Tuva (//; Russian: Тува́) or Tyva (Tuvan: Тыва), officially the Tyva Republic (Russian: Респу́блика Тыва́, tr. Respublika Tyva, IPA: [rʲɪˈspublʲɪkə tɨˈva]; Tuvan: Тыва Республика, Tyva Respublika [tʰɯˈʋa resˈpʰuplika]), is a federal subject of Russia (a republic, also defined in the Constitution of the Russian Federation as a state).
|• Tuvan||Тыва Республика|
|Anthem: Men – Tyva Men|
|Economic region||East Siberian|
|Established||March 31, 1992|
|• Body||Great Khural|
|• Head||Sholban Kara-ool|
|• Total||170,500 km2 (65,800 sq mi)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1.8/km2 (4.7/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+7 (MSK+4 )|
|ISO 3166 code||RU-TY|
|Official languages||Russian; Tuvan|
|Tuvan Transliteration name|
|Tuvan Transliteration||Tyva Respublika|
The Tuvan republic lies at the geographical center of Asia, in southern Siberia. The republic borders the Altai Republic, the Republic of Khakassia, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, and the Republic of Buryatia in Russia and Mongolia to the south. It has a population of 307,930 (2010 census). Its capital is the city of Kyzyl.
From 1921 to 1944, Tuva constituted a sovereign, independent, but partially recognized nation, acknowledged only by its neighbors the Soviet Union and Communist Mongolia. It was known officially as Tannu Tuva until 1926 and thereafter as the Tuvan People's Republic.
A majority of the population are ethnic Tuvans who speak Tuvan as their native tongue, while Russian is spoken natively by the Russian minority; both are official and widely understood in the republic. Tuva is governed by the Great Khural, which elects a chairman for a four-year term.
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The territory of Tuva has been controlled by the Xiongnu Empire (209 BC–93 AD) and Mongolian Xianbei state (93–234), Rouran Khaganate (330–555), the Yenisei Kyrgyz (7th-13th century), Mongol Empire (1206–1368), Northern Yuan (1368–1691), Khotgoid Khanate and Zunghar Khanate (1634–1758). Medieval Mongol tribes, including Oirats and Tumeds, inhabited areas which are now part of the Tuvan republic.
From 1758–1911 it was part of Mongolia which was under Manchu rule itself. During the 1911 revolution in China, Tsarist Russia formed a separatist movement among the Tuvans. Tsar Nicholas II agreed to the third petition by Tuva's leadership in 1912, establishing protectorate over the then independent state. Some Russians, such as merchants, travellers, and explorers were already settled in Tuva at that time. Tuva became nominally independent as the Urjanchai Republic before being brought under Russian protectorate as Uryankhay Kray under Tsar Nicholas II, on 17 April 1914.
A Tuvan capital was established, called Belotsarsk (Белоца́рск; literally, "(Town) of the White Tsar"). Meanwhile, in 1911 Mongolia became independent, though under Russian protection. Following the Russian Revolution of 1917 that ended the imperial autocracy, most of Tuva was occupied from 5 July 1918 to 15 July 1919 by Aleksandr Kolchak's White Russian troops. Pyotr Ivanovich Turchaninov was named the governor of the territory. In the autumn of 1918, the southwestern part was occupied by Chinese troops and the southern part by Mongol troops led by Khatanbaatar Magsarjav.
From July 1919 to February 1920 the communist Red Army controlled Tuva but from 19 February 1920 to June 1921 it was occupied by China (governor was Yan Shichao [traditional, Wade–Giles transliteration: Yan Shi-ch'ao]). On August 14, 1921, the Bolsheviks established the Tuvan People's Republic, popularly called Tannu-Tuva. In 1926, the capital (Belotsarsk; Khem-Beldyr since 1918) was renamed Kyzyl, meaning "red". Tuva was de jure an independent state between the World Wars. The state's first ruler, Prime Minister Donduk, sought to strengthen ties with Mongolia and establish Buddhism as the state religion. This unsettled the Kremlin, which orchestrated a coup carried out in 1929 by five young Tuvan graduates of Moscow's Communist University of the Toilers of the East.
