Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic(redirected from Yakut ASSR)
Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
(Yakutia), part of the RSFSR. Formed on Apr. 27, 1922, the Yakut ASSR lies in the northern part of Eastern Siberia, in the basins of the Lena, lana, and Indigirka rivers and the lower reaches of the Kolyma. The republic is bounded on the north by the Laptev and East Siberian seas and includes the Novosibirskie Islands. Area, 3,103,200 sq km. Population, 842,000 (Jan. 1, 1978). Yakutia has 32 raions, ten cities, and 59 urban-type settlements. The capital is Yakutsk.
Constitution and government. The Yakut ASSR is a socialist state of the entire people and an autonomous Soviet socialist republic. Its present constitution was adopted on May 31, 1978, at the extraordinary eighth session of the ninth convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the Yakut ASSR. The supreme bodies of state power are the unicameral Supreme Soviet of the Yakut ASSR, whose members are elected by electoral districts with equal populations, and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet. The Supreme Soviet forms the republic’s government, the Council of Ministers. The Yakut ASSR sends 11 deputies to the Soviet of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. The local governing bodies are the raion, city, settlement, and rural (nasleg) soviets of people’s deputies, which are popularly elected for terms of 2½ years. The Supreme Soviet of the Yakut ASSR elects the members of the republic’s Supreme Court, consisting of a criminal and a civil division, and the Presidium of the Supreme Court for terms of five years. The procurator of the Yakut ASSR is appointed by the procurator-general of the USSR for a term of five years.
Natural features. More than 40 percent of the Yakut ASSR lies above the arctic circle, where its coastline is quite indented. Nordvik Bay, situated in the northwest, is bounded on the north by Bol’shoi Begichev Island, to the east of which are the Anabar and Olenek gulfs. Buor-Khaia Gulf, which includes Tiksi Bay, cuts deeply into the land east of the Lena River delta. The lana and Kolyma gulfs lie east of Buor-Khaia.
Yakutia is largely a land of vast mountain systems and high plateaus. Topographically, the republic may be divided into three parts: western, southern, and eastern Yakutia. Western Yakutia occupies the Central Siberian Plateau, where elevations average 500–700 m. The plateau is bounded on the north by the North Siberian Lowland and on the east by the Central Yakut Lowland, which has many shallow undrained depressions called alasy. The Chekanovskii Ridge stretches between the lower reaches of the Olenek and Lena rivers. In southern Yakutia lies the Aldan Plateau (average elevations 650–1,000 m), bounded by the Stanovoi Range on the south and the Lena Plateau on the north.
Eastern Yakutia is dominated by major mountain systems. The Verkhoiansk Range stretches along the right bank of the Lena and Aldan rivers. To the east rises the Cherskii Range, with the highest point in Yakutia, Mount Pobeda (3,147 m). Between the two ranges lies the Iana-Oimiakon Upland. The Iana-Indigirka and Kolyma lowlands extend along the northern part of the republic, and the Yukaghir Plateau occupies the east and northeast.
S. E. MOSTAKHOV
GEOLOGICAL STRUCTURE AND MINERAL RESOURCES. Yakutia occupies the eastern half of the Siberian Platform and the western part of the Verkhoiano-Chukotka Folded Region. The principal platform structures within the republic are the Anabar (northwest) and Aldan (south) anteclises and the Viliui syneclise that separates them. The platform’s Archean-Proterozoic crystalline basement crops out on the surface in the anteclises (seeANABAR MOUNTAIN MASS and ALDAN SHIELD).
The principal structural elements of the Verkhoiano-Chukotka Folded Region are the Kolyma median mass and the Verkhoiano-Kolyma folded system west of it. The Verkhoiano-Kolyma folded system consists of two submeridional arclike zones. The outer zone, the Verkhoiansk anticlinal zone, is composed of dislocated Permian rocks; the inner zone, the Iana-Indigirka synclinal zone, is filled with Triassic and Jurassic deposits. Along the eastern boundary of the Iana-Indigirka zone these deposits have been intruded by Late Mesozoic granitoids, which form an enormous batholith belt. Recent tectonic movements have not disturbed the general layout of the Mesozoic structures, so that the largest mountain systems—the Verkhoiansk and Cherskii ranges—coincide with the Mesozoic structures.
Yakutia’s mineral resources include diamonds, gold, coal, natural gas, and ores of ferrous, nonferrous, and rare metals. The diamonds are confined primarily to the kimberlite pipes of the Siberian Platform. The gold is genetically associated with Late Mesozoic granites and subalkalic intrusions (Aldan shield, Iana-Indigirka synclinal zone) and with placers in the Indigirka and lana basins, the Kular Range, and the southern Verkhoiansk region. Tin deposits are associated with the Late Mesozoic granitoids of the Iana-Indigirka zone. The Late Mesozoic strata of the Viliui syneclise and foredeeps contain deposits of coal (Lena, Southern Yakut, Zyrianka coalfields) and gas (Ust’-Viliui, Sobokhain, Bodaran). There are deposits of salt, gypsum, and other mineral resources on the Siberian Platform. Yakutia is also rich in mineral waters.
Z. F. BORODENKOVA
CLIMATE. Yakutia has a sharply continental climate, with long and severe winters that bring little snow. The mean January temperature ranges from −28° to −30°C on the arctic coast and from −40° to −50°C over the rest of the land. The Oimiakon and Verkhoiansk region is the “cold pole” of the northern hemisphere, with temperatures plunging to –70°C. Summers are short and warm, with mean July temperatures of 18°–19°C in central Yakutia and 2°–5°C on the coast. The average annual precipitation ranges from 150–200 mm in central Yakutia and the inter-montane basins and river valleys of northeastern Yakutia to 500–700 mm on the slopes of the mountains of eastern Yakutia. The growing season lasts 60–90 days in the north and 120–130 days in the central and southern regions.
RIVERS AND LAKES. There are about 500,000 rivers in Yakutia with a total length of more than 1.5 million km, all of them flowing into the Arctic Ocean. About 65 percent of the republic’s territory is drained by the Lena River and its tributaries—the Aldan, Viliui, and Olekma. In the north flow the large Anabar, Olenek, lana, Indigirka, Alazeia, and Kolyma rivers. The republic’s rivers have an average annual hydroelectric potential of 70 gigawatts. The large rivers are navigable, and the Lena and some of its tributaries are also used for floating timber. The republic has more than 700,000 lakes, the largest of which are Mogotoevo, Nerpich’e, and Nedzheli. Another large body of water is the Viliui Reservoir.
