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    Yakutsk

Yakutsk is one of the most ancient cities of Siberia and the Far East. The date of its foundation, 1632, coincides with the year when these lands were joined to Russia.

For centuries Yakutsk played the role of a political and commercial center of the northeastern Siberia. The city represented a midpoint of major routs connecting central regions of Russia with northeastern Asia, coasts of the Pacific Ocean, and northwestern lands of the American continent. Yakutsk served as a starting point for courageous campaigns of famous Russian explores and navigators, among which could be mentioned S. Dezhnev and V. Poyarkov.

However, the region also left some tragic footprints in the history: it is known as a place of exile for political prisoners under both the Russian czars and the Soviet government.

After the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Sakha became an autonomous republic within Russia. At present, Yakutia's economy is based on mineral and timber resources exploitation. The territory is known for being a major source of Russia's diamond output. With the discovery of diamond deposits in 1955 a new settlement was founded, which later developed into Mirnyi town. Around 25% of worlds diamonds are mined in Yakutia.

Other major industries include mining of coal (with the center in Neruingri town), gold, and tin. Besides, there is a range of other economic activities, like for example, agriculture, livestock raising, hunting, and fishing. Todays Yakutsk is a large commercial and political center with modern systems of communication and a large international airport.

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