative center of the area is Khanty-Mansiysk, and the total number of municipalities is 22. The population of the area is 1 444 200 people. Total area: 534 800 km2. The area is made up of 9 districts, 16 cities (14 under area jurisdiction and 2 under district jurisdiction), 24 industrial communities, 70 rural administrations, and 173 rural communities.
The area is Russia's main oil and gas region and is one of the world's largest oil-producing regions. It is one of Russia's donor regions and leads in a number of economic indicators, e.g., industrial output and oil production, is in second place in budget revenues from taxation and power generation, and in third place in gas production.
The relief is a combination of plains, foothills, and mountains. The plains are divided into upland plains (elevations of 150-301 m), low-lying plains (100-150 m), and lowlands (less than 100 m). The absolute height on the floodplains of the Ob and Irtysh rivers is 10-50 m. Middle-height relief is characteristic of the Ural part of the area. The mountain region extends for 450 km and is 30-45 km wide. The highest elevations are Narodnaya Mountain in the Pre-Polar Urals (1894 m) and Pedy Mountain in the Northern Urals (1010 m).
The area has a severe continental climate with average January temperatures of -18 to -24°C and average July temperatures of +15.7 to +18.4°C. Average annual precipitation ranges from 400 to 550 mm, with the maximum amount of precipitation in July (about 15% of the annual amount); the height of the snow cover is from 50 to 80 cm.
The territory's historical name was Yurga. The first written mention of the people inhabiting the "northern lands" was recorded in the Tale of Bygone Years in 1096. The chronicle tells of an unknown people called the Yurga (Ostyaks or Khanty) and Voguls (Mansi) encountered by Russian explorers. The narrative also makes the first mention of the Yurga's neighbors, the Samoyad (Nenets). Chronicles of the 12th and 13th century record frequent expeditions of Novgorodians to Yurga to collect tribute in sable, ermine, Arctic fox, and squirrel furs. There was an inexhaustible demand for luxury furs in Russia.
Siberia was finally annexed to the Muscovite state after Ermak Timofeevich's legendary campaign. After defeating Khan Kuchum in fall 1582 and occupying Isker, the capital of the Siberian Khanate, Ermak sent a small Cossack detachment down the Irtysh in winter 1583. The detachment led by Bogdan Bryazga [according to other information, Cossack chieftain Nikita Pan] passed through the lands of the Konda-Pelym Voguls and reached the "walls" of the town of Samarovo. Taken by surprise by the Cossack attack, the Ostyaks surrendered. Samar, prince of the Belgorod Princedom was also killed.
In fall 1585, shortly after Ermak's death, Cossacks led by voevoda (army commander) Ivan Mansurov founded the first Russian fortified town, Obskoi, at the mouth of the Irtysh on the right bank of the Ob. The Mansi and Khanty lands thus became part of the Russian state, which was finally secured by the founding of the cities of Pelym and Berezov in 1592 and Surgut in 1594.
The towns that arose on the Northern Ob became trading centers. Special staging posts for changing horses (yamy) appeared on the busiest trade routes. Two of these posts, Demyansky and Samarovsky (now Khanty-Mansiysk), were built in 1637.
In 1708, Peter the Great issued a decree founding the province of Siberia (which included the cities of Berezov and Surgut) with the aim of establishing the new regime and developing the economy of the resource-rich territory. In 1775, Catherine the Great issued a decree establishing Tobolsk Province.
The territory gained notoriety as a place of exile for prisoners of State. Prince Dmitry Romodanovsky served his sentence in Berezovsky District; Count Andrei Osterman was exiled here in 1742; and the large family of the princes Dolgorukov, in 1798. Prince Menshikov and his daughter Mariya are buried in these lands where they were exiled. Decembrists were exiled here after the Decembrist uprising in Senate Square (St. Petersburg).
The people of the north carried out administrative and judicial functions on the basis of Speransky's charter "On the Administration of Non-Russians in Siberia" confirmed in 1822.
Both natural and climatic conditions and a relatively low population density determined the economic character of the Ob-Irtysh region of the north at the turn of the 20th century. River transport was the main means of communication, and traffic became increasingly heavy in the years following the start of shipping in the mid-19th century. Seven steamships plied the Ob and Irtysh in 1859, 107 in 1904, and 220 in 1913.
A telegraph line was extended to Samarovo in 1909, and to Berezov and Surgut in 1913.
Industry in the Ob-Irtysh region consisted of several cottage-style fish-canning businesses, while agriculture in these northern conditions was limited to vegetable growing and livestock farming. Fishing, hunting, and gathering pine nuts, mushrooms, and berries were the northerners' main occupations.
In 1918, Tobolsk Province was renamed Tyumen Province and the provincial capital was moved to Tyumen. The old system of provinces and districts was abolished in 1923; and Ural Region, Tobolsk Area, and Berezovsky, Surgutsky, Samarovsky, and Kondinsky districts were formed.
