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|o Karachay-Balkar||- ?|
|o Kabardian||-? ?|
|o Abaza||- ?|
|Anthem: State Anthem of Karachay-Cherkessia|
|Federal district||North Caucasian|
|Economic region||North Caucasus|
|Established||July 3, 1991|
|o Body||People's Assembly (Parliament)|
|o Head||Rashid Temrezov|
|o Total||14,277 km2 (5,512 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+3 (MSK )|
|ISO 3166 code||RU-KC|
|Official languages||Russian; Abaza, Cherkess (Kabardian), Karachay, Nogai|
The Karachay-Cherkess Republic (Russian: ?- , Karachayevo-Cherkesskaya Respublika; Karachay-Balkar?- ?, Qaraçay-Çerkes Respublika; Kabardian?-? ?, ?êrê?ei-?êrd?ês Respublikê, Nogai- ?, Kara?ay-?erke? Respublika) or Karachay-Cherkessia (Russian: ?-, Karachayevo-Cherkesiya) is a federal subject (a republic) of Russia. It is geographically located in the North Caucasus region of Southern Russia and is administratively part of the North Caucasian Federal District. Karachay-Cherkessia has a population of 477,859 (2010 Census).
Karachay-Cherkessia is one of Russia's ethnic republics, primarily representing the indigenous Turkic Karachay people and the Cherkess or Circassian people. Karachays form the largest ethnic group at around 40% of the population, followed by ethnic Russians (30%) and Cherkess (12%). The Cherkess are mostly of the Besleney and Kabardin tribes. The republic has five official languages: Russian, Abaza, Cherkess (Kabardian), Karachay-Balkar, and Nogai.
The majority of the republic's territory is within the Caucasus Mountains, except for a small strip at the northern edge of the Don Steppe. Karachay-Cherkessia is bordered by Krasnodar Krai to the west, Stavropol Krai to the north-east, Kabardino-Balkaria to the south-east, and an international border with Georgia to the south-west. Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, is located on the border with Kabardino-Balkaria.
The republic is located at the slopes of northwestern Caucasus and borders with Krasnodar Krai in the west and northwest, the Kabardino-Balkar Republic in the southeast, Georgia (including Abkhazia) in the south and west, and with Stavropol Krai in the northeast. It stretches for 140 kilometers (87 mi) from north to south and for 170 kilometers (110 mi) from east to west. Mountains cover 80% of the republic's territory; Mount Elbrus, which at 5,642 meters (18,510 ft) is the highest peak in the Caucasus, is located on the republic's border with Kabardino-Balkaria. The republic is rich in water resources. A total of 172 rivers flow through its territory, with the largest one being the Kuban, Bolshoy Zelenchuk, Maly Zelenchuk, Urup, and Laba. There are about 130 mountain lakes of glacial origin and an abundance of mineral springs. Climate is moderate, with short winters and long, warm, humid summers. The average January temperature is -3.2 °C (26.2 °F), and the average July temperature is +20.6 °C (69.1 °F). Average annual precipitation varies from 550 millimeters (22 in) in the plains to 2,500 millimeters (98 in) in the mountains. Natural resources include gold, coal, clays, and more.
The Karachay-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast was founded on January 12, 1922, in the early years of the Soviet Union. It was split into Karachay Autonomous Oblast and Cherkess National Okrug on 26 April 1926. The Cherkess National District was elevated to an autonomous oblast status on 30 April 1928.
In 1943, Karachay Autonomous Oblast was abolished, the Karachay people were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and subsequently deported to the Kazakh and Uzbek republics. Most of the Karchay territory was split between Stavropol Krai and the Georgian SSR. The remaining territory populated by the Cherkessians was known as Cherkess Autonomous Oblast until 9 January 1957 when it was incorporated into Karachay-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast in its former borders due to the rehabilitation of the Karachay.
On July 3, 1991, the autonomous oblast was elevated to the status of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Karachay-Cherkessia (under the jurisdiction of the Russian SFSR). With the dissolution of the Soviet Union, congresses of deputies of various nationalities proclaimed:
After demonstrations in December 1991, the Supreme Soviet of Karachay-Cherkessia adopted an appeal for the recognition of the individual republics. Also in December 1991, the words "Autonomous Soviet Socialist" were dropped from the official name of Karachay-Cherkessia.
In January 1992, Russian President Boris Yeltsin was prepared to accept the division of Karachay-Cherkessia and introduced draft laws to the Supreme Soviet of Russia for the reconstitution of the Karachai Autonomous Oblast and Cherkess Autonomous Oblast within the Russian Federation. A commission on formation of three autonomous regions - Karachai, Cherkess, and Batalpashinsk - was established in the Supreme Soviet.
On March 28, 1992, a referendum was held in which, according to official results, the majority of the population of Karachay-Cherkessia voted against splitting the republic and, on December 9, 1992, the republic was recognized as the Karachay-Cherkess Republic.
|Average population (x 1000)||Live births||Deaths||Natural change||Crude birth rate (per 1000)||Crude death rate (per 1000)||Natural change (per 1000)||Total fertility rate|
|1926 Census1||1939 Census||1959 Census||1970 Census||1979 Census||1989 Census||2002 Census||2010 Census3|
|1 The results of the 1926 census refer to the present territory, which is a combination of the Cherkess ND, the Karachay AO and adjacent areas. The latter areas were mainly inhabited by Russians and Ukrainians.|
33,499 people were registered from administrative databases, and could not declare an ethnicity. It is estimated that the proportion of ethnicities in this group is the same as that of the declared group.
According to a 2012 survey which interviewed 56,900 people, 34% of the population of Karachay-Cherkessia adheres to Nondenominational Islam, 13% to Sunni Islam, 1% to Shiite Islam, 14% to the Russian Orthodox Church, 12.2% to the Karachay and Circassian native faith, 4% are unaffiliated Christians, unchurched Orthodox Christian believers or members of non-Russian Orthodox churches. In addition, 12% of the population declares to be "spiritual but not religious", 7% are atheist, and 2.8% are other and undeclared.
The head of the government in Karachay-Cherkessia is the Head (until June 28, 2012, the official title was "President"). Until February 2011, the President was Boris Ebzeyev, a former judge of the Constitutional Court of Russian Federation. Rashid Temrezov is currently the Head of the republic.
Ethnic tension is a considerable problem in the republic. In May 1999 Karachay-Cherkessia conducted its first ever free regional presidential election. When Vladimir Semyonov, a Karachay, won the election over Stanislav Derev, a Circassian, there were protests by supporters of Derev, with widespread allegations of fraud. A court ruling later upheld the election result, prompting thousands of Derev's supporters to march in protest, many advocating the partitioning of the republic.
Although activity by separatists in the region pales in comparison with Chechnya and Dagestan, militant groups exist in Karachay-Cherkessia. A car-bomb that killed two people in March 2001 was blamed on Chechen separatists. Muslim separatist groups have formed and dozens of their members have been killed by the Russian authorities. In September 2007, the FSB killed ethnic Abazin Rustam Ionov ("Abu-Bakar"), head of the Karachaevo Jamaat (assembly), along with his wife.
The republic is the home of what was the largest telescope in the world from 1975 until 1993 (the BTA-6), a very large radio telescope (600 meters in diameter, RATAN-600), and the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Science dedicated to the study of astronomy. These facilities are located on the bank of the Zelenchuk River, between the villages of Zelenchukskaya and Arkhyz.