The Eastern Arctic Seas Encyclopedia

2016 Edition
| Editors: Igor S. Zonn, Andrey G. Kostianoy, Aleksandr V. Semenov

Chukotka Autonomous Okrug

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24237-8_135

Chukotka Autonomous Okrug – a federal subject of the Russian Federation. It was formed on December 10, 1930 as Chukotka National District. Since 1953, it had been a part of the Magadan Region, RSFSR. In 1980 it became autonomous, and since July 1992, it has been part of the Russian Federation. Ch. is located in the far northeast of Russia. It occupies a part of the continent, the Chukchi Peninsula, and a number of islands (Wrangel, Ayon, Diomede (Ratmanova), etc.). It is washed by the East Siberian Sea, the Chukchi Sea, and the Bering Sea. A significant portion of the Okrug is located above the Arctic Circle. Ch. is part of the Far East Region of Russia. It covers an area of 737.7 thousand km2. The population is 50.5 thousand (2015). The administrative center of Ch. is Anadyr. Other cities include Bilibino and Pevek. The population is comprised of Russians, Chukchi, Evens, Eskimos, Chuvans, Yukagirs, and others. There are 8 administrative districts, 3 cities, and 15 villages. The average population density is 0.07 people per 1 km2. The shores are heavily indented. To the northeast is the Chukchi Plateau (its height reaches up to 1843 m), in the central part is the Anadyr Plateau, and in the southeast – the Anadyr Lowland. There are deposits of tin and mercury ores, coal and lignite, natural gas, and others.

The climate is harsh; marine climate on the coast; in the inner parts, the climate is continental. Winter lasts up to 10 months. The average January temperature ranges from −15° to −39 °C; in July it’s up to 5–10 °C. Precipitation totals 200–500 mm a year. The vegetation period in the southern part of the Okrug is 80–100 days. Perennial high cold-resistance vegetation is widespread.

Large rivers include the Anadyr River (with its tributaries the Mayn, the Belaya River, the Tanyurer River), the Velikaya River, the Amguema River, the Omolon River, and the Bolshoi and the Maly Anyuy rivers. There are numerous lakes; the largest include Lake Krasnoye and Lake Elgygytgyn. The Okrug is located in the forest-tundra zone, the tundra zone, and the polar desert zone. The soils are mainly mountain tundra and peaty gley, sometimes peat podzolic and alluvial. Tundra vegetation is predominant (dry mountain tundra with bushes and shrubs, tussock, and cotton-grass tundra). On the upper slopes of the mountains and on Wrangel Island, there are polar desert areas. Characteristic trees are larch, poplar, willow, birch, and alder. The fauna of the Okrug includes wild foxes, polar foxes, wolves, wolverines, chipmunks, squirrels, lemmings, hares, brown and polar bears, etc. There is a large variety of birds: white and tundra partridges, ducks, geese, swans, etc.; in the coastal areas, there are guillemots, eider ducks, and gulls that form “rookeries.” The seas are rich in fish (chum, pink salmon, trout) and marine mammals (walruses, seals, etc.); whitefish, white salmon, and graylings live in rivers and lakes. There is a nature reserve “Wrangel Island” on the territory of Ch.

The main industry is mining (gold, tin, tungsten, mercury ore, coal, and lignite). Facilities operate for the production of building materials. Energy is provided by the Bilibino nuclear heat and power plant, the Chaun and the Anadyr thermal power stations, the Bering and the Egvekinotskaya hydroelectric power stations, and the floating power station “Severnoe Siyanie” (“Polar Lights”) at Cape Schmidt. Reindeer breeding, fishery, and hunting for fur and sea animals are widespread. Dairy farming, poultry farming, pig farming, fur farming, and hothouse economy are being developed. The ports are Pavel, Anadyr, Egvekinot, and Beringovsky. Navigation is on the Anadyr River, the Velikaya River, the Bolshoi, and the Maly Anyuy.

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016