Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia

Chukotka Autonomous Okrug or Chukotka is located in the Far East. It borders with the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in the west, with the Magadan region in the southwest and the Kamchatka Territory in the south. Across the Bering Strait is the US territory of Alaska. The shores of the district are washed by the East Siberian and Chukchi seas of the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Sea of the Pacific Ocean.

Most of the territory is located on the Chukotka Peninsula and is located beyond the Arctic Circle, but here the weather is slightly milder than in neighboring Yakutia.



Big Diomede

Elgygytgyn Lake
Wrangel Island



The Chukotka National District was formed by the resolution of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee of December 10, 1930 “On the organization of national associations in the areas of settlement of small nationalities of the North” as part of the Far Eastern Territory of the RSFSR. At that time it included the following areas: Anadyrsky (center - Novo-Mariinsk, also known as Anadyr), Eastern Tundra (center - Ostrovnoye), Western Tundra (center - Nizhnekolymsk), Markovsky (center - Markovo), Chaunsky (center in the Chaunskaya area lips) and Chukotka (center in the Chukotka cultural base - St. Lawrence Bay), transmitted by:
from the Far Eastern Territory, the Anadyr and Chukotka regions in their entirety;
from the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic the territory of the Eastern tundra with the border along the right bank of the Alazeya River and the Western tundra, areas of the middle and lower reaches of the Omolon River.

When the region was zoned in October-November 1932, it was left “within its previous borders as an independent national district, directly subordinate to the region.”

On July 22, 1934, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee decided to include the Chukotka and Koryak national districts into the Kamchatka region, however, such subordination was of a rather formal nature, since from 1939-1940 the territory of the district was under the jurisdiction of Dalstroy, which exercised full administrative and economic management on subordinates him territories.

On May 28, 1951, by decision of the Presidium of the USSR Armed Forces, the district was allocated to direct subordination to the Khabarovsk Territory.

Since December 3, 1953 it was part of the Magadan region.

In 1980, after the adoption of the RSFSR Law “On Autonomous Okrugs of the RSFSR”, in accordance with the 1977 Constitution of the USSR, the Chukotka National Okrug became autonomous.

On June 17, 1992, the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug seceded from the Magadan Region and received the status of a subject of the Russian Federation.

Currently, it is one of four autonomous okrugs that are not part of another subject of the Russian Federation.


Border regime

The Chukotka Autonomous Okrug is a territory subject to a border regime.

The entry of foreign citizens into the part of the territory of the district adjacent to the sea coast and onto the islands is regulated, that is, permission from the border service of the Russian Federation or documents allowing stay in the border zone are required. Until 2018, this also applied to Russian citizens; currently only visits to Wrangel, Herald and Ratmanov Islands are regulated for them.

Specific sections of the border zone on the territory of the district are determined by Order of the FSB of the Russian Federation dated April 14, 2006 No. 155 “On the limits of the border zone on the territory of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug.” In addition, the entry of foreign citizens into the entire territory of the district is regulated in accordance with Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of July 4, 1992 No. 470 “On approval of the List of territories of the Russian Federation with regulated visits for foreign citizens,” that is, permission is required for them to visit the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug FSB.


Physiographic characteristics


Chukotka Autonomous Okrug is located in the extreme northeast of Russia. It occupies the entire Chukotka Peninsula, part of the mainland and a number of islands (Wrangel, Herald, Aion, Ratmanova, etc.). This is the only region in Russia, part of which (the entire Chukotka Peninsula and the eastern part of Wrangel Island) is located in the Western Hemisphere.

It is washed by the East Siberian and Chukchi seas of the Arctic Ocean and the Bering Sea of the Pacific Ocean.

On the territory of the district there are two peninsulas, Chukotsky and Daurkin, as well as the extreme points of Russia: the eastern point is Ratmanov Island, the eastern continental point is Cape Dezhnev. Here are located: the northernmost city of Russia - Pevek and the easternmost - Anadyr, as well as the easternmost permanent settlement - Uelen.

The district is located in the Kamchatka time zone. The UTC offset is +12:00 (UTC+12). The difference with Moscow time is 9 hours.

The territory is slightly smaller than Chile or Zambia, and larger than Myanmar or Afghanistan. This is the only transhemispheric entity in Russia - its extreme northeastern point lies in the Western Hemisphere.



Most of the district's territory is located beyond the Arctic Circle. Therefore, the climate here is harsh, subarctic, on the coasts - maritime, in the interior - continental. The duration of winter is up to 10 months.

The average temperature in January is from −15 °C to −39 °C, in July - from +5 °C to +10 °C. The absolute recorded minimum is −61 °C, the absolute maximum is +34 °C. Precipitation - 200-500 mm per year.

Many climatic records were recorded in Chukotka: minimum hours of sunshine, the lowest radiation balance for these latitudes, maximum average annual wind speed and frequency of hurricanes and storms in Russia (Cape Navarin).

The growing season in the southern part of the district is 80-100 days. Permafrost is widespread everywhere.



Chukotka is dominated by mountainous terrain, and only in the coastal part, as well as along river valleys, are there small areas occupied by lowlands, the largest of which is Anadyr.

The continental part has a clearly defined slope in the north - towards the Arctic Ocean, in the east - towards the Pacific Ocean.

The mountain landscape is represented in the central part by the mid-altitude Anadyr Plateau and Anyui Plateau, above which mountain ranges rise 1 km high, as well as the Chukotka Plateau in the east.

The highest point is the Source Mountain (Chantal Range) - 1887 m.



