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Home / Tourism / About Karelia

The Republic of Karelia


The Republic of Karelia is situated in the north-west of Russia and is included in The Northern Economic Region of the Russian Federation. The area of Karelia is 180.5 thousand square kilometers (1.06% of the total territory of Russia). The territory of the republic stretches out from the north to the south for 660 km. The extension from the west to the east in the latitude of the city of Kemi is 424 km.

In the west Karelia borders upon Finland, in the south – upon Leningradskaya and Vologodskaya regions, in the north – upon Murmanskaya and in the east – upon Arkhangelskaya regions. In the northwest, the republic is washed by the White Sea. The western border of Karelia coincides with the frontier of the Russian Federation and its length is 726 km.

On the 1st of January 2005 the population of Republic Karelia was 703.1 thousand people (1939 - 468.9; 1979 - 732.1; 2000 - 765.1; 2002 - 716.7), with 75.5% living in cities and urban-type communities.

A third of the population lives in the capital city of the republic - Petrozavodsk. The population density of Karelia is 4 people per square kilometer.

The national structure of the population is the following: Russians – 76.6 per cent, Karelians – 9.2 per cent, Belorussians – 5.2 per cent, Ukrainians – 2.7 per cent, Finns – 2 per cent, Vepps – 0.75 per cent.

The republic includes 18 self-governing territories. Each self-governing territory is headed by a mayor, who is elected according to the Constitution of Karelia through direct secret voting. There are 3 cities of republican significance in Karelia (Petrozavodsk – 266.4 thousand people, Kostomuksha – 30.3 thousand people, Sortavala – 34.6 thousand people) and 15 regions.

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