Chuvash Republic — Chuvashia (English)
Чувашская Республика — Чувашия (Russian)
Чăваш Республики — Чăваш Ен (Chuvash)
|Coat of Arms||Flag|
Coat of arms of Chuvashia
Flag of Chuvashia
|Anthem: National Anthem of the Chuvash Republic|
|Established||June 24, 1920|
|Area||18,300 km2 (7,065.7 sq mi)|
|- Rank within Russia||74th|
|Population (as of the 2002 Census)|
|- Rank within Russia||41st|
|- Density||71.8 /km2 (186/sq mi)|
|Official language(s)||Russian, Chuvash|
|Government (as of October 2008)|
|Legislative body||State Council|
|Constitution||Constitution of the Chuvash Republic|
Chuvash Republic — Chuvashia (Russian: Чува́шская Респу́блика — Чува́шия; Chuvash: Чăваш Республики — Чăваш Ен), or Chuvashia (Чува́шия) is a federal subject of Russia (a republic) located in central Russia. It is the homeland of Chuvash people.
Chuvashia is located in the centre of the European part of Russia, in the heart of the Volga-Vyatka region, midway between Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan. The republic is not large, but is one of the most densely populated regions in the Russian Federation, with a total population of 1.35 million people.
It is bordered to the north and west by the Volga River, with the Mari El Republic to the north and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast to the west. To the south it borders Mordovia and Ulyanovsk Oblast, to the east Tatarstan. The capital city of Cheboksary is the republic’s major industrial center. Cheboksary is mostly situated on the right bank of the Volga River (one left bank district was included in the city boundaries in the second part of XX century) , approximately 650 km east of Moscow.
Chuvashia’s central location gives companies located here easy access to some of the most industrially developed regions of the country. The majority of the republic is rural in character, with Cheboksary (population 453,700 in 2004) and Novocheboksarsk (population 125,600 in 2004) in the north along the Volga River being the major industrialized cities. Forests, mostly in the south along the Sura River, cover approximately 30 percent of the land.
Chuvashia has a moderate continental climate. Average temperatures range from −13 °C (8.6 °F) in January to +19 °C (66.2 °F) in July. Annual precipitation can reach 500 millimeters (20 in) The varied continental climate offers opportunities for both summer and winter recreational activities.
According to the 2002 Census, Chuvashia's total population was 1,346,300. 794,800, or 60.9% of the population were living in urban areas. 510,200, or 39.1% of the population were living in rural areas. The largest city is the capital, Cheboksary, followed by nearby Novocheboksarsk.
|Births||Deaths||Birth rate||Death rate|
According to the 2002 Census, ethnic Chuvash make up 67.7% of the republic's population. Other groups include Russians (26.5%), Tatars (2.8%), Mordvins (1.2%), and a host of smaller groups, each accounting for less than 0.5% of the total population.
|census 1926||census 1939||census 1959||census 1970||census 1979||census 1989||census 2002|
|Chuvash||667,695 (74.6%)||777,202 (72.2%)||770,351 (70.2%)||856,246 (70.0%)||887,738 (68.4%)||906,922 (67.8%)||889,268 (67.7%)|
|Russians||178,890 (20.0%)||241,386 (22.4%)||263,692 (24.0%)||299,241 (24.5%)||338,150 (26.0%)||357,120 (26.7%)||348,515 (26.5%)|
|Tatars||22,635 (2.5%)||29,007 (2.7%)||31,357 (2.9%)||36,217 (3.0%)||37,573 (2.9%)||35,689 (2.7%)||36,379 (2.8%)|
|Mordvins||23,958 (2.7%)||22,512 (2.1%)||23,863 (2.2%)||21,041 (1.7%)||20,276 (1.6%)||18,686 (1.4%)||15,993 (1.2%)|
|Others||1,301 (0.1%)||6,703 (0.6%)||8,596 (0.7%)||10,930 (0.9%)||14,874 (1.3%)||19,606 (1.4%)||23,599 (1.8%)|
The first inhabitants to leave traces in the area later known as Chuvashia were of the Finno-Ugric Comb Ceramic Culture. Later, people of the Indo-European Battle Axe Culture moved into the area and established several villages. These two peoples assimilated to become the Hillfort Culture of the Middle Volga Area. They had strong economic and linguistic ties with southern steppe peoples like the Scythians and Sarmatians .
