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North Asia
North Asia (orthographic projection).svg
Area13,100,000 km2 (5,100,000 sq mi)
Population33,765,005 (2017)
Population density2.6 per km2
GDP (nominal)~$500 billion (2018)[1]
GDP per capita~$15,000 (2018)
Ethnic groupsSlavic, Aleut, Eskimo, Mongols, Turkic, Tungusic, Finnic, Samoyedic, Yukaghirs and Yeniseian
ReligionsOrthodox Christianity, Islam, Shamanism, Tengrism, Buddhism, Animism
DemonymNorth Asian
Severoaziatskiy (ru)
Countries Russia
Time zones
Calling codeZone 7
Largest cities
UN M49 code151Eastern Europe
North Asia
Russian name
RussianСеверная Азия
RomanizationSevernaya Aziya

North Asia or Northern Asia (Russian: Северная Азия, romanizedSevernaya Aziya), sometimes also referred to as Siberia, is a sub-region of Asia, consisting of the Russian regions east of the Ural Mountains: Ural, Siberia and the Russian Far East. The region is sometimes also known as Asian Russia (as opposed to the smaller but more densely populated European Russia to the west). North Asia is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the west by Eastern Europe, to the south by Central and East Asia and to the east by the Pacific Ocean and North America. North Asia covers an area of approximately 13,100,000 square kilometres (5,100,000 sq mi) or 8.8% of the earth's land area, or 1.5 times the size of Brazil. It is the largest subregion of Asia by area, but is also the least populated, with an approximate total population of only 33 million people or 0.74% of Asia's population. North Asia is solely administrated by the Russian Federation, and makes up more than 75% of the territory of the country, but only 22% of its population, at a density of 2.5 people per km2 (6.5 per sq mi).[2] The region of Western Siberia and occasionally Kazakhstan is usually called Northwestern Asia or Northwest Asia (Russian: Северо-Западная Азия, lit. 'Severo-zapadnaya Aziya'), although the name sometimes refers to Caucasus or nearby provinces.

Topographically, the region is dominated by the Eurasian Plate, except for its eastern part, which lies on the North American, Amurian and Okhotsk Plates. It is divided by three major plains: the West Siberian Plain, Central Siberian Plateau and Verhoyansk-Chukotka collision zone. The Uralian orogeny in the west raised Ural Mountains, the informal boundary between Europe and Asia. Tectonic and volcanic activities are frequently occurred in the eastern part of the region as part of the Ring of Fire, evidenced by the formation of island arc such as Kuril Islands and ultra-prominent peaks such as Klyuchevskaya Sopka, Kronotsky and Koryaksky. The central part of North Asia is a large igneous province called the Siberian Traps, formed by a massive eruption occurred 250 million years ago. The formation of the traps coincided with the Permian–Triassic extinction event.

European influences, especially Russian, are strong in the southwestern and central part of the region, due to its high Russian population from Eastern Europe which began to settle the area in the 18th-century CE.[3] The southeastern part is historically under the influence of East Asian cultural sphere, especially the Chinese.[4] Indigenous cultures are mostly strong in the eastern and southern part of the region due to concentrated population of indigenous ethnicities.[5][6] In recent years there are growing number of movements by the indigenous peoples of the region to preserve its culture from extinction.[7][8] The region is the home of different peoples such as Turkic, Tungusic and Finnic peoples.


Map of Northern Asia in 1921
Map of Northern Asia in 1921

The region was first populated by hominins in the Late Pleistocene, approximately 100,000 years ago,[9] and modern humans are confirmed to arrived in the region by 45,000 years ago[10][11] with the first humans in the region having West Eurasian origins.[12] Its Neolithic culture is characterized by characteristic stone production techniques and the presence of pottery of eastern origin.[12] The Bronze Age began during the 3rd millennium BCE,[13] with influences of Indo-Iranian cultures as evidenced by the Andronovo culture. During the 1st millennium BCE, polities such as the Scythians and Xiongnus emerged in the region, who often clashed with its Persian and Chinese neighbors in the south. The Göktürks dominated southern Siberia during the 1st millennium CE, while in the early 2nd millennium CE, the Mongol Empire and its successor states ruled the region. The Khanate of Sibir was one of the last independent Turkic states in North Asia before its conquest by the Tsardom of Russia in the 16th century CE. Russia would then gradually annex the region into its territory until the Convention of Peking was signed in 1860. After the October Revolution in 1917, the region was contested between the Bolsheviks and Whites until the Soviet Union asserted full control in 1923. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left Russia as the administrator of the region.


