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The greatest part of Astrakhan's territory lies below the spring flood levels of the Volga

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Autonomous Republic of Crimea

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Updated: 04.11.2003

Russian Krym, autonomous republic, southern Ukraine. The republic is coterminous with the Crimean Peninsula. Area 10,400 sq miles (27,000 sq km). Population 2,549,800 (1991).

In 1921 the Crimea was formed into the Crimean Autonomous SSR, which was populated primarily by Tatars, until they were dispersed in 1945 for alleged collaboration with the Germans. The area passed to the Russian SFSR and in 1954 was transferred to Ukraine. It became a republic in the early 1990s.

The northern part of the Crimea, a level steppe region, is under intensive agriculture. Winter wheat, corn, and sunflowers are the main crops. The climate is dry, and additional water supplies are brought by canal from the Dnieper River at Kakhovka. On the lower mountain slopes of the south are many vineyards; there tobacco is important, as are flowers for perfume.

Most towns are engaged in processing farm produce, especially wine making. Heavier industry is concentrated in Kerch, a centre of large-scale iron-ore mining; the ore, which has a high phosphorus content, is sent by sea to Mariupol and the Donets Basin.

Simferopol, the headquarters of the republic, has diversified industry and is a cultural centre.

Brines from Sivash supply chemical plants at Krasnoperekopsk and Saki. There are a number of stone quarries, especially for limestone and diorite.

Along the southern coast, the tourist industry is extremely important, with Yalta, Gurzuf, Alushta, and Alupka the main centres.

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