Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area

views updated

Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area (yəmäl´ō-nyĕ´nyĬts), administrative division (1995 pop. 479,700), c.290,000 sq mi (751,000 sq km), NW Siberian Russia, on both sides of the Gulf of Ob and including the Yamal peninsula. The area has frozen ground (permafrost) and tundra, forest tundra, and taiga vegetation. There are deposits of iron ore, coal, natural gas, and peat in the region. Exploration of the huge oil and gas fields on the Yamal peninsula has damaged reindeer habitat and destroyed fishing, threatening the longstanding self-sufficiency of the Nenets people, whose traditional occupations have been reindeer raising, fishing, and fur trapping. Salekhard is the capital and Novy Port is a regular supply point on the Northern Sea route. The population consists of Russians, Nenets, Khanty, and Komi. The area was organized as a special area in 1930. The Soviet government maintained forced labor camps in the area.