Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia

The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug is located in Western Siberia east of the Ural Range. It is located in the north of the West Siberian Lowland and covers part of the Polar Urals. Administratively, it is part of the Tyumen region.



Gydan Nature Reserve

Novy Urengoy
Upper-Taz Nature Reserve


Physiographic characteristics

Geographical position

The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug is located in the north of the West Siberian Plain and is washed by the Kara Sea from the north. The extreme west of the district, on the left side of the Ob River, passes through the eastern slopes of the Polar (Labytnangi, Obskaya, Kharp, Laborovaya) and Subpolar Urals.

The region belongs to the Far North, and more than half of its territory is located beyond the Arctic Circle.

The district covers a vast area of 769,250 km², which is one and a half times larger than the territory of France (547,030 km²), Spain (504,782 km²) or Ukraine. It is slightly smaller than the Irkutsk region, and also the largest subject of Russia among the autonomous okrugs. Together with the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug, it is part of the Tyumen Region.

On the territory of the district is the Yamal Peninsula - the northernmost continental point of the district (73° north latitude, 800 km from the Arctic Circle).


Natural landscape

The terrain is mostly flat, consisting of taiga in the south and tundra in the north, 90% of the area lies within altitudes of up to 100 m above sea level, hence there are many lakes and swamps. The most elevated areas of the lowland are located in the south of the district within the Sibirskie Uvaly. River floodplains are wide and often represent sandy plains without vegetation; many floodplains are heavily swamped and cut up by oxbow lakes and channels. The shores of the Yamal, Taz and Gydan peninsulas are dissected by a dense network of ravines, lairs, hollows and small river valleys.

The mountainous part is located in the west of the district and extends 380 km along the Polar Urals. The highest peaks are Mount Payer (1472 m), Hanmei (1333 m) and Bell Tower (1305 m).



The territory of the district is located in three climatic zones: arctic, subarctic and temperate continental (in the south). The district is located in the north of the West Siberian Lowland.

The climate is determined by the presence of permafrost, the proximity of the cold Kara Sea, and the abundance of bays, rivers, swamps and lakes. In general, the district is characterized by long winters (up to 8 months), short summers, strong winds, and small amounts of snow cover.

The climate of the Arctic part is characterized by long, cold and harsh winters with severe storms, frosts and frequent snowstorms, low rainfall, very short summers (50 days), and heavy fogs.

The subarctic zone occupies the southern part of the Yamal Peninsula. The climate here is sharply continental: precipitation is in the form of rain, summer is up to 68 days.

The climate of the northern (taiga) strip of the West Siberian Lowland is sharply continental; The average temperature here is higher, summers are quite warm and humid (up to 100 days).

The average annual air temperature in the district is negative; in the Far North it reaches −10 °C. In summer, in July, temperatures can rise throughout the entire territory to +30 °C. Magnetic storms accompanied by aurora are frequent.


Water resources of the region

The region's water resources are rich and diverse. They include: the coast of the Kara Sea, numerous bays and lips, rivers, lakes, swamps and groundwater.

The Gulf of Ob is a bay of the Kara Sea, which is one of the largest sea bays in the Russian Arctic, its area is 44,000 km². There are about 300 thousand lakes and 48 thousand rivers in the district, the largest of which are the Ob at its mouth, as well as the Nadym, Taz and Pur rivers. The Ob River, one of the longest in Russia, flows within the district in two powerful branches.

The presence of lakes, most of which are of glacial origin, is one of the characteristic features of the landscape of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Groundwater is characterized by a huge artesian basin with an area of 3 million km², including thermal water reserves.



The state balance takes into account 136 fields (62 oil, 6 oil and gas, 9 gas and oil, 59 oil and gas condensate), the explored recoverable reserves of which amount to 14.49% of all oil reserves in Russia. 37 fields are being developed, annual production was 8.5%.