The ancestors of the Chuvash were Hunnish Bulgars and Suars residing in the Northern Caucasus in the 5th to 8th centuries. In the 7th and 8th centuries, a part of the Bulgars left for the Balkans, where, together with local Slavs, they established the state of modern Bulgaria. Another part moved to the Middle Volga Region (see Volga Bulgaria), where the Bulgar population that did not adopt Islam formed part of the ethnic foundation of the Chuvash people.
During the Mongol invasion of Volga Bulgaria the steppe-dwelling Suar migrated north, where Finnic tribes, such as the Mordvins and Mari lived. The Chuvash claim to be descendants of these Suars who assimilated with the Mari.
They became vassals of the Golden Horde in 1242, after a bloody uprising which the Mongols brutally suppressed with an army of 40.000 warriors. Later Mongol and Tatar rulers did not intervene in local internal affairs as long as the annual tributes were paid to Sarai. The Tokhtamysh–Timur war (1361–1395) devastated 80% of the Suar people. When the power of the Golden Horde began to diminish, the local Mişär Tatar Murzas from Piana and Temnikov tried to rule the Chuvash area.
During Ivan IV's war of conquest against the Khanate of Kazan, in August 1552 The Chuvash Orsai and Mari Akpar Tokari Princes swore their loyalty to the Grand Duchy of Muscovy at Alatyr on the Suvarlej River. This ended nearly 120 years within the rule of the Khanate of Kazan. In return, Ivan IV promised to honour all historic land rights of the Chuvash and Maris on both sides of the Volga River from the Kerzhenets to the Sviyaga River. In addition, Ivan IV ordered a five year period freedom of tributes for the Chuvash and Mari leaders. The Chuvash provided 15,000 soldiers, the Mari 10,000 warriors to Ivan's army for the final attack against Kazan, giving the Muscovites a force of 100,000 warriors against the Khanates 30,000 Nogai Tatars defending the fortified city.
Disappointed by Russian rule, part of the Chuvash population rebelled against the Muscovites and joined with the Mari during the Kazan War of 1552–1594. During the Time of Troubles, they joined the troops of the False Dmitri.
In Imperial Russia, the territory of modern Chuvashia was divided over two administrative districts: the northern part was under the Kazan Governorate and the southern part was under the Simbirsk Governorate. The border ran roughly from Kurmish to Buinsk.
The Chuvash and Mari joined the Stenka Razin and Pugachev rebellions in 1667–1671 and 1773–1775, when the Volga area from Astrakhan to Nizhni Novgorod was in open revolt against Moscow rule. During these years, many Chuvash escaped east to the Southern Urals.
During the period 1650–1850 the Russian Orthodox Church sent Chuvash-speaking missionaries to work with the Chuvash and convert them to the Orthodox faith. A group of these missionaries created a written Chuvash language. The first Chuvash grammar was published in 1769. Chuvash had earlier been written with a Runic script or the Arabic alphabet. A revised Cyrillic alphabet for Chuvash was first introduced in 1873 by Ivan Yakovlevich Yakovlev. The Latin alphabet has been used as well, though there is no standard transcription. Most of the Chuvash who stayed in the area became Orthodox Christians, but some remained pagan.
A number of Russian noble families received large estates in the Chuvash lands, as reward for their services to the Tsar. The independent land-owning Chuvash peasants became Serfs to rich Russian landowners. Russian became the official language. Few attempts were made to provide primary education in the Chuvash language and all higher education was in Russian.
After Alexander II abolished Serfdom, many land-hungry Chuvash peasants moved to other areas in Russia to gain their own land. Between 1860–1914, nearly half of the Chuvash population left their home areas. The final wave took place during the Stolypin agrarian reforms.
