Russian Far East


Russian Far East
   Though the region is often viewed as part of Siberia, the Russian Far East (dal’nii vostok Rossii) is a historically and geographically distinct region of the Russian Federation. The area is comprised of the northeastern extremities of the Eurasian supercontinent, and borders on or near China, the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the American state of Alaska. In the Russian language, the region is simply referred to as the Far East, and is differentiated from the non-Russian parts of the Far East that are called East Asia (vostochnaia Aziia) or the Asia Pacific Region (Aziatsko-tikhookeanskii region).
   The region is roughly synonymous with the Far Eastern Federal District, and includes the federal subjects of Sakha, Amur, Kamchatka, Khabarovsk, Magadan, Chukotka, Primorsky, Sakhalin, and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Covering an area of more than 6,000,000 square kilometers with a population of less than 7 million, the Russian Far East is one of the most sparsely populated areas of the globe. While ethnic Russians are the majority (82 percent) in the region, there are large numbers of ethnic minorities, particularly indigenous peoples of the north. Traditional occupations such as reindeer herding and fishing continue to employ a sizable percentage of the autochthonous population. The region’s flora and wildlife are extremely diverse, and there have been efforts to protect the region’s pristine environment in recent years. However, newly discovered reserves of hydrocarbons, as well as continued exploitation of diamonds and precious metals, are making preservation of the ecosystem increasingly difficult.
   Due to its distance from Moscow and poor transportation links with the rest of the country, the Russian Far East is afforded a high level of autonomy compared to other regions of the Russian Federation. China’s historic claims to the region, combined with the steady flow of Chinese immigrants into the area, are of concern to many Russian politicians.
   See also Immigration; North Korea.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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