For geographic and statistical reasons, the UN geoscheme and various other classification schemes will not subdivide countries, and thus place all of Russia in the Europe or Eastern Europe subregion.

There are no mountain chains in Northern Asia to prevent air currents from the Arctic flowing down over the plains of Siberia and Turkestan.[14]

The plateau and plains of Northern Asia comprise the West Siberian lowlands; the Angara Shield, with the Taimyr Peninsula, the coastal lowlands (North Siberian Lowland and East Siberian Lowland), the Central Siberian Plateau, (Putorana Plateau, Lena Plateau, Anabar Plateau, Tunguska Plateau, Vilyuy Plateau and the Angara Plateau); and the Lena–Vilyuy Lowland.[15] Western Siberia is usually regarded as the Northwest Asia, Kazakhstan also sometimes included there. But Northwest Asia sometimes refers to Caucasus or nearby provinces.[citation needed]


The geomorphology of Northern Asia in general is imperfectly known, although the deposits and mountain ranges are well known.[15]

To compensate for new sea floor having been created in the Siberian basin, the whole of the Asian Plate has pivoted about a point in the New Siberian Islands, causing compression in the Verkhoyansk mountains, which were formed along the eastern margin of the Angara Shield by tectonic uplift during the Mesozoic Era. There is a southern boundary to this across the northern margin of the Alpine folds of Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Bhutan, which at the east of Brahmaputra turns to run south towards the Bay of Bengal along the line of the Naga hills and the Arakan Yoma, continues around Indonesia, and follows the edge of the continental shelf along the eastern seaboard of China. The Eurasian Plate and the North American Plate meet across the neck of Alaska, following the line of the Aleutian Trench, rather than meeting at the Bering Straits.[15]

Northern Asia is built around the Angara Shield, which lies between the Yenisey River and the Lena River. It developed from fragments of Laurasia, whose rocks were mainly Precambrian crystalline rocks, gneisses, and schists, and Gondwana. These rocks can be found in the Angara Shield, the Inner Mongolian-Korean Shield, the Ordes Shield and the Southeast Asia Shield. The fragments have been subject to orogenesis around their margins, giving a complex of plateaux and mountain ranges. One can find outcrops of these rocks in unfolded sections of the Shields. Their presence has been confirmed below Mesozoic and later sediments.[15]

There are three main periods of mountain building in Northern Asia, although it has occurred many times. The outer fold mountains, that are on the margins of the Shields and that only affected Asia north of the line of the Himalayas, are attributed to the Caledonian and Hercynian orogenies of the late Palaeozoic Era. The Alpine orogeny caused extensive folding and faulting of Mesozoic and early Tertiary sediments from the Tethys geosyncline. The Tibetan and Mongolian plateaux, and the structural basins of Tarim, Qaidam, and Junggar, are delimited by major east–west lithospheric faults that were probably the results of stresses caused by the impact of the Indian Plate against Laurasia. Erosion of the mountains caused by this orogeny has created a large amount of sediment, which has been transported southwards to produce the alluvial plains of India, China, and Cambodia, and which has also been deposited in large amounts in the Tarim and Dzungarian basins.[15]

Northern Asia was glaciated in the Pleistocene, but this played a less significant part in the geology of the area compared to the part that it played in North America and Europe. The Scandinavian ice sheet extended to the east of the Urals, covering the northern two thirds of the Ob Basin and extending onto the Angara Shield between the Yenisei River and the Lena River. There are legacies of mountain glaciation to be found on the east Siberian mountains, on the mountains of the Kamchatka Peninsula, on the Altai, on Tian Shan, and on other small areas of mountains, ice caps remain on the islands of Severnaya Zemlya and Novaya Zemlya, and several Central Asian mountains still have individual glaciers. North Asia itself has permafrost, ranging in depths from 30 to 600 metres and covering an area of 9.6 million km².[15]

Several of the mountainous regions are volcanic, with both the Koryak Mountains and the Kamchatka Peninsula having active volcanoes. The Anadyr Plateau is formed from igneous rocks. The Mongolian Plateau has an area of basaltic lavas and volcanic cones.[15]