On December 10, 1930, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (VTsIK) passed the resolution "On the Organization of National Unions in Districts Populated by Northern Minorities". The resolution called for the creation of eight national areas, including the Ostyak-Vogul (Khanty-Mansi) area.
The composition and borders of the Khanty-Mansi and Yamalo-Nenets national areas were adjusted as a result of the abolition of Tobolsk Area. Khanty-Mansi included six districts: Berezovsky (center: Berezovo), Mikoyansky (Kondinskoe), Kondinsky (Nakhrachi), Samarovsky (Samarovo), Surgutsky (Surgut), and Laryaksky (Laryak). In 1977, Khanty-Mansi National Area became an autonomous area; and in 1993, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area received the status of a full subject of the Russian Federation under Article 65 of the Constitution of the RF
According to Decree No. 841 of the President of the Russian Federation of July 25, 2003, Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area was renamed Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area-Yurga.
The Ob and Irtysh rivers, 12 of their tributaries [Northern (Severnaya) Sosva, Konda, Vakh, Yugan, Kazym, Pim, Tromegan, Agan, Great (Bolshoi) Salym, Lyapin, Lyamin, and Nazym], and many smaller rivers form the area's river system. Altogether, there are nearly 30 000 rivers in the area.
There are nearly 290 000 lakes with an area of more than 1 hectare. Larger lakes (area greater than 100 km2) include Kondinsky Sor, Leushinsky Tyman, Vandemtor, and Tromemtor.
The soil cover is highly variable. Podzolic soils form in riverside drainage areas. Semihydrogenic soils predominate on watersheds with poor surface and subsurface drainage; they generally give way to boggy soils in the central part of the area. Gley (gumbo) and gley-podzolic soils are encountered on heavy-textured rocks; and illuvial-ferruginous, illuvial-ferruginous-humus, and illuvial-humus podzols, on sandy and sandy loam rocks. A complex mixture of alluvial, sod, meadow, and boggy soils is characteristic of the Ob River floodplain. Tundra, raw organic, fragmentary, mountain primitive, and organogenic-rubbly soils are widespread in mountainous areas.
Forests, bogs, meadows, water bodies, and mountain tundra all have their characteristic vegetation. Forests cover 52.1% of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area. The predominant forest type is middle taiga, consisting of coniferous, softwood, and mixed forests of spruce, cedar, larch, fir, and pine. Meadow vegetation is confined to river floodplains and lowlands. Lichen communities used as reindeer pastures are widespread in northern parts of the area. Edible berries such as cranberries, lingonberries, blueberries, bilberries, currants, cloudberries, raspberries, rose hips, bird cherries, and rowanberries are abundant in the forests and bogs.
Wildlife of the area includes animals such as fox, squirrel, sable, marten, ermine, Siberian weasel, polecat, mink, otter, hare, mole, chipmunk, wild reindeer, and moose. Typical birds are geese, grouse (capercaillie, black, and hazel), partridge, ducks, and sandpipers. Forty-two species of fish inhabit the various water bodies, including valuable commercial species such as sturgeon, sterlet, white salmon, whitefish, peled, and tugun.
The area's most important mineral resources are oil and gas. The largest oil and gas fields are the Samotlor, Fedorov, Mamontov, and Priobskoe fields.
The region also produces alluvial gold, veined quartz, and collection materials. Brown and hard coal, iron ore, copper, zinc, lead, niobium, and tantalum deposits, as well as bauxite shows, have been discovered. Deposits of ornamental stone, brick and aggregate clays, and building sand are ready for development. Rocks with high filtration and sorption properties, such as zeolite-containing rocks and volcanic formations, have been identified in the Ural part of the area.
Useful reserves of iodine-bromine mineral water have been explored and confirmed.
The main industrial sectors are oil and gas production (86.3% of total production), power (5.5%), gas processing (3.3%), logging and woodworking (0.4%), and building material production (0.4%).
The area's natural conditions are unfavorable for agricultural development; therefore, most agricultural and food products are imported from other Russian regions.
Most freight in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area is transported by water or rail; 29% is transported by road, and 2% by air. The area has 1073 km of railway lines, more than 14 000 km of roads, nearly 5000 km of navigable waterways, and 66 000 km of pipelines.
The primary export products are oil, refined oil products, fuel, timber, and timber products. Imports consist of high-tech equipment for fuel and energy companies, ferrous metal products, communications and computer equipment, and cars.
The government system in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area is determined independently by the area on the basis of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation and the general principles for organizing government bodies prescribed by federal law.
Government authority in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area is exercised on the basis of separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
- The Duma of Khanty-Mansi Automonous Area is the area's representative and legislative body;
- The Governor of Khanty-Mansi Automonous Area, or the vice-governor temporarily fulfilling the duties of the Governor, and the Government of Khanty-Mansi Automonous Area are the area's executive bodies;
- The judicial system of Khanty-Mansi Automonous Area is prescribed by federal constitutional law. Federal and other courts exercise judicial authority in the area.
For more information see the official site of Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area: