The Komi Republic is a federal subject of Russia.
According to the 2002 Census, ethnic Russians make up 59.6% of the Republic's population, while the ethnic Komi are only 25.2%. Other groups include Ukrainians (6.1%), Tatars (15,680 or 1.5%), Belarusians (15,212 or 1.5%), Ethnic Germans (9,246 or 0.9%), Chuvash (7,529 or 0.7%), Azeris (6,066 or 0.6%), and a host of smaller groups, each accounting for less than 0.5% of the total population. 5,700 people (0.6%) did not indicate their nationalities during the Census.
A northernmost portion of Europe, crossing the Arctic Circle, Komi was an unspoiled land throughout most of history, dwelt in only by nomadic native peoples of the Finno-Ugric linguistic stock, known as the Komi or the Zyrians. Eventually, it became a part of the Russian Empire.
Starting from the expedition led by Alexander von Keyserling in 1843, the Komi territory was most extensively explored in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries by the Russians, who found ample reservoirs of various minerals, as well as timber, to exploit. After the founding of the Soviet Union, the Komi-Zyryan Autonomous Oblast was established on August 22, 1929, and on December 5, 1936, it was reorganised into the Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic with its administrative centre located at the town of Syktyvkar.
Many of the "settlers" who came in the early 20th century were prisoners of the Gulag who were sent by the hundreds of thousands to perform forced labour in the Arctic regions of the USSR. Towns sprang up around labour-camp sites, which were initially carved out of the untouched tundra and taiga by gangs of prisoners. The first mine, "Rudnik No. 1," became the city of Vorkuta, and the other towns of the region have similar origins: "Prisoners planned and built all of the republic's major cities, not just Ukhta but also Syktyvkar, Pechora, Vorkuta, and Inta. Prisoners built Komi's railways and roads, as well as its original industrial infrastructure."
The head of government in the Komi Republic is the Head of the Republic. As of 2010, the Head of the Republic is Vyacheslav Gayzer. The State Council is the legislature.
The Komi Republic's major industries include oil processing, timber, woodworking, natural gas and electric power industries. Major industrial centres are Syktyvkar, Inta, Pechora, Sosnogorsk, Ukhta, and Vorkuta.
Pearson M. On the European Edge – Journey through Komi Nature and Culture / M. Pearson, P. Ojanen, M. Havimo, T. Kuuluvainen, H. Vasander. – Helsinki: University of Helsinki Department of Forest Ecology Publications 36, 2007. – 216 p.
Strogoff M. Guidebook Komi Republic / M. Strogoff, P. Brochet, D. Auzias. – Moscow : Avant-Garde Publ., 2005. – 176 p.