Komi Republic, constituent republic (1990 pop. 1,270,000), c.160,000 sq mi (414,400 sq km), NE European Russia. Syktyvkar is the capital. The region is a wooded lowland, stretching across the Pechora and the Vychegda river basins and the upper reaches of the Mezen River. The northern part is permanently frozen, wooded tundra. Mining is the most important economic activity. There are major coal fields in the Pechora basin, yielding heating and coking coal. Saint Petersburg receives most of its coal from the region. Syktyvkar, the capital, is a major lumber center; Vorkuta is a coal-mining center; and there is extensive lumbering, stock raising, fishing, and hunting. Russians (58%), Komi (23%), and Ukrainians constitute the population. The Komi, formerly called Zyrians, speak a Finno-Ugric language and adhere to the Russian Orthodox religion. The area underwent a spectacular economic advance after the opening (1942) of the Kotlas-Vorkuta RR to transport the area's coal and oil. The area belonged to the Novgorod Republic from the 13th cent. The Zyrian Autonomous Region was constituted in 1921; it became an autonomous republic in 1936. In 1990, Komi declared its sovereignty, and the word "autonomous" was dropped from its name. It was a signatory to the Mar. 31, 1992, treaty that created the Russian Federation (see Russia). The Komi Republic has a 180-member parliament.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.