Geographical location. The Republic of Karelia is located in the north-western part of the Russian Federation. Its area is 180,500 sq.km. The western border of Karelia coincides with the state border of Russia and Finland; border length is 798 kilometers.
Federal district: Northwestern
Administrative center: Petrozavodsk, distance to Moscow – 924 km
Major cities: Kondopoga, Segezha, Kostomuksha, Sortavala, Medvezhyegorsk
Population: 684,212 people
Population density: 3.81 people per sq.km.
GRP (2008 estimate): RUR 117.2 bln (USD 3.9 bln)
Per capita GRP (2008 estimate): RUR 170,100 (USD 5,670)
Primary economic activities: About 25.4% of the total iron-ore pellets output, 25.2% of paper produced in Russia, 61.5% of paper bags, 4.5% of marketable cellulose, 6.8% of commercial timber, 10% of common wire, 3.4% of lumber are manufactured in Karelia.
Lumber industry is the leading industry of the region, its products predominating in the range of export commodity groups. 33% of the total amount of owned shipped products, performed works and services rendered in the Republic fall on the enterprises of lumber industry.
Mining and metallurgical complex presents one of the most challenging trends in the economic development of the Republic. Block stone used to make memorial goods (monuments) is in stable demand at the market, primarily presented with gabbro-diabase mined in Druforetsky deposit (Prionezhsky district). In 2009, over 80% of the excavated block stones were black stones.
Processing industries are mainly represented by pulp-and-paper industry, publishing and printing industries, metallurgy and metalware production, woodworking and woodwork manufacture.
Agriculture. Milk and meat cattle breeding are the key agricultural sectors. There were 2 breeding farms and 3 multiplying farms dealing with Ayrshire stock rearing. Fishery is widely spread in Karelia. The pure lakes situated in the Republic are suitable for trout breeding. Commercial trout breeding is rapidly turning into the most rapidly developing economic branch of the Republic.
Natural resources. Karelia is the country of rocks, round stones and lakes. Over 49% of its territory is covered with woods. The main tree species are pine, fir, alder and aspen. Forest resources of all ages and species amount to 807 mln.cub.m.
About a quarter of the territory is occupied with water. There are over 61,000 of lakes and 26,700 of rivers in Karelia. The largest lakes are Ladoga Lake (area 17,700 sq.km.) and Onega Lake (area 9,900 sq.km.), which are also the largest water basins in Europe. Major rivers are Vodla (400 km), Vyg, Kovda, Kem, Suna, Shuya.
Over 50 minerals have been found in Karelia: iron ore, titanium, vanadium, molibdenum, noble metals, diamonds, glist, structural materials (granites, diabases, marbles), ceramic raw materials (pegmatites, feldspar), apatite-carbonate ores, alkaline amphibole asbestos.
Fuel and energy complex. Electric and heat energy are mainly produced and supplied by TGC-1, JSC. Its Karelian branch includes Petrozavodsk HPP, 17 power plants, a group of midget power plants and diesel and power plant at Valaam Island.
The key energy sources used in municipal housing economy are heavy fuel oil, diesel fuel, charcoal and natural gas, imported by the Republic for the heating supply companies.
Foreign trade turnover of the Republic of Karelia made USD 1.3 bln (2009 estimate): export - USD 1.04 bln, import - USD 238 mln. EU countries are the Republic’s main trade partners (over 70%), with one third of foreign trade volume falling on Finland. Karelia is an export-oriented region: about 50% of all the industrial products (up to 100% in some sectors) are exported.
Transport infrastructure. Being a transit territory, the Republic of Karelia is crossed by some important traffic arteries connecting industrially developed regions of Russia with ice-free Murmansk port and European countries through Finland. The White Sea Canal runs through its territory connecting the White and the Baltic Seas.
Transport complex is represented by practically all kinds of transport:
The total mileage of the republican railroads is 2,100 km. Trunk railroads to Murmansk, St.Petersburg and Helsinki cross the Republic.
The total mileage of motor roads is 12,500 km. Kola highway is the federal one (it starts in Yalta and goes to Moscow, through St.Petersburg, Petrozavodsk and Murmansk to Kirkenes).
There are 3 airports, 3 airfields, 11 landing grounds and a heliport in the Republic. Petrozavodsk Airport is an international one, serving flights to Moscow, St.Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, Cherepovets, Helsinki.
The network of lakes, rivers and channels allows access to the White Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea and the world ocean. The two key navigable transport ways are the White Sea – the Baltic Sea and the Volga – the Baltic Sea.
Tourism. Karelia, with its attractive geopolitical location, rich recreational resources and many centuries of cultural heritage, occupies a special place in the tourist market and is always interesting for both Russians and foreigners.
The region has perfect conditions for development of various types of tourism: cultural, educational, natural, ecological, sport, water, and rural. In the rating of the choices made by Russian tourists Karelia takes the first place in active types of tourism, and the third place – in winter tourism.
The three pearls of Karelia closely related to Russian culture, history and architecture are the islands of Valaam, Kizhi and Solovetsky islands, which have entered the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites and are also the national endow of Russia.
Karelia is the motherland of Kalevala, famous Karelo-Finnish epic – a literary monument of world significance. ncient Vepps, Karelian and Pomorian settlements built several centuries ago are well-preserved for tourists.