Chuvash Republic (chōväshˈ) [key] or Chuvashia, constituent republic (1990 pop. 1,326,000), 7,066 sq mi (18,301 sq km), E central European Russia, in the middle Volga valley. Cheboksary is the capital. The region, consisting largely of the Chuvash plateau, is wooded steppe. There are peat bogs and deposits of limestone, dolomite, clays, sands, and phosphorites. Grain, potatoes, flax, hemp, fruit, and sugar beets are grown, and livestock is raised. With about one third of the area in forests, both lumbering and woodworking are important occupations. Among the republic's other industries are oil and natural gas refining, metalworking, railway repair, and food and flax processing. The Trans-Siberian RR crosses the republic, and secondary lines from the main track service many towns. Chuvash make up some 70% of the population and Russians (who are mostly urban) around 25%; there are Mordovian, Tatar, and Ukrainian minorities. The Chuvash, descendants of the medieval Bulgars, represent a mixture of Finnish and Mongolian peoples. They speak a Turkic language and adhere to Orthodox Christianity. Their wood carving is notable. Conquered by the Mongols in the 13th and 14th cent., the Chuvash came under Russian rule in 1552. The Chuvash Autonomous Region was established in 1920; it became an autonomous republic in 1925. It was a signatory to the Mar. 31, 1992, treaty that created the Russian Federation (see Russia). It has a 200-member parliament.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: CIS and Baltic Political Geography