During the 19th and early 20th century, national feelings started to rise among the Chuvash intelligentsia. They connected with other minority pro-independence movements in the middle Volga area. Marxist ideology arose among the poorest peasant population and industrial workers. On May 15, 1917, the Chuvash joined the Idel-Ural Movement and in December 1917 joined the short lived Idel-Ural State, when an agreement was reached with Tatar representatives to draw the eastern border of Chuvashia at the Sviaga River.
The Chuvash promised to respect the Islamic Tatars' religion and grant them local and cultural autonomy inside the League of Idel Ural States. The southern border with the Mordvins was set along the Sura River with equal rights guaranteed to the Chuvash living west of the Sura. In the south the border went along the Barysh, Bolshoi Akla and Tsilna Rivers between Sura and Sviaga. In the north there was a dispute with representantives of Mari populated Tsykma (Kozmodemyansk) and other areas in Chuvashia.
In 1918–1919, there was a bitter civil war in the area between the Red Army and the White Movement. This battle ended with victory for the Bolsheviks, who were mainly of ethnic Russian origin, with strong support from Nizhny Novgorod troops. The local Chuvash independence oriented politicians were eliminated by the Bolsheviks.
To gain support from the local population, Lenin ordered a Chuvash State to be created inside the Soviet Union. On June 24, 1920, the Chuvash Autonomous Oblast was formed, which was transformed into the Chuvash ASSR in April 1925.
The 1930–1931 Communist campaign against the rich Kulak peasant class, which resulted in their deportation to Gulag prison camps and the elimination of independent peasant farms, hitthe Chuvash ASSR agricultural production hard. The Great Purge in 1936–1938 dealt a great blow to the Chuvash intelligentsia. Many were shot or deported to prison camps. Most of the local Chuvash teachers were shot, making it difficult to teach Chuvash, as the Russian replacements did not know the language. Ethnic Russians kept control of the area and the Russification of the Chuvash and Mari peoples intensified.
During the period 1930–1940 the change from mainly agriculture to industry was initialled. By 1940 the Chuvash ASSR produced 35,000,000kWh electricity, 848,000m2 raw timber, 369,000m2 sawn timber, 40,000m Cotton cloth, 200,000 pairs of hosiery, 184,000 pairs of leather footwear, and 600 tons of animal fats.
According to an order dated May 28, 1940 by the Central Committee of Communist Party, 20,000 Kolkhoz peasant families of Belorussian, Chuvash, Mordvin and Tatar origin were transferred to the "New districts of the Leningrad Oblast and the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic", recently conquered in the Soviet-Finnish war. In 1941, another 20,000 families followed, one family averaging five persons. Lavrentiy Beria even suggested to transfer the entire Chuvash population from Chuvashia to Karelia to form a population security belt "against the Finnish Fascists".
During the Great Patriotic War and the post war industrialization period more and more Russians moved into Chuvashia. They populated the expanding towns, but the rural population remained mostly agriculturally oriented Chuvashians and Kuruk Maris. In the south of the Republic, Russians and other minority people like Ukrainians, moved in to work in the newly created Chuvash Forest Industry Combinate.
In 1964 the Chuvash ASSR produced 350,000,000 kWh electricity, 1,073,000m2 raw timber, 760,000m2 sawn timber, 113,100,000m Cotton cloth, 28,800,000 pairs of hosiery, 1,800,000 pairs of leather footwear, and 3,200 tons of animal fats. On January 1, 1966 the population of the Chuvash ASSR was 1,178,000.
The Chuvash Republic is an autonomous republic forming a part of the Russian Federation. As a republic, the region has greater sovereignty than other areas of Russia in determining local policies and procedures. Nikolai Vasilyevich Fyodorov, a former minister of justice of the Russian Federation, was elected as the first president of the Chuvash Republic in 1994 and is still in office. He has a reputation as a pro-market reformer and has pressed the region to establish closer economic ties with foreign countries. He has also pushed to encourage the growth of small businesses. The mayor of Cheboksary, Anatoly Igumnov, is also eager to work with international companies. Both the republic and the city governments have departments of foreign economic relations that are eager to support foreign business visitors.