In 1930, the pro-Soviet regime discarded the state's Mongol script in favor of a Latin alphabet designed for Tuva by Russian linguists. In 1943 Cyrillic script replaced Latin. Under the leadership of Party Secretary Salchak Toka, ethnic Russians were granted full citizenship rights and Buddhist and Mongol influences on the Tuvan state and society were systematically reduced.
Tuva became a part of the Soviet Union in 1944, with the approval of Tuva's Little Khural (parliament). It became the Tuvan Autonomous Oblast within the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic after the Soviet victory in World War II. Salchak Toka, the leader of the Tuvan People's Revolutionary Party, was given the title of First Secretary of the Tuvan Communist Party and became the de facto ruler of Tuva until his death in 1973. It became the Tuvan Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, on October 10, 1961.
In February 1990, the Tuvan Democratic Movement was founded by Kaadyr-ool Bicheldei, a philologist at Kyzyl State Pedagogical Institute. The party aimed to provide jobs and housing (both were in short supply), and also to improve the status of Tuvan language and culture. Later in the year, there was a wave of attacks against Tuva's sizeable Russian community, including sniper attacks on trucks and attacks on outlying settlements with 168 murdered. Russian troops eventually were called in. Many Russians moved out of the republic during this period. To this day, Tuva remains remote and difficult to access.
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 October 22, 1993. This created a 32-member parliament (Supreme Khural) and a Grand Khural, which deals with local legislation. This constitution was passed by 53.9% (or 62.2%, according to another source) of Tuvans in a referendum on December 12, 1993. At the same time, the official name was changed from Tuva (Тува) to Tyva (Тыва).
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The republic is situated in the far south of Siberia. Its capital city of Kyzyl is located near the geographic "center of Asia". The eastern part of the republic is forested and elevated, and the west is a drier lowland.
- Highest point: Mount Mongun-Tayga, 3,970 meters (13,020 ft)
- Maximum N–S distance: 450 kilometers (280 mi)
- Maximum E–W distance: over 700 kilometers (430 mi)
- Area: 170,427 square kilometers (65,802 sq mi)
There are over 8,000 rivers in the republic. The area includes the upper course of the Yenisei River, the fifth longest river in the world. Most of the republic's rivers are Yenisei tributaries. There are also numerous mineral springs in the area.
Major rivers include:
- Yenisei River (also called Ulug-Khem)
- Kantegir River
- Khemchik River
- Maly Yenisei River (also called Ka-Khem or Kaa-Khem)
- Upper Yenisei River (also called Biy-Khem or Bii-Khem)
There are numerous lakes in Tuva, many of which are glacial and salt lakes, including Todzha Lake, a.k.a. Azas Lake (100 km²) – the largest in the republic, and Uvs Lake (shared with Mongolia and a World Heritage Site).
The area of the republic is a mountain basin, about 600 m high, encircled by the Sayan and Tannu-Ola ranges. Mountains and hills cover over 80% of the territory. Mongun-Tayga ("Silver Mountain", 3,970 m) is the highest point in the republic and is named after its glacier.
Major natural mineral resources of Tuva include coal, iron ore, gold, and cobalt. Fauna include sable, lynx, wolverine, weasel, maral, Siberian ibex, musk deer, bears, snow leopards, ground squirrels, flying foxes, and eagles.
- Average January temperature: −32 °C (−26 °F)
- Average July temperature: +18 °C (64 °F)
- Average annual precipitation: 150 millimeters (5.9 in) (plains) to 1,000 millimeters (39 in) (mountains)
- Much of the territory is affected by permafrost.
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The Tuva Republic is administratively divided into seventeen districts and two cities under republic jurisdiction (urban okrugs) (Kyzyl and Ak-Dovurak). The districts are further subdivided into sumons (rural settlements), towns under district jurisdiction (urban settlements), and urban-type settlements.