Of the 136 fields in the district, one is the largest - Russian, with oil reserves constituting 16.15% of the district's reserves, and 30 large ones, which contain 67.25% of the reserves and 69.1% of the district's oil production. Cumulative oil production in the district is 375.2 million tons.

In addition to hydrocarbons, the subsoil of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug contains other minerals. In particular, the territory of the district is home to Tsentralnoye, the largest (as of 2019) chrome ore deposit in Russia. Also in the district, ornamental stones are mined, some of which (enzorite, rayisite and others) have not been found anywhere else in the world. Some stones from Yamal have practical applications as facing raw materials. Thus, from raw materials from the Obryvistoye felsite deposit, slabs were made for cladding administrative buildings in Tyumen, and the total recommended resources of felsite from deposits and manifestations of the district are estimated (according to the candidate of geological and mineralogical sciences Mikhail Popov) at 956.5 million m³.



About 90-60 thousand years ago there was a cover glaciation north of Salekhard.

In the Late Paleolithic, there was a glacier-dammed basin in these places. Traces of human presence in the lower reaches of the Ob date back to the beginning of the Late Paleolithic (40 thousand years ago). For deposits of the bone-bearing horizon of an ancient stream at the Kushevat site, 20 dates ranging from 40 to 20 thousand years ago were obtained. At the same time, 40 thousand years old. n. bone remains (horns) processed by humans are dated. About 30-12 thousand liters. n. There was no cover glaciation in the north of Western Siberia.

Obdora is mentioned in the Novgorod birch bark document No. 365, dating from the 40s to the early 80s of the 14th century.

The foundation of the Obdorsk fortress in 1595 by the Cossacks can be considered the basis for the creation of Russian statehood on the territory of the district. Obdorsky fort became the northernmost Russian settlement in Siberia at that time.

In the 16th-17th centuries, the Obdorsk land was part of the Tobolsk category of the Russian Kingdom, then part of the huge Siberian province, formed in 1708 by Tsar Peter I, from 1782 - part of the Tobolsk governorship, from 1796 to 1920 - part of the Tobolsk province.

In 1921-1922, the territory of the current Yamalo-Nenets Okrug was engulfed in the West Siberian Uprising, including the city of Obdorsk.

The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug was formed (initially as a national one) as part of the Ural region on December 10, 1930.

Later it was part of the Ob-Irtysh and Omsk regions (in 1939), and from August 14, 1944 the district was included in the Tyumen region. On August 10, 1944, the Krasnoselkupsky district was formed as part of the district.

Since 1977, the Yamalo-Nenets Okrug has had autonomous status. On October 18, 1991, the Yamalo-Nenets District adopted a declaration of sovereignty.

Since 1992, after the signing of the Federal Treaty, the Yamalo-Nenets Okrug became a full-fledged subject of the Russian Federation.

The modern name of the autonomous region of Russia, as the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, mentions the Nenets as the titular people inhabiting the district, despite the fact that the majority of the population of the district are Russians.



The basis of the economy of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug is oil and gas production.

The main gas producer is PJSC Gazprom, which accounts for approximately 90% of all gas production in the district. More than 30 enterprises produce oil and gas condensate; the main oil producing enterprises in the district are subsidiaries of Gazprom Neft PJSC (OJSC Gazpromneft-Noyabrskneftegaz and the Gazpromneft-Muravlenko Branch and OJSC NK Rosneft).

In 2009, 24,761 thousand tons of oil, 8,824 thousand tons of gas condensate, 431,945 million m³ of natural gas were produced, which amounted to about half of all gas produced in the country. In 2011, 35.9 million tons of oil were produced, which amounted to 7.1% of all oil produced in the country.

Recently, the production of liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been developing particularly rapidly under the Yamal LNG and Arctic LNG projects, with the launch of the world's largest LNG plants and seaport terminals for LNG-carrying ships right in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

The average salary in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug in 2013 was 52,400 rubles.