Chuvashia is the most populous and fertile country in Middle Volga Region. There are deciduous woodlands on fertile black earth soils. In agriculture wheat and sugar-beet, pigs and beef cattle have become more important than the rye, oats, barley and dairy cattle which are typical for the whole area.
Chuvashia is Russia's centre for hops growing and is famous throughout the country for its long history of beer brewing. It is also a major center for electrical engineering, especially in the area of power transmission and control systems. Other leading industries are metalworking, electricity generation, and chemical manufacturing. There are also large timber-working mills at Shumerlin.
The transport network in Chuvashia is one of the most developed in Russia. The republic's system of roads, railroads, waterways, and airports closely ties the region with others in and outside of Russia.
Only four roads in the Chuvash Republic are classified as important Federal Highways. The most important is the Highway M 7 which runs from Nizhny Novgorod through northern Chuvashia from Yadrinsky Nikolskoye via Malye Tyumerli, Kalmykovo, Khyrkasy, Novye Lapsary, Kugesi, Shivlinsk, Staraya Tyurlema, to Kazan in the Republic of Tatarstan. It also forms a connection via Chuvashia through the southern suburbs of Cheboksary and Novocheboksary to Mari El and the Vyatka Highway. Part of this road is classified as a motorway, the only one in the Chuvash Rebublic. From Yadrinsky Nikolskoye the Federal road P 178 runs through Yadrin, Shumerlya, Alatyr, to Surskoye in Ulyanovsk Oblast and further to Ulyanovsk. In the eastern part of Chuvashia the Federal road A 151 runs from Tsivilsk through Kanash, Komsomolskoye, Chkalovskoye, Karabay-Shemursha, Shemursha to Ulyanovsk and Saratov. All other roads in Chuvashia are classified as local area roads.
Automobiles, trucks, and buses carry the majority of transportation, as the republic ranks fourth in highway density in all of Russia. Cheboksary is situated on one of the main highways of the Russian Federation leading from Moscow to the industrial areas of Tatarstan, the Southern Urals, and Siberia. Furthermore, a recently completed bridge across the Volga to the north connects the republic to the developed Ural and Volga Federal Districts. To the south, highways connect Chuvashia with Saratov and Volgograd. Extensive public and private bus systems connect all towns within the republic with each other and with the surrounding regions.
Standard speed of transportation of containers by road is 400 km per day. Average time of delivery from Cheboksary to Moscow is 1.5 days; to Saint Petersburg, 2.5 days; and to Western Europe, 10 to 15 days.
The railway network is highly developed, convenient, and accessible year-round. One of the largest railway junctions of Russia - Kanash — is in the center of the republic. Via Kanash, the rail system connects the major towns in Chuvashia with the big industrial centers of Eastern Siberia, the Urals, and Moscow. Express trains are reliable and almost always on time, presenting a low-cost, comfortable way to travel. Express trains to and from Moscow are available everyday, and the overnight journey is approximately fourteen hours each way.
The following railway stations and platforms serve railway traffic in the Chuvash Republic:
(Raz. Basovo in Mordovia), Alatyr, Altyshevo, km Post 199, Atrat, km Post 215, Kirya, km Post 235, Ibresi, km Post 265, km Post 275, Yanglitshi, km Post 289, Kanash, Aleshevo, Kibertshi, km Post 684, Shorkistry, Bateyevo, Chubayevo, Urmary, Tansarino, Cheslama, km Post 722, Tyurlama, Vorobyovsky, Shirdary in Tatarstan.
Kanash, Platform km 91, Maly Shivil, Atbykovo, Platform km 74, Traki, Shivlinsk, km Post 46, km Post 38, Khornvary, km Post 32, km Post 28, Shorkino, Mizhery, Izhley, km Post 9, Cheboksary II, Cheboksary I, Cheboksary II, Novocheboksarsk.
In addition to these lines, there are 26 km 1520 mm gauge industrial lines running from Altyshevo station, on Alatyr-Kanash section, to Pervomaysky, located just west of Starye Aybesi in Alatyrsky District.
