Khantiya-Mansiya


Khantiya-Mansiya
   / KHANTY-MANSI AUTONOMOUS OKRUG-YUGRA
   An administrative district of the Russian Federation. As an autonomous okrug (AOk), Khantiya-Mansiya is both a federal subject of the Russian Federation and a subject of the Tyumen Oblast, which lies on its southern border. The region also shares a border with Yamaliya, Tomsk, Sverdlovsk, and the Komi Republic. It is part of the Urals Federal District and the West Siberian Economic Region. The administrative center of the region is Khanty-Mansiisk, a city buoyed by oil wealth that has emerged as a showcase among Russian cities; despite its small size (pop. 60,000) it will soon boast a 280-meter diamond-shaped tower meant to signify the region’s wealth.
   Khantiya-Mansiya occupies a land area of 523,100 square kilometers and has a population over 1.4 million. Unlike most of Siberia, Khantiya-Mansiya has experienced a population boom since 1991, with an increase of nearly 100,000 residents. The major ethnic groups include ethnic Russians (66 percent), Ukrainians (9 percent), Tatars (8 percent), and Bashkirs (2.5 percent). The region’s dual titular minorities, the Khanty and the Mansi, make up 1.2 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
   The territory is divided between tundra, swampland, and taiga and has several major rivers, including the Ob and the Irtysh. During the late Middle Ages, the region was known as Yugra. When the region fell to invading Cossacks, the indigenous Ugrian peoples, known as the Ostyaks (Khanty) and Voguls (Mansi), were subjected to Russification and forced to convert to Russian Orthodoxy. In the early Soviet period, Moscow established an East Vogul National Autonomous Okrug, which became the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug in 1943, an appellation that survived the transition from Soviet to post-Soviet control. The region’s name was officially altered to include the historical name “Yugra” in 2003. Like its sister district Yamaliya, Khantiya-Mansiya is partially administered by Tyumen; however, the exact constitutional relationship of the Khanty-Mansi AOk to Moscow and Tyumen remains contentious.
   In the 1990s, Khantiya-Mansiya sought relief from the federal constitutional court regarding what it saw as Tyumen’s illegal attempts at exercising control over oil revenues. Khantiya-Mansiya is Russia’s leading producer of oil, representing 57 percent of the country’s oil production and 7.5 percent of global output (approximately 5 million barrels per day). It is Russia’s second-largest producer of electrical energy and its third-largest natural gas producer. Despite its location and relatively small population, the region accounts for more than one-tenth of Russia’s tax income. Oil revenues account for 90 percent of the regional economy, but natural gas fields are also undergoing massive development. Forestry and fishing are also important to the region.
   Aleksandr Filipenko has served as the elected head of the regional administration since 1996 (he was appointed to the post by Boris Yeltsin in 1991). His early administration was characterized by attempts to secede from Tyumen in order to keep a larger percentage of revenues within the AOk; over time, he has been forced to simply work toward greater autonomy. He has signed numerous deals with energy producers such as Lukoil, Rosneft, and Slavneft, many of which have clauses that promote local social development, ecologically sound approaches to fossil fuel extraction, and protection of indigenous cultures.
   Reappointed by Vladimir Putin in 2005, he has sought to diversify the regional economy by attracting highly trained scientists and academics to the region. By focusing on telecommunication and information technology, Filipenko hopes to turn the district into a “Silicon Taiga” that will retain its young people and attract talent from around Russia. The district’s oil boom has created a magnet for legal and illegal immigrants from all over the Russian Federation and other post-Soviet countries, particularly Tajikistan.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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