The Angara Shield also underlies the lowlands of the Ob River, but to the south and east in the Central Asian mountains and in the East Siberian Mountains there are folded and faulted mountains of Lower Palaeozoic rocks.[15]


Most estimates are that there are around 33 million Russian citizens living east of the Ural Mountains, a widely recognized but informal geographical divide between Europe and Asia. The native Turkic, Finnic and Tungusic peoples now are a minority in North Asia due to the Russification process during the last three centuries. Russian census records indicate they make up only an estimated 10% of the region's population with the Buryats numbering at 445,175, which makes them the largest ethnic minority group in Siberia. There are 443,852 Yakuts (Russian Census of 2002) living in Russian Far East.[16] According to the 2002 census, there are 500,000 Tatars in Siberia, but 300,000 of them are Volga Tatars who settled in Siberia during periods of colonization.[17] Other ethnic groups that live in the region and make a significant portion are ethnic Germans numbering about 400,000.[when?][citation needed]

In 1875, Chambers reported the population of Northern Asia to be 8 million.[14] Between 1801 and 1914, an estimated 7 million settlers moved from European Russia to Siberia, 85% during the quarter-century before World War I.[18]

Urban centres


Federal Subjects Capital Area
Flag of Kurgan Oblast.svg
Kurgan Oblast
Kurgan 71,000 910,807
Flag of Sverdlovsk Oblast.svg
Sverdlovsk Oblast
Yekaterinburg 194,800 4,297,747
Flag of Tyumen Oblast.svg
Tyumen Oblast
Tyumen 143,520 3,395,755
Flag of Yugra.svg
Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug (Yugra)
Khanty-Mansiysk 534,800 1,532,243
Flag of Chelyabinsk Oblast.svg
Chelyabinsk Oblast
Chelyabinsk 87,900 3,476,217
Flag of Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District.svg
Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug
Salekhard 750,300 522,904
Ural Federal District Yekaterinburg 1,818,500 12,080,526
Flag of Altai Republic.svg
Altai Republic
Gorno-Altaysk 92,900 206,168
Flag of Altai Krai.svg
Altai Krai
Barnaul 168,000 2,419,755
Flag of Irkutsk Oblast.svg
Irkutsk Oblast
Irkutsk 774,800 2,248,750
Flag of Kemerovo oblast.svg
Kemerovo Oblast
Kemerovo 95,700 2,763,135
Flag of Krasnoyarsk Krai.svg
Krasnoyarsk Krai
Krasnoyarsk 2,366,800 2,828,187
Flag of Novosibirsk oblast.svg
Novosibirsk Oblast
Novosibirsk 177,800 2,665,911
Flag of Omsk Oblast.svg
Omsk Oblast
Omsk 141,100 1,977,665
Flag of Tomsk Oblast.svg
Tomsk Oblast
Tomsk 314,400 1,047,394
Flag of Tuva.svg
Tuva Republic
Kyzyl 168,600 307,930
Flag of Khakassia.svg
Republic of Khakassia
Abakan 61,600 532,403
Siberian Federal District Novosibirsk 4,361,800 17,178,298
Flag of Amur Oblast.svg
Amur Oblast
Blagoveshchensk 361,900 830,103
Flag of Buryatia.svg
Republic of Buryatia
Ulan-Ude 351,300 971,021
Flag of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast.svg
Jewish Autonomous Oblast
Birobidzhan 36,300 176,558
Flag of Zabaykalsky Krai.svg
Zabaykalsky Krai
Chita 431,900 1,107,107
Flag of Kamchatka Krai.svg
Kamchatka Krai
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky 464,300 322,079
Flag of Magadan Oblast.svg
Magadan Oblast
Magadan 462,500 156,996
Flag of Primorsky Krai.svg
Primorsky Krai
Vladivostok 164,700 1,956,497
Flag of Sakha.svg
Sakha Republic
Yakutsk 3,083,500 958,528
Flag of Sakhalin Oblast.svg
Sakhalin Oblast
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk 87,100 497,973
Flag of Khabarovsk Krai.svg
Khabarovsk Krai
Khabarovsk 787,600 1,343,869
Flag of Chukotka.svg
Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
Anadyr 721,500 50,526
Far Eastern Federal District Vladivostok 6,952,600 8,371,257
North Asia 13,132,900 37,630,081


