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Vaygach or Vaigach (both: vīgäch´), island, 1,312 sq mi (3,398 sq km), Nenets Autonomous Area, off NE European Russia, in the Arctic Ocean, between the mainland and Novaya Zemlya. A continuation of the Pay-Khoy range, the island is covered with tundra and has zinc, copper, and lead deposits. Two settlements, Vaygach and Varnet, are on the island. It is named after the Russian mariner who discovered it in the 16th cent.