One of the 21 autonomous
republic of Russia
, an enormous but very sparsely populated region occupying much of central Siberia
. It has only a million people, half Russian and one-third Yakut
, in an area of 3 000 000 km2
, stretching from the Arctic Ocean
to the mountains of the Aldan
plateau near China. It includes all the basin of the River Lena
. It is of immense strategic value, being one of the world's main sources of diamond
s. The capital is Yakutsk
The Russian name for the republic is Yakutia, after the people, the Yakuts, who speak a Turkic language, and it was formerly known as Yakutia in English. But the native name Sakha is now the official name.
The Yakuts moved into the area in the Middle Ages, followed by the Russians starting in the seventeenth century. It became an ASSR (called Sakha ASSR in Yakut) in 1922. The presidents since the end of the Soviet Union have been:
- Mikhail Nikolayev 1989-2002
- Vyacheslav Shtyrov 2002-
The flag features a white disk on a light blue background. At the bottom are narrow stripes of white over red over a somewhat wider green one. In 1918 a pre-Soviet Yakut republic used a flag of horizontal black, white, and red.