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Elista (English)
Элиста (Russian)
Элст (Kalmyk)
-  City[1]  -

Views of Elista

Location of the Republic of Kalmykia in Russia
Elista is located in Kalmykia
Location of Elista in the Republic of Kalmykia
Coat of arms
Administrative status (as of June 2011)
Country Russia
Federal subject Republic of Kalmykia[1]
Administratively subordinated to City of Elista[1]
Capital of Republic of Kalmykia[1]
Administrative center of City of Elista[1]
Municipal status (as of June 2012)
Urban okrug Elista Urban Okrug[2]
Administrative center of Elista Urban Okrug[2]
Leader Vyacheslav Namruyev
Population (2010 Census) 103,749 inhabitants[3]
Rank in 2010 156th
Time zone MSK (UTC+03:00)[4]
Founded 1865[5]
Previous names Elista (until 1944),
Stepnoy (until 1957)
Dialing code(s) +7 84722
Elista]] on Wikimedia Commons

Elista (Russian: Элиста; IPA:  or [əlʲɪˈsta];[6] Kalmyk: Элст, Elst)[7] is the capital city of the Republic of Kalmykia, Russia. Population: 103,749 (2010 Census);[3] 104,254 (2002 Census);[8] 89,695 (1989 Census).[9]


  • History 1
  • Administrative and municipal status 2
  • Features 3
  • Transportation 4
  • Climate 5
  • Twin towns and sister cities 6
  • Photo gallery 7
  • References 8
    • Notes 8.1
    • Sources 8.2
  • External links 9


A representation of the Buddha

Elista was founded in 1865 as a small settlement; the name is from Kalmyk els(e)n "sand(y)".[5] In November 1920, Elista became the administrative center of Kalmyk Autonomous Oblast. By the early 1930s, Elista was transformed into a small city as the collectivization policies of Joseph Stalin forced many Kalmyks to abandon their traditional pastoral nomadic lifestyle in exchange for a modern, sedentary, and urban lifestyle. In October 1935, Elista was recognized as the capital of the Kalmyk ASSR.

On December 27, 1943, the Kalmyk ASSR was dissolved and its ethnic Kalmyk residents were forcibly exiled to Siberia. Russian people were brought in to repopulate Elista whose name was changed to Stepnoy (Степно́й). It was called Stepnoy until 1957, when the survivors of the deportations were allowed to return from exile.

Some western tourists started to visit Elista from the mid-1990s, and more after it received publicity as the host city of the 1998 Chess Olympiad. The city is safe and has little traffic. On the outskirts of Elista, there are vast grasslands.

Administrative and municipal status

Elista is the capital of the republic.[1] Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is, together with four rural localities, incorporated as the City of Elista—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts.[1] As a municipal division, the City of Elista is incorporated as Elista Urban Okrug.[2]


A Kalmyk lady praying in front of the statue before entering the temple

Since 1991, the town has been characterized by the slow decay of Soviet-built institutions, and the large construction projects instigated by the republic's millionaire president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

The town center has a number of renovated public parks focused on the main square, boasting statues to both Lenin and the Buddha. To the east of the town lies the Olympic village of the 1998 XXXIII Chess Olympiad, known locally as "City-Chess". The site has a public swimming pool and an excellent museum of Kalmyk Buddhist art, and is also infrequently used as a conference center.

During his visit in 1998, his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama chose a location west of the town center to build a new Buddhist temple for city residents. It was opened in December 2005.


Elista has a small regional airport which is open daily during the week, providing flights to Moscow and various cities in the southern part of the Russian Federation. The airport was closed by the federal aviation authorities sometime in the fall of 2006 , but was reopened sometime in 2007. Rail connections are available to Stavropol.

Due to the high cost of air travel, people usually prefer to take the bus between Elista and Moscow. The trip is approximately 18 hours and makes several rest stops along the route.

Within Elista itself, a network of about a dozen marshrutka (minibus) routes is run by private companies . Minibuses are available around every five minutes. This is the preferred option of most Kalmykians because of the minimal cost.


