Irkutsk region is located in the southern part of Eastern Siberia and is a part of Siberian Federal district of the Russian Federation;
Its territory is 774.8 thousand km2 (the 6th largest of Siberia regions);
The population of the region is 2507.7 thousand people, about 80 % are city dwellers;
In 2006 GDP made 323/3 billion rubles;
The capital is the city of Irkutsk (its population is 575.9 thousand people as of January, 1, 2007);
Irkutsk region is rich with minerals. The main mineral resources are hydrocarbons, gold, mica, iron, brown and black coal, rock and potash salt, underground mineral waters. The region has developed transport infrastructure.
Irkutsk region is one of industrial leaders of Russia. Its plentiful mineral resources, energy, industrial, scientific and educational potential make Irkutsk region rather attractive for development of territorial-industrial complexes.
The foreign trade turnover of Irkutsk region makes 8.0 billion US dollars, including export of 6.5 billion US dollars and import of 1.5 million US dollars.
The region enterprises actively co-operate with almost 90 countries of the world. It is necessary to note that owing to its economic and geographical position and developed commercial relations of the region enterprises foreign trade activities of Irkutsk region are focused mainly on the countries of Asian-Pacific region. These countries take more than half of foreign trade turnover of Angara Region. However, one of priorities of the region economic policy is the development of relations with the EU and the CIS countries.
Along with export-import trade and economic relations the Irkutsk region develops mutually advantageous inter-regional cooperation in the field of science, culture, education, public health services, ecology, sports and tourism. For studying of best practices and for improvement of professional skills there is carried out the exchange of groups of teachers, public health employees, students and pupils, they participate in the regional contests.
A fruitful form of inter-regional interaction is mutual participation in various exhibitions-fairs, scientific and practical conferences, sports activities, festivals and forums carried out on the territories of parties-participants of inter-regional cooperation.
On April, 1st, 2008 there were signed the agreements of administration of Irkutsk region with nine entities of the Russian Federation. The best business relations and cultural contacts have developed with neighbor regions: with the Government of Sakha Republic (Yakutia), of the Buryat Republic and with Krasnoyarsk region.
Tourism and recreation is a perspective branch of Irkutsk region economy, its development may solve many social and economic problems of the region and make one of the most attractive tourist destinations of Russia.
Main tourist object and the pearl of the region is Lake Baikal, it has entered into UNESCO list of the world heritage.
Unique tourist attractions of the Baikal region are also natural landscapes and numerous medical mineral water springs located on the territory of Irkutsk region. The biggest in the world Angara-Lensky artesian reservoir of mineral water is located here (2700 km3). On the territory of the region there are about 300 mineral springs and 6 large medical mud lakes.
On the territory of Irkutsk region there are located Pribaikalsky national park, two reserves (Baikal-Lensky and Vitim), 13 regional special nature reserve, and 78 monuments of nature among which 4 are federal, 30 – regional and 44 are local. The total area of nature monuments makes 1795600 hectares or 2.4 % of the region territory.
In Irkutsk region there are over 1500 tourist attractions, among them is a unique engineering and architectural complex of world value – the Krugobaikalsky railway constructed in the beginning of the XX century by Italian and Russian engineers. It’s a unique railway of Russia regarding its complexity and cost of works. Along a relatively short railroad there were built 39 tunnels and 47 galleries.
The capital of Eastern Siberia is the city of Irkutsk; it has over 1200 monuments of history and culture. Irkutsk is over 300 years old; in the city streets there survived ancient wooden houses constructed without a single nail. In the architecture and ethnographic museum “Tilts” there are over 40 monuments of architecture which illustrate economic-household and cultural features of people living in Pribaikalye in the 17-20th centuries.
Irkutsk region is multi confessional. Orthodox churches are located not far from Catholic cathedrals, a mosque and a synagogue. The indigenous nation of the Baikal region are Buryats, they adhere shamanism which contains knowledge of ancient traditions, legends and stories of the Buryat people.
