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Republic of Karelia

Kostomukshskiy ReserveRepublic of KareliaCathedral of the AssumptionPaanayarviThe architectural ensemble of Kizhi

The Subject of the Russian Federation:
Republic of Karelia

Federal District: The North-Western Federal District

Area: 180 520 km2
Population: 645 200 persons.

Emblem of the Republic of Karelia
Emblem of the Republic of Karelia

Flag of the Republic of Karelia
Flag of the Republic of Karelia


Republic of Karelia— the subject of the Russian Federation.

Capital - the city of Petrozavodsk.

The Republic of Karelia is located in the north-west of Russia and is a part of the North-West Federal District of Russian Federation.

It borders Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Vologda, Leningrad regions, as well as Finland – a member of the European Union.

The resident population of the Republic of Karelia is 645.2 thousand people (2012).

The population density is 3, 57 people per 1 sq. m. km (2012), urban population is 78%.

The republic consists of 16 municipalities (Belomorskiy, Kalevalski, Kemskiy, Kondopogskiy, Lahdenpohsky, Louhskiy, Medvezhiegorskiy, Muezersky, Olonetskiy, Pitkarantskiy, Prionezhskiy, Pryazhinskiy, Pudozhskiy, Segezhskiy, Sortavalskiy, Suoyarvskiy) and two urban districts (Petrozavodskiy and Kostomukshskiy) in which there are 109 settlements (22 urban, 87 - rural), 808 settlements, including 13 cities.


The first settlements on the territory of Karelia originated in the post-glacial period (6.7 thousand BC). Locals were mostly engaged in hunting and fishing. Preserved petroglyphs and archaeological sites of ancient culture are dated 5-3 thousand years BC. In 1 millennium AD Finno-Ugric tribes lived here. In the North Ladoga - Kareli, between Lake Ladoga and Onega lakes - Veps, and further to the north - Saami (lop). In the beginning of the 2nd millennium AD part of the Karelians migrated to the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia and the White Sea. At the same time Slavic population migrated in the north and east “Obonezhe” on the White Sea coast, promoting the development of agriculture, salt production, and marine industries. In 9th century Karelia was in the sphere of influence of Kievan Rus. During the period of disunity in the 12th century Obonezhskaya Pyatina was a part of Novgorod feudal republic (autonomous up to 1270's) with a capitapl in Korela. In 1227 Prince Yaroslav Vsevolodovich of Novgorod baptized Karelians in the Orthodox faith. In the end of the 15th century Karelia became a part of the centralized Russian state. Since 16th century “Obonezhskaya Pyatina” was divided into Zaonezhskoe and Nagornaya parts. In the 13-17 centuries Karelia was an object of aggression of Sweden. After the “Nishtadt World” (1721), south-western Karelia joined the Russian Empire. During the reforms of Peter the Great in the 1703-1707 years Olonets plants (plants of Peter) were built. In 1719 in Karelia the first health resort in Russia was built. It was named “Marcialnie Vodi”. The economy of Karelia actively developed in the 19th - early 20 centuries. In 1861 a regular steamship service between Petrozavodsk and St. Petersburg was opened, “Belomorsk” steam sawmills and Murmansk Railroad (1914-1916) were constructed.

A brief historical background

May 20, 1784 - Olonets province.

June 8, 1920 - The Karelian Labour Commune.

July 25, 1923 - The Karelian ASSR.

March 31, 1940 - Karelian-Finnish SSR.

July 16, 1956 - The Karelian ASSR.

November 13, 1991 - Republic of Karelia.

Geographical Location, Natural Resources and Climate

The total area of Karelia is 180.5 thousand square km. (1.06% of the Russian Federation). The length of the territory from north to south is 660 km. From west to east along latitude of Kem city the length is 424 km. On the west Karelia borders Finland, on south Leningrad and Vologda regions, Murmansk on north and Arkhangelsk region on the east. On the north-east the republic borders White Sea. The western border of Karelia coincides with the state border of the Russian Federation and Finland and has a length of 798 km. The distance from the administrative center of the republic - Petrozavodsk to Moscow is 925 km., 401 km to St. Petersburg, 1050 km to Murmansk, and 703 km to Helsinki. The diverse and often unique topography of Karelia reflects the geological history of the region over the past 3.5 billion years. Most of the territory of Karelia is a hilly plain with traces of a glacier. Rock firmament on the earth's surface still retains the traces of ancient mountains. Karelia is often called the “solid rock lake-forest”, underlining the leading elements of the landscape, the unique combinations of bizarre shapes and multiple lakes surrounded by green taiga. Karelian forests, rivers and lakes play a vital role in conserving the biodiversity in Northern Europe. More than 49% of the republic is covered with pine, spruce, alder and aspen forests. The fauna is represented by brown bears, caribou, moose, hares and beavers. The most popular fish is: salmon, trout, saffron cod, herring, cod and flounder. In Karelia, you can see the harp seal in White Sea. A quarter of the territory of the Republic is the water surface. There are more than 61 thousand lakes, and 26.7 thousand rivers. The largest lakes are Ladoga (17.7 thousand sq. km.) and Onega (9.9 sq. km.) which are the largest reservoirs in Europe. The largest rivers are: Vodla (400 km), Vig, Kovda, Kem, Suna and Shuya. The total length of the water network is about 83 thousand km. The climate is variable from marine to continental and is characterized by a long but relatively mild winters and short cool summers. The average temperature in February is -9-13 C and +14-16 in July. Annual precipitation is about 500 mm per year. There are more than 50 kinds of minerals in more than 400 deposits in Karelia. Among the minerals are: iron ore, titanium, vanadium, molybdenum, precious metals, diamonds, mica, construction materials (granite, diabase, marble), ceramic raw materials (pegmatite, feldspar), appatit-carbonate ore, alkaline amphibole asbestos.