- Average life expectancy: Tuva: 56.5 (average male and female, UNDP data); Russia: (UN data) Male 59 (world rank 166); Female 73 (127)
According to the 2010 Census, Tuvans make up 82.0% of the republic's population. Other groups include Russians (16.3%), and a host of smaller groups, each accounting for less than 0.5% of the total population.
|1959 census||1970 census||1979 census||1989 census||2002 census||2010 census1|
|18,689 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.|
As can be seen above, during the period 1959–2010 there has been more than a doubling of ethnic Tuvans. The Russian population growth slowed by the 1980s and decreased by 50% since 1989. The official languages are Tuvan (Turkic) and Russian (Slavic).
Outside Kyzyl, settlements have few if any Russian inhabitants and, in general, Tuvans use their original language as their first language. However, there is a small population of Old Believers in the Republic scattered in some of the most isolated areas. Before Soviet rule, there were a number of large ethnic Russian Old Believer villages, but as the atheist ideology crept in, the believers moved deeper and deeper into the taiga in order to avoid contact with outsiders. Major Old Believer villages are Erzhei, Uzhep, Unzhei, Zhivei and Bolee Malkiye (all in the Kaa-Khemsky District). Smaller ultra-Orthodox settlements are found further upstream.
Ethnic Russians make up 38.68% of the population (as of 2002 Census) in Kaa-Khemsky District, one of the most remote regions in Tuva. The population is mostly Old Believers. Russians account for 34.12% of the population in Piy-Khemsky and 19.80% in Todzhinsky. In Kyzyl, they account for 37.02%.
Two religions are widespread among the people of Tuva: Tibetan Buddhism and shamanism. Tibetan Buddhism's present-day spiritual leader is Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama. In September 1992, the fourteenth Dalai Lama visited Tuva for three days. On September 20, he blessed and consecrated the new yellow-blue-white flag of Tuva, which had been officially adopted three days previously.
Tuvans were first exposed to Buddhism during the 13th and 14th centuries, when Tuva entered into the composition of the Mongol Empire. The earliest Buddhist temples uncovered by archeologists on the territory of Tuva date to the 13th and 14th centuries. During the 16th and 17th centuries, Tibetan Buddhism gained popularity in Tuva. An increasing number of new and restored temples are coming into use, as well as novices being trained as monks and lamas. Religious practice declined under the restrictive policies of the Soviet period but is now flourishing.
Shamanism is being revived as well, also in organized Tengrian forms.
According to a 2012 survey, 61.8% of the population of Tuva adheres to Buddhism, 8% to Tengrism or Tuvan shamanism, 1.5% to the Russian Orthodox Church, the Old Believers or other forms of Christianity, 1% to Protestantism. In addition, 7.7% follows other religion or did not give an answer to the survey, 8% of the population declares to be "spiritual but not religious" and 12% to be atheist.
The head of the government in Tuva is the Chairman of the Government, who is elected for a four-year term. The first Chairman of the Government was Sherig-ool Oorzhak. As of 2007, the Chairman of the Government was Sholban Kara-ool. Tuva's legislature, the Great Khural, has 162 seats; each deputy is elected to serve a four-year term. The present flag of Tuva – yellow for prosperity, blue for courage and strength, white for purity – was adopted on 17 September 1992.
The Republic's Constitution was adopted on 23 October 1993. On 3 April 2007, Russian president Vladimir Putin nominated Sholban Kara-ool, 40, a former champion wrestler, as the Chairman of the Government of Tuva. Sholban Kara-ool's candidacy was approved by the Khural on April 9, 2007.
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Tuva has a developing mining industry (coal, cobalt, gold, and more). Food processing, timber, and metalworking industries are also well-developed. Most of the industrial production is concentrated in the capital Kyzyl and in Ak-Dovurak. According to the HDI, the Republic of Tuva is the least developed region in Russia.
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Tuva is a region with a unique history, culture, and nature. All native zones of the Earth except savanna (even rainforest, see Southern Siberian rainforest) are featured in Tuva. There are more than 100 mineral springs in Tuva. The biggest of which are the warm mineral springs Ush-Beldir and Tarys, the temperature of the water is 52-85 °C.
