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Republic of Kalmykia

Temple of the Golden Abode of Buddha ShakyamuniTemple of the Golden Abode of Buddha ShakyamuniRepublic of KalmykiaRepublic of Kalmykia

The Subject of the Russian Federation:
Republic of Kalmykia

Federal District: The Southern Federal District

Area: 74 731 km2
Population: 284 000 persons.

Emblem of the Republic  Kalmykia
Emblem of the Republic Kalmykia

Flag of the Republic  Kalmykia
Flag of the Republic Kalmykia


The Republic of Kalmykia is the subject of the Russian Federation.

Capital city – Elista.

The Republic was founded on November 4, 1920. On October 20, 1935 it was reorganized into the Kalmyk ASSR. In 1943 the status of autonomy was abolished and restored in 1957. Since October 1990 it is called the Republic of Kalmykia. On south it borders Stavropolskiy Kray, on south-east the Republic of Dagestan, on the north Volgograd region, the Astrakhan region on the north-east and Rostov Region on the west. The average distance to the nearest major cities of Southern Russia is 300 miles (Stavropol, Volgograd, Astrakhan), and 500 km to the Rostov-on-Don, Krasnodar, Nalchik, Makhachkala. Moscow is 1300 km away, the estimated flight time is 1.5 hours.

Population is 286.7 thousand people (January 1, 2012). The urban population is 44.5% and 55.5% rural (2012).

There are 13 administrative regions, 102 village councils and three cities.


On the territory of Kalmykia there are almost all cultures of the steppe belt of Eastern Europe: Cimmerians, Scythians and Sarmatians lived here in the past millenilums, later cane Huns, Khazars, Pechenegs, Cumans. In the XIII century the entire territory was ruled by the Golden Horde, and after its collapse by Nogai. Kalmiks or Western Mongols (Oirats) came from Dzungaria and began to settle between the Don and Volga since the 50s of XVII century and formed the Kalmyk Khanate. Kalmyk means "Khalmag" – "the remainder", "separatist", – the name that western Turks called their eastern neighbors, who lived east of the Irtysh and the Altai. The ethnonym “Kalmyks” is widely mentioned in the XVI century due to the rise of the legendary conqueror Tamerlane. According to the biographers of Timur his youth passed in fights against Kalmykian conquerors Getaes of Kashgar Khan. Later Timur expelled the Kalmyk-Getaes invaders from the country and started invasion campaigns on the West and South. British explorers of the XVIII century (Gibbon and others) identify Getaes of the time of Timur similar to Massagets of ancient times, who stopped the advance of Alexander of Macedon in Central Asia. The first mentions of the Kalmyks in Russian sources refer to the beginning of the XVI century, during the reign of Elena Glinskaya. As a result of strong expansion Kalmyks have occupied vast territories from Don to Yenisei River and from the Urals to the borders of India. The greatest empire of the nomads in modern history is known under the name of “Dzhungar Khanate”. Modern Kalmykia is a fragment of that state. In 1865 a small settlement “Elista-Sala” was founded. In 1907 Elista received the status of administrative center of Manych Chernoyarsky Ulus district of Astrakhan province.

In February 1918 the Soviet power was established in Elista. On March 10, 1930 it was granted with the status of the city. On November 4, 1920 the Kalmyk Autonomous Okrug was established and on October 20, 1935 it was converted into the Autonomous Republic. During World War II in August 1942 the city of Elista was occupied by German troops. On December 31, 1942 the troops of 34 Infantry Division of 28th Army, commanded by Major-General I. Gubarevich released Elista. Since 1944 to 1957 the city was called “Stepnoy” and was a part of the Stavropolskiy Krai. In 1990 after the declaration of sovereignty it was transformed to the Federal Republic of Kalmykia (SSR). Adopted in 1994 "The Code of the Steppe," so named in memory of the "constitution" of Junggar Khanate acknowledged the subject of the republic as a part of the Russian Federation, declaring the continuity of the historical line Dzhungar Khanate - Republic of Kalmykia.

Geographical location, natural resources, climate

Kalmykia is located in the south-east of European Russia. The region is located in zones of steppe, semidesert and desert. Large specific area of the eastern zone is called Black Earth. On south, the territory of Kalmykia is limited by the Kumo-Manych valley and Manych and Kuma rivers in south-eastern part it borders the Caspian Sea, on north-east it borders Volga River and the Ergeninskaya elevation on north-west. The northern part is called Sarpinskaya lowlands, the southern – Chernie Zemly. The dominant type of the relief of the republic are plains. Among the natural resources of Kalmykia are: highly prevalent iodine-bromine, chloride-sodium sulfate and water. The mineralization of water is from 1 to 15 g / l. The iodine content –is from 11 to 24 mg / and bromine - from 120 to 1600 mg / l. The climate of the republic is continental, summers are hot and winters are dry with little snow. Continental climate increases significantly from west to east. Average January temperatures throughout the country is -7 ... -9 ° C in the southern and southwestern parts and -10 ... -12 ° C in the north, the lowest temperature in January is -35 ... -37 ° sometimes lower in the northern regions. The duration of the warm period is 240-275 days. The average July temperature is +23,5 ... +25,5 ° C. The absolute maximum temperature in the hottest year reached +40 ... +44 ° C in July 12, 2010 in the village Utta. The air was warmed up to +45,4 ° C and is a record for the Russian air temperature. Increase in air temperature is from north to south and south-east of the republic. During winter blizzards, and ice formations sometimes cause damage to agriculture. The specific features of the republic are drought and hot winds in summer up to 120 days. The region is the driest in the south of European Russia. The annual rainfall is 210-340 mm. There are four major agro-climatic regions: very dry, dry, very arid and arid. Due to the prevalence of areas of strong winds the region has significant natural wind resources not used at the moment. The Kalmykian wind power plant is under construction.


