The Altai Republic is situated in the Altai Mountains, in the basin of the Ob river. The Republic forms part of the Siberian Federal Okrug and theWestern Siberian Economic Area. It has international borders withKazakhstan in the south-west, and a short border with the People’s Republic of China to the south and with Mongolia to the south-east. KemerovoOblast lies to the north,Khakasiya andTyva to the north-east, andAltaiKrai to the north-west. The Republic includes the highest peak in Siberia, Belukha, at 4,506 m (14,783 feet), and about one-quarter of its territory is forested. It contains one of Russia’s major national parks, the Altai State National Park, covering an area of some 9,000 sq km (3,475 sq miles). The Republic occupies 92,903 sq km (35,870 sq miles). At the census of October 2010 it had a population of 206,168 and a population density of 2.2 per sq km. Only 27.6% of the population were living in urban areas-a lower proportion than in any other federal subject. Of those resident in the Republic who stated their ethnicity at the census, 56.6% were Russian, 33.9% were Altai (including 1.8%who identified as Telengit, 0.9% as Tubalar and 0.5% as Chelkan) and 6.2%were Kazakh. The Altai people can be divided into two distinct groups: the Northern Altai, or Chernnevye Tatars, and the Southern Altai. The languages spoken by both groups are from the Turkish branch of the Uralo-Altaic family: that of the Northern Altai is from the Old Uigur group, while the language of the Southern Altai is close to the Kyrgyz language and is part of theKipchak group. Although the traditional religions of

to Christianity, so the dominant religion in the Republic is Russian Orthodoxy. The Republic’s administrative centre, Gorno-Altaisk, had a population of 56,928. The Republic is in the time zone GMT+7.