Yakutia is located in the zone of permafrost, which reaches a thickness of 600–800 m or more. Underground ice occurs in the permafrost layer. In the middle course of the Moma River is the Ulakhan-Taryn naled’ (ice body formed by the layer-by-layer freezing of river water that floods the surface of the ice). Covering about 100 sq km, it is the largest naled’ in the USSR.
SOILS. Permafrost taiga soils are found over most of Yakutia. In the mountains there are permafrost mountain-forest and mountain-tundra soils. Soddy forest, pale yellow, loamy (partially solodized), and alluvial meadow soils are common in central Yakutia; elsewhere there are mountain forest, swamp, and tundra gley soils.
FLORA AND FAUNA. The flat expanses of northern Yakutia are for the most part a hummocky tundra with sedge-cotton grass and grass-sedge marshes. The southern part of the tundra is covered with moss-lichen and moss-sedge marshes. About 80 percent of Yakutia lies in the taiga zone, with forests occupying 138,000,000 hectares. Dahurian larch covers 89 percent of the forested area; other species include Siberian dwarf pine, spruce, and birch. Meadows occur in the river valleys and alasy. Reindeer pastures with shrub and grass vegetation and lichens are found in the tundra zone and the mountains.
The fauna of the tundra and taiga includes the arctic fox, sable, blue hare, ermine, fox, muskrat, reindeer, elk, and such birds as Ross’s gull and the Siberian white crane. Of the less common species, wapiti are encountered in the Olekma basin, musk deer in the mountain taiga of the south and east, and mountain sheep in the mountains of eastern Yakutia. The seas bordering Yakutia abound in arctic cisco (Coregonus autumnalis), muksun (Coregonus muksun), nelma (Stenodus leucichthys nelma), broad whitefish (Coregonus nasus), and least cisco (Coregonussardinella). The rivers contain whitefish (Coregonus), pike, perch, sturgeon, burbot, taimen (Hucho taimen), and lenok (Brachymyststax lenok).
S. E. MOSTAKHOV
Population. According to the 1979 census, the republic was inhabited by 313,900 Yakuts, 429,600 Russians, 46,300 Ukrainians, 11,600 Evenki, 10,980 Tatars, 5,800 Evens, 500 Yukaghir, and small numbers of Chukchi, Byelorussians, and other ethnic groups.
The population of the republic numbered 413,800 persons in 1939, 487,300 in 1959, and 664,100 in 1970. The average population density is 0.3 persons per sq km; in the northern raions it decreases to about one person per 100 sq km. The proportion of urban dwellers has risen from 27 percent (111,500) in 1939 to 65 percent (550,000) at the beginning of 1978. The republic has ten cities: Yakutsk, Mirnyi, Neriungri, Aldan, Verkhoiansk, Viliuisk, Lensk, Olekminsk, Srednekolymsk, and Tommot.
Historical survey. The oldest traces of human habitation in Yakutia date from the Upper Paleolithic. A number of Paleolithic sites have been found along the Middle and Upper Lena and in the Aldan Valley. In the Neolithic, people settled all along the Lena, as well as along its tributaries and other rivers. The southern Neolithic remains belonged to seminomadic fishermen and hunters who left behind petroglyphs depicting chiefly elk hunting scenes. The northern Neolithic remains have been linked to the people who settled the lower reaches of the Lena, Indigirka, and Kolyma. These nomadic hunters of wild reindeer are believed to have been the ancestors of the Yukaghir.
The beginning of the age of metal is represented by remains similar to those of the Glazkovo culture of the Baikal Region: burials on the Bugachan and Ichchiliakh rivers dating from the middle of the second millennium B.C. Cast bronze swords, daggers, and spear points resembling those of the Karasuk culture of southern Siberia appeared at the end of the second millennium and early in the first millennium B.C. Casting molds attest to the existence of local metallurgy. Ironworking spread to Yakutia early in the first millennium A.D. Hunting and fishing continued to be the mainstay of the economy. In the first centuries A.D., reindeer herding was introduced by the ancestors of the Evenki, who migrated into the area. Between the tenth and 15th centuries central Yakutia was settled by the ancestors of the Yakuts, pastoral Turkic tribes who migrated northward from the Baikal Region and partially assimilated the local population.
At the time of the arrival of the Russians in the 1620’s and 1630’s the Yakuts were living in the area between the Lena and Amga rivers, along the lower reaches of the Viliui and Olekma, and along the upper reaches of the lana. As herders of cattle and horses they led a seminomadic way of life, moving twice a year between summer and winter pastures. The Yakuts also engaged in hunting and fishing and, in the north, reindeer breeding. Smithery was becoming an important craft. Although they bartered with the Amur tribes, the Evenki, and other peoples, the Yakuts had an essentially subsistence economy. In the 16th and 17th centuries the Yakuts divided into tribes and clans, and elements of feudal relations arose within the clan social system. Military leaders called toions emerged who owned hundreds of head of livestock and the best meadow land and who exploited their dependent kinsmen and slaves (kuluts). Shamanism was the dominant religion. Oral poetry, notably the olonkho heroic epic, occupied an important place in the cultural life of the Yakuts.
In addition to Yakuts, Evenki, Evens, and Yukaghir inhabited the territory of Yakutia. These peoples were organized into patriarchal clans, followed a nomadic way of life, and engaged in reindeer herding, hunting, fishing, and gathering. In the 1630’s Yakutia was absorbed into the Russian state, and its peoples became subject to the iasak (tax in furs).
Despite the colonial policy of the tsarist government, the unification of Yakutia with Russia promoted the socioeconomic and cultural development of the region by putting an end to the feuding between the toions and stimulating the influx of permanent Russian settlers. Yakutia was drawn into the all-Russian market, and feudal relations developed. In the 17th and 18th centuries livestock herding spread as far as the Olekma and Viliui regions. Some of the Yakuts began raising grain and vegetables, and hay mowing was widely adopted. The Yakuts colonized new territories, especially in the north. Their unique system of communal land use, called the class system from the early 19th century, survived until the October Revolution of 1917. From among the toions, exploiters of dependent relatives, were drawn the elders and ulusnye golovy (seeULUSNYE GOLOVY), who wielded power in the uluses (small rural districts). Established in 1805, Yakutsk Oblast was initially headed by an official subordinate to the governor of Irkutsk and, from 1851, by a separate governor. The Yakuts were classified as “nomadic native peoples” in 1822.