The leading industries of Kalmykia are: food ( meat, meat conserves and sausages) and light industry, as well as manufacture of building materials.


Agriculture is the most important sector in the economy of the Republic of Kalmykia. There are three zones: Western, Central and Eastern. Western zone is appropriate for grain and livestock, the Central zone for breeding sheep and beef cattle, Eastern zone for fine-wool and astrakhan sheep breeding in combination with meat cattle breeding. In the same region on the coastal areas of the Caspian Sea and Volga, as well as in other areas of irrigated agriculture there are vegetable and fodder production. Rice is cultivated in the area of Sarpinskaya lowland.


There is a Class B airport on the territory of Kalmykia with the ability to house first-class aircraft (only flights to Moscow). There is a railway terminus with previously operating routes to Stavropol and Moscow (Paveletsky Station). At present there is no passenger traffic. There are regular bus services to all the destinations of the republic. Passenger transport is carried out via commercial minibuses. There are regular bus services to the following cities of Russian Federation: Moscow, St. Petersburg, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Stavropol, Krasnodar, Gelendzhik, Anapa.

Things to do

The most significant site in the republic is the Biosphere Reserve "Black Earth" located in Chernozemelsky, Yashkulsky, and Yashaltinsky Priyutnensky areas. There are 12 nature reserves on the territory of Kalmykia. The largest reserves of federal significance are: Sarpinskiy, Harbin and Mekletinsky - mainly oriented on the protection of Saiga Antelope. There are two hunting and fishing national nature reserves called "Yuzhniy" and "Zunda" in Iki-Burulsky area. Altogether these areas cover 14.8% of the republic. The specifics of ethnographic, historical and cultural environment of the country are the main characteristics of the Kalmyk tourism. In Elista there is the largest Buddhist temple in Europe called "Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni". “Gorod Shahmat” (Chess City) was designed in an innovative manner and, in terms of construction, it has no analogues in the world. Chess City is not only densely populated, but is also a place of commercial fairs and exhibitions in various fields, including tourism.

Famous locals

• Ayuka Khan (1642-1724.) The Kalmyk Khan. He came to power in 1672, brought together all of the Volga Kalmyks and significantly expanded the borders of the state.

• Eelyan Ovla 1857 - Kalmyk-djangarchy storyteller, famous for folk poetry of the Kalmyk people - "Djangar."

• Velimir Khlebnikov (Viktor Vladimirovich Khlebnikov, 1885-1922) - Russian poet and writer of the Silver Age, a prominent Russian avant-garde artist.

• Nomto Ochirovich Ochirov 10.10.1886, the - the Kalmyk scientist, anthropologist, educator and social activist of Kalmykia in early XX century. Nomto Ochirov wrote and published the first edition of the monumental Kalmyk epic "Djangar", published first in the history of Kalmyk people newspaper and magazine "Oiratskie Izvestiya." In the 1920s Nomto Ochirov participated in the reform of the Kalmyk language.

• Gorodovikov I. Oka, the 01/10/1879 - Soviet military commander, the hero of the Civil War, one of the leaders of the cavalry of the Soviet Army, Colonel-General, retired.

• Bazan Badminovich Gorodovikov 15/11/1910 - The Hero of the Soviet Union, General. Under the leadership of Boris Gorodovikov Kalmyk Republic significantly progressed in the postwar reconstruction.

• Baatr Badmaevich Basangov, 1911 - the Kalmyk Soviet writer, playwright, poet and translator. The Kalmyk State Drama Theatre in the city of Elista is named after his name.

• Erdniev Pyurvya Muchkaevich, 10/15/1921 is a teacher, mathematician, methodologist, prof. (1972), academic (1973), Honored Scientist of RSFSR (1981). Veteran of the World War II. He has developed a system of integration of didactic units (IDU) as a technique of studying related concepts (equations and inequalities, common and decimal fractions, proportions and percentages, and the coordinates of the vectors). In 1992 the State Prize of “P. Erdniev” was established.

• David Nikitich Kugultinov (1922) is a Kalmyk poet. He was granted with an award “People's Poet of the Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic” (1969), USSR State Prize (1976). A member of the CPSU (B) since 1943.

• Kirsan Nikolayevich Ilyumzhinov, 05.04.1962 - Russian statesman, first president of the Republic of Kalmykia, President of the International Chess Federation (FIDE).