Soviet Union : Mother Russia

Compiled by Times researchers Lela Bristol and Steve Gutterman

Russia, the land of 150 million people stretching from the Gulf of Finland to the Pacific, has 31 autonomous republics and regions. It is known officially as the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. With the 12 full-fledged Soviet republics attaining varying degrees of freedom from Moscow, many non-Russian parts of the Russian Federation are stirring with the desire for independence. AUTONOMOUS REPUBLICS

1. ADYGEI--Population: 426,000; Adygei 22.1%, Russians 68%. 2. BASHKIRIA--Declared sovereignty a year ago, but has since agreed with Russian President Boris N. Yeltsin that it will remain part of federation. Population--4 million: Bashkirs 21.9%, Russians 39.3%. 3. BIROBIDZHAN--Set up in 1930s as Jewish enclave, but small Jewish population is dwindling with emigration to Israel. Formerly autonomous region, it declared itself autonomous republic last month. Population--220,000, 83.2% Russian. 4. BURYATIA--Population--1 million: Buryats 24%, Russians 70%. 5. CHECHENO-INGUSHETIA--Retired Gen. Dzhokar Dudayev staged coup in October, then rode wave of nationalism to presidency of largely Muslim republic in elections declared illegal by Russia. Yeltsin suffered major defeat when forced Nov. 11 to lift state of emergency and withdraw government troops. Population--1.2 Million: Chechens 53%, Russians 29%, Ingush 12%. 6. CHUVASHIA--Declared sovereignty in October, 1990. Population--1.3 million: Chuvash 67.8%, Russians 27.6%. 7. DAGESTAN--In October, demonstrators demanded new Parliament chosen by elections, but changes have yet to be made. Population--1.7 million: Avars 27.5%, Dargyns 15.6%, Kumyk 12.9%, Lezgins 11.3%, Russians 9.2%, Lak 5.1%. 8. GORNO-ALTAI--Population--180,000: Altais 31%, Russians 60.4%. 9. KABARDINO-BALKAR--Population--732,000: Kabards 48.2%, Balkars 9.4%, Russians 32%. 10. KALMYKIA--Declared sovereignty in October, 1990. Two rounds of elections early this month failed to produce region's first president. Population--329,000: Kalmyks 45.4%, Russians 37.7%. 11. KARACHAI-CHERKESSIA--Declared sovereignty last December. Population--402,000: Karachai 31.2%, Cherkess 9.7%, Russians 42.4%. 12. KARELIA--Finland has made halfhearted claims to the timber-producing region ceded forcibly to Soviets in 1940; it declared sovereignty last year. Population--795,000: Karelians 10%, Russians 73.6%. 13. KHAKASS--Population--555,000: Khakass 11.1%, Russians 79.5%. 14. KOMI--Suffered severe food shortages in early autumn because of problems with Soviet supply network. Nationalists propose presidential election, but extensive changes are not expected. Population--1.2 million: Komi 23.3%, Russians 57.7%. 15. MARI--Population--739,000: Mari 43.3%, Russians 47.5%. 16. MORDOVIA--Declared sovereignty in August, 1990. Population--964,000: Mordovinians 32.5%, Russians 60.8%. 17. NENETS--Population--54,000: Nenets 11.9%, Russians 65.8%. 18. NORTH OSSETIA--Plans to hold talks with neighboring Georgia in effort to stop bloodshed in South Ossetia, which is in Georgia and wants to become part of Russian Federation. Population--619,000: Ossetians 53%, Russians 29.9%. 19. TATARSTAN--In aftermath of pro-independence riots in October, largely Muslim republic reaffirmed sovereignty and plans referendum on independence. Population--3.6 million: Tatars 48.5%, Russians 43.3%. 20. TUVA--Over 8,000 Russians, targets of ethnic violence, fled Tuva in 1990. Population--309,000: Tuvinians 64.3%, Russians 32%. 21. UDMURTIA--Declared sovereignty last year. Once a gem of Soviet defense industry, it now suffers economically. Population--1.6 million: Udmurts 30.9%, Russians 58.9%. 22. YAKUTIA--Proclaimed sovereignty last year, saying Russia and Soviet Union would have to pay for use of its abundant natural resources. Population--1.2 million: Yakuts 33.4%, Russians 50.3%.

AUTONOMOUS REGIONS 23. AGA BURYAT--Population 78,000: Buryats 54.9%, Russians 40.8%. 24. KOMI-PERMYAK--Population--161,000: Komi-Permyaks 60.2%, Russians 36.1%. 25. KORYAK--Population--40,000: Koryaks 16.5%, Russians 62%. 26. TAIMYR (DOLGAN-NENETS)--Population--55,000: Dolgans 8.9%, Nenets 4.8%, Russians 67.1%. 27. UST-ORDA BURYAT--Population--129,000: Buryats 36.3%, Russians 56.6%. 28. KHANTI-MANSI--Population--1.1 million: Khant 0.9%, Mansi 0.5%, Russians 66.3%. 29. CHUKCHI--Population--157,000: Chukchi 7.3%, Russians 66.1%. 30. EVENKI--Population--22,000: Evenks 14%, Russians 67.5%. 31. YAMAL-NENETS--Population--430,000: Nenets 4.2%, Russians 59.2%.

Sources: The Soviet Encyclopedic Dictionary, Argumenty I Fakty (Arguments and Facts, a Soviet weekly), Tass, Interfax, Los Angeles Times

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