In the second half of the 19th century Yakutia, along with the rest of Siberia, was drawn into the general process of capitalist development in Russia. Technical innovations were introduced and hired workers were employed in extracting gold, discovered in southern Yakutia in 1846, and in mining lead ores. In some cities manufacturing enterprises were established, including brickyards, tanneries, breweries, soap-making enterprises, sawmills, harness shops, and tobacco-processing shops. Trade. expanded. The Yakuts shifted from a nomadic to a sedentary way of life and began raising crops. Social stratification within the Yakut and Russian peasantry intensified, and kulaks emerged as a distinct group. Some of the impoverished Yakuts sought work in the mines and cities. In the late 19th century the construction of the Siberian Railroad and shipping on the Lena hastened the development of capitalist relations, which gradually affected the economy of the Evenki and Evens. The hunting economy of the Yukaghir remained at the patriarchal stage. The Russian population practiced crop farming in the countryside, engaged in crafts, commerce, and transport (cartage) in the cities, and made up the backbone of the administrative apparatus.
The everyday life and culture of the native peoples changed under the influence of the Russian settlers. By the early 19th century most of the Yakut population had been converted to Orthodoxy, although shamanism survived down to the 20th century. The first “native” schools were established in the 1870’s.
The tsarist government designated Yakutia as a place of political exile (see). The exiles promoted the cultural and political development of the Yakuts. In December 1902 an illegal political group was formed among students at the Realschule in Yakutsk; its members became familiar with Lenin’s Iskra and other Marxist writings. During the Revolution of 1905–07 rallies and demonstrations were held in Yakutsk from November 1905 to February 1906. In December 1905 the peasants of Chekur Volost (small rural district) refused to pay taxes or perform their cartage obligations. An illegal Social Democratic organization that included both Russians and Yakuts was formed in the summer of 1906.
Shortly before the February Revolution of 1917 the exiled Bolsheviks, led by E. M. Iaroslavskii, G. K. Ordzhonikidze, and G. I. Petrovskii, stepped up their activities. The united Yakutsk Committee of the RSDLP was established in early March. In May the united Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies was formed under the chairmanship of Iaroslavskii, although most of the members were Mensheviks and Socialist Revolutionaries. The departure of many exiled Bolsheviks for the central regions of the country in late May 1917 weakened the local Bolshevik organization.
After the victory of the October Revolution of 1917 in central Russia, local counterrevolutionary forces formed the so-called Committee to Defend the Revolution. In July 1918, Soviet power was established in Yakutia with the support of a Red Army detachment sent from Irkutsk by the leaders of Tsentrosibir’ (Central Executive Committee of Siberian Soviets). Soviets were formed in Viliuisk and in the Niurba, Suntar, and other uluses. In August 1918, White Guard forces seized Yakutsk. After an uprising against the Kolchak forces in Yakutsk on the night of Dec. 14–15, 1919, power passed to the Military Revolutionary Headquarters.
In June 1920 there arrived in Yakutsk a group of party and Soviet functionaries and economic advisers who had been sent by the Siberian Bureau of the Central Committee of the RCP(B) at the behest of the Central Committee. Shortly thereafter the Yakutsk Regional (Oblast) Revolutionary Committee, composed of the Bolsheviks M. K. Amossov (chairman), Kh. A. Gladunov, and P. A. Sleptsov, was elected. Also formed in June 1920 was the Yakutsk Oblast Organizational Bureau of the RPC(B). Between 1920 and 1922, Yakutia’s banks, commercial firms, industrial enterprises, and land were nationalized. Land owned by monasteries or the state was confiscated; noblemen’s estates had never been established in Yakutia.
In late 1921 a White Guard-kulak rebellion broke out in Yakutia, and in March 1922, Yakut bourgeois nationalists and White Guards established the Provisional Yakutsk Oblast Government in Churapcha. In the summer of 1922 the bourgeois nationalist government appealed to White Russian émigré circles in Harbin for support. The Siberian Volunteer Army, quickly formed under the command of General A. N. Pepeliaev, left Vladivostok for Yakutia in August 1922. To assist the peoples of Yakutia in their fight against the counterrevolutionary forces, the Okhotsk-Aian Expeditionary Force was formed under the command of S. S. Vostretsov. Pepeliaev was unable to capture Yakutsk, and on July 17, 1923, his detachments surrendered in the port of Aian.
On Apr. 27, 1922, the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee issued a decree forming the Yakut ASSR as part of the RSFSR. The First All-Yakutia Constituent Assembly of Soviets met on Dec. 27, 1922, to elect the Central Executive Committee and Council of People’s Commissars of the republic. The first constitution of the Yakut ASSR was adopted in 1924. As a result of the land reform begun in 1929 some 150,000 hectares of land were turned over to the working peasants.
During the prewar five-year plans the peoples of Yakutia, supported by the Russian and other peoples of the USSR, completed the transition from a patriarchal-feudal economy to socialism, bypassing the capitalist stage. Among the new industries to be established were coal and ore mining, construction, and forestry. The Aldan goldfield was developed. By 1940 the total volume of industrial output exceeded the 1922 level by a factor of 40, and kolkhozes controlled 93 percent of the cultivated land. A cultural revolution was carried out that eliminated illiteracy (in 1897 only 0.7 percent of the Yakuts were literate), gave rise to national cadres of workers and a national intelligentsia, and established a national theater, libraries, clubs, and other scientific and cultural-educational institutions. The literature and art of the peoples of Yakutia developed. The Ninth Extraordinary All-Yakutia Congress of Soviets, held in March 1937, adopted a new constitution for the republic. A Yakut socialist nation had evolved in the republic, and Yakutia had become an industrial and agrarian republic.
More than 50,000 citizens of Yakutia fought at the front in the Great Patriotic War (1941–45). Thirteen of them were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union, and about 3,000 received various orders and medals. During the war a tin and mica mining industry was established in the republic, which also provided the country with gold, tungsten, furs, and fish.
