Nenets Autonomous Okrug
Ненецкий автономный округ
Other transcription(s)
 • NenetsНенэцие" автономной округ’
Pechora River, Zapolyarny District
Pechora River, Zapolyarny District
Coat of arms of Nenets Autonomous Okrug
Anthem: Anthem of Nenets Autonomous Okrug
Coordinates: 68°50′N 54°50′E / 68.833°N 54.833°E / 68.833; 54.833
Federal districtNorthwestern[1]
Economic regionNorthern[2]
 • BodyAssembly of Deputies
 • GovernorYury Bezdudny[3]
 • Total176,810 km2 (68,270 sq mi)
 • Rank20th
 • Total41,434
 • Estimate 
 • Rank83rd
 • Density0.23/km2 (0.61/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Rural
Time zoneUTC+3 (MSK Edit this on Wikidata[7])
ISO 3166 codeRU-NEN
License plates83
OKTMO ID11800000
Official languagesRussian[8]
Recognised languagesNenets

The Nenets Autonomous Okrug[9] (Russian: Не́нецкий автоно́мный о́круг; Nenets: Ненэцие" автономной округ’, romanized: Nyeneciye” awtonomnoy okruk’[10]) is a federal subject of Russia and an autonomous okrug of Arkhangelsk Oblast. Its administrative center is the town of Naryan-Mar. It has an area of 176,700 square kilometers (68,200 sq mi) and a population of 42,090 as of the 2010 Census, making it the least populous federal subject.[11]

A plan to merge the autonomous okrug with Arkhangelsk Oblast was presented by the governors of both federal subjects on 13 May 2020,[12] with a referendum planned for September,[13] but was met with opposition by locals,[14] leading to the merger process being scrapped completely.[15]


Map of Nenetsia

The arctic ecology of this area has a number of unique features derived from the extreme temperatures and unique geologic province. Polar bears are found in this locale; in fact, the sub-population found here is a genetically distinct taxon associated with the Barents Sea region.[16] The autonomous okrug has a size of approximately 177,000 km2,[17] more than four times the size of Switzerland or around the same size as the U.S. state of Missouri. The district is around 320 km from north to south and around 950 km from east to west, stretching from Mys Bolvansky Nos in the north to the source of the Oma River in the south and Cape Kanin Nos in the west to the banks of the Kara River in the east.[17]

The okrug has a number of peninsulas - from west to east these are: Kanin peninsula, Svyatoy Nos peninsula, Russkiy Zavorot peninsula and the Yugorsky Peninsula. There are a number of islands off the Nenets coast - from west to east the most important are Kolguyev Island, Sengeyskiy Island, Dolgiy Island, the Gulyayevskiye Koshki Islands, Lovetskiy Island, Pesyakov Island, Dolgy Island, Bolshoy Zelenets Island, Vaygach Island, Oleniy Island and Mestnyy Island. Of these, Kolguyev and Vaygach are by far the largest, being the 119th and 156th largest islands in the world.

Administrative divisions

Main article: Administrative divisions of Nenets Autonomous Okrug

The okrug is administratively divided into one district (Zapolyarny District) and one town of okrug significance (Naryan-Mar). The district is further divided into selsoviets.[18] Municipally, the town of Naryan-Mar is incorporated as Naryan-Mar Urban Okrug, while the district (including the settlement of Kharuta, which geographically is an exclave surrounded by the territory of the Komi Republic) is incorporated as Zapolyarny Municipal District.


Deputies in the State Duma


Early history

The first recorded mention of the Nenets people is found in the 11th-century Primary Chronicle,[21] a chronicle of Kievan Rus' from about 850 to 1110, originally compiled in Kiev about 1113 by Nestor the Chronicler. At the time, Kievan Rus was under the influence of Novgorod, as was the whole of the North Eastern territories of Kievan Rus'.[21] By the end of the fifteenth century, Novgorod's influence was waning and the area fell under the control of Muscovy[21] and in 1499, they established, Pustozyorsk (Russian: Пустозёрск, literally meaning deserted lakes), and it became a military, commercial, cultural and administrative hub for the area.