Cold mineral springs and salt lakes are popular among tourists and the general population for their medicinal qualities. The geographical location of Tuva between the east-Siberian taiga and central-Asian landscape engenders a wealth of flora and fauna.
Tuva does not have a railway, although famous postage stamps in the 1930s, designed in Moscow during the time of Tuvan independence, mistakenly depict locomotives as demonstrating Soviet-inspired progress there. 
Traditionally the Tuvan people are a Central Asian yurt-dwelling nomadic culture, with distinctive traditions in music, cuisine, and folk art. Tuvan music features Tuvan throat singing (khoomei), in which the singer sings a fundamental tone and an overtone simultaneously. This type of singing can be heard during performances by the Tuva National Orchestra, on events such as the 'International Khoomei Day', held at the National Tuvinian Theatre, Kyzyl.
The singer Sainkho Namtchylak has an international following. Namtchylak is also very involved with Tuvan culture, every year inviting Western musicians to perform in Kyzyl and to learn about Tuva, its culture, and its music.
In recent years, Kongar-ool Ondar, another Tuvan throat singer, has become well known in the West, in large part because of the film Genghis Blues featuring Ondar and American blues singer Paul Pena.
The Tuvan craft tradition includes carving soft stone (agalmatolite). A frequent motif is hand-held-sized animals such as horses. 
Important archaeological excavation in Tuva include Arzhaan-1 and Tunnug 1, dating to the ninth Century BC.  and Arzhaan-2, where Scythian animal art in great variety, and over 9,000 decorative gold pieces were unearthed.  A collection of gold jewelry from this site is on display at the National Museum Aldan-Maadyr in Kyzyl.
Festivals celebrating Tuvan traditions include the ecological film festival "The Living Path of Dersu", the Interregional Festival of National Cultures "Heart of Asia". It has become a tradition to hold the international festival of live music "Ustuu-Khuree", the International Symposium "Khoomei - the Phenomenon of the Culture of the Peoples of Central Asia", the Regional Competition-Festival of Performers on National Instruments "Dingildai", the International Felt Festival "Patterns of Life on Felt" Pop songs "Melodies of the Sayan Mountains".
Khuresh, the Tuvan form of wrestling, is a very popular sport. The competitors wear colorful costumes with long-sleeved robes, with the objective of throwing their opponent to the ground. Competitions are held at the annual Naadym festival at Tos-Bulak. 
The Tuvan language is Turkic, although with many loan-words from Mongolian. It is currently written with a modified Cyrillic alphabet, previously used Turkic runes, later Mongolian, then Latin alphabets. Then, Tuva was administered as part of Outer Mongolia, and the language difference was a determining factor in Tuva seeking full independence from Outer Mongolia, following the collapse of the Qing dynasty of China in 1911.
Tuva is one of the few places in the world where the original form of shamanism is preserved as part of the traditional culture of Tuva. Shamanism presupposes the existence of good and evil spirits inhabiting mountains, forests and water, the heavens and the underworld. The mediator between man and the spirits is the shaman. It is believed that with the help of spirits the shaman is able to cure patients and to predict the future.
In Tuva, shamanism peacefully coexists with Buddhism. Buddhism is associated with many folk rituals, calendar holidays, and folk medicines in Tuva. Centers of Buddhism in Tuva are Khuree – temples, temple complexes. The temple complex Tsechenling in Kyzyl – the residence of Kamba-Lama, head of Buddhism in Tuva. Treasures of the old Slavonic culture in the Asian Tuva saved along with the values of other peoples – children's folklore ensemble "Oktay" from the city of Kyzyl in the course several ethnographic expeditions In the old believers ' settlements were able to collect and record of conservatives extensive collection of samples of ancient singing art.
- In the 1920s and 1930s, postage stamps from Tuva were issued. Many philatelists, including the physicist Richard Feynman, have been fascinated with Tuva because of these stamps. The stamps were issued mainly during the brief period of Tuvan independence and were not accepted by serious collectors until recently as they were thought to be produced in Moscow and not to represent a genuine postal service.