During the postwar five-year plans the working people of Yakutia have continued to advance economically and culturally. The people’s standard of living, both material and cultural, has risen significantly. In a mature socialist society the working people of Yakutia, together with the other peoples of the Soviet Union, are creating the material and technical basis for communism. The title of Hero of Socialist Labor has been conferred on 57 people in the republic. In 1957 the republic was awarded the Order of Lenin for its achievements in economic and cultural development. In 1972, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Yakut ASSR, the republic was awarded the Order of the October Revolution; in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the USSR, celebrated that same year, it received the Order of the Friendship of Peoples.
F. G. SAFRONOV
Economy. Yakutia is a rapidly developing industrial and agrarian republic. Its industrial development is oriented toward the exploitation of its mineral resources.
INDUSTRY. In the years of socialist construction industry has become the principal economic sector of the Yakut ASSR. The total volume of industrial output in 1977 was 30 times that of 1940. The industrial specialization of the republic is determined by its mining industry, whose products include diamonds, gold, tin, antimony, and coal, extracted at the Kangalassy, Sangar, Dzhebariki-Khaia, and Sogo deposits of the Lena Coal Basin and at the Zyrianka deposit of the Kolyma-Indigirka Coal Basin. In the Southern Yakut Coal Basin the Neriungri strip mine and concentration plant were under construction in 1978. A mica industry, centered on the Aldan Mica Combine, has been established in southern Yakutia.
The republic’s power industry uses local coal and imported petroleum products. The electricity output increased more than 50 times between 1940 and 1970 and by a factor of 2.2 between 1971 and 1975. The major power plants are the Viliui Hydroelectric Power Plant, the Yakutsk State Regional Power Plant, equipped with gas turbine units, and the Chul’man State Regional Power Plant, which is being enlarged.
Manufacturing is represented by small light industry, food-processing, and woodworking enterprises in Yakutsk and certain raion centers and by the shipyard in Yakutsk. The republic’s lumbering industry, concentrated in Lensk and Olekminsk raions, exported 1.4 million cu m of timber in 1976. There are building-materials and construction enterprises in Yakutsk, Mirnyi, and Aikhal. A major center of the construction industry is evolving in the part of southern Yakutia where coal enterprises and the Neriungri State Regional Power Plant are being built.
The Southern Yakut Territorial-Production Complex is being developed on the basis of local natural resources. The close proximity of coking coal and iron ore in southern Yakutia favors the future establishment of a large, nationally important center for the production of ferrous metals. The initial development of the Southern Yakut Territorial-Production Complex envisions the extraction of coal (Neriungri strip mine and concentration factory), iron ore (Taezhnoe and other deposits), and phlogopite and the establishment of the Neriungri State Regional Power Plant and a building-materials industry. A pulp industry is to be developed on the basis of forest resources. The most important elements of the infrastructure are the Tynda-Berkakit Railroad with a branch line to Neriungri, the Amur-Yakutsk Highway, and the navigable Aldan River. The centers of the territorial-production complex will be Neriungri, Berkakit, Chul’man, and Aldan.
AGRICULTURE. The main branch of agriculture is meat and dairy livestock raising. Potatoes and vegetables are important among field crops. In 1977 the republic had 1,642,400 hectares (ha) of farmland, including 127,200 ha of arable land, 782,000 ha of hay-fields, and 732,400 ha of pasture. At the end of 1977 there were 80 sovkhozes and one fishing kolkhoz. In 1976 the sovkhozes had at their disposal about 4,700 tractors, 300 grain combines, and 3,100 trucks. The distribution of cultivated land is shown in Table 1.
|Table 1. Cultivated land (hectares)|
|Fodder crops ................||2,000||26,600||17,700||35,300|
The principal grain crops are wheat, barley, and oats. The main grain producing areas are in central and western Yakutia. Potatoes and vegetables are raised in central, western, and southern Yakutia. Table 2 gives statistics on the gross harvest of the major crops.
|Table 2. Gross harvest of principal crops|
Cattle and horses are raised in central, western, and southern Yakutia and in the northern taiga regions. Domestic reindeer are raised in the northern tundra and forest-tundra regions. There are also fur farms, breeding silver-black foxes, blue arctic foxes, and mink, and specialized poultry farms, located in Yakutsk, Aldan, Mirnyi, and Ust’-Nera. Yakutia is a major region for the trapping of such fur animals as squirrels, arctic foxes, ermine, foxes, muskrats, and sable. Table 3 shows the size of the livestock herds.
|Table 3. Livestock Population1|
|1At the beginning of the year|
In 1977 state purchases totaled 50,700 tons of livestock and poultry (liveweight), 129,400 tons of milk and milk products, 42.8 million eggs, 35,600 tons of potatoes, and 16,300 tons of vegetables. Fishing is done by the republic’s northern sovkhozes and its six fish-packing plants.
TRANSPORTATION. Most of the republic’s cargo is shipped on its navigable waterways, totaling 17,000 km in 1976. There is navigation along the Northern Sea Route and on the Lena and its tributaries. The republic had 12,600 km of motor vehicle roads in 1976, of which 1,900 km were paved. The main roads are the Amur-Yakutsk Highway, the Lensk-Mirnyi Highway, and the Khandyga-Magadan Highway with a branch to Ust’-Nera. The Tynda-Berkakit Railroad was under construction in 1978. Yakutsk is linked by air routes with Moscow, Irkutsk, Magadan, and remote raions of the republic.
ECONOMIC REGIONS. The Southern Region is undergoing intensive preferential development as part of the construction zone of the Baikal-Amur Main Line. Its leading industries are gold, mica, and coal mining, logging, and woodworking; ferrous metallurgy and apatite mining will be developed in the future. The Western Region is known for its diamond extraction, power industry, and agriculture. The Central Region encompasses the agricultural raions of the Lena-Amga interfluve and of the Yakutsk area. Plans are under way to establish a natural gas industry. The Northeastern Region, including the basins of the lana, Indigirka, and Kolyma rivers, produces gold, antimony, tin, and coal and has some agriculture. The Northwestern Region is an agricultural region with reindeer herding and fur trapping.
STANDARD OF LIVING. The living standard and cultural level of the population have risen on the basis of economic progress. During the ninth five-year plan the average monthly earnings of industrial and office workers increased 24 percent to 288 rubles. Concurrently, retail sales rose by 42 percent; the volume of consumer services, by a factor of 1.8; and the total deposits in savings banks, by 93 percent. New housing totaled 1,613,000 sq m.
