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General info

Location, natural resources. Population. The Republic of Karelia takes intervening position between the basins of the Barents and the Baltic seas. The total territory of Karelia is 172 400 sq.km. In the west Karelia borders on Finland; in the north, on Arkhangelsk Oblast; in the south, on Vologda and Leningrad Oblasts.

The most part of the republic's territory (148 000 sq.km. or 85%) is comprised of state forest stock. 25% of the territory is covered by water. There are 27 000 rivers and over 60 000 lakes in Karelia. Lake Ladoga and Lake Onego are the largest lakes in Europe. The total length of the waterway network is almost 83 th. km.

Natural resources. 50 useful minerals are found in Karelia, located in more than 400 deposits. Among them are: iron ores; chrome and titanium-magnetite ores; vanadium; molibdenum; gold; quartzites, including crimson quartzites; shungites; gabbro-diabases; granites; marble. Karelia has been identifies as having diamond deposits. At the present time a search is being carried out.

Transport.The Republic has a rather well developed network of transport infrastructure. Water communications connect Karelia with the Barents, Baltic, Black and Caspian Seas (through the system of rivers, lakes and canals). Federal railway and automobile highways cross Karelia and connect Murmansk Oblast and Murmansk sea port with St.-Petersburg, Moscow, the center of Russia and with Finland. A modern highway runs along the October railroad and connects Karelia with Leningrad and Murmansk Oblasts. A commercial railroad Ledmozero-Kochkoma, which will link the western border with the October railroad, is under construction. Length of transportation network is: railroads (2.917 km); highways (14.373 km); water-ways (2.1 km); air routes (2.71 km). Density of a hard covered road network - 36 km for every 1000 sq.km. of territory.

Population (people).

Resident population by the beginning of 2000

765.1 th.

Economically active population by the end of 1999

414.0 th.

Share of urban population, %


Employed people (by the end of 1999), %


Density of population, people/km2


Share of population in employable age group, by the beginning of 2000, %


Unemployed people by the ILO (by the end of 1999), %


Administrative -- territorial division. Authority. The republic consists of 19 sovereign territories, 808 populated areas.

There are 3 cities of the Republican significance (Petrozavodsk-282.9 th., Kostomuksha- 32.5 th., Sortavala-20.2 th. inhabitants), 4 towns and districts of republican significance (Kem and Kemsky district, Kondopoga and Kondopozhsky district, Pitkyaranta and Pitkyarantsky district, Segezha and Segezhsky district), 11 districts including Kalevalsky national one, 1 volost (Vepska national volost) with the status of administrative and territorial unit, 11 settlements of town type.

A sovereign territory of the republic is led by the Head, elected in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Karelia through direct secret voting.

According to the Constitution of Russia, the Karelian Republic (KR) is a subject of the Russian Federation. The Legislative Assembly is a representative body and the only legislative body of KR, a successor of the Supreme Soviet of the KR. It consists of two houses - the House of Republic and the House of Representatives. The deputies of both houses are elected for 4 years. The Government of the Republic of Karelia consists of the Head of the Government of the Republic of Karelia, the first deputy head and the deputy heads of the Government, leaders of the republic bodies of the executive power. 12 ministries, 8 committees are included in structure of the executive authority of the Republic of Karelia.

Economy. GRP in the Republic of Karelia in 1998 - R 11306 mln (USD 546.2 mln), that amounts to 0.5% of GRP for Russian Federation (4.6% of GRP for Northwest of Russia). GRP per capital in the Republic of Karelia in 1998 - R 14601.6 (USD 705.4).

Industry. The structure of the economy of the Republic is industrially oriented and is characterized by the prevalence of extractive industries. The leading role in the industry belongs to the forest complex. The role Karelia plays in Russian economy is determined by the branches using local natural resources (timber, wood-processing, pulp and paper industries, ferrous metallurgy, construction materials industry), and also by the well-established branches of machine-building, non-ferrous metallurgy, and other industries working on imported raw materials. The republic makes 9.2% of the total amount of iron are got in RF, 21.5% of total amount of paper produced in RF, 7.3% - of pulp, 7.3% - of industrial wood, 4% of sawlog, about 60% of paper bags.

In 1999 - first half of 2000 year industry was being restored and even grew. Index of industry output in 1999 in Karelia accounts for 122.0 % of 1998 level.

On the whole stable work characterizes enterprises of pulp and paper industry. In 1999, paper production grew by 27%, pulp - by 87%, paperbags - by 41%, paperboard - by 39%. The second large is metallurgy industry. In 1999 the industry volume rate in ferrous metal industry grew by 3.7% comparing to 1998. In mining industry volume index made 114% in extractive industry , 132% in construction materials production comparing to 1998. 1999 was marked by production volume growth in makingmachinery industry -volume index made 146.1%.