Industry plays an important role in the structure of economy of the Republic of Karelia, providing 32% of the production of goods and services. Manufacturing, mining, transport and communications are significant in the total turnover of the republic. Leading role in the industry of Karelia is the production of paper pulp, timber, lumber, as well as trout raising.


Agriculture of the Republic is represented by dairy farming, trout raising, poultry and crop production. The main agricultural production is concentrated in Kondopozhskiy, Prionezhskiy, Pryazhskiy, Olonetskiy, Medvezhegorskiy and Sortavalskiy regions.


The list of major roads:

• E 105 M18 "Cola":

• A129 Saint Petersburg, Priozersk-Lahdenpohja-Sortavala

• A130-Olonets Sortavala-Ruskeala-Wärtsilä

• A131-Pitkäranta Loymola-Suojarvi

• A132-Suojarvi Porosozero-Yustozero-Medvezhegorsk

• A133 Petrozavodsk Suojarvi

• A134-Kochkoma Tiksha-Reboly

• A135-Kem-Kalevala Voknavolok

• A136-Louhi Pjaozersky-Suoperya

• A137-Regozero Kalevala-Tungozero

• P2-Dolmatovo Nyandoma-Kargopol-Pudozh

• P5-Vologda-Ferapontovo Lipin Bor-Vytegra-Pudozh-Povenets-Medvezhegorsk

• P17-Medvezhegorsk Perguba, Shunga-Tolvuya-Velikaya Guba

• F19-Petrozavodsk Sheltozero-Voznesenie-Oshtinsky Pogost

• Yarn-P21 Lemetti Rail transportation in Karelia is a major component of the infrastructure of the economy. There are 2800 kilometers of railway tracks, 15,000 highly skilled employees, 4 branches of “Oktabrskaya Railway” (Murmanskoe, Petrozavodskoe, Volhovstroevskoe, St. Petersburg) and Arkhangelsk branch of the Northern Railway. The operational length of electrified railways is increasing every year. In the end of 2005 the electrification of "Idel-Svir" line "of St. Petersburg and Murmansk" was fully completed. The electrification of the northern part of the “Oktabrskaya Railway” has provided the connection of industrial centers of North-West - Murmansk, Karelia, Arkhangelsk and Komi republic - with other regions of Russia. The next line for electrification is "Kochkoma-Kostomuksha-Lyttä". Suburban commuter trains are provided by Karelprigorod (Kem-Svir "," Kem-Apatity ","Kem-Belomorsk-Malenga "," Sortavala-Kuznechnoe"), Petrozavodsk - Tokari, Petrozavodsk - Medgora.

Things to do

Karelia is exceptionally rich in cultural, historical and natural sites and is able to satisfy the diverse interests of tourists. There are more than four thousand destinations. Among this variety can be distinguished:

• The State Historical-Architectural and Ethnographic Reserve Museum "Kizhi"

• Balaam

• The resort "Marcial waters"

• Waterfall Kivach

• Petroglyphs on the eastern shore of Lake Onega

• Petroglyphs of the White Sea

• “Ceydas” on the “Kuzova” islands in the White Sea

• White Sea Karelia, rune-singing village

• Assumption Cathedral in the city of Kemi

• Uspenskaya Church (1774) in Kondopoga

• National Reserves

• The National Park "Paanajärvi"

• National Park "Vodlozersky"

• The National Park "Kalevala"

• State Nature Reserve "Kostomukshskiy"

• Priladozhye

• Lakes and rivers

• Lake Ladoga

• Lake Onega

• “Kindasovo”

• “Syamozerye”

• Sights and Attractions in Pudozhskiy region

• Karelian Birches

• Highland Park "Ruskeala"

• Village Kinerma

• Zaonezhie

Famous residents

Arseniev, Konstantin Ivanovich (1789-1865). The scientist geographer, statistician and historian, member of the Russian Academy (1836), academician of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences. The founder of the Central Statistical Committee of Russia, one of the founders of the national economic geography.

Rybnikov Pavel Nikolayevich (1831-1885). Folklorist and ethnographer. In the 1859-1866 years was exiled to Olonets province. Opened “Zhivoe Bitovanie” of the Russian folklore.

Fortunatov Philip F. (1848-1914). Linguist, academician of the Petersburg Academy of Sciences since 1898. The founder of the Moscow Linguistic School, that played an important role in the development of general and comparative-historical linguistics. The foundation of formal grammar was laid by him.

Bubrih Dmitry Vladimirovich (1890-1949). Linguist, Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1946). The founder of Russia's Finno-Ugric studies. The author of fundamental works on phonetics and morphology of the Finno-Ugric languages and the ethnogenesis of the Finno-Ugric peoples.

Polkanov Alexander (1888-1963). Geologist, academician of the USSR (1943), winner of the Lenin Prize (1962). The author of fundamental works on the petrology of the intrusive rocks and geochronology of the Precambrian. One of the discoverers of the potassium-argon method of age determination of geological formations.

Kratz Kauko Ottovich (1914-1983). Geologist, a member of the USSR Academy of Sciences (1968). One of the influential researchers of geology, geochronology and petrography of the “Baltic Shield”. Researcher of the Department (Institute) of Geology of the Karelian-Finnish (Karelian) Branch of the USSR in 1946 - 1959. The Director of the Institute of Geology of the USSR in 1962-1966.