Coordinates: 60°0′N 105°0′E / 60.000°N 105.000°E / 60.000; 105.000
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

       Siberian Federal District        Historical Russian Siberia        North Asia (greatest extent of Siberia)

       Siberian Federal District
       Historical Russian Siberia
       North Asia (greatest extent of Siberia)

Coordinates: 60°0′N 105°0′E / 60.000°N 105.000°E / 60.000; 105.000
 • Total13,100,000 km2 (5,100,000 sq mi)
 • Total36.8 million[1]
 • Density2.8/km2 (7/sq mi)

Siberia (/sˈbɪəriə/ sy-BEER-ee-ə; Russian: Сибирь, romanizedSibir', IPA: [sʲɪˈbʲirʲ] (listen)) is an extensive geographical region comprising all of North Asia, from the Ural Mountains in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east.[2] It has formed part of the sovereign territory of Russia and its various predecessor states since the centuries-long conquest of Siberia, which began with the fall of the Khanate of Sibir in the late 16th century and concluded with the annexation of Chukotka in 1778. Siberia is vast and sparsely populated, covering an area of over 13.1 million square kilometres (5,100,000 sq mi), but home to only one-fifth of Russia's population. Novosibirsk, Omsk, and Chelyabinsk are the largest cities in the area.[3]

Because Siberia is a geographic and historic concept and not a political entity, there is no single precise definition of its territorial borders. Traditionally, Siberia spans the entire expanse of land from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, with the

Russian federal subjects), of which only the central one is officially referred to as "Siberian"; the other two are the Ural and Far Eastern federal districts, named for the Ural and Russian Far East
regions that correspond respectively to the western and eastern thirds of Siberia in the broader sense.

Siberia is known worldwide for its long, harsh winters, with a January average of −25 °C (−13 °F).

colonization since the 16th century have rendered the region culturally and ethnically European.[6] Over 85% of its population are of European descent,[7][8] chiefly Russian (comprising the Siberian sub-ethnic group), and Eastern Slavic cultural influences predominate throughout the region.[6] Nevertheless, there exist sizable ethnic minorities of Asian lineage, including various Turkic communities—many of which, such as the Yakuts, Tuvans, Altais, and Khakas, are indigenous—along with the Mongolic Buryats, ethnic Koreans, and smaller groups of Samoyedic and Tungusic peoples (several of whom are classified as indigenous small-numbered peoples
by the Russian government), among many others.


The origin of the name is unknown. Some sources say that "Siberia" originates from the

Sirtya [ru] (also "Syopyr" (sʲɵpᵻr)), a Paleoasiatic ethnic group assimilated by the Nenets



horse trappings, Southern Siberia, 280–180 BCE. Hermitage Museum.[13][14][15]


Earth's geological history. Their activity continued for a million years and some scientists consider it a possible cause of the "Great Dying" about 250 million years ago,[16] – estimated to have killed 90% of species existing at the time.[17]

The region has

Goldfuss cave lion cubs, Yuka the mammoth and another woolly mammoth from Oymyakon, a woolly rhinoceros from the Kolyma, and bison and horses from Yukagir have been found.[18] Remote Wrangel Island and the Taymyr Peninsula are believed to have been the last places on Earth to support woolly mammoths as isolated populations until their extinction around 2000 BC.[19]

At least three species of human lived in Southern Siberia around 40,000 years ago:

In 2010 DNA evidence identified the last as a separate species.[21]

Late Paleolithic southern Siberians appear to be related to paleolithic Europeans and the paleolithic

Paleosiberian peoples and Ancient Native Americans, which later migrated towards the Beringian region, became isolated from other populations, and subsequently populated the Americas.[24][25]

Early history

Chukchi, one of many indigenous peoples of Siberia. Representation of a Chukchi family by Louis Choris

During past millennia different groups of

Yugur – inhabited various parts of Siberia. The Afanasievo and Tashtyk cultures of the Yenisey valley and Altay Mountains are associated with the Indo-European migrations across Eurasia.[26] The proto-Mongol Khitan people also occupied parts of the region. In the 13th century, during the period of the Mongol Empire, the Mongols conquered a large part of this area.[27]

With the breakup of the Golden Horde, the autonomous Khanate of Sibir formed in the late-15th century. Turkic-speaking Yakut migrated north from the Lake Baikal region under pressure from the Mongol tribes during the 13th to 15th century.[28] Siberia remained a sparsely populated area. Historian John F. Richards wrote: "... it is doubtful that the total early modern Siberian population exceeded 300,000 persons".[29]

The growing power of

which?] contend that the Sibe, an indigenous Tungusic people, offered fierce resistance to Russian expansion beyond the Urals. Some suggest that the term "Siberia" is a russification of their ethnonym.[10]

Russian Empire

By the mid-17th century, Russia had established areas of control that extended to the Pacific Ocean. Some 230,000 Russians had settled in Siberia by 1709.[31] Siberia became one of the destinations for sending internal exiles. Exile was the main Russian punitive practice with more than 800,000 people exiled during the nineteenth century.[32][33]

