Chaunsky District

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Chaunsky District
Чаунский район (Russian)
Чаан район (Chukchi)
Location of Chaunsky District in Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
Coordinates: Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
Stacks in Chaunsky District, a natural monument
Coat of arms
Country Russia
Federal subject Chukotka Autonomous Okrug[1]
Administrative structure (as of June 2012)
Administrative center town of Pevek[1]
Inhabited localities:[2]
Cities/towns 1
Urban-type settlements[3] 6
Rural localities 4
Municipal structure (as of December 2011)
Municipally incorporated as Chaunsky Municipal District[4]
Municipal divisions:[4]
Urban settlements 1
Rural settlements 3
Local government:
Head of the Administration Yelena Kompaniyets
Area 58,100 km2 (22,400 sq mi)[citation needed]
Population (2010 Census) 5,148 inhabitants[5]
• Urban 80.8%
• Rural 19.2%
Population (January 2014 est.) 5,800 inhabitants[6]
Density Lua error in Module:Convert at line 272: attempt to index local 'cat' (a nil value).[7]
Time zone PETT (UTC+12:00)[8]
Established 1933[9]
[[:commons:Category:{{#property:Commons category}}|Chaunsky District]] on WikiCommons

Chaunsky District (Russian: Ча́унский райо́н; Chukchi: Чаан район) is an administrative[1] and municipal[4] district (raion), one of the six in Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Russia. It is located on the northern shore of the autonomous okrug and borders with Iultinsky District in the northeast, Anadyrsky District in the southeast, and with Bilibinsky District in the south and west. The area of the district is 58,100 square kilometers (22,400 sq mi).[citation needed] Its administrative center is the town of Pevek.[1] Population: 5,148 (2010 Census);[5] 6,962 (2002 Census);[10] 32,167 (1989 Census).[11] The population of Pevek accounts for 80.8% of the district's total population.[5]

Chaunsky District is flat compared to other districts in the autonomous okrug. The land within the current boundaries was first discovered by non-indigenous people in the 18th century, and now the indigenous people of the district are a minority as ethnic Russians came to the area following a growth in mining.


The district is centered around the Chaunskaya Bay, on the shores of which Pevek, the administrative center of the district, is situated. The district's territory also includes Ayon Island, found at the entrance to the Chaunskaya Bay. There is an eponymous settlement on the island.

The district's territory stretches for 330 kilometers (210 mi) from north to south and for 290 kilometers (180 mi) from east to west.[4] Cape Shelagsky is its northernmost point.[4] Chaunsky District is significantly flatter than Bilibinsky District located to the west and contains large areas devoted to reindeer pasture.

Approximately 350 kilometers (220 mi) long, the Chaun River, which flows into Chaunskaya Bay, is the longest river in the whole autonomous okrug.[12]

There are a number of wetland areas of significance within the district. The most westerly of these is situated on the Kyttyk Peninsula and the mouth of the Rauchua River.[13] This area is dominated by the Lower Rauchua delta and the alluvial plains of the Kyttyk Peninsula, from which Ayon Island is separated by the Maly Chaunsky Strait.[13] The peninsula is almost completely covered in a complex system of lakes, ranging in size from small saline pools lying on a recently exposed marine terrace 1 to 2 m above sea level, near the coast,[13] to lakes up to 1 km wide and 12 m deep on high level surfaces 10–15 m above sea level.[13] In addition, the peninsula is scored by a number of rivers, the Eyukuul, Koz'mina, Rakvezan and Emykkyvian among the most significant.[13]

The Ust-Chaun area of the district also contains significant wetlands at the south end of Chaunskaya Bay, consisting mainly of an alluvial plain approximately 100 km wide and 60 km north to south.[14] The wetlands at Ust-Chaun are similar in structure to those at the Rauchua / Kyttyk wetland, consisting of a landscape almost entirely filled with small lakes,[14] those nearest Chaunskaya Bay are the smallest and shallowest (less than 70 cm deep)[14] and those on more elevated ground being deeper at 1.5–3 m deep[15] The Ust-Chaun region serves a fishing centre for the inhabitants of Rytkuchi,[16] although this has lost its importance in recent years as stocks of Char have diminished,[16] as a result of overfishing both for sale to the local Sovkhoz and as bait for trapping foxes.[17]