By the 18th century, the area was part of Mezensky Uyezd.[21] In 1891, Pechorsky Uyezd was established and in 1896, so was Neskaya Volost.[21] Prior to the formation of the autonomous okrug, this area belonged in part to Mezensky Uyezd in Arkhangelsk Oblast and partly to Izhmo-Pechorsky Uyezd in Komi (Zyriansky) Oblast.[21]

Soviet history

The area now known as Nenets Autonomous Okrug was officially created on July 15, 1929, and at that time included Kanino-Timansky District, Peshsky and Omsky Selsoviets, Mezenskaya Volost and Mezensky Uyezd, Telvisochno-Samoyedsky District, Pechorsky Uyezd, and Izhmo-Pechorsky Uyezd of Komi-Zyryan Autonomous Oblast.[21] At this time, two administrative districts, Canino-Timansky and Bolshezemelsky were founded.[21] In December 1929, further additions were made to the District's area, namely Pustozyorskaya Volost, Pechora District and a number of offshore islands.[21] In 1934, a number of islands, including Vaygach Island were subsumed into the district.[21] Naryan-Mar was elevated to town status in 1935.[21] In July 1940, a third administrative district was formed, Amderminsky, with its administrative headquarters in Amderma.[21] However, on November 23, 1959, all administrative districts were abolished and a number of areas, including the administrative area for Vorkuta, were transferred to the jurisdiction of the Komi Republic and the region took the shape that it still holds today.

Recent history

Zapolyarny Municipal District, one of the youngest districts in Russia, was formed in 2006.[22] Zapolyarny translates as "beyond the polar [circle]", and the district was given this name because the vast majority of the district's area lies north of the arctic circle.[17]


Oil and gas

The economy of Zapolyarny district is dominated by oil and gas, constituting around 99% of all industrial activity within the whole Okrug.[23] In 2021, 99.9% of all exports from the Okrug were of crude petroleum, with the remaining 0.01% comprising fresh fish.[24] The dominance of oil and gas exploration within the Okrug has seen associated revenues increase dramatically, with €190 million generated in 2007 compared to only €6.7 million ten years prior,[23] with fuel industry's share of the districts GRP increasing from 65% in 2001 to 80% in 2005.[25] This increase in revenue has resulted from a marked increase in investment in the area by the parent companies of the concerns operating in the District, such as Rosneft, Lukoil, Total, Surgutneftegas and TNK-BP, whose input equates to approximately 90% of the total annual investment in the district.[23] This investment has included the construction of an oil terminal in the Barents Sea at a cost of approximately €700 million by an independent company especially created to oversee the construction and administration of the terminal,[23] a pipeline to connect the terminal to the ZPS Southern Khylchuyu oilfields at a cost of around €250 million,[23] the completion of the Kharyaga-Indiga pipeline and a gas plant near Khumzha.[23] This allows the transportation of oil and gas throughout the region and into the general Russian pipeline network.[17] There are currently more than 80 separate oil and gas sites of exploration,[17] and it is estimated that there is around 5 billion tons of oil and around 500 billion cubic meters of gas in the district.[17]

In the first quarter of 2009, industrial production grew by 34.7% compared with the same period last year[26] However, investments in industrial and housing construction decreased by 60.6% and 90.9% respectively,[26] in the first three months of 2009, oil production totaled 4,419 million tons, an increase of over 35% on the same period in the previous year[25]


As a result of the significant and speedy increase in investment in the area, the district is faced with a widespread infrastructure problem meaning that progress at many of the oil and gas exploration sites is hampered by accessibility issues, compounded by the severe arctic climate of the district.[23] The Duma of Nenets Autonomous Okrug has stated their intention to address this issue as a priority, including the construction of the third phase of the Naryan-Mar-Usinsk road,[23] construction of a Naryan-Mar-Telviska-Velikovisochnoye pipeline[23] and a renovation of the wastewater treatment system in Iskateley.[23]

Further plans by Russian railways include the construction of two railways linking settlements in Zapolyarny Municipal District, one, a line running 210 km from Vorkuta, in the Komi Republic, to Ust-Kara in the far east of the district, and another running from Sosnogorsk, also in the Komi Republic, to Indiga in the west of the district.[23] Officials have also proposed that the line to Ust-Kara be extended to Amderma to provide adequate transportation routes to allow the economic extraction of several mineral deposits, with an estimated worth of between €100–135 billion.[23]

Without this investment in infrastructure, the main means of transportation is air, with regular flights to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Arkangelsk and Usa.[17] In the summer, the main river in the district, the Pechora is used to transport freight.[17]

Indigenous economy

Reindeer husbandry is considered central to the Nenets' way of life, despite only 14% of Nenets people being involved in herding directly at the end of the twentieth century.[27] There are three types of reindeer in the district: collective, personal and private.[28] The majority of reindeer are owned by collective farms, with Nenets people employed to look after them. Those employed in such a capacity are then permitted to own additional personal reindeer, which do not require registration, nor a permit for grazing.[28] The private reindeer are held by the association of reindeer herders, Erv, but these are very much the minority, with reports in 1997 indicating that over 70% of reindeer were held collectively, over 20% personally and only just over 2% privately.[28]