See also


  1. ^ Валовой региональный продукт::Мордовиястат
  2. ^ Vishnevsky, Anatoly (15 August 2000). "Replacement Migration: Is it a solution for Russia?" (PDF). EXPERT GROUP MEETING ON POLICY RESPONSES TO POPULATION AGEING AND POPULATION DECLINE /UN/POP/PRA/2000/14. United Nations Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. pp. 6, 10. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
  3. ^ Haywood, A. J. (2010). Siberia: A Cultural History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199754182.
  4. ^ Kotkin, Stephen; Wolff, David (2015-03-04). Rediscovering Russia in Asia: Siberia and the Russian Far East: Siberia and the Russian Far East. Routledge. ISBN 9781317461302.
  5. ^ King, Alexander David (2011-06-01). Living with Koryak Traditions: Playing with Culture in Siberia. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0803235090.
  6. ^ Minahan, James B. (2014-02-10). Ethnic Groups of North, East, and Central Asia: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781610690188.
  7. ^ Golovnev, Andrei V.; Osherenko, Gail (2018-09-05). Siberian Survival: The Nenets and Their Story. Cornell University Press. ISBN 9781501727221.
  8. ^ Gray, Patty A.; Gray, Patty (2005). The Predicament of Chukotka's Indigenous Movement: Post-Soviet Activism in the Russian Far North. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521823463.
  9. ^ Slon V, Viola B, Renaud G, Gansauge M, Benazzi S, Sawyer S, Hublin J, Shunkov MV, Derevianko AP, Kelso J, Prüfer K, Meyer M, Pääbo S (July 2017). "A fourth Denisovan individual". Science Advances. 3 (7): e1700186. Bibcode:2017SciA....3E0186S. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1700186. PMC 5501502. PMID 28695206.
  10. ^ Callaway, Ewen & Nature magazine (23 October 2014). "45,000-Year-Old Man's Genome Sequenced". Scientific American. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  11. ^ Fu, Q; Li, H; Moorjani, P; Jay, F; Slepchenko, SM; Bondarev, AA; Johnson, PL; Aximu-Petri, A; Prüfer, K; de Filippo, C; Meyer, M; Zwyns, N; Salazar-García, DC; Kuzmin, YV; Keates, SG; Kosintsev, PA; Razhev, DI; Richards, MP; Peristov, NV; Lachmann, M; Douka, K; Higham, TF; Slatkin, M; Hublin, JJ; Reich, D; Kelso, J; Viola, TB; Pääbo, S (October 23, 2014). "Genome sequence of a 45,000-year-old modern human from western Siberia". Nature. 514 (7523): 445–49. Bibcode:2014Natur.514..445F. doi:10.1038/nature13810. PMC 4753769. PMID 25341783.
  12. ^ a b Kılınç, Gülşah Merve; Kashuba, Natalija; Yaka, Reyhan; Sümer, Arev Pelin; Yüncü, Eren; Shergin, Dmitrij; Ivanov, Grigorij Leonidovich; Kichigin, Dmitrii; Pestereva, Kjunnej (2018-06-12). "Investigating Holocene human population history in North Asia using ancient mitogenomes". Scientific Reports. 8 (1): 8969. Bibcode:2018NatSR...8.8969K. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-27325-0. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 5997703. PMID 29895902.
  13. ^ Dupuy, Paula Doumani (2016-06-02). "Bronze Age Central Asia". doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199935413.001.0001 (inactive 2020-01-22). Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ a b William Chambers and Robert Chambers (1875). Chambers's Information for the People. London and Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers. pp. 274–276.
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h Edwin Michael Bridges (1990). "Northern Asia". World Geomorphology. Cambridge University Press. pp. 124–126. ISBN 978-0-521-28965-8.
  16. ^ Siberian Germans
  17. ^ Siberian Tatars
  18. ^ The Great Siberian Migration: Government and Peasant in Resettlement from Emancipation to the First World War
  19. ^ "31. Численность населения городов и поселков городского типа по федеральным округам и субъектам Российской Федерации  на 1 января 2017 года". Russian Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  20. ^ "Russia: Federal Districts and Major Cities". Retrieved 26 March 2018.
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