Elista is the administrative center and the capital of the Republic of Kalmykia, Russia. The Republic is situated in the southeast of western Russia and occupies the area of 75.9 sq. km. It borders Rostov, Volgograd, Astrakhan, Stavropol regions and the Republic of Dagestan. The region stretches 448 km north to south, and 423 km east to west.
The town of Elista was founded in 1865. It was named Elista after Kalmyk ‘elstya’ which means ‘sandy’. Soviet control was established in the republic in February 1918. On March 10, 1930, it received a town status and on October 22, 1935 it became the capital of the Kalmykia Soviet Republic. Elista suffered during World War II. After the tiresome battles Soviet troops quit Elista in August 1942. The town was under Fascist control till December 1942.
In 1944, following Stalin’s order, the population of the republic was deported to Siberia and northern territories of Russia. Kalmyks were repatriated only in 1957, several years after Stalin’s death. In 1970s, Elista became an important cultural and scientific center of the Republic. In 1970, Kalmykia State University was opened.
The climate of the republic is continental. Summers are hot and dry, and winters are cold, with little snow. The average temperature grows north to south. The average temperature in January is about -7C. The average temperature in July is +25C.
Kalmykia is situated in the steppe, semidesert and desert zones. Plains are dominating type of the republic’s landscape. The territory of Kalmykia is divided into three natural and economical zones: western, central and eastern. The western zone has the most favorable soils and climatic conditions. There are rivers of Manych and Kuma flowing on the territory of the region. In the southwest the region is washed by Caspian Sea.
Oil extraction is the largest industry in the region. Among the others, there are construction materials production, machinery building, wood processing, light, food and printing industries. There is a total of 23 industrial enterprises in Elista.
Private business plays a very important role in the economy of the region. The number of small enterprises in Elista is 2,713 or 23,6% of the total number of enterprises. One of the priorities in the development of the city is residential construction and construction of social objects.
The transport network of the city consists of 300 kilometers of motor roads, including 220 km of asphalt and 80 km of unpaved roads. There are three highways of federal importance: Elista - Volgograd, Elista – Makhachkala and Elista - Astrakhan. There are daily bus routes to nearby Volgograd and Moscow. Within the town a network of a dozen minibus routes are run by private companies.
The external transport communication is performed by the railroad Stavropol - Elista, motorways Stavropol - Elista - Volgograd, Elista - Astrakhan and Volgograd - Elista - Kizlyar and airlines. The town has a small airport.
The town is relatively young, but it is presently a local scientific and educational center of the region. There are 10 secondary educational establishments providing training to 6,892 students and 29 secondary schools. Perhaps the main educational establishment is Kalmyk State University.
There are 3 theatres, Regional Museum and wonderful Museum of Kalmyk Buddhist Art in Elista. A new Buddhist temple visited by Dalai Lhama in 1998 is also located in Elista.There are several public parks in the town center. There are statues of both Lenin and Buddha on the main square of the region.