Kalmykia is the presidential republic as a part of the Russian Federation. It is situated in the southeast of the European part of Russia between the rivers Volga and Don. Its area is 76,1 thousand sq. km. The population is about 320 thousand people. Here live Kalmyks, Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Germans, Kazakhs, Tatars, Koreans, Chechens, Dagestans and other nationalities. The capital of Kalmykia is Elista.
In XVII century Kalmyks established the Kalmyk Khanate that later voluntarily joined the Russian State. In 1771 the Kalmyk Khanate ended in resettlement to Ural and Northern Caucasus because of the participation of Kalmyks in the revolt headed by Pugachev, but later they colonized the Caspian region again. The Kalmyk Autonomous Oblast was established in November 4, 1920. In October 20, 1935, the Autonomous Soviet Republic was formed. In 1943 after liberation of Kalmykia from the fascist invaders, Kalmyks were deported in the east regions and the Kalmyk Autonomous Republic was abolished. But after rehabilitation in 1956 it was restored as the autonomous oblast in January 9, 1957 and as the Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialistic Republic in July 29, 1958. In 1990 the declaration of the sovereignty and transformation of Kalmykia into the Soviet Republic was accepted. The Steppe Code of 1994 declared Kalmykia the subject and the concurrent part of the Russian Federation. The republic includes 13 district, 102 villages and 3 cities. The largest cities are Elista (99,9 thousand people), Lagan (15,4), Gorodovikovsk (10,6). The extension of the region from the north to the south is 448 km, from the west to the east is 423 km.
Kalmykia is situated in the southeast of the East European plain. It occupies the advantageous position between the Caspian and Black seas, between the Volga region and Caucasus. In the southeast the territory is washed by the Caspian Sea, in the south and the southwest by the rivers Manych and Kuma, in the northeast by Volga. The landscape is plain. Kalmykia borders upon Stavropol territory, Rostovskaya Oblast, Volgogradskaya Oblast, Astrakhanskaya Oblasts and the Republic of Dagestan. There are about 60 species of mammals, 130 species of birds, 20 species of reptiles and 3 amphibious species in the territory of the republic. 23 species of birds are in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. Kalmykia is the most woodless region of the Russian Federation.
The culture of the Kalmyk people is unique as well as its history. Their ancient roots go back into the depth of the thousand-year history of nomadic civilizations of the Central Asia. Buddhism brought philosophy, knowledge and art. The treasure of the Kalmyk folklore is "Dzhangar", the epic narration of the country of happiness and prosperity Bumbe and heroic deeds of its warriors.
Today cultural life of Kalmykia is many-sided and dynamic. Poets and writers, composers and film directors, artists and architects in their creativity apply to various schools and trends of the world classics and the newest currents of modernism. Last years there is a tendency towards the national culture. There are the Slavic, Kazakh, Korean, German, Jewish, Caucasus peoples' national and cultural centres.