The Republic of Kalmykia is one of the member republics of the Russian Federation enjoying the same rights as the others. As a subject (national state) of the federative state it has its own basic law, legislation, the head of the state - President, and Parliament as its legislative and representative body, its own government, the symbols of the Republic - a banner, a coat of arms, an anthem.
The Kalmyk (and their Oyrat ancestors) made an entrance to the historic arena as an independent nation in the first half of the 15th century after Mongolia had split in two parts (Eastern and Western). Before this they used to be a part of the Mongol state created by Chenghis-khan in the 13th century.
In the second half of the 16th century a considerable part of the Oyrat, who were travelling mostly in the steppes of Djungharia, left for Russia where they appeared at the end of the century. That is where the new chronicle of the Kalmyk - a Mongol-speaking nation in the European part of Russia starts.
Since the first decades of the 17th century the interests of Russia and the Kalmyk migrating within its territories had started to become similar to each other and already in the middle of the century the Kalmyk gave an oath of allegiance to the Russian tsar. This was a political act: the motives for this were the willingness to preserve the territories and awareness of the common outer dangers for the Kalmyk and Russian on the southern Russian borders. The mutually adopted and confirmed terms and conditions for the status of Kalmykia within the Russian state can be considered to be of a federative type. During the period of the Kalmyk khanate (state) - 1664 - 1771 the Kalmyk had been especially free and independent in the management of their domestic affairs.
After the departure of many Kalmyk to Djungharia (China) Kalmykia temporarily lost its status, which was returned at the very end of the 19th century. But before the socialist revolution of 1917 the Kalmyk as a nation were separated on a territorial principle and nearly lost their independence. That is why the Kalmyk followed the Bolsheviks' (Communists) national policy.
1920 - Kalmyk autonomous oblast (region) was formed. 1935 - it was transformed into an autonomous republic. During the 20s and 30s Kalmykia made a considerable improvement in the economic and cultural spheres. But still the development of the republic was very slow. In the meantime, the Soviet government turned Kalmykia into its raw materials base with the only livestock breeding specialization.
In December of 1943 Kalmyk ASSR due to erroneous accusations was abolished and the Kalmyk repressed and exiled to Siberia. In 1957 they were permitted to come back and the status of the republic was reestablished. After the social and political crisis of the Soviet society in the 80s, new ways to improve the national relations were to be found. For Kalmykia it meant October of 1991 when Kalmyk ASSR was declared Kalmyk SSR within the RSFSR, later in February of 1992 becoming the Republic of Kalmykia.
Due to the complicated political and economic situation both in the country and its regions authoritative and strong executive power capable to make a breakthrough of the crisis and ensure a transition to a new market economy was necessary. That is why presidency in Kalmykia was introduced. K. N. Ilyumzhinov was elected the first President of the Republic of Kalmykia in April 1993.
The first changes concerned the system of the state power bodies - the Soviets were abolished. There appeared a new supreme body for state power - the professional Parliament of 27 members instead of the Supreme Soviet of Kalmykia with its 130 members, and in rural settlements and townships there appeared executive bodies and local self-management structures.
In April of 1994 the Legislative Congress ratified a new basic law titled "The Laws of the Steppes". The main task of the basic law is to create the legislative base for the development and innovation of the republic's legislation, to give the legal basement for realization of the reforms and to determine the republic's legal status as an equal member republic of the Russian Federation.
In economy the main emphasis is made on the development of the agroindustrial and fuel and power producing complexes as the important and efficient structures of the republic considering its natural and climatic conditions, natural resources and present productive potential. Our plentiful land resources, explored and developed deposits of oil, gas and other minerals make our base for the development of all the branches of the economy and productive forces.
The republic possesses all the favorable conditions for the development of such spheres of spiritual life as culture, education, health care, religion. The political situation in the republic is stable.
The Russian and world public is attracted by the changes in the state sphere and social and spiritual life of the republic. The reporters of dozens of international bureaus and agencies representing various newspapers, magazines, radio and TV companies visit Kalmykia.
The reforms in Russia and Kalmykia bring to the republic not only the reporters, but also business people and bankers from the CIS and foreign countries. The fact that the head of the republic was elected the president of the World Chess Federation, FIDE is the proof that Russia's contribution to the world chess movement and development of chess in Kalmykia is highly evaluated by the world community together with the support for the democratic changes in the Russian Federation.
The people of Kalmykia are optimistic and fully confident that they will successfully enter the 21st century together with the civilised world, going by the path of reforms and innovations of their life today, creating the basement for the stable development of the republic.