There are approximately 200 different species of plant within the Rauchua / Kyttyk wetland area comprising a variety of steppe, boreal and arctic species, a number of which occur at the eastern limit of their natural habitat.[18] In the Ust-Chaun area, there are even more recorded plant species, at 252.,[18] including a number of rare species.[19]


Humpback and chum salmon enter the lower reaches of the Rauchua.[20] Several species of whitefish, grayling and smelt also live in the river or in the many surrounding lakes.[20] Sticklebacks also live in the lakes[21] along with Arctic char, although the community of char is infested with Acanthocephala.[13] Similar fish exist in the Ust-Chaun region,[22] and in addition to fish, the wetland is also home to the Siberian newt, which lives in the shrub-covered tundra near the delta.[22]

The Rauchua / Kyttyk wetland area is considered to be the easternmost extent of so-called "Kolyma fauna", such as the Terek sandpiper, brown shrike and scarlet rosefinch.[20] The most common bird species in the Rauchua / Kyttyk wetland are the yellow-billed, black-throated and Pacific divers. One of the main reasons for the importance of the Rauchua / Kyttyk is the breeding population (figures as of 1994) of Bewick's swan (approximately 300 birds), the Pacific eider (approximately 3,000 birds) and the spectacled eider (approximately 2,000 birds).[23] Spectacled and Pacific eider as well as black-throated and Pacific divers are also found in the Ust-Chaun region, though the Pacific eider is much more common on the Kyttyl Peninsula and near Apapelgino.[22]

Birds of prey are found in the Ust-Chaun area, with the rough-legged buzzard nesting in the area and species such as the goshawk and peregrine falcon visiting the area regularly.[16] Their prey consists of a wide variety of small mammals and almost all mammals found in the tundra regions of the Russian Far East are found in the Ust-Chaun area, including a number of species of shrew, vole and lemming.[16] Larger mammals include wild reindeer, wolves and brown bear.[16]


Approximately 85% of the district's population in 2003 were non-indigenous peoples.[12] As with most of the districts in Chukotka, indigenous peoples are more often found in the scattered rural localities, while ethnic Russians are more often found in the urban areas. These people either migrated to the Far East, or are the descendants of those who did, enticed by the higher pay, large pensions, and more generous allowances permitted to those prepared to endure the cold and the isolation, or, more likely, were exiled here as a result of one of Stalin's purges, or were exiled here having been released from the Gulag. The existence of the port of Pevek in the district is a major reason for the presence of ethnic Russians.[12]

The indigenous people present in the district are almost exclusively Chukchi.[24] An environmental impact study produced by Bema Gold for the Kupol gold project states that at the start of 2004, 846 of the districts inhabitants were of indigenous origin.[25] Of these people, 841 were Chukchi,[25] with 2 reported as Yupik, 2 Mansi and 1 Even comprising the remaining five indigenous individuals.[25] The indigenous people of Chaunsky District reside mainly in Rytkuchi, Ayon and Yanranay.[25]


18th and 19th centuries

The area of what is now Chaunsky District was first visited by non-indigenous people, when Karl Merk came across the Chaun River, as part of the overland element of the Billings Expedition—the expedition ordered by Catherine the Great and led by Englishman Joseph Billings in an attempt to find a true Northeast Passage. Prior to the river's discovery by Merk, the Chaun River represented the westernmost boundary of the Chukchi land. Merk named the river Chavaveyam after Mount Chaun, from where the river springs.[12]

The Rauchua River was a place inhabited by mammoths in prehistoric times and was also the scene of a bloody battle between Chukchi herders and a combination of Yukaghirs and Evens during the 19th century. The name Rauchua comes from the Chukchi word "Ravchyvan", meaning place of a victory over a camp.[12]

20th century

The district in its present form was founded in 1933.[9] Gold and tin were discovered in the 1940s, which led to the first occurrences of industrial mining in the district in the 1950s. The effect of this growth in industry was that Chaunsky District became the first district in the region to have a road network constructed as well as an electricity grid.[12] During World War II, the Chaunskaya Bay area of Chaunsky District was the most important tin producing area in the whole of the Soviet Union.[26]


