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Buryat Republic

Buryat Republic (bŏryätˈ) [key] or Buryatia bŏryätˈēə, constituent republic (1990 est. pop. 1,050,000), c.135,600 sq mi (351,200 sq km), SE Siberian Russia, N of Mongolia, extending between Lake Baykal and the Yablonovy Mts. Ulan-Ude is the capital. The republic is mountainous and heavily forested and has rivers and lakes that are rich in fish and that provide hydroelectric power. In the mountains are valuable deposits of coal, iron ore, tungsten, molybdenum, gold, tungsten, nickel, bauxite, and manganese. The chief sectors of the economy are mining, lumbering, and livestock raising. Agriculture, found mainly in the Selenga River valley, is based on spring wheat and fodder crops. There are fisheries and fish-canning plants on Lake Baykal. Fur breeding and trading are important in the north, where nomads also keep reindeer herds. Major manufactures of Buryat include machinery (notably locomotives for the Trans-Siberian RR, which traverses the republic), metal products, pulp, paper, and textiles. The Buryats, former nomads who have largely adopted a sedentary existence, are descended from the Huns, Mongols, Evenki, and Turks. They speak a Mongolian language and generally adhere to Lamaist Buddhism or to Russian Orthodoxy. Buryats constitute about 24% of the republic's population and engage mostly in stock raising. Russians make up a majority (70%) of the population, and there are Evenki, Tuvan, Tatar, and Ukrainian minorities. Russian penetration of the region began in the 1620s and advanced for a century in the face of Buryat resistance until annexation occurred in 1727, followed by intensive Russian colonization. The Buryat-Mongol ASSR was formed in 1923 and retained that name until 1958. The Buryat Republic was a signatory to the Mar. 31, 1992, treaty that created the Russian Federation (see Russia).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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