One of the 21 autonomous
republics of Russia
, located in the Altai Mountains in southern Siberia
, and bordering Kazakhstan
. The area is about 90 000 km2
and the population is 200 000.
The republic is also known as Gorno-Altai, or mountainous Altai (and can be spelt Altay). There is also an Altai Territory in Russia adjoining it but not part of it; they were formerly united. Altai was an autonomous oblast until the breakup of the Soviet Union, when it elevated itself to republic status. It was called Oirot from 1922 to 1948, then Gorno-Altai, and adopted the name Altai Republic in the 1990s.
The capital is Gorno-Altaisk. This was originally known as Ulala, then between 1932 and 1948 as Oirot-Tura. The people of Altai are the Oirots and speak a Turkic language, though Russians are a majority. The local parliament is the El Kurultay.
The heads of the republic have been:
Valery Chaptynov 1990-1997
Vladilen Volkov 1997
Semyon Zubakin 1997-2002
Mikhail Lapshin 2002-
The flag is two-thirds white over one-quarter pale blue, with narrow bands of pale blue and white separating them.