In the post-Soviet period, the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug took first place in Russia in terms of the number of deer: in 1990, there were 496 thousand deer in the district, in 2000 - already 501 thousand, and in 2010 - 660 thousand. As of January 1, 2011, only 44.9% of the district's deer population belonged to agricultural enterprises. The predominance of family property leads to the preservation of a significant number of nomadic households in the district - as of January 1, 2010, there were 3,132 of them (14,704 people). As of January 1, 2010, the majority of nomadic households (2,206 units, 11,023 people) belonged to two regions - Tazovsky and Yamalsky. Even during the Soviet period, despite the constant campaign for a transition to a settled life, it was not possible to completely abandon nomadism: for example, in 1984, 2080 households (about 10.6 thousand people) were nomadic. There is a developed fishery in the district, and the catch volume remained almost unchanged even in the 1990s: in 1991 it amounted to 6,688 tons, and in 2001 - 6,438 tons.

The total amount of income and expenses of the district budget for the planning period will not change. Internal redistribution was carried out for expenses for 2020 and 2021.



A feature of the region’s energy sector is the presence of a large number of power plants that are not connected to the unified energy system of Russia and provide energy supply to individual oil and gas production enterprises, as well as isolated settlements. As of the beginning of 2019, 92 thermal power plants with a total capacity of 2,309 MW were operating in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, of which 12 power plants with a total capacity of 1,032.7 MW were connected to the unified energy system of Russia. In 2018, power plants connected to the Unified Energy System of Russia produced 4820.2 million kWh of electricity. The Labytnangi wind power plant also operates in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.



Located in permafrost and having a low population density and a high share of corporate transportation and commuting passenger flows of shift workers, the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug is characterized by a rather low development and high specificity of transport infrastructure. Large-scale industrial development of the region requires the corresponding development of both traditional seasonal and year-round other types of communication. Some areas and entire districts of the district do not have any other types of communication (including even year-round roads), except for sea and/or air.

Currently, the vast majority of cargo is delivered by sea and river water transport during the summer navigation period. Sea transport provides transportation of necessary materials, equipment and products (the so-called “northern delivery”), as well as exported and exported raw materials, including the results of LNG production. There are seaports of Sabetta, New Port, Kharasavey and others. A lot of cargo and partly passengers are also transported by river (more precisely, river-sea) transport along the Ob River through the main river port of Salekhard in the district and ports in villages on the banks of the Ob Bay. During the summer navigation period, numerous boats and small passenger ships ply, as well as regular passenger ships “Rodina” and “Chernyshevsky” on the Omsk-Salekhard route along the Ob and “Mechanik Kalashnikov” on the Omsk-Salekhard-Antipayuta route along the Ob and Ob Bay.

The vast majority of passenger traffic and partly cargo transportation (especially in the off-season period) in the district is provided by air transport, which operates year-round. Due to its specifics, the district has the largest number of airports among Russian regions relative to the population. There are 11 cargo-passenger airports in the district - the international airport of federal significance Sabetta, the largest in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug with a million passenger traffic per year, the federal airport of Novy Urengoy and other federal, regional and corporate airports - Bovanenkovo, Krasnoselkup, Nadym, Noyabrsk, Salekhard, Tarko-Sale, Tolka , Urengoy, Yamburg, as well as airfields and heliports (Tazovsky, Nakhodka, Antipayuta, Gyda, etc.). There is a regional airline "Yamal".