Industrial and administrative

Many of the populated places throughout Chukotka owe their existence to tin and gold mines, and deposits of these metals were first discovered in Chukotka in Chaunsky District in 1941. In 2002, the average monthly salary was just over 11,000 rubles per month,[27] although agricultural wages were on average only around half that per month.[27] Mining and ancillary services still form the major elements of the economy of Chaunsky District. There are two large mines and a number of small mines in the district,[27] supported by a large trucking company.[27]

Traditional and cultural

Compared to other districts in Chukotka, agricultural enterprise is not particularly well developed.[25] There is only one farming brigade, Chaunskoye, employing just under 200 people.[25] The brigade herds around 15,000 reindeer and is also involved in fishing.[25]


As a result of the development of the mining industry, Chaunsky District also has the most developed road transport network in Chukotka, with paved, unpaved, or snow roads leading from Pevek to all major population hubs.[12] Pevek Airport, located about 14 kilometers (8.7 mi) from Pevek proper, provides a link for the region to Moscow.[25] Pevek's port is the largest in Chukotka and is generally open for about two and a half months a year from mid-July to September.[25]

The transport infrastructure of the district is more developed compared to the rest of Chukotka; this in part is helped by the presence of Pevek. Pevek itself has the second largest airport in Chukotka after the Ugolny Airport and offers one of the few means of direct air travel to Moscow. Pevek is also the naval headquarters of the East Arctic during the short summer.

Administrative and municipal status

Within the framework of administrative divisions, Chaunsky District is one of the six in the autonomous okrug.[1] The town of Pevek serves as its administrative center.[1] The district does not have any lower-level administrative divisions and has administrative jurisdiction over one town, six urban-type settlements, and four rural localities, consisting of all the inhabited localities listed below in the "Inhabited localities" section, except for Billings, which is administratively subordinated to Iultinsky District.

As a municipal division, the district is incorporated as Chaunsky Municipal District and is divided into one urban settlement and three rural settlements.[4]

Inhabited localities

Municipal composition
Urban settlements Population Male Female Inhabited localities in jurisdiction
4379[28] 2344 (53.5%) 2035 (46.5%)
Rural settlements Population Male Female Rural localities in jurisdiction*
252 120 (47.6%) 132 (52.4%)
211 109 (51.7%) 102 (48.3%)
517 284 (54.9%) 233 (45.1%)
Inhabited localities being liquidated

Divisional source:[4]
Population source:[5]
*Administrative centers are shown in bold



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Law #33-OZ
  2. Directive #517-rp
  3. The count of urban-type settlements includes the work settlements, the resort settlements, the suburban (dacha) settlements, as well as urban-type settlements proper.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Law #46-OZ
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  6. Chukotka Autonomous Okrug Territorial Branch of the Federal State Statistics Service. Численность постоянного населения Чукотского автономного округа по муниципальным образованиям на 1 января 2014 года (Russian)
  7. The value of density was calculated automatically by dividing the 2010 Census population by the area specified in the infobox. Please note that this value may not be accurate as the area specified in the infobox does not necessarily correspond to the area of the entity proper or is reported for the same year as the population.
  8. Правительство Российской Федерации. Федеральный закон №107-ФЗ от 3 июня 2011 г. «Об исчислении времени», в ред. Федерального закона №248-ФЗ от 21 июля 2014 г. «О внесении изменений в Федеральный закон "Об исчислении времени"». Вступил в силу по истечении шестидесяти дней после дня официального опубликования (6 августа 2011 г.). Опубликован: "Российская газета", №120, 6 июня 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Federal Law #107-FZ of June 31, 2011 On Calculating Time, as amended by the Federal Law #248-FZ of July 21, 2014 On Amending Federal Law "On Calculating Time". Effective as of after sixty days following the day of the official publication.).
  9. 9.0 9.1 Charter of Chaunsky District (2002), Article 2.1
  10. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  11. Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'strict' not found.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 Futé, pp. 106f
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Andreev, p. 41
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Andreev, A.V. p.43
  15. Andreev, A.V. p.44
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Andreev, A.V. p.47
  17. Andreev, A.V. p.48
  18. 18.0 18.1 Yurtsev B.A., Problemy Botanicheskoy Geografii Severovostochnoy Azii (Problems of Botanical Geography of Northeastern Asia). Leningrad: Nauka, 1974, p. 159. (Russian)
  19. Berkutenko A.N. (1987) Redkiye Rasteniya Magadanskoy Oblasti (Rare Plants of Magadan Region). Preprint. Magadan, p. 74. (Russian)
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Andreev, p.42
  21. Chereshnev I.A. Origin of Beringian Freshwater Ichthyofauna. Biogeografiya Beringiyskogo Sektora Subarktiki (Biogeography of the Beringian sector of the Subarctic). Vladivostok: Izd-co DVNTs, 1986, pp. 122-145. (Russian)
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Andreev, A.V. p.46
  23. Hodges J.I. and Eldridge W.D. (1994).Aerial Waterfowl Surveys on the Arctic coast of Eastern Russia. Unpublished USFWS report. Anchorage, p. 20.
  24. Norwegian Polar Institute. Indigenous Peoples of the north of the Russian Federation, Map 3.6, Chukotskiy Avtonomyy Okrug
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 25.6 25.7 25.8 Environmental Impact Assessment, Kupol Gold Project, Far East Russia June 2005, prepared by Bema Gold Corporation, p.89.
  26. Some Notes on the Soviet Arctic During the Past Decade, WIlliam Mandel, Arctic, Vol. 3, No. 1 (1950).
  27. 27.0 27.1 27.2 27.3 Environmental Impact Assessment, Kupol Gold Project, Far East Russia June 2005, prepared by Bema Gold Corporation, p.95f.
  28. This figure includes the census results for Pevek, Apapelgino and Yanranay. The results of the 2010 Census are given for Pevek Urban Settlement and Yanranay Rural Settlement, a former municipal formation of Chaunsky Municipal District. According to Law #88-OZ, Yanranay was the only inhabited locality on the territory of Yanranay Rural Settlement prior to the merger, whereas Apaelgino Rural Settlement was merged with Pevek Urban Settlement prior to the 2010 census.


