The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), is located in the Russian Far East, along the Arctic Ocean, with a population of roughly 1 million. Yakutsk is its capital and largest city. The republic has a reputation for an extreme and severe climate, with the lowest temperatures  being recorded.  Regular winter averages commonly dipping below −35°C (−31°F) in Yakutsk. The hypercontinental tendencies also result in warm summers for much of the republic.

The Sakha, or Yakut, people are the descendants of Turkic nomads and originated in the region around Lake Baikal. But in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries Mongols arrived from the south, along with other peoples, and the Sakha moved north and east, settling eventually in the basin of the river Lena, later called Yakutia. Yakutsk was founded in 1632. In 1638 the Yakutsk province was established.

Moscow  colonized and incorporated the area into the Czardom in the early-mid 17th century, obliging the indigenous peoples of the area to pay fur tribute. The initial period following the Russian conquest saw the Sakha population drop by 70% as the Russian population there increased.

Yakutia saw some of the last battles of the Russian Civil War, and the Bolshevik authorities re-organized Yakutsk province  into an autonomous  republic, the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic   in 1922. The Soviet era also saw the migration of many Slavs, specifically and Ukrainians, into the area.

With the demise of the USSR, the Russian Federation was established and within it the Republic of Sakha Yakuta.  The 1990s were economically brutal for much of the RF, but politically empowering for RSY. Glasnost’-era ethnic-consciousness movements retained their momentum and led to a Sakha cultural revitalization. The RSY enjoyed greater financial autonomy over the profits of its natural resources, thanks to an agreement signed between RSY’s leaders and Boris Yeltsin. Although Russians still continued to overall outnumber them, the Sakha regained some of their demographic strength, as tens of thousands of ethnic Russians returned to Russia proper.This trend began to reverse when Vladimir Putin took office. Under his regime, Moscow has re-centralized power over its peripheral areas. The state has commandeered controlling interest in RSY’s diamond industry by becoming the majority shareholder of its monopoly company.  In 2016, the RF initiated a homesteading act to repopulate Russia’s peripheral areas by granting free land to citizens willing to resettle there. A Sakha representative living in the United States observed recently:

“My people got acquainted with the Russian world 400 years ago, the “pioneers” in search of the ends of the earth came to our lands with fire and sword. They killed men, raped women and children. My ancestors resisted, but the technological advantage allowed the Russians to quickly conquer all of Yakutia. These were dark pages in the history of my people, full of pain and suffering, and only the vast size of my land and the dispersed living of my people made it possible to survive in such difficult conditions. Years passed, the country changed, the kings, emperors and secretaries changed, the attitude built on the principle: metropolis-colony did not change. Moscow continues to pump out resources: gas, oil, gold, diamonds, etc. In response, we get polluted rivers, toxic waste and industrial waste. I, being a full-fledged citizen of the country, am a second-class person, I have fewer rights in my country than whites, chauvinism and nationalism are the state policy of the country. We were silent for a long time because we are afraid, we are shut up, we are kidnapped, we are killed and this is happening today. Even I, being safe here, by saying these very words endanger my relatives who now live there. But I have no right to remain silent, I want the whole world to recognize the Sakha people: modest, hardworking, kind, talented and eco-friendly people.”


On September 21, 2022, by decree the President of the Russian Federation, V.V. Putin announced an additional  mobilization of the military in the RF.  There was an official statement in the media from the Ministry of Defense  that 300,000 reservists would be called up. While the official Russian authorities concealed the real statistics, an analysis of the first days of mobilization from September

22 to September 25, 2022, conducted by anti-war activists in the RSY, the Republic of Buryatia, the Republic of Tyva, and the Republic of Kalmykia, as well as independent Russian media showed ethnic selectivity and a blatantly disproportionate number mobilized from ethnic regions compared to the central regions and cities of the RF. Thus, from the small settlements of the Far North, almost the entire able-bodied young male population has been mobilized.


This recent disproportionate mobilization has further annoyed the Sakha people. Sakha representatives joined the U.S. Based Americans against Russian Imperialism. One stated that the national minorities within the RF are being used as cannon fodder in an unjust war.

January 11, 2023                                                                            Askold S. Lozynskyj