The first great modern change in Siberia was the Trans-Siberian Railway, constructed during 1891–1916. It linked Siberia more closely to the rapidly industrialising Russia of Nicholas II (r. 1894–1917). Around seven million Russians moved to Siberia from Europe between 1801 and 1914.[34] Between 1859 and 1917 more than half a million people migrated to the Russian Far East.[35] Siberia has extensive natural resources: during the 20th century, large-scale exploitation of these took place, and industrial towns cropped up throughout the region.[36]

At 7:15 a.m. on 30 June 1908 the

Tunguska Event felled millions of trees near the Podkamennaya Tunguska (Stony Tunguska) in central Siberia. Most scientists believe this resulted from the air burst of a meteor or a comet. Even though no crater has ever been found, the landscape in the (sparsely inhabited) area still bears the scars of this event.[37]

Soviet Union

In the early decades of the

labour camps, replacing the previous katorga system.[38] According to semi-official Soviet estimates, which did not become public until after the fall of the Soviet government in 1991, from 1929 to 1953 more than 14 million people passed through these camps and prisons, many of them in Siberia. Another seven to eight million people were internally deported to remote areas of the Soviet Union (including entire nationalities or ethnicities in several cases).[39]

Half a million (516,841) prisoners died in camps from 1941 to 1943[40] during World War II.[citation needed] At other periods, mortality was comparatively lower.[41] The size, scope, and scale of the Gulag slave-labour camps remain subjects of much research and debate. Many Gulag camps operated in extremely remote areas of northeastern Siberia. The best-known clusters included Sevvostlag (the North-East Camps) along the Kolyma and Norillag near Norilsk, where 69,000 prisoners lived in 1952.[42] Major industrial cities of Northern Siberia, such as Norilsk and Magadan, developed from camps built by prisoners and run by former prisoners.[43]


Altai, Lake Kutsherla in the Altai Mountains
The peninsula of Svyatoy Nos, Lake Baikal
The river Vasyugan in the southern West Siberian Plain

Siberia spans an area of 13.1 million square kilometres (5,100,000 sq mi), covering the vast majority of Russia's total territory, and almost 9% of Earth's land surface (148,940,000 km2, 57,510,000 sq mi). It geographically falls in Asia, but is culturally and politically considered European, since it is a part of Russia.[6] Major geographical zones within Siberia include the West Siberian Plain and the Central Siberian Plateau.

Eastern and central

Sakha comprises numerous north–south mountain ranges of various ages. These mountains extend up to almost 3,000 metres (9,800 ft), but above a few hundred metres they are almost completely devoid of vegetation. The Verkhoyansk Range was extensively glaciated in the Pleistocene, but the climate was too dry for glaciation to extend to low elevations. At these low elevations are numerous valleys, many of them deep and covered with larch forest, except in the extreme north where the tundra dominates. Soils are mainly turbels (a type of gelisol
). The active layer tends to be less than one metre deep, except near rivers.

The highest point in Siberia is the active volcano Klyuchevskaya Sopka, on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Its peak reaches 4,750 metres (15,580 ft).

Mountain ranges

Geomorphological regions

Lakes and rivers



The West Siberian Plain, consisting mostly of

histels. In the south of the plain, where permafrost is largely absent, rich grasslands that are an extension of the Kazakh Steppe formed the original vegetation, most of which is no longer visible.[why?

The Central Siberian Plateau is an ancient

where the active layer becomes thicker and the ice-content lower.

The Lena-Tunguska petroleum province includes the Central Siberian platform (some authors refer to it as the "Eastern Siberian platform"), bounded on the northeast and east by the

: 244 


Siberian taiga
Russia vegetation.png

     polar desert      tundra      alpine tundra      taiga      montane forest
     temperate broadleaf forest      temperate steppe      dry steppe

temperate forest
zone in the south.

The climate of Siberia varies dramatically, but it typically has short summers and long, brutally cold winters. On the north coast, north of the Arctic Circle, there is a very short (about one month long) summer.

Almost all the population lives in the south, along the route of the Trans-Siberian Railway. The climate in this southernmost part is humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with cold winters but fairly warm summers lasting at least four months. The annual average temperature is about 0.5 °C (32.9 °F). January averages about −20 °C (−4 °F) and July about +19 °C (66 °F), while daytime temperatures in summer typically exceed 20 °C (68 °F).[48][49] With a reliable growing season, an abundance of sunshine and exceedingly fertile chernozem soils, southern Siberia is good enough for profitable agriculture, as was demonstrated in the early 20th century.

