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Altai Republic

Altai Republic (92,902 km²) in the Altai region is one of 21 republics of the Russian Federation.

The Altai Republic is situated in the very center of Asia at the junction of Siberian taiga, steppes of Kazakhstan and semi-deserts of Mongolia. The Altai Republic is the territory of highlands with a very picturesque landscape, a kind of "Russian Tibet" in the center of Eurasia at the junction of several states, natural zones and cultural worlds.

The Altai Republic borders with China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. The Republic has administrative borders with other subjects of the Russian Federation: the Tuva and the Khakass Republics[?], the Altai Region[?] and the Kemerovo Oblast.

The Altai Republic has temperate continental climate with relatively short and hot summers (June - August) and long, cold and at some places very frosty winters (November - March). The average annual temperatures are about +1C - -6,7C. January temperature range is from -9,2C to -31C, July - from +11C to +19C. The average annual precipitation level varies from 100 up to 1000 mm.

Mountainous relief of landscape is the prevalent one. The Republic is situated within the Russian part of the mountain system of Altai (Gorny Altai), which means the relief of the Republic is characterized by high mountain ridges separated by narrow and deep river valleys. The highest peak - Belukha (4506 m) - is the highest point in Siberia.

Communications. Due to geographical peculiarities of the Republic, two means of transport -motor transport (over 90% of all kinds of traffics) and air transport (passenger traffic and transport of mail) were developed. Motor transport is the prevailing one. The extent of automobile roads is more than 3,500 km, 572 km of which is the main motor highway, the route of Federal importance Novosibirsk-Biysk[?]-Tashanta[?] (Tchujskiy Highway).

Water resources are among the most important natural resources of Gorny Altai. Hydrographic network of the Republic counts more than 20,000 water courses stretching for more than 60,000 km and about 7,000 lakes with the total area of more than 700 km². The largest rivers are the Katun[?] and the Biya[?], which junction forms one of the largest Siberian rivers - the Ob River. The largest lake is Lake Teletskoye, 80 km long and 5 km wide with the area of 230 km² and maximum depth 325 m. Mountain lakes of Altai contain enormous freshwater reserves of the highest quality. The Lake Teletskoye alone contains more than 40 cubic km of the purest water. Potential use of underground water storage is evaluated at 22 mln. cubic meters per day, while the present use constitutes only about 44 thousand cubic meters per day. There are mineral springs known in Altai Mountains considered medicinal. Altai glaciers contain great amount of fresh water. The general volume of ice of the registered Altai glaciers comes up to 57 cubic km, which constitutes 52 cubic km of water. The whole water stock of glaciers exceeds an average annual effluent of Altai rivers for many years being equal to 43 cubi km per year. The largest glaciers are: Bolshoi Taldurinskiy - 35 km², Mensu - 21 km², Sofiyskiy - 17 km², Bolshoi Maashei - 16 km².

The capital of Altai Republic is Gorno-Altaisk[?] (2001 pop. 53,000), around 100 km south of Biysk[?] on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

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