Chukotkan Autonomous Okrug

Physical geography and climate
Population, economic development and infrastructure
Indigenous land use and dependence on the environment
Environmental threats
Map (1997)
Article collection

Population, economic development and infrastructure

The indigenous population of the okrug lives concentrated in the coastal areas and in the valleys of the Anadyr , Amguema, Mal. Anyuy and Omolon rivers. The area is the original home of the Chukchi and Yupik (Siberian Eskimo) people. The latter occupied larger areas prior to colonisation, but were pressed to the Bering Strait area by the retreating Chukchi people. Yupik live today around the Chukotka Peninsula , mostly together with Chukchi between Uelen and Sireniki, but also in Uelkal and on Wrangel Island . Main Yupik centres are Lavrentiya, Chaplino and Sireniki. Evens and Chuvans live in eastern reaches of the okrug, the latter confined to the Chuvan Mountains in the upper Anadyr area, mainly in the village Chuvanskoye (Markovo district). Evens live in Anyuysk and Omolon in connection with the large Even residence areas in Yakutiya.

The majority of the Russian and other immigrant population is confined to the urban or near-urban areas along the coast, the Anadyr Basin , and to mining areas with temporary settlements. The economic crisis of the past decade has tempted many immigrants to move home which caused a recent increase in the indigenous population percentage.

The population of Chukotka was 164,000 during the census of 1989, declined then to 110,000 in 1994 and 55,000 in 2004. In the same time the indigenous population did not change much (ca. 16,000) and increased thus from 10% to 29%. The numerically largest indigenous population are the Chukchi (ca. 12,000), while Yupik constitute ca 1500, Evens 1300, and Chuvans 1000 people. Kereks are a very small ethnic group in the Mys Navarin area (less than 100 people). Yukagirs, Koryaks and Alyutors are represented with very small numbers.

There is little industry in the okrug, except for some food processing and construction materials. Manufacturing of arts and crafts, especially in Uelen, has some industrial character. The main economic base of the okrug, apart from primary occupations, is mining, much of which has rapidly been lost due to supply shortage and the resulting depopulation by non-natives. Produced metals are gold, tin tungsten, mercury (now abandoned) in the north of the area (Bilibino, Pevek, Mys Shmidta, Iultin) and in Provideniya, while coal is produced in Anadyr and Beringovskiy and used as (insufficient) local supply for the okrug. Electricity is produced of fossil fuel (large plants in Pevek and Egvekinot), and in the nuclear power plant of Bilibino (operative since 1974).

Several oil and gas provinces occur in and around the okrug, most of them on the continental shelf. Prospecting has until now been restricted to the Anadyr Depression which has promising deposits, mainly offshore. Investigations are ongoing, and the near futire may possibly see the start of hydrocarbon production in the Bering Sea off the Chukotkan coast.

The main infrastructure consists of coastal shipping during the navigational season (June-October in the North). The main mining areas have road connections with the large urban centres and seaports (Pevek, Provideniya, Egvekinot, Anadyr ). Inland roads are not used in winter, except by heavy trucks. There is air transportation to many places.