Health and social welfare. In 1913, Yakutia had 13 hospitals with 351 beds and 25 feldsher outpatient clinics staffed by 22 doctors, 39 feldshers, and 12 midwives. Epidemics of smallpox, typhus, children’s infections, and other contagious diseases broke out frequently. At the time of the formation of the Yakut ASSR there remained only four hospitals with 210 beds, employing 12 doctors and ten secondary medical personnel. On Jan. 1, 1977, the republic had 284 hospitals with 12,100 beds, or 15 beds per 1,000 inhabitants. Medical services were provided by 2,800 doctors (one per 300 inhabitants) and about 10,000 secondary medical personnel. There are two resorts: the balneopeloid resort of Abalakh and the health resort of Kempendiai. Medical facilities include 13 sanatoriums and two houses of rest.
P. A. PETROV
Education and cultural affairs. Before 1917, Yakutia had 172 general schools (attended by 4,700 students), but no specialized secondary schools or higher educational institutions. In the 1979–80 school year, 179,800 students were enrolled in 642 general-education schools of all types; 6,500 students were receiving training at 24 vocational-technical schools; more than 10,200 students were attending 18 specialized secondary schools; and the University of Yakutsk had an enrollment of 6,900 students. That year 70,700 children were enrolled in 917 preschool institutions.
On Jan. 1, 1979, the republic had 600 public libraries (6,084,000 books and magazines), four theaters, and eight museums: the E. Iaroslavskii Yakutsk Republic Museum of Local Lore, the M. F. Gabyshev Yakutsk Republic Museum of Art, the P. Kh. Starovatov Viliuisk Museum of Local Lore, the Olekminsk Museum of Local Lore, the Tatta Museum of Local Lore in Ytyk-Kel’, the Churapcha Museum of Local Lore, the Zyrianka Museum of Local Lore, and the G. I. Petrovskii Tanda Museum of Revolutionary History. There were 689 clubs, 834 stationary motion-picture projection units, and 35 extracurricular institutions.
Science and scientific institutions. The first important step in the purposeful and planned study of Yakutia was the formation in 1925 of the Commission for the Study of the Yakut ASSR under the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. The commission’s expeditions produced basic recommendations for the development of the region’s economy and culture in the first and subsequent five-year plans. A network of permanent scientific stations was established, and the Institute of Language, Literature, and History was founded in 1935.
A scientific research base of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, set up in Yakutsk in 1947, was reorganized as the Yakutsk branch of the academy in 1949 and included within the academy’s Siberian Division in 1957. The Yakutsk branch of the academy’s Siberian Division, the largest scientific establishment in the Asian North, includes (1977) the Institute of Language, Literature, and History, the Institute of Biology (1952) and Yakutsk Botanical Garden (1962), the Institute of Geology (1957), the Institute of Space Physics Research and Aeronomy (1962), and the Institute of Physical and Technical Problems of the North (1970), as well as departments of economics (1953), applied mathematics and computer technology (1972), and environmental protection (1977). The Northeastern Division of the V.A. Obruchev Institute of Permafrost Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, established in Yakutsk in 1956, was reorganized in 1960 as the Institute of Permafrost Studies of the Siberian Division of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the country’s only such institute.
In addition, there are several research institutions run by government agencies, for example, the Yakutsk Scientific Research Institute of Tuberculosis (1950), the Yakutsk Branch of the Industrial Construction Design Institute (1961), and the Yakutsk Scientific Research and Planning Institute of the Diamond Extraction Industry (1961).
Significant results have been achieved in mineral prospecting and in placing the industrial exploitation of mineral resources on a scientific basis, in the study of biological processes under extreme conditions, and in the study of the history and culture of the peoples of Yakutia. A great deal of scientific research is being done on the economic use of the natural resources of southern Yakutia adjacent to the Baikal-Amur Main Line.
V. N. ANTIPIN
Press, radio, and television. In 1979 the republic’s Yakut Publishing House issued 149 books and pamphlets, totaling about 1.2 million copies. Three of the republic’s five newspapers are published in the Yakut language: Kyym (The Spark, since 1923), the Komsomol newspaper Eder Kommunist (Young Communist, since 1923), and the Pioneer newspaper Belem Buol (Be Ready, since 1936). The two Russian-language newspapers are Sotsialisticheskaia Iakutiia (Socialist Yakutia, since 1917) and Molodezh’ lakutii (Youth of Yakutia, since 1958). The literary and sociopolitical magazine Khotugu Sulus (North Star) has been published in Yakut since 1956 and in Russian since 1964.
The republic receives two Central Television programs, relayed by the Orbita–2 system 12.2 hours daily. The republic television stations broadcast 2.3 hours daily in Yakut and Russian. Two programs of All-Union Radio are relayed for a total of 40 hours daily; local broadcasts are on the air four hours a day.
Literature. Originating in the distant past, Yakut oral poetry is represented by a large number of genres, of which the most popular are the olonkho heroic epic, fairy tales, songs, and historical legends. The Russian scholars I. A. Khudiakov (1842–76), E. K. Pekarskii (1858–1934), and O. Betling (1815–1904) collected and published examples of folklore and studied the Yakut language.
Yakut written literature emerged during the Revolution of 1905–07. Drawing on the rich folklore heritage and on Russian classical literature, Yakut writers began by mastering realism. The founders of Yakut written literature were the poet, folklorist, and linguist A. E. Kulakovskii (1877–1926), the playwright, poet, and prose writer A. I. Sofronov (1886–1935), and the comedy writer N. D. Neustroev (1895–1929), all of whom championed the spread of learning among the people and acceptance of Russian culture. Overcoming the national and historical limitations of their own attitudes, they criticized the mores of the toion elite and the nascent bourgeois relations in their land.
