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Karelia Republic of the Russian Federation in nw European Russia; the capital is Petrozavodsk. In the Middle Ages, the region was an independent Finnish state. Split in the 12th century between Sweden and Novgorod, it was unified under Swedish rule in the 17th century. The e was returned to Russia in 1721, while the w was part of Finland until 1940. After the Soviet-Finnish War (1939–40), the e sector absorbed 36,000sq km (14,000sq mi) of Finnish land and became a constituent republic (Karelo-Finnish SSR). During World War II, the Finns occupied most of Karelia but it was returned to the Soviet Union in 1944. Declaring itself the Republic of Karelia, it became a constituent republic of the Russian Federation in 1992. Climate restricts farming to the s, where vegetables and cereals are grown and livestock raised. Fishing and timber are the chief industries. The region has valuable mineral deposits. Area: 172,400sq km (66,564sq mi). Pop. (2000 est.) 766,400.
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