The reindeer are kept, not only to provide for the families of the herders, but also to produce meat and antlers for sale.[29] This meat is mainly sold within the district,[29] since the price of reindeer meat has traditionally been lower than pork or beef,[30] but there are other markets in the Komi Republic and Arkhangelsk Oblast. These outlets are used mainly by groups such as Erv, which have come into existence since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Those groups that effectively represent a continuity of the old collective farm economy, such as Vyucheiskiy and Kharp, generally continue to provide their reindeer to a slaughterhouse as they have always done,[30] which results in lower profits than are generated through Erv's business plan, causing instability and debt amongst the collective farms though it is recognised that these collective farms do provide employment to those who would otherwise be without jobs.[30]

There has been little significant change in the organisation of the reindeer herding enterprises between Soviet times and today,[31] with little change in the number of businesses and those that continue to exist still practising the same business model, making changes only to the branding of the business.[31]


Historical population
Source: Census data

Population: 42,090 (2010 Census);[11] 41,546 (2002 Census);[32] 54,840 (1989 Census).[33]

Vital statistics

Source: Russian Federal State Statistics Service
Average population (x 1000) Live births Deaths Natural change Crude birth rate (per 1000) Crude death rate (per 1000) Natural change (per 1000) Total fertility rate
1970 40 800 295 505 20.0 7.4 12.6
1975 44 894 389 505 20.3 8.8 11.5
1980 48 941 387 554 19.6 8.1 11.5
1985 53 1 049 371 678 19.8 7.0 12.8
1990 52 917 386 531 17.7 7.4 10.2
1991 51 852 376 476 16.7 7.4 9.3
1992 49 725 431 294 14.7 8.8 6.0
1993 47 588 531 57 12.4 11.2 1.2
1994 46 653 528 125 14.3 11.6 2.7
1995 44 602 570 32 13.7 13.0 0.7
1996 43 536 481 55 12.5 11.2 1.3
1997 42 546 427 119 13.0 10.1 2.8
1998 42 567 435 132 13.6 10.4 3.2
1999 41 518 433 85 12.5 10.5 2.1
2000 41 541 531 10 13.2 12.9 0.2
2001 41 598 560 38 14.6 13.7 0.9
2002 41 606 540 66 14.7 13.1 1.6
2003 42 665 590 75 15.9 14.1 1.8
2004 42 595 519 76 14.3 12.4 1.8 1.81
2005 42 607 513 94 14.6 12.3 2.3 1.81
2006 42 587 540 47 14.1 12.9 1.1 1.71
2007 42 653 528 125 15.6 12.7 3.0 1.88
2008 42 691 537 154 16.5 12.8 3.7 2.02
2009 42 695 495 200 16.6 11.8 4.8 2.05
2010 42 699 500 199 16.6 11.9 4.7 2.11

Ethnic groups

According to the 2021 Census, the ethnic composition was:[11]

Historical figures are given below:

1939 Census 1959 Census 1970 Census 1979 Census 1989 Census 2002 Census 2010 Census1 2021 Census
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
Nenets 5,602 11.8% 4,957 10.9% 5,851 15.0% 6,031 12.8% 6,423 11.9% 7,754 18.7% 7,504 18.6% 6,713 18.0%
Komi 6,003 12.6% 5,012 11.0% 5,359 13.7% 5,160 10.9% 5,124 9.5% 4,510 10.9% 3,623 9.0% 2,431 6.5%
Russians 32,146 67.5% 31,312 68.8% 25,225 64.5% 31,067 65.8% 35,489 65.8% 25,942 62.4% 26,648 66.1% 26,021 69.6%
Others 3,866 8.1% 4,253 9.3% 2,684 6.9% 4,960 10.5% 6,876 12.8% 3,340 8.0% 2,524 6.3% 2,238 5.9%
1 1,791 people were registered from administrative databases, and could not declare an ethnicity. It is estimated that the proportion of ethnicities in this group is the same as that of the declared group.[34]

Ethnographic maps shows the Nenets living throughout the Okrug, with the east-central section of the okrug, along the Komi Republic border, showing mixed Nenets-Komi population.[35]


Governor Igor Koshin has had talks with the Russian Bandy Federation about developing bandy.[36]