Elista has a dry humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa) that closely borders on a semi-arid climate.[10] Winters are cold with a January average of −6.1 °C (21.0 °F) while summers are hot with a July average of 24.5 °C (76.1 °F).[11] The average annual precipitation is 349 millimetres (14 in) with winters being drier than summers.[12] Extremes range from −34.0 °C (−29.2 °F) in January to 42.9 °C (109.2 °F) in August.[13]

Climate data for Elista
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.8
Average high °C (°F) −2.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −6.1
Average low °C (°F) −8.8
Record low °C (°F) −34.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 25
Average precipitation days 6 5 5 4 5 6 5 4 4 4 6 8 62
Mean monthly sunshine hours 71.3 87.6 130.2 201.0 275.9 300.0 325.5 297.6 237.0 167.4 72.0 43.4 2,208.9
Source #1: [13] Thermo[12]
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory[11]

Twin towns and sister cities

Elista is twinned with the following sister cities:

Photo gallery



  1. ^ a b c d e f g Appendix to Decree #137
  2. ^ a b c Law #308-IV-Z
  3. ^ a b Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census) (in Russian).  
  4. ^ 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.).
  5. ^ a b Е. М. Поспелов. "Географические названия мира", Москва, 1998, стр. 480.
  6. ^ "Большой энциклопедический словарь", под ред. А. М. Прохорова. Москва и Санкт-Петербург, 1997, стр. 1402
  7. ^ The name in Oirat clear script is ᡄᠯᡄᠰᡉᡐᡉ or ᠡᠯᠡᠡᠰᠦᠲᠦ, Êlêsütü
  8. ^  
  9. ^ Demoscope Weekly (1989). "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров" [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ Kottek, M.; J. Grieser; C. Beck; B. Rudolf; F. Rubel (2006). "World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated" (PDF). Meteorol. Z. 15 (3): 259–263.  
  11. ^ a b "Climatological Information for Elista, Russia". Hong Kong Observatory. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "World Weather Information Service – Elista". United Nations. Retrieved December 31, 2010. 
  13. ^ a b "Weather Statistics - Elista" (in Russian). Petrozavodsk State University. Retrieved December 4, 2012. 
  14. ^ Flags-Kalmykia
  15. ^ Lhasa city guide


  • Justin Corfield, The History of Kalmykia: From Ancient Times to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Aleksey Orlov, 2015. ISBN 978-1-876586-29-4.
  • Президент Республики Калмыкия. Приложение к Указу №137 от 25 июня 2002 г. «Реестр административно-территориальных единиц Республики Калмыкия», в ред. Указа №103 от 27 июня 2011 г «О внесении изменений в Реестр административно-территориальных единиц Республики Калмыкия, утверждённый Указом Президента Республики Калмыкия от 26 декабря 2001 г. №235 "Об утверждении реестра административно-территориальных единиц Республики Калмыкия"». (President of the Republic of Kalmykia. Appendix to Decree #137 of June 25, 2002 Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Units of the Republic of Kalmykia, as amended by the Decree #103 of June 27, 2011 On Amending the Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Units of the Republic of Kalmykia, Adopted by Decree #235 of the President of the Republic of Kalmykia of December 26, 2001 "On Adopting the Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Units of the Republic of Kalmykia". ).
  • Народный Хурал (Парламент) Республики Калмыкия. Закон №308-IV-З от 23 ноября 2011 г. «О некоторых вопросах организации местного самоуправления в Республики Калмыкия», в ред. Закона №105-V-З от 6 марта 2015 г. «О внесении изменений в статью 13.1 Закона Республики Калмыкия "О некоторых вопросах организации местного самоуправления в Республики Калмыкия"». Вступил в силу по истечении 10 дней со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Хальмг Унн", №214, 24 ноября 2011 г. (People's Khural (Parliament) of the Republic of Kalmykia. Law #308-IV-Z of November 23, 2011 On Various Issues of the Organization of the Local Self-Government in the Republic of Kalmykia, as amended by the Law #105-V-Z of March 6, 2015 On Amending Article 13.1 of the Law of the Republic of Kalmykia "On Various Issues of the Organization of the Local Self-Government in the Republic of Kalmykia". Effective as of after 10 days since the day of the official publication.).

External links

  • Information Agency of the Republic of Kalmykia (Russian)
  • Information about Elista (Russian)
  • City Portal of Elista (Russian)
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