The territory of Chukotka is rich in water resources. More than 8,000 rivers more than 10 km long flow here, most of which are mountainous. The rivers are fed predominantly by snow and rain; they are characterized by long-term freeze-up (7-8 months), high and stormy floods, and uneven flow. The beds of many rivers freeze to the bottom with the widespread formation of ice. The opening of rivers is accompanied by congestion due to the later release of ice from rivers in the lower reaches. A feature of the lowland rivers of the region is the constant variability of their beds (wandering) due to the thawing of fossil ice and the subsequent subsidence of the soil. Almost all rivers flowing into the ocean are influenced by sea tides, as a result of which there is a significant rise in the water level in the lower reaches and their countercurrent.

The main bays of the northwestern part of the Bering Sea are Anadyrsky, Kresta, Mechigmensky, Kanchalan, Omolon, Provideniya, Lavrentia; the western part of the Chukchi Sea - Kolyuchinskaya Bay; and the eastern part of the East Siberian Sea - Chaunskaya Bay. The main straits are Anadyrsky, Senyavinsky, Bering and Longa.

The largest rivers are the Anadyr (with tributaries Main, Belaya, Tanyurer), Omolon, Velikaya, Kanchalan, Amguema, Bolshoi and Maly Anyui.

Most of the lakes are of thermokarst origin, only a few are located in the mountainous part of the district. The coastal lakes of the Arctic Ocean are of lagoonal origin, as a result of which the water in them is salty. Most lakes are flowing, while low-lying ones often become overgrown and turn into swamps.

The largest lakes are Krasnoye, Mainits, Pekulneyskoye, Koinygytgyn, Vaamochka, as well as the unique Lake Elgygytgyn, the study of which will allow us to understand what the climate was like on Earth millennia ago.

A total of 44 groundwater deposits have been discovered, 19 of which are used for economic purposes.

There are 18 thermomineral springs on the territory of Chukotka, the largest of which are Mechigmenskie, Lorinskie, Chaplinskie, and Senyavinskie.



There are significant reserves of minerals: oil, natural gas, coal, gold, silver, tin, tungsten, molybdenum, chromium, antimony, mercury, copper, uranium, construction raw materials. The most famous deposits: ore gold - Kupol, Mayskoye, Karalveemskoye, Dvoinoye, Kekura, Valunistoye; placer gold - Ichuveem, Ryveem, Pilkhinkuul; tin ore - Pyrkakai stockworks, Iultinskoe, Valkumeyskoe; tungsten - Iultinskoe; coal - Anadyrskoye lignite, coal from Bukhty Ugolnaya, Dalneye; copper - Gerbil; mercury - Tamvatneyskoe, West Palyanskoe. Single diamond grains have been identified in marine sediments of the coastal part of Eastern Chukotka.


Specially protected natural areas

On the territory of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug there are two protected areas of federal significance - the Wrangel Island State Nature Reserve and Beringia National Park, as well as 26 protected areas of regional significance - 5 reserves and 21 natural monuments.


Nature reserves

Lake Elgygytgyn (140 thousand hectares), Lebediny (383 thousand hectares), Chaunskaya Bay (148.2 thousand hectares), Ust-Tanyurersky (355.3 thousand hectares) and Avtotkuul (273.3 thousand hectares).


Natural monuments

Amguemsky, Ayonsky, Anyuisky volcanoes, Tnekveemsky and Telekayskaya groves, Pekulneysky, Palyavaamsky, capes Vankarem and Kozhevnikov, Lake Achchen, Klyuchevoy (Senyavinsky thermomineral springs), Lorinsky (Kukunsky) hot springs, Routan, Rauchuagytgyn, Chaplinsky, Pineyveemsky, Pegtymelsky, K ekurny ( settlement of the outliers), Termalny, Vostochny (Uelenskie hot springs) and Chegitunsky.


Flora and fauna

Over 900 species of higher plants, over 400 species of mosses and over 400 species of lichens grow in Chukotka. In the continental part of Chukotka, unique floristic relics have been preserved for this region - Telekayskaya and Tnekveemskaya groves.

Chukotka is home to shrews, lemmings and voles, a chipmunk, a black-capped marmot and a Beringian ground squirrel, a squirrel and a flying squirrel, a mountain hare and a pika, a wolverine, an ermine, a weasel, a river otter and a sea otter, an elk and a reindeer, white and brown bears, foxes and arctic foxes, polar wolves and lynx. Koryak and Yakut bighorn sheep live in the mountainous regions, and on Wrangel Island there is a musk ox, which was brought here as an experiment for the reintroduction of musk oxen that previously lived here and has successfully taken root - now its population is about 1000 individuals. The sable has also been successfully reintroduced, as well as the muskrat and American mink. The coastal waters of Chukotka are inhabited by 9 species of cetaceans (gray, bowhead and humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales, beluga whales, killer whales, harbor porpoises and white-winged porpoises) and 6 species of pinnipeds (Pacific walrus, Far Eastern bearded seal, larga (spotted seal), lionfish (striped seal) seal), Akiba (ringed seal) and Steller sea lion (northern sea lion)), as well as 7 more species of marine mammals (blue and southern right whales, sei whale, narwhal, sperm whale, northern swimmer and northern fur seal). The Bering Sea alone is home to 402 species of fish, of which more than 50 are commercial. The inland waters of the district are home to about 30 species of freshwater fish and the only representative of amphibians is the Siberian salamander. The district is home to 42 species of land mammals and approximately 220 species of birds.