By far the most commonly occurring climate in Siberia is continental

Sakha Republic, as being in competition for the title of the Northern Hemisphere's Pole of Cold. Oymyakon is a village which recorded a temperature of −67.7 °C (−89.9 °F) on 6 February 1933. Verkhoyansk, a town further north and further inland, recorded a temperature of −69.8 °C (−93.6 °F) for three consecutive nights: 5, 6 and 7 February 1933. Each town is alternately considered the Northern Hemisphere's Pole of Cold – the coldest inhabited point in the Northern hemisphere. Each town also frequently reaches 30 °C (86 °F) in the summer, giving them, and much of the rest of Russian Siberia, the world's greatest temperature-variation between summer's highs and winter's lows, often well over 94–100+ °C (169–180+ °F) between the seasons.[51][failed verification

Southwesterly winds bring warm air from Central Asia and the Middle East. The climate in West Siberia (Omsk, or Novosibirsk) is several degrees warmer than in the East (Irkutsk, or Chita) where in the north an extreme winter subarctic climate (Köppen Dfd or Dwd) prevails. But summer temperatures in other regions can reach +38 °C (100 °F). In general,

Sakha is the coldest Siberian region, and the basin of the Yana has the lowest temperatures of all, with permafrost reaching 1,493 metres (4,898 ft). Nevertheless, Imperial Russian plans of settlement never viewed cold as an impediment. In the winter, southern Siberia sits near the center of the semi-permanent Siberian High
, so winds are usually light in the winter.

Precipitation in Siberia is generally low, exceeding 500 millimetres (20 in) only in Kamchatka, where moist winds flow from the Sea of Okhotsk onto high mountains – producing the region's only major glaciers, though volcanic eruptions and low summer temperatures allow only limited forests to grow. Precipitation is high also in most of Primorye
in the extreme south, where monsoonal influences can produce quite heavy summer rainfall.

Climate data for Novosibirsk, Siberia's largest city
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −12.2
Daily mean °C (°F) −16.2
Average low °C (°F) −20.1
Average precipitation mm (inches) 19
Source: [52]

Global warming

Researchers, including Sergei Kirpotin at

methane gas, which may be released into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas 22 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.[53] In 2008 a research expedition for the American Geophysical Union detected levels of methane up to 100 times above normal in the atmosphere above the Siberian Arctic, likely the result of methane clathrates being released through holes in a frozen "lid" of seabed permafrost around the outfall of the Lena and the area between the Laptev Sea and East Siberian Sea.[54][55]

Since 1988, experimentation at Pleistocene Park has proposed to restore the grasslands of prehistoric times by conducting research on the effects of large herbivores on permafrost, suggesting that animals, rather than climate, maintained the past ecosystem. The nature reserve park also conducts climatic research on the changes expected from the reintroduction of grazing animals or large herbivores, hypothesizing that a transition from tundra to grassland would lead to a net change in energy emission to absorption ratios.[56]

According to Vasily Kryuchkov, approximately 31,000 square kilometers of the Russian Arctic has subjected to severe environmental disturbance.



Capercaillies inhabit much of the Siberian taiga

Order Galliformes

Family Tetraonidae

Family Phasianidae


Order Artiodactyla

Order Carnivora

Family Canidae

Family Felidae

Family Mustelidae

Family Ursidae


Siberian larch Larix sibirica trees in summer. Kuznetsk Alatau Nature Reserve, Kemerovo Oblast


sovereign states
in Siberia

Borders and administrative division

The term "Siberia" has both a long history and wide significance, and association. The understanding, and association of "Siberia" have gradually changed during the ages. Historically, Siberia was defined as the whole part of Russia and North Kazakhstan to the east of Ural Mountains, including the Russian Far East. According to this definition, Siberia extended eastward from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific coast, and southward from the Arctic Ocean to the border of Central Asia and the national borders of both Mongolia and China.[72]

Soviet-era sources (

Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, which is a part of the Far Eastern Federal District. Geographically, this definition includes subdivisions of several other subjects of Urals and Far Eastern federal districts, but they are not included administratively. This definition excludes Sverdlovsk Oblast and Chelyabinsk Oblast
, both of which are included in some wider definitions of Siberia.

Other sources may use either a somewhat wider definition that states the Pacific coast, not the watershed, is the eastern boundary (thus including the whole Russian Far East), as well as all Northern Kazakhstan is its subregion in the south-west[2] or a somewhat narrower one that limits Siberia to the Siberian Federal District (thus excluding all subjects of other districts).[74] In Russian, 'Siberia' is commonly used as a substitute for the name of the federal district by those who live in the district itself, but less commonly used to denote the federal district by people residing outside of it. Due to the different interpretations of Siberia, starting from Tyumen, to Chita, the territory generally defined as 'Siberia', some people will define themselves as 'Siberian', while others not.

A number of factors in recent years, including the fomenting of 'Siberian separatism' have made the definition of the territory of Siberia a potentially controversial subject.


Federal subjects
of Siberia (GSE)
Subject Administrative center
Ural Federal District
 Khanty–Mansi Autonomous Okrug Khanty-Mansiysk
 Kurgan Oblast Kurgan
 Tyumen Oblast Tyumen
 Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug Salekhard
Siberian Federal District
 Altai Krai Barnaul
 Altai Republic Gorno-Altaysk
 Irkutsk Oblast Irkutsk
 Khakassia Abakan
 Kemerovo Oblast Kemerovo
 Krasnoyarsk Krai Krasnoyarsk
 Novosibirsk Oblast Novosibirsk
 Omsk Oblast Omsk
 Tomsk Oblast Tomsk
 Tuva Kyzyl
Far Eastern Federal District
 Buryatia Ulan-Ude
Sakha (Yakutia)
 Zabaykalsky Krai Chita
Amur waterfront in Khabarovsk
Sakha Republic