Agriculture. Karelian agriculture focuses on milk cattle-breeding, poultry farming, potato- growing, vegetable-growing, and on growing animals for furs.

Investment activities. In 1999, for the first time for last years there was a growth of the investments in a fixed capital, which has constituted 153% to 1998 level. Major factor of this growth - improvement of financial status of enterprises. Main size of investments in 1999 concentrated in industry (46.3%) and transport (16.7%).

Main share of foreign investments in 1999 concentrated in industry (97.6%). In Karelia there are over 200 functioning enterprises with foreign investment with 41 countries as participants. 22% of the enterprises are fully owned by foreign investors. Most of the enterprises are established by entrepreneurs from Finland (56%), the USA (6.8%) and Germany (4.3%).

Main spheres of the economy, where enterprises with foreign investment are established are as follows: logging and timber processing, lumber production, timber goods manufacturing- 23.9% ; wholesale and retail trade, intermediary activity- 21% ; organization of car service, car sale, transportation and passenger services- 8.3% ; geological prospecting, deposit mining- 5.3%; road and housing construction, industrial construction- 5.6%.

Free economic zone. The establishment of a free economic zone is planned in the city of Kostomuksha, located in the north of Karelia near the Finnish border. The Conception of the free economic zone has been confirmed as the official conception of the Government of the Republic of Karelia. At present preparation for technical and economic research and feasibility study is carried out.


Presentation by V.A.Shljamin, Minister of the Economic Development of the Republic of Karelia, International Forum "Northern Dimension. Social prosperity and public health".
On September, 17 2002 V.A. Shljamin, Minister of Economic Development of the Republic of Karelia, Chairman of Committee for International and External Economic Activity of North-West Association presented a report  "Social and economic constituents of the "Northern Dimension" must be harmonized" in Yonsuu. To get acquainted with the text of presentation, please, visit the official server of the Administration of the Republic of Karelia.



April of 2002

The Republic of Karelia was generally recognized as the Best European region of 2003.

In April of 2002 The Republic of Karelia was invited (among a few EastEuropean regions) to participate in the entry of  EuroRegion 2003.

Since 2000, an international organization Year European Region with its headquarters in Barcelona (Spain) has been holding these entries for the regions of European Union. In 2002 the non-EU states have been invited to participate in the entry for the first time.
A few days ago the International Jury has announced two winners the Spanish region of Balers Isles (among the EU states) and the Russian region  The Republic of Karelia. The President of the international organization Year European Region congratulated heartily the Head of the Republic of Karelia Sergey Katanandov. The president, in particular, said: "We would like you to accept our hearty congratulations with your success. We are sure that from the current moment the Republic of Karelia is more world-famed and it will bring many positive results, which such a victory always brings.

May of 2002

news release

A book The natural and cultural heritage of White Sea Islands

In May of 2002 the book of  The natural and cultural heritage of White Sea Islands was published. This book has been the first team-work project of Russian and Scandinavian specialists, completed with the research results of cultural and natural sites of Karelia White Sea (Karelian Belomoriye), as well as the Norwegian and Swedish coastal sites.

The most of materials about the Karelian Belomoriye, presented in this book, were received during the team-work process within the framework of long-term, comprehensive international project The Cultural and Natural Heritage of White Sea Islands, started in 2000.

The Russian participants were the researchers from the Karelian Scientific Center of Russian Academy of Science, State Center of Preserve and Recreation of Historical and Cultural sites, attached to the Ministry of Culture (The Republic of Karelia).  The other countries were represented in the project by the scientists from Tromso University (Norway), Uppsala University (Sweden), as well as the museum assistants of Norway and Sweden.

In 2002 there are the explorers of Finland to join the project realization (Helsinki University).

For the further information please contact:

Nadezhda V. Mikhailova, Chairman Assistant of Karelia Scientific Center Presidium (RAS)

tel.: 7(8142) 780109
fax: 7(8142) 769600



Monography Russia in the Northern dimension

In 2002  a monography by Minister of Foreign Relations, Republic of Karelia, Chairman of the Committee for External Economic Relations, Association "North-West Valerij Alexandrovich Shlyamin "Russia in "the Northern dimension" was published  (in Russian).

To purchase the monography, please contact:

Petrozavodsk State University
Address: Petrozavodsk, pr. Lenina, 33
fax 7(814-2) 711-000
tel. 7(814-2) 78-15-40