The Republic of Sakha (Yakutiya) is situated in eastern Siberia on the Laptev and Eastern Siberian Seas. Two-fifths of the Republic’s territory lies within the Arctic Circle. It forms part of the Far Eastern Federal Okrug and the Far Eastern Economic Area. To the west it borders Krasnoyarsk Krai. Irkutsk Oblast and Transbaikal Krai lie to the south-west, Amur Oblast to the south, Khabarovsk Krai and Magadan Oblast to the south-east, and the Chukot Autonomous Okrug to the north-east. The main river is the Lena, which drains into the Laptev Sea through a large swampy delta. Apart from the Central Yakut Plain, the region’s territory is mountainous, and four-fifths is taiga (forested marshland). Sakha is the largest federal unit in Russia, occupying an area of 3,083,523 sq km (1,190,554 sq miles), making it larger than Kazakhstan, itself the second-largest country, after Russia, in Europe or the former USSR. The north of the

climate. According to the preliminary results of the October 2010 census, the Republic had a population of 958,291 and a population density of 0.3 per sq km. Some 64.1% of the population lived in urban areas. At the 2002 census 45.5% of the population were Yakut, 41.2% ethnically Russian, 3.6% Ukrainian, 1.9% Evenk, 1.2% Even and 1.1% Tatar. From the late 1990s there was an outflow of population from the Republic, particularly of ethnic Russians, who had accounted for an absolute majority of the Republic’s population at the 1989 census. Orthodox Christianity is the dominant religion in the region. The Yakuts’ native tongue, spoken as a first language by over 93% of the indigenous population, is part of the north-eastern branch of the Turkic family, although it is considerably influenced by Mongolian. The capital is Yakutsk, with a population of 269,486 in October 2010. The Republic spans three time zones: GMT+10 (Yakutsk), GMT+11 (Verkhoyansk) and GMT+12 (Kolyma).