A heavily-industrialized constituent republic of the Russian Federation situated in the east of European Russia. Population: 1.6m. (1997 estimate).
Inhabited by the Finno-Ugric Udmurt people, the region came under the suzerainty of the Kazan khanate in the 14th century before being absorbed into the Russian Empire in 1552. Under the Soviet Union, Udmurtia was granted the status of an autonomous oblast (region) in 1920 (known as Votskaya until 1932) and became an autonomous republic in 1934. It was developed as a major industrial centre and now supplies around 1% of the Russian Federation's annual output. The republic declared its sovereignty on the collapse of the centralized Soviet state in September 1990.
The geography of Udmurtia displays strong differences between the largely marshy north and the drier, more fertile, south. Following these differences the republic's main industrial centres are in the north and produce a wide variety of goods including building materials, metal products, heavy industrial machines and textiles. The capital, Izhevsk, focuses on the construction of machinery.
The approximately 700,000 Udmurts are most closely related to the neighbouring Mari and Komi and constitute around 30% of Udmurtia and minority communities in the neighbouring republics. Aleksandr Volkov has been President of Udmurtia since 19 April 1995.