Siberia sībēr´ēə [key], Rus. Sibir, vast geographical region of Russia, covering c.2,900,000 sq mi (7,511,000 sq km) and having an estimated population (1992) of 32,459,000. Historically it has had no official standing as a political or territorial division, but it was generally understood to comprise the northern third of Asia, stretching roughly from the lowlands east of Urals in the west to the mountain ranges of the Pacific Ocean watershed in the east and from the Laptev, Kara, and East Siberian seas (arms of the Arctic Ocean) in the north to the Kazakh steppes, the Altai and Sayan mountain systems, and the border of Mongolia in the south. Lying off Siberia in the Arctic Ocean are the New Siberian Islands, the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago, and other islands.
In 2000, however, Siberia was established as one of seven Russian federal districts, with the district administrative center at Novosibirsk. The administrative units of the district are the Altai, Buryat, Khakass, and Tuva republics, the Altai, Krasnoyarsk, and Transbaykal territories, and the Omsk, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, and Irkutsk regions. The Russian Far East, most of which is commonly considered to be part of Siberia, is treated separately in regional schemes.
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