The works of the founder of Soviet Yakut literature, P. A. Oiunskii (1893–1939), are rooted in the life and struggle of the people and are characterized by heroic romanticism and the use of conventional monumental imagery. Genres such as the lyric poem, mass song, fable, and feuilleton began to develop in the 1920’s. The first narrative poems and novellas on contemporary subjects appeared. Short stories were written by Oiunskii, Neustroev, A. A. Ivanov-Kiunde (1898–1934), and N. E. Mordinov (born 1906), sketches by G. D. Biastinov (1903–34) and N. M. Tiugiuniurov (1905–28), and social plays and comedies by Neustroev. Oiunskii’s verse and dramatic narrative poem The Red Shaman (1925) are infused with the exhilaration of reshaping the world and the ardor of the fighter and reformer. A Communist is first portrayed in Oiunskii’s poem “Isn’t It All the Same?” (1919) and his play The Bolshevik, published in 1928. Yakut poetry acquired a new vocabulary and a system of images. In the 1920’s and 1930’s Oiunskii developed the theory of syllabic verse and rhyme and introduced them into Yakut versification.
Yakut literature of the 1930’s, confirming the victory of socialist relations, dealt with a broader range of themes and showed a deeper understanding of ideological and aesthetic problems. The theme of heroic deeds prompted by revolutionary ideas is treated in the narrative poem In the Years of Storms and Battles (1930) by S. R. Kulachikov-Elliai (1904–76), in the play Brothers (1934) by S. P. Efremov (born 1904), and in the novella Carrying Out the Behest (1939) by Erilik Eristin (S. S. Iakovlev, 1892–1942). The changing world of the Yakut peasant is evoked in the narrative poems Roman’s Artel (1929) and A Flock of Cranes (1935) by S. S. Vasil’ev-Borogonskii (born 1907) and the narrative poem Semen the Communist (1932) by Kiunniuk Urastyrov (V. M. Novikov, born 1907). The moral regeneration of a degraded human being is portrayed in the novellas A Way Out of the Mire (1936) by Oiunskii and Insult (1939) by Mordinov.
Life in the native villages during the years of collectivization is re-created in the plays The Blacksmith Kiukiur (1932) by D. K. Sivtsev (Suorun Omollon, born 1906), Breaking the Spider’s Web (1937) by Mordinov, and Semen the Rural Correspondent (1939) by N. D. Sleptsov-Tuobulakhov (1912–64). The theme of internationalism and the Soviet homeland was treated extensively, and works were written about the life of the fraternal peoples. The crowning achievement of Yakut literature in the 1930’s was the mastery of socialist realism.
During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), Erilik Eristin’s novel The Young People of Marykchan (1942) and Mordinov’s novel Springtime (1944) depicted the fate of the nation and the individual during the Revolution. Suorun Omollon, N. G. Zolotarev-Iakutskii (born 1908), and D. S. Fedorov-Taas (1914–51) wrote patriotic essays and publicist works, and Elliai, Vasil’ev-Borogonskii, and Kiunniuk Urastyrov produced some fine poetry. Also noteworthy are the lyrics of the soldier poets T. E. Smetanin (1919–47), A. G. Abaginskii (1907–60), and Dzhuon Dzhangyla (G. I. Makarov, 1914–56).
In the first postwar years the theme of war continued to absorb Yakut writers, engendering such outstanding works as Smetanin’s novella Egor Cherin (1947), the novella Soldiers (1951) by I. P. Nikiforov (born 1915), and the narrative poem A Life That Became a Song (1948) by L. A. Popov (born 1919). The struggle for peace and constructive labor was a recurrent theme in the short verse and narrative poems of Elliai, Abaginskii, Baal Khabyryys (G. G. Veshnikov, 1918–69), Semen P. Danilov (born 1917), M. Efimov (born 1929), and I. M. Gogolev (born 1930). This theme was also developed in three fine novellas: Your Friends (1948–49) by Sofron P. Danilov (born 1922), The Flames of Kyrsada (1947) by Tass, and The New Lonkuda (1952) by M. F. Dogordurov (1906–61). In general, however, the literature of those years was marred by excessive rhetoric, a heavy reliance on illustrations, and oversimplification.
In the 1950’s Yakut literature reached out to Soviet readers more confidently in Russian translation. New genres and various stylistic schools of realism developed. The late 1950’s and early 1960’s saw a revival of epic poetry and the appearance of several novels and novellas in verse: On That Day (1959) by Bolot Bootur (V. S. Solov’ev, born 1915), Vasil’ev-Borogonskii’s Younger Son (1960), and Gogolev’s Sunny Mountain (1962). Lyric poetry probed more deeply into the spiritual world of modern man, as exemplified in the verse of Semen Danilov, Efimov, Popov, Gogolev, P. N. Toburokov (born 1917), S. I. Tarasov (born 1934), and S. T. Rufov (born 1927).
Outstanding works of the 1960’s and 1970’s include Zolotarev-Iakutskii’s trilogy Destiny (books 1–3, 1960–64) and the sociohistorical novels Young Woman of Character (1965) by A. Syromiatnikova (born 1915), Black Crane (1971) by Gogolev, and Togoi Sele (1976) by Popov. Contemporary life is portrayed in the sociopsychological novels As Long as the Heart Beats (1967) by Sofron Danilov and At the River Divide (1967) by V. V. Iakovlev (born 1934). The documentary genres are represented by the stories of I. K. Danilov (born 1916) and P. I. Filippov (born 1915) and the sketches by S. P. Fedotov (born 1935) and I. E. Fedoseev-Dooso (born 1929). Noteworthy plays include Sofron Danilov’s On Behalf of the Yakuts (1963). Suorun Omollon’s Before the Dawn (1970), and Gogolev’s comedies and fairy tale plays.
Literary ties are expanding with the fraternal peoples, and translation work is flourishing. Many Russian classics and works by Soviet writers of other nationalities, as well as world classics, have been translated into Yakut. The works of Elliai, Erilik Eristin, Mordinov, Semen Danilov, and Efimov have been translated into Russian and other languages of the USSR. A few books by Yakut authors have been published in Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and other countries. In the Yakut ASSR literary works are written in five languages: Yakut, Russian (the poet P. N. Chernykh-Iakutskii [1882–1933], the poet S. D. Shevkov [born 1931], and the prose writer Iu. I. Shamshurin [1921–73]), Even (N. S. Tarabukin [1910–50], P. A. Lamutskii [born 1920], and V. D. Lebedev [born 1934]), Evenki, and Yukaghir. Many Yakut authors also write children’s literature.