- Feynman's efforts to reach Tuva are chronicled in the book Tuva or Bust! and the video The Quest For Tannu Tuva: Richard Feynman – The Last Journey of a Genius (1988) which can be viewed online on YouTube. Project Tuva was named in honor of his efforts.
- Tuva was featured prominently in the award-winning documentary Genghis Blues.
- United Nations Human Development Index: Russian Federation – Republic of Tyva, rank: 79/79 (the lowest).
- Tuvan stamps are mentioned in a line of Gregory Corso's poem Marriage.
- Tuvan Sergey Shoygu, Russia's Minister of Defense, and previously Minister for Emergency Situations since 1994, is Russia's longest-serving minister, and used to be a leader of the political party 'Unity'.
- Tuvans make wishes each morning, sprinkling milk on the ground, to the north, south, east and west, with a special wooden spoon with nine small hollows for the various milk products made.
- According to Ilya Zakharov of Moscow's Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, genetic evidence suggests that the modern Tuvan people are the closest genetic relatives to the native peoples of North and South America.
- Some Tuvans, even near Kyzyl, still live in traditional yurts, round, demountable and portable dwellings with sectional lath trellis walls, decorated pole roofs and covered with white felt and canvas, with colorful cloth lining. There is a central smoke-hole above the hearth or stove. It is used to tell the time as the sunlight moves around inside the yurt. The interior is arranged with the man's side to the left, the woman's to the right of the door facing East, with the altar cupboard facing that.
- Tuvans, as traditional nomads, knew no fixed national borders, which has led to small numbers being in areas outside the present Republic's boundaries, including as follows.
- China – Xinjiang: Tuwa people by Lake Kanas, Altay Prefecture.
- Russia – Irkutsk Oblast: Tofa people adjacent to north-east Tuva; Buryatia: Soyot people of the Upper Oka river.
- Mongolia – northern: Tsaatan people; north-western: Dukha/Duva people; western: Tsengel people.
- The Sayan Mountains in Tuva were featured in Bear Grylls' Man vs Wild popular adventure TV show.
- 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.).
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- The Republic of China (ROC), now based in Taiwan, is involved in territorial disputes with many governments bordering mainland China. Due to the One-China policy, it has no formal diplomatic relations with any of these states. The ROC recognizes neither the People's Republic of China (PRC) nor its border agreements or treaties with any other countries. Article 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of China states that "The territory of the Republic of China according to its existing national boundaries shall not be altered except by resolution of the National Assembly." Section 5 of Article 4 of the Additional Articles of the Constitution of the Republic of China now overrides this provision, with the power of the National Assembly to alter transferred to the Legislative Yuan and the electorate.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tyva.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Tuva.|
- (in Russian) Official website of Tuva
- Tyva at the Encyclopædia Britannica
- Photos from Tuva by Stanislav Krupar
- Research among the Tuvans of South Siberia
- World Statesmen – Russia
- Singing Stones – The Republic of Tuva
- (in Russian) Website of Tuva
- (in Russian) Tuva in Russia.Travel
- Friends of Tuva website
- (in English and Japanese) Friends of Tuva, Japan
- Some Tuvan stamps issued in 1920s/1930s
- Genghis Blues, official movie site
- Animated slideshow presentations of Tuva
- (in English, Russian, Japanese, and Esperanto)More complete collection of Tuvan Stamps (1926–1943)
- TyvaWiki:Main Page
- The Tuva Trader; Tuva and Richard Feynman media, products and information
- Buga-shadara A traditional Tuvan boardgame
- Audio of the Tuvan national anthem recorded by the Tuvan National Orchestra. The orchestral arrangement was composed by Ayana Samiyaevna Mongush.
- (in Russian and Japanese) Map of Republic of Tuva (in Tuvan) Slavic-Eurasian Research Center at Hokkaido University
- Tuvan contribution to the Second World War, russian7.ru, April 2015; accessed February 21, 2018.(in Russian)