All railway lines in Chuvashia are operated by the MPS Gorky Railway Division. Steam locomotives were mostly replaced until 1970 by diesel locomotives and when the main line Arzamas - Kanash - Sviyazhsk was electrified, the diesel locomotives were replaced by electric locomotives.
The Arzamas-Kanash-Sviyazhsk line is a double track main line, the others are single track lines. The 84 km Sviyazhsk-Kanash section was electricfied in 1986, The 142 km Kanash-Sergach section in 1987.
In 1967 there were four daily passenger trains in both directions using the Alatyr-Kanash line. One of them the semifast Sochi-Sverdlovsk-Sochi long distance transit train halting only at Alatyr, Buinsk, and Kanash. Cheboksary was connected by daily semi fast passenger train to Moscow. Travel time was 17.30h for the 758 km journey. The Arzamas-Kanash-Sviyazhsk main line is used in the summer high season by 21 express and passenger trains, in both directions. Of these, four do not halt in Chuvashia. Most of the remaining semifast trains halt at Shumerlya, Piner, Burnary, and Kanash. Four pair of semifast trains also halt at Tyurmari. In the 1999-2000 timetable 11 pairs of Moscow-Kanash-Kazan express trains halt at Kanash. The Chuvashia 53/54 express trains between Moscow and Kanash take 11.23h , back 10.57h.
In addition to Russian 1524 mm gauge railways, there were six 750 mm Narrow gauge railway lines: Two short peat briquete industry lines at Severny and Sosnovka on the north side of the Volga, and four forest railways at Shumerlya, Atrat and Kirya. All opened in the 1930s. In 1965 their total length was 145 km.
Shumerlya-Kabanovo-Rechnoy-Burak-Krasnobar forest railway. Total length 72 km.
Shumerlya-Kumashka-Salantshik-Yakhaykino forest railway. Total length 46 km.
Kirya-Lesopunkt Lyulya forest railway. Total length 13 km.
Atrat-Dolnaya Polyana-Lesozavod Gart forest railway. Total length 14 km.
All lines were closed in the economic uncertainty after the break up of the Soviet Union.
The Volga River and Sura River connect Chuvashia to a national and international water network. To the south, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Astrakhan, the Caspian Sea, and Black Sea are directly reachable. To the west, the Volga River connects Cheboksary with Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Moscow, and the northern regions of Russia. By using river-sea vessels, cargo transportation is possible from Chuvash riverports all the way to Saint Petersburg, Novorossiysk (on the Black Sea), Astrakhan, and ports situated on the Danube River. However, the river is frozen from December through April. Boat tours to the major cities along the Volga are of tourist interest, and Cheboksary is a frequent stop on the many boat tours that travel up and down the Volga.
The international Cheboksary Airport receives both cargo and passenger aircraft of practically all types and sizes. There are regularly scheduled flights to Moscow and other destinations. Cheboksary is also about a four-hour drive from Nizhny Novgorod, a city with international air connections through Lufthansa.
The republic has a fascinating cultural heritage, a result of the ethnic Chuvash presence in the region. Cultural entities include the Chuvash State Puppet Theatre and the Chuvash National Museum.
While Russian is the predominant business language, the Chuvash language is still spoken by many, especially in the country. The Chuvash language belongs to the Bolgar subgroup of the Turkic language group. In ancient times a runic system of writing was used. Chuvashi now uses a modified Cyrillic script that was adopted in 1871.
Today, people living in Chuvashia are very proud of their region and take care of their city. As a result, Cheboksary is known as one of the cleanest cities in Russia. There is also a resurgence of native Chuvash pride and many people are looking back to their Chuvash roots and exploring the culture and heritage and relearning the language. Most building signs, road signs, and announcements are in both Russian and Chuvash.
In the republic there are five higher educational institutions, which include the Chuvash State University, the Chuvash State Pedagogical Institute, and the Chuvash State Agricultural Academy located in Cheboksary. These, together with 28 colleges and technical schools, are currently attended by approximately 45,000 students.