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March 8, 2014
Table of Contents
1 Introduction


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Tuva or Tyva (after 1993) (Russian language|Russian: Респу́блика Тыва́ Тува́; Transliteration of Russian into English|tr.: Respublika Tyva Tuva) (pop. 310,300, census 2002) is a constituent republic of Russian Federation located in extreme southern Siberia, bordering the Altai Republic in the west, Khakassia Republic, Krasnoyarsk Krai and Irkutsk Oblast in the north, Buryat Republic in the east, and Mongolia (country)|Mongolia in the south. Its capital is Kyzyl.


The area is a mountain basin, ca. 600 m (2,000 ft) high, encircled by the Sayan Mountains|Sayan and Tannu-Ola Mountains|Tannu-Ola ranges. The eastern part is forested and elevated, and the west is a drier lowland. The area includes the upper course of the Yenisei River. There are numerous glacial lakes.

Main article: Administrative division of Tuva.

As per the 2002 census, Tuvans (or Tuvinians), a group of Turkic people, at 235,313 make up 77% of the population. The rest, primarily in urban areas, mainly consider themselves ethnic Russians (61,442 or 20,1%) although, all in all, 101 distinct ethnic groups are listed for the republic (the only two exceeding 1,000 residents being the Komis, at 1,404, and the Khakas, at 1,219).

Tuva, also known as Tannu Uriankhai, was controlled by the Mongols from the 13th century|13th to 18th century|18th centuries. From 1757 to 1911 it was under Chinese Qing Dynasty|Manchu rule. During the 19th century Russians began to settle in Tuva, resulting in an 1860 Chinese-Russian treaty in which China allowed Russians to settle providing that they lived in boats or tents. In 1881 Russians were allowed to live in permanent buildings. By now a sizeable Russian community had been established, whose affairs were managed by an official in Russia (these officials also settled disputes and checked on Tuvan chiefs). Russian interests in Tuva continued into the 20th century.

During the Wuchang Uprising|1911 revolution in China, tsarist Russia fomented a separatist movement among the Tuvans. Tsar Nicholas II ordered Russian troops into Tuva in 1912, as Russian settlers were being attacked. Tuva became nominally independent before being made a Russian protectorate in 1914. This move was apparently requested by a number of prominent Tuvans, including the High Lama, though it is possible they were actually acting under the coercion of Russian soldiers. A capital was established, called Belotsark (?White Tsar?). Meanwhile, in 1911, Mongolia became independent, though under Russian protection.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917 Communist troops took Tuva in January 1920, renaming the capital Belotsark as Kyzyl (?Red?). On 14th August 1921 the Bolsheviks (supported by Russia) established a Tuvinian People's Republic, popularly called Tannu Tuva.

The Soviet Union|USSR annexed Tuva outright in 1944, apparently with the approval of Tuva?s Little Khural (parliament), though there was no Tuva-wide vote on the issue. Solchak Toka, the leader of Tuvan communists, was given the title of First Secretary of the Tuvan Communist Party and became a de-facto ruler of Tuva. Tuva was made into an autonomous region and became an autonomous republic on October 10, 1961. Toka?s rule was characterised by a concerted effort to introduce collectivism and to destroy Tuvan culture, especially that of a religious nature. Solchak Toka died in 1973.

In February 1990 the Tuvan Democratic Movement was founded by Kaadyr-ool Bicheldei, a philologist at Kyzyl University. The party aimed to provide jobs and housing (both were in short supply), and also to improve the status of Tuva?s language and culture. Later on in the year there was a wave of attacks against Tuva?s sizeable Russian community, resulting in 88 deaths. Russian troops eventually had to be called in. Many Russian emigrated during this period.

Tuva was a signatory to the March 31, 1992, treaty that created the Russian Federation. A new constitution for the republic was drawn up on 22nd October 1993. This created a 32-member parliament (Supreme Hural) and a Grand Hural, which is responsible for foreign policy, ensuring that Tuvan law is given precedence and any possible changes to the constitution. The constitution also allowed for a referendum if Tuva ever sought independence. This constitution was passed by 62.2% of Tuvans in a referendum on 12 December 1993. At the same time the official name was changed from Tuva (Тува) to Tyva (Тыва).

The Republic of China has never officially recognized the Russian claim and maps made in Taiwan have often included Tuva (along with Outer Mongolia) as part of China. This claim, along with the Taiwanese claim to mainland China, has been largely ignored since the early 1990s.

Tuvans are famous for their throat singing. See also: Ezengileer, Kargyraa, Sygyt, Khoomei.

Image:FlagofTuva.png|thumb|Flag of Tuva|Flag

  • Sergey Shoygu - Russia's Emergencies minister.

In the 1920s and 1930s, postage stamps from Tuva were issued. Many philately|philatelists, including famous physics|physicist Richard Feynman, have been fascinated with the far-away and obscure land of Tuva because of these stamps. The stamps were issued mainly during the small period of Tuvan independence, and had many philatelists in a furor, as they did not conform to various standards.

Tuva was featured prominently in the award-winning documentary Genghis Blues.

  • Khoomei (Tuvan throat singing)

  • Genghis Blues official movie site

  • Tuva Discussion Group

  • Friends of Tuva website

Russian federal subjects

Category:Republics of Russia
Category:Disputed territories

et:T?va Vabariik
he:טובה (רפובליקה)
nl:Tuva (deelrepubliek)
pl:Republika Tuwa

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tuva".

Last Modified:   2005-04-13

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