  • Дума Чукотского автономного округа. Закон №33-ОЗ от 30 июня 1998 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Чукотского автономного округа», в ред. Закона №55-ОЗ от 9 июня 2012 г. «О внесении изменений в Закон Чукотского автономного округа "Об административно-территориальном устройстве Чукотского автономного округа"». Вступил в силу по истечении десяти дней со дня его официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Ведомости", №7 (28), 14 мая 1999 г. (Duma of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. Law #33-OZ of June 30, 1998 On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, as amended by the Law #55-OZ of June 9, 2012 On Amending the Law of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug "On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug". Effective as of after ten days from the day of the official publication.).
  • Правительство Чукотского автономного округа. Распоряжение №517-рп от 30 декабря 2008 г. «Об утверждении реестра административно-территориальных и территориальных образований Чукотского автономного округа», в ред. Распоряжения №323-рп от 27 июня 2011 г. «О внесении изменений в Распоряжение Правительства Чукотского автономного округа от 30 декабря 2008 года №517-рп». Опубликован: База данных "Консультант-плюс". (Government of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. Directive #517-rp of December 30, 2008 On the Adoption of the Registry of the Administrative-Territorial and Territorial Formations of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, as amended by the Directive #323-rp of June 27, 2011 On Amending the Government of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug Directive No. 517-rp of December 30, 2008. ).
  • Дума Чукотского автономного округа. Закон №46-ОЗ от 29 ноября 2004 г. «О статусе, границах и административных центрах муниципальных образований на территории Чаунского района Чукотского автономного округа», в ред. Закона №125-ОЗ от 2 декабря 2011 г. «О внесении изменений в Приложение 2 к Закону Чукотского автономного округа "О статусе, границах и административных центрах муниципальных образований на территории Чаунского района Чукотского автономного округа"». Вступил в силу через десять дней со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Ведомости", №31/1 (178/1), 10 декабря 2004 г. (Duma of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. Law #46-OZ of November 29, 2004 On the Status, Borders, and Administrative Centers of the Municipal Formations on the Territory of Chaunsky District of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, as amended by the Law #125-OZ of December 2, 2011 On Amending Appendix 2 of the Law of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug "On the Status, Borders, and Administrative Centers of the Municipal Formations on the Territory of Chaunsky District of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug". Effective as of the day which is ten days after the official publication date.).
  • Wetlands in Russia, Vol. 4 Wetlands in Northeastern Russia, Andreev, A.V. (2004). Wetlands International, Moscow.
  • Petit Futé, Chukotka