In 1949-1953. The Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug was the starting point of the route, and its administrative center Salekhard was one of the base points for the construction of the Transpolar Railway, the construction of which was canceled and from which there remained a mainly inactive branch to Novy Urengoy, also passing through Nadym. With the beginning of the rapid development of the district's oil and gas fields at the end of the USSR and especially later, to ensure the possibility of year-round transportation in the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, existing railways appeared, which are used mainly for freight transport - this is the restored railway between Nadym and Novy Urengoy and new railways from Tyumen to Novy Urengoy and from the latter to Yamburg, which formed the main railway line in the district, where the regional Yamal railway company and the Yamal branded passenger train operate. Later, the northernmost operating railway in the world, the new line Obskaya-Bovanenkovo-Karskaya, was built on the Yamal Peninsula with the longest railway bridge in the world beyond the Arctic Circle across Yuribey. As part of the Yamal LNG and Urals Industrial - Ural Polar projects, it is planned to build new railways Obskaya-Polunochnoe, Obskaya-Salekhard-Nadym, Obskaya-Sabetta, Payuta-Novy Port, connecting with the existing mainline and road into a connected network, as well as Korotchaevo-Igarka to the neighboring region.

The district operates predominantly freight and limited passenger road transport. There are permanent highways: Salekhard-Aksarka, Salekhard-Nadym, Korotchaevo-Urengoy-Novozapolyarny-Tazovsky-Gaz-Sale, Purovsk-Tarko-Sale, etc. Bridges passing over rivers play an important role in motor transport, for example, across Nadym and across Pur, and seasonal (winter ice and summer ferry) crossings, for example, strategic for the Salekhard-Labytnangi region, which is planned to be replaced with a bridge. There are bus routes in cities and nearby villages.

Salekhard, Novy Urengoy, Nadym, Korotchaevo, Yamburg are multimodal transport hubs with several modes of transport.



“Ice Desert” is what travelers who visited the district called Yamal in the 19th and early 20th centuries. A lot has changed since then. Modern Yamal is not only the main fuel and energy complex of the country, but also its symbiosis with the traditional way of life of indigenous peoples living in the northern land.

The capital of the district is Salekhard, the only city in the world located at the latitude of the Arctic Circle, 66 degrees 33 minutes 39 seconds north latitude. Starting from this line and up to the North Pole, lies the polar belt: the Arctic. On the day of the winter solstice (December 21-22), the sun does not rise on this line, and on the day of the summer solstice (June 21-22) it does not set. The 66th Parallel stele is a true symbol of the city’s exceptional geographical location; she meets and sees off guests and residents of the regional capital on the way between the city and the airport. Guests of Salekhard can undergo a ceremony of crossing the Arctic Circle. According to legend, a wish made at this moment will definitely come true.


Ethnographic tourism

First of all, people go to Yamal for northern exoticism - the opportunity to live in a tent, far from civilization, see the polar nights, and ride a reindeer sled. The indigenous people always warmly welcome guests and treat them to traditional dishes of venison, fish and northern berries.


Northern lights

Photographers and “hunters” for new impressions not only in Russia, but throughout the world are trying to “catch” one of the most striking natural phenomena - the northern lights. It is curious that in Yamal, a magical glow in the sky even in autumn is not uncommon. At the “end of the earth” the Aurora Borealis season is from August to April.


Event tourism

The most long-awaited holiday in Yamal is Reindeer Herder's Day. It takes place in the spring, “wandering” through the settlements of Yamal and staying in each for 1-2 days. Families of reindeer herders come to cities and towns on reindeer sleds. A riot of colors: the Khanty, Komi and Nenets are dressed in the most beautiful malitsas. The holiday program is full of events: competitions in national sports, tasting of traditional dishes, a competition of national clothes, reindeer sledding and snowmobiling.


Water tourism

The Polar Urals are always popular among tourists, including because of its accessibility - you can get from the airport in Salekhard to the foot of the mountains by car in 2 hours. The Sob mountain river is also located here, attracting fans of extreme and sports tourism, who can go rafting or organize a combined route (when rafting sections alternate with hiking).