See also



  1. ^ Президент Российской Федерации. Указ №849 от 13 мая 2000 г. «О полномочном представителе Президента Российской Федерации в федеральном округе». Вступил в силу 13 мая 2000 г. Опубликован: "Собрание законодательства РФ", No. 20, ст. 2112, 15 мая 2000 г. (President of the Russian Federation. Decree #849 of May 13, 2000 On the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in a Federal District. Effective as of May 13, 2000.).
  2. ^ Госстандарт Российской Федерации. №ОК 024-95 27 декабря 1995 г. «Общероссийский классификатор экономических регионов. 2. Экономические районы», в ред. Изменения №5/2001 ОКЭР. (Gosstandart of the Russian Federation. #OK 024-95 December 27, 1995 Russian Classification of Economic Regions. 2. Economic Regions, as amended by the Amendment #5/2001 OKER. ).
  3. ^ "Губернатором НАО стал Юрий Бездудный". Kommersant. September 13, 2020.
  4. ^ "Сведения о наличии и распределении земель в Российской Федерации на 01.01.2019 (в разрезе субъектов Российской Федерации)". Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography. Archived from the original on February 9, 2022. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  5. ^ "Оценка численности постоянного населения по субъектам Российской Федерации". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved September 1, 2022.
  6. ^ "26. Численность постоянного населения Российской Федерации по муниципальным образованиям на 1 января 2018 года". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  7. ^ "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). June 3, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  8. ^ Official throughout the Russian Federation according to Article 68.1 of the Constitution of Russia.
  9. ^ Occasionally referred to as Nenetsia in English
  10. ^ "Нормативная база на ненецком языке стала доступна в электронном виде". Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1 [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  12. ^ Quinn, Eilís (May 14, 2020). ""Catastrophic" economic situation prompts merger talks for Nenets AO and Arkhangelsk Oblast". The Barents Observer. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  13. ^ Mukhametshina, Elena (May 13, 2020). "Arkhangelsk region and Nenets okrug merge in a year". Ведомости (in Russian). Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  14. ^ Tóth-Czifra, András (June 3, 2020). "Lessons in division: is it a good idea to merge Russian regions?". Institute of Modern Russia. Archived from the original on November 4, 2020. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  15. ^ Antonova, Elizaveta (July 2, 2020). "The head of the Nenets Autonomous District declared refusal to unite with the Arkhangelsk region". RBC (in Russian). Retrieved July 6, 2020.
  16. ^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) Polar Bear: Ursus maritimus,, ed. Nicklas Stromberg Archived March 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h Zapolyarny Municipal District Official Website – Background Archived March 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Государственный комитет Российской Федерации по статистике. Комитет Российской Федерации по стандартизации, метрологии и сертификации. №ОК 019-95 1 января 1997 г. «Общероссийский классификатор объектов административно-территориального деления. Код 11 100», в ред. изменения №278/2015 от 1 января 2016 г.. (State Statistics Committee of the Russian Federation. Committee of the Russian Federation on Standardization, Metrology, and Certification. #OK 019-95 January 1, 1997 Russian Classification of Objects of Administrative Division (OKATO). Code 11 100, as amended by the Amendment #278/2015 of January 1, 2016. ).
  19. ^ "Пехтин совершил поступок, но не проступок" [Pekhtin committed an act, but not a misdemeanor]. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved February 25, 2013.
  20. ^ "Няръяна вындер. Выпуск от 26 февраля 2013 г." [Naryana vinder. Issue dated 26 February 2013]. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Nenets Autonomous Okrug Official Website – 80 Years of NAO". Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  22. ^ Russian: федерального закон № 131-ФЗ «Об общих принципах организации местного самоуправления в РФ» (Federal law № 131-FZ "On general principles of local self-government in Russia").
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l M. Gardin et al. Barents Strategy for the Advancement of Finnish Enterprise in the Russian Barents Region, pp. 14 and 19
  24. ^ "NENETS AUTONOMOUS AREA". The Observatory of Economic Complexity. Retrieved January 17, 2024.
  25. ^ a b Barents Monitoring, p. 2
  26. ^ a b Barents Monitoring, p. 1
  27. ^ Tuisku, p. 190
  28. ^ a b c Tuisku, p. 191
  29. ^ a b Tuisku, p. 194
  30. ^ a b c Tuisku, p. 195
  31. ^ a b Tuisku, p. 203
  32. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000] (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian).
  33. ^ Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. 1989 – via Demoscope Weekly.
  34. ^ "ВПН-2010". Retrieved April 9, 2018.
  35. ^ Map 3.2 (Nenetskiy Avtonomnyy Okrug) from the series prepared for the INSROP (International Northern Sea Route Programme) Working Paper No. 90 Archived July 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine in 1997.
  36. ^ "Визит в Архангельскую область - Архив новостей - Федерация хоккея с мячом России". Retrieved April 9, 2018.