Yakut literary scholarship and criticism have made notable progress since the early 1960’s. The Survey of the History of Soviet Yakut Literature was published in 1970. Important studies and articles have been produced by G. P. Basharin (born 1912), G. K. Boeskorov (born 1915), N. P. Kanaev (born 1908), G. G. Okorokov (born 1925), Iu. N. Prokop’ev (born 1932), I. V. Pukhov (born 1904), G. S. Syromiatnikov (born 1926), and G. U. Germogenov (G. Ergis, 1908–68).
The Writers’ Union of the Yakut ASSR was founded in 1935. The first congress of Soviet writers of Yakutia was held in 1939, the second in 1948, the third in 1953, the fourth in 1959, the fifth in 1963, the sixth in 1965, the seventh in 1968, and the eighth in 1973.
Architecture and art. Neolithic, Bronze Age, and early Iron Age relics discovered in Yakutia include pottery decorated with netlike, checkerboard, and other patterns, bone ornaments with incised geometric designs, and pictographs, found at Suruktaakh-Khaia on the Markha River and near the villages of Toion-Aryy, Churan, and Sinskoe. The tradition of pictographic writing survived down to the 19th century.
The traditional Yakut dwelling was a rectangular wooden yurt (buordzhie) with walls tilting slightly inward. The yurt’s framework consisted of posts driven into the ground and a horizontal frame of beams resting on them. The frame supported the roof and the walls, made of poles and thickly coated on the outside with clay. A cattle shed, called khoton, was usually built onto the north side of the yurt. Settlements were small, consisting of one to three households. Until the 19th century the Yakut summer dwelling was the urasa, a conical structure made of poles covered with birch bark. Under the influence of Russian settlers the log cabin was widely adopted in the 19th century. From the 17th century stockades were established, subsequently developing into towns consisting chiefly of wooden buildings (Yakutsk, Viliuisk). Brick buildings were erected from the early 18th century.
The folk art of the Yakuts blends elements of southern Turkic-Mongolian and indigenous taiga culture. Wooden articles such as tethering posts (sergyo), furniture, tall vessels for koumiss (chorons), spoons, ladles, and boxes, were decorated with carved narrow bands of cordlike, latticed, or serrated design. Saddlecloths and details of men’s and women’s national dress were ornamented with fine satin and chain stitching in exquisite colors. Floral patterns predominated in embroidery and jewelry-making (metal engraving and stamping), although horn, lyre, and heart-shaped designs were also popular. Birch bark boxes, small chests, tuesa, and snuffboxes were decorated with superimposed birch bark, imprinted designs, and braided horsehair. From the 18th century mammoth and walrus ivory was used to make boxes and combs adorned with openwork carving, as well as figurines. Like the Evens, Yukaghir, and Chukchi, the Yakuts made fur clothing, footwear (torbaza), saddlebags, and carpets ornamented with fur mosaic, applique and bead embroidery.
In Soviet Yakutia old cities are being modernized, and new cities (Aldan, Lensk, Mirnyi) and communities (Chernyshevskii) are being established in accordance with approved master plans and construction designs. Under permafrost conditions, high-rise buildings of brick or stone are usually erected on post or pile foundations with a ventilated subfloor space. Considerable attention is given to landscaping cities and populated areas. The Yakut architects S. V. Danilov, V. S. Petrov, I. G. Smol’kov, and N. V. Sukhanov are actively involved in urban planning. The Yakut Division of the Architects’ Union of the USSR was established in 1964.
After the Great October Socialist Revolution the successful development of art owed much to the work of M. M. Nosov and I. V. Popov, who painted pictures about the old and new life of the Yakuts. The leading artists of the 1930’s were the painter V. A. Kandinskii, the painter and graphic artist P. P. Romanov, the sculptor P. I. Dobrynin, and the stage designer G. M. Turalysov. Among artists who have come to prominence since the war are the painters S. L. Aleksandrov, L. A. Kim, M. V. Lukin, A. N. Osipov, and A. P. Sobakin, noted for their scenes from revolutionary history and everyday life and their portraits; the landscape painters L. M. Gabyshev, E. M. Krylov, and F. G. Pavlov; the graphic artists V. R. Vasil’ev, A. P. Munkhalov, L. M. Neofitov, and E. S. Sivtsev; and the portrait sculptors S. A. Egorov and K. N. Pshennikov.
Ivory carving has been revived by I. F. Mamaev and L. M. Nikiforov. The traditions of folk carving found new embodiment in the genre groups of K. F. Gerasimov, S. P. Zabolotskii, D. I. Il’in, and V. P. Popov, the miniature ivory animals of S. N. Petrov and S. N. Pesterev, and T. V. Ammosov’s ornamental carvings. The images and techniques of applied folk art are also being revived in the manufacture of wooden chorons, fur footwear, and handbags embroidered with beads.
Music. The folk songs of the Yakuts fall into two categories: the long drawn-out d’ieretii yrya and the measured degeren yrya. The first category includes the recitation of the main episodes of the olonkho heroic epic, based on a fixed set of leitmotifs, and the lengthy epic improvisations called toiuki. The d’ieretii yrya are free in form and have a variable meter. The melody often begins in a narrow range and gradually widens; various musical scales, including the whole-tone scale, are used. The melody is often embellished with guttural sounds called kylysakhi. In contrast, the melodies of the degeren yrya are in a definite key and have a clear rhythm. This category includes lyric songs, dance songs (accompanying the osuokhai round dance), and such special types of songs as the palatal tangalai yryata, performed with aspiration and clicking of the tongue.
Popular folk instruments include the kyryympa (Yakut fiddle), khomus (metal Jew’s harp), kiupsiu (drum), diungiur (shaman’s tambourine), and balalaika and baian, borrowed from the Russians.
Before the October Revolution of 1917, Yakut folksongs were written down only sporadically; they were recorded for the first time by A. F. Middendorf in 1843. After the revolution Yakut musical folklore was initially collected by A. V. Skriabin (Music of Yakut Songs, Moscow, 1927) and F. G. Kornilov (Collection of Yakut Songs, Moscow, 1936) and later by M. N. Zhirkov. Russian composers, among them G. I. Litinskii, N. I. Peiko, G. S. Gamburg, D. F. Saliman-Vladimirov, and A. N. Mazaev, wrote a number of works on Yakut themes. In 1917, Skriabin organized an amateur Yakut chorus. A music studio was set up in Yakutsk in 1921. A Yakut performing company formed in 1925 was reorganized the next year as the Yakut National Theater, named in honor of P. A. Oiunskii in 1934. The National State Chorus and Instrumental Ensemble, directed by M. N. Zhirkov, performed at the theater from 1936. In 1948 the theater was reorganized as a music and drama theater, and in 1971 the music and drama companies were separated to form different theaters.
