Location, Area and Borders
The Udmurt Republic is a full subject of the Russian Federation, formed on the national state principle. Udmurtia is a part of the Volga (Privolzhsky) Federal District and the Ural economic region.
The capital of the Udmurt Republic is Izhevsk, located 1129 km away from Moscow, 1904 km away from Saint-Petersburg, and 800 km away from Yekaterinburg.
Udmurtia covers an area of 42.1 thousand square kilometers, 0.25 per cent of the total area of the Russian Federation, it is larger in area than Belgium or Netherlands, or Switzerland.
The Udmurt Republic is bordered by the Kirov Oblast in the northwest, the Perm Krai in the east, the Republic of Bashkortostan in the southeast, and the Republic of Tatarstan in the south and southwest.
The population of the Udmurt Republic is 1.5 million people, with 68 per cent living in cities and urban-type settlements. According to the 2002 All-Russian census report, representatives of over 130 ethnic groups live in Udmurtia. The Udmurts are the indigenous people of the republic. The total number of the Udmurts in the world is about 640,000 people, with two thirds living in Udmurtia. The largest ethnic groups are the Russians (60 per cent), Udmurts (almost 30 per sent), Tatars (about 7 per cent), Ukrainians, and Mari. There are a number of areas in the republic populated mostly by Tatar, Mari, Chuvash and Besermyan ethnic groups; the latter have been officially recognized as a native minority people.
Udmurtia is one of the most polyethnic and multiconfessional regions in Russia. Over centuries various cultures have vigorously interacted enriching each other, and Christianity, Islam and paganism have always existed in Udmurtia side by side.
The Russian and Udmurt languages are the state languages of the Udmurt Republic. The law secures the right for the preservation and development of the languages and cultures of all ethnic groups.
In a rather complicated socio-economic and ethno-political situation characteristic of Russia in general in the late XX-early XIX centuries, the Udmurt Republic has proved a comparatively stable region. Today it is one of the most trouble-free regions in the Russian Federation as far as the nature and state of inter-ethnic relations are concerned.
Administrative and territorial division of Udmurtia is determined by the current Constitution of the Udmurt Republic. According to the Constitution, Udmurtia comprises five republican cities and 25 districts.
The capital of the Udmurt Republic is the city of Izhevsk founded in 1760. Today Izhevsk is a major economic, industrial, scientific, cultural, transportation, political and administrative center. It is located in the central part of the republic and covers over 300 square kilometers. 616 thousand people (about 40 per cent of the republic’s population), live in Izhevsk.
The city of Glazov (population 99.5 thousand) is located in the northern part of Udmurtia. The status of a city was granted to it by Catherine the Great in 1780. In the early years of the Soviet power Glazov was the capital of the Votskaya Autonomous Oblast, then this status was passed to Izhevsk.
Sarapul (population almost 100 thousand) is another old city located on the right bank of the Kama River. One may call it the Suzdal of Udmurtia, for it can boast numerous historic buildings built by professional architects and ordinary citizens.
The city of Votkinsk (population 97.5 thousand), like many other old cities in the Ural, was built around a factory that used to produce anchors, river and sea boats, steam engines and boilers. Votkinsk is the birthplace of the great Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
Mozhga (population almost 49 thousand) is a cultural center in the southwestern part of Udmurtia. In the past it used to be a small town with a glass factory.
Kambarka (population over 12 thousand) is the youngest city in Udmurtia (it is a district city). Founded as a workers’ settlement next to one of Demidov’s iron foundries, today Kambarka is a river port.