Mountain (hiking) tourism

In the Polar Urals, in the vicinity of the Sob River, tourists can visit such unique natural sites as the Jade Valley, the Rai-iz plateau with mountain lakes and waterfalls, and glaciers that do not melt even in the summer. In the summer of 2015, the easternmost point of Europe was confirmed by the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences, its location is in Yamal. Before this, only three extreme points of Europe were known in the world: the southern one in Spain, the western one in Portugal, and the northern one in Norway. Of particular interest is that the point is located far from civilization, in an ecologically pristine area with picturesque natural monuments. In this amazing corner of the Russian Arctic, a memorial sign has been installed that can be seen by everyone who decides to go through the difficult route.


Ski tourism

In Yamal, a convenient skiing season lasts 6 months a year. A bonus for tourists is the cleanest air, amazing nature and picturesque mountains. Skiers and snowboarders consider the Polar Urals one of the new and interesting destinations. The most popular in Yamal is the Oktyabrsky ski complex.


Historical tourism

The preserved 52-meter section of the railway track within the city of Salekhard is evidence of the construction of the Trans-Arctic railway from the Polar Urals to the Yenisei. The well-known “dead railway” was laid by prisoners in permafrost conditions and in the absence of any roads or large populated areas. The section of the road from Salekhard to Nadym (which is more than 300 kilometers) was made, but not put into operation. More than 65 years have passed since then. The prison camps that built this road are destroyed, and the embankment of the railway track is deformed under the pressure of nature. The evidence of that era is still intact and you can see it with your own eyes by visiting an open-air historical monument.

Archaeological artifacts found in the permafrost layers and housed in the region's museums reflect the region's ancient history. Museum and Exhibition Complex named after. I. S. Shemanovsky is today the main custodian of the historical and cultural heritage of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. The museum's collection includes more than 80 thousand paleontological, archaeological, historical and ethnographic exhibits; collections from the basic archaeological monuments of the West Siberian North are stored here: the Mangazeya settlement, Voykarsky and Nadymsky towns, the ancient sanctuary of Ust-Poluy. The library collection includes more than 15 thousand books and rare manuscripts. The rarest exhibits of the museum are the mummy of a warrior buried in 1282, the baby mammoth Lyuba - the best preserved baby mammoth known to science, the skeleton of the Mongochen mammoth (17,000 years old), a bronze figurine of a bear - the handle of a vessel (VIII-IX centuries), letters of the Obdorsk government in 1653 and 1762 gg. and the beginning of the 19th century. The museum stores more than a thousand items and documents on the history of the 501st construction project - the construction of the Chum-Salekhard-Igarka railway.


Ecological tourism

One of the new and promising directions in the development of tourism in the region. A tenth of the entire area of the district - about 8 million hectares - is a specially protected natural area. There are 11 specially protected natural areas of regional significance in the district. The region is home to 60 species of mammals, 224 species of birds, 2 species of reptiles and 5 species of amphibians - a total of 310 species. One of the rare representatives of mammals is the musk ox - the last representative of the so-called mammoth fauna. At the moment, about 140 musk oxen live on the territory of the Polar-Uralsky Natural Park.


Hunting Fishing

For lovers of hunting and fishing, Yamal is a rare opportunity to get a lot of impressions and trophies: wild deer, elk, polar wolf, hare, brown bear, a number of waterfowl (geese, ducks) and upland game (grouse, black grouse, hazel grouse), pike, perch, roach, grayling, burbot, etc. From time immemorial, Yamal has been and is considered a fishing region. It is rightly called the “delicacy shop of Russia.” The Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug has rich fish resources. The total area of Yamal reservoirs is 727.0 thousand square meters. km. About 70% of the total whitefish population in Russia lives in the rivers and lakes of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.


Yamal Iri

According to legend, the Yamal Santa Claus Yamal Iri was born along with the birth of the Yamal tundra and the Polar Urals. He is endowed with magical powers transmitted to him by the spirits of the North. The kind old man happily welcomes guests to his residence, gives gifts, treats them with sweet treats. Yamal Iri always has a magic staff with her. If you have a cherished wish and you touch this staff, it will definitely come true.