One of the 22 republics of the Russian Federation. It is located in the south of Western Siberia. The autonomy borders with several countries: in the southeast - with Mongolia and the People's Republic of China, in the south-west - with the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Oirot Autonomous Region was established in 1922. Its creation was preceded by the release in 1920 of the Gorny Altai from the Biysk Uyezdю and it is linked with the formation of a separate territorial unit - the Gorny Altai Uyezd. Until 1937, the Oirot Autonomous Oblast was a part of the Siberian and then the West Siberian Krai. In 1937 it was included in the Altai Krai. In 1948, it was renamed the Gorno-Altai Autonomous Oblast. In 1990, the Declaration on State Sovereignty of the Gorno-Altai SSR was adopted, and in 1992 its status was upgraded to a republic within Russia, and it was renamed as the Altai Republic.
The titular ethnic group is the Altai people (Altaians). The self-name of Altaians is Altai-kizhi, "the man of Altai". Altaians are divided into northern (Chelkans, Kumandins, Tubalars) and southern (Altai-kizhi, Telengits and Teleuts). The defining markers of their differences from the titular nation of the country are language and religion. The Altai language belongs to the Kipchak branch of the Turkic language group of the Altaic language family (close to the Kirghiz language). The traditional religion of the Altaians is Shamanism. Moreover, the religious beliefs of the Altaians were exposed to the influence of Orthodoxy and Buddhism (Lamaism). At the beginning of the XX century, a new religious ideology arose - Burkhanism (White faith") - in Gorny Altai.
As a result of the All-Russia Population Census of 2010 showed, the share of Russians in the Altai Republic was 56.6%; Altaians - 33.9%. A significant share (more than 6%) of the population include territorially localized Kazakhs.
The situation in inter-ethnic relations in the country is generally assessed as stable. Nevertheless, from time to time there are points of tension, in particular, in the sphere of ethnic balance and in the distribution of power positions. A serious issue is a situation in the Kosh-Agachsky District, where competition between Kazakhs and Altais is might be visible.