The founder of Yakut professional music was Zhirkov, who wrote the first national musical play, Diuluruiar Niurgun Bootur, initially staged in 1940. Together with G. I. Litinskii, Zhirkov composed the first national operas—Niurgun Bootur (staged 1947) and Sygyi Kyrynaastyyr (1947)—and the first ballets, Flower of the Field (1947) and The Crimson Shawl (1949). Another prolific composer was G. A. Grigorian, who worked in genres that were new to Yakut music, producing a concerto for violin and orchestra (1955), the oratorio Yakut Holiday, the operetta Flower of the North (1961), the opera Lookuut and Niurgusun (staged 1959), the ballet Lucky Stone (1961), orchestral and chamber works, choral works, and songs.
Since the 1960’s significant works have been composed by L. V. Vishkarev; G. N. Komrakov, who wrote the opera Song of Manchary (jointly with E. E. Alekseev, staged 1967), a symphony (1967), the ballets The Eagles Fly North (staged 1970) and Heroic Deed (1976), chamber music, piano pieces, and songs; V. G. Kats, known for his ballet Kiun-Kuo (staged 1969) and his opera The Golden Arrow (1976); N. S. Berestov, who wrote the opera Eternal Flame (staged 1974); and Z. K. Stepanov. The works of the Yakut song writers Z. P. Vinokurov, Kh. T. Maksimov, S. F. Pavlov, D. T. Mikhailov, O. P. Ivanov, and A. M. Alekseev are immensely popular.
Several Russian musicians have done much to promote the development of Yakut musical culture, notably the conductor M. Z. Benediktov, the conductor A. S. Kuleshov (Honored Artist of the RSFSR), the conductor G. M. Krivoshapko (Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR), and the choral director G. F. Tanygin (Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR). A number of Yakut performing musicians have been awarded the title of Honored Artist of the RSFSR: the singers L. M. Lobanov, A. P. Lytkina, N. S. Shepeleva, A. E. Il’ina, and V. N. Iakovleva; the choral director F. A. Baisheva; and the ballerina E. A. Stepanova. The opera director A. I. Egorova holds the title of People’s Artist of the RSFSR.
In 1978 the Yakut ASSR had a music theater (established 1971), a radio and television symphony orchestra (1948), a House of People’s Arts (1933), an academy of music (1949), and 73 music schools.
G. M. KRIVOSHAPKO
Theater. Amateur theatrical activity began to develop in Yakutia during the Revolution of 1905–07, when drama groups staged plays based on the olonkho heroic epic. The republic’s first professional theater, the Russian People’s Theater in Yakutsk (now the Russian Drama Theater of the Yakut ASSR), opened in 1920. A Yakut company began performing at the theater in 1925, and the next year the company was reorganized as the Yakut National Theater. In 1930 the Russian and Yakut companies became independent theaters. The Yakut National Theater was renamed the P. A. Oiunskii Yakut National Theater in 1934 and the P. A. Oiunskii National Theater of Music and Drama in 1948.
A national dramaturgy was established in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The first plays by Yakut writers were staged, among them A. I. Sofronov’s The Game of Life, Manchary, The Mire of Life, Poor Iakov, and Love; N. D. Neustroev’s Evil Spirit; Oiunskii’s The Bolshevik, The Red Shaman, He Wanted a Child, The Tsar’s Decree, and Tuiaryma Kuo; The Loafer and The Blacksmith Kiukiur by D. K. Sivtsev (S. Omollon); Breaking the Spider’s Web, From Colony to Commune, and Long Live Man! by N. E. Mordinov (Amma Achchygyia); and S. P. Efremov’s The Brothers and Steps. From the Russian and Soviet classical repertoire the theaters selected works by A. N. Ostrovskii, A. S. Pushkin, A. P. Chekhov, M. Gorky, and Vs. Ivanov. The kolkhoz and sovkhoz theaters were an important force in the cultural development of the republic. The first kolkhoz theater functioned in the village of Maiia from 1936 to 1941, and the second kolkhoz theater gave performances in the settlement of Niurba from 1940 to 1948. V. I. Lenin was first portrayed on the stage by P. M. Reshetnikov and A. E. Efremov in the 1947 production of Man With a Gun by the P. A. Oiunskii Yakut National Theater.
Since the 1950’s the republic’s theaters have given fine performances of such national plays as Sivtsev’s Saisary and Aiaal, Efremov’s The Kirika Family and The Debt, V. A. Protod’iakonov’s The Partisan Morozov and Golden Grain, T. Smetanin’s Lookut and Niurgusun, Sofron P. Danilov’s On Behalf of the Yakuts, and I. M. Gogolev’s Morning on the Lena. Impressive productions of works by playwrights of the fraternal republics include A. E. Korneichuk’s The Front, Ch. Aitmatov’s Mother’s Field, M. Karim’s Salavat and On the Night of a Lunar Eclipse, G. Mukhtarov’s The Merry Guest, and Ts. G. Shagzhin’s Clever Budamshu. Russian and foreign classics are also staged.
In 1977 the leading theaters were the P. A. Oiunskii Yakut Drama Theater (separated from the music and drama theater in 1971), a traveling drama theater based in Niurba (founded 1966), and the Russian Drama Theater (founded 1920). The companies of the Yakut theaters draw on graduates of the national studios of the A. V. Lunacharskii State Institute of Theatrical Art and the Shchepkin School.
The leading figures in the drama theaters of the Yakut ASSR, all of whom have made a valuable contribution to the development of the theater, are People’s Artists of the USSR V. V. Mestnikov and D. F. Khodulov; People’s Artists of the RSFSR S. A. Grigor’ev, N. M. Reshetnikov, D. D. Sleptsova, M. D. Sleptsov, and A. P. Petrov; Honored Artists of the RSFSR V. A. Savvin, A. D. Ivanova; and M. N. Gogolev; and People’s Artists of the Yakut ASSR A. E. Efremov and G. G. Kolesov.
P. P. NlKITIN
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