The Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug was established by the resolution of the Russian Central Executive Committee (RCEC) of 10 December 1930 "On establishing ethnic associations in the territories of traditional settlement of the indigenous peoples of the North" as a part of the Ural Oblast. Initial name of the territory was the Ostyak-Vogul Ethnic Okrug. On 17 January 1934 it was incorporated into the Ob-Irtysh Oblast with the center in Tyumen. On 7 December 1934 it became part of the Omsk Oblast. On 23 October 1940 the region's name was changed to the Khanty-Mansiysk Ethnic Okrug. On 14 August 1944 the Okrug was incorporated into the newly established Tyumen Oblast.

The underlying purpose of establishing the Khanty-Mansiysk Okrug was protection of traditional culture and facilitation of social and economic growth of indigenous peoples of the North. It was a jurisdiction embracing the territories of traditional settlement of indigenous peoples of the North - the Khanty and the Mansi emphasizing their special administrative and legal status, however in terms of rights and authority it was little different from any other administrative region.

Significant changes into the Okrug's status were introduced by the USSR Constitution of 1977 and the Russian Federation Constitution of 1978. It acquired the status of autonomous jurisdiction and a representation in the USSR supreme bodies of state authority with the right of legislative initiative. Under the Russian Law "On the RSFSR Autonomous Okrugs" of 20 November 1980 the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug became an element of the administrative and territorial structure of the RF as part of the Tyumen Oblast, and its public authorities were integrated into a unified national local government system. On 9 December1970 by a Decree of the Presidium of the USSR Supreme Soviet the Khanty-Mansiysk Ethnic Okrug was awarded the Order of Lenin for meeting oil fields development targets and increase of production, and on 29 December 1972 - the Order of Peoples' Friendship for strengthening friendship relations between the Soviet peoples.

By the end of the 20th century as a result of ongoing demographic and socio-economic changes the Okrug ceased to be predominantly mono-ethnic.

At present the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug - Ugra is an independent subject of the RF with the population of 1,597.2 thousand of which 32 thousand, or approximately 2% are the representatives of the indigenous peoples of the North: the Khanty, the Mansi, and the Nenets, half of which stick to the traditional way of life.

The region's territory is comparable in size to the territory of France or Ukraine. There are 105 municipalities in Ugra.

The Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug is one of the Russian Federation's leaders in terms of industrial output, power generation, oil and gas production, and equity investment. Over 10 billion tons of oil have been produced from the start of the West-Siberian oil and gas province development. Owing to its explored and proven raw hydrocarbons resources, production capabilities, industrial infrastructure and oil fields commercial viability the Autonomous Okrug will continue to be Russia’s main strategic raw hydrocarbons resource base for the next several decades.

475 oil and gas fields have been discovered in the territory of Ugra.

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