In Irkutsk region there operate around 230 travel agencies which act as tour operators and tour agents. There are 212 hotels (there are 67 hotels just in Irkutsk), more than 30 sanatoria, 128 places of rest (recreation centers and tourist bases) with total capacity of over 7 thousand people.
As of January, 1st, 2008 in the region there operated 9 regional credit organizations with 5 branches on the territory of the region and 8 branches outside its limits, 50 branches of credit organizations of the other regions, including 14 branches of Sberbank of Russia. Altogether there are 55 branches on the territory of the region. Besides, in the region there operate: 523 internal structural divisions, 13 offices of credit organizations; outside the region there operates 1 office of a regional credit organization.
In 2006 the insurance activity on the territory of Irkutsk region was carried out by 14 insurance companies, not counting the branches of insurance companies with headquarters outside our region. In comparison with 2005 the number of insurance companies went down by 12.5 %.
Throughout the last few years there was carried out the work for increasing of long-term credit rating in foreign currency. This enabled the international rating agency "Standard&Poor's" to attribute Irkutsk region credit rating “B+”, the forecast is "stable". Growth of rating is based on growth and diversification of the region economy, on long-term stable financial position and on low debt level. Leading Russian rating agency "Expert" has attributed to the region an investment rating 2Â “Average potential – Moderate risk”.
Irkutsk region possesses one of the largest scientific potentials among the east regions of Russian Federation. It includes 9 academic institutes of Irkutsk scientific center of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 5 institutes of East-Siberian scientific center of Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, 3 research bodies for agriculture, over 20 applied research and project institutes.
In the mentioned bodies there work 6 academicians and 6 member-correspondents of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2 academicians and 4 member-correspondents of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, dozens of members of public academies, over 600 doctors and 3500 candidates of sciences.
The Irkutsk center of science of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ICS SB RAS) is the second biggest behind the Ural Mountains (after Novosibirsk); it was founded in February, 1949. At present ICS SB RAS is a large academic multidisciplinary complex uniting scientific research, auxiliary scientific, industrial and economic organizations of RAS Siberian Branch located in Irkutsk region and partly in the other regions of Siberia.
The East-Siberian center of science of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences is the center of medical academic science in the east of the country, including five scientific research institutes and a number of clinics carrying out research in the main fields of medicine: obstetrics, pediatrics, surgery, traumatology, orthopedics, professional and infectious diseases, immunology etc.
Higher education is provided by 39 educational establishments, including 12 public colleges, 17 branches of the public colleges, 2 private colleges and 8 branches of private colleges. In 2007 the total number of students was over 135 thousand people.
According to the concept of social and economic development of Irkutsk region administration of Irkutsk region carries out cultural policy for preservation and further development of Irkutsk region cultural potential. In the region there’s preserved a developed network of culture establishments and the quality of services to population is improving.
On the territory of the region there are 10 professional theatres: the oldest Irkutsk academic drama theatre named after N.P. Ohlopkov, Irkutsk musical theatre named after N.M. Zagursky, Irkutsk regional theatre of the young spectator named after A. Vampilov, regional puppet theatre “Aistenok”, studio theatre “Pilgrims Theatre”, Irkutsk city theatre of national drama. Spectators know and love the theatres of the cities of Bratsk, Ust-Ilimsk and Cheremkhovo. In the Irkutsk regional philharmonic society there are many creative orchestras, including the Governor's symphonic orchestra, orchestra of Russian national instruments, orchestras of classical and variety music.
Among 37 regional and municipal museums the most valuable collections belong to such oldest museums as Irkutsk regional museum of local history – it ranks third in Russia after the Kremlin Chambers in Moscow and the Chamber of Curiosities in St. Petersburg, the Irkutsk regional art museum named after V.P. Sukachov, the architecture and ethnography museum “Taltsy”, the historic memorial museum of Decembrists, unique Angarsk museum of clocks and watches and Bratsk state incorporated museum. Active exhibition activity of museums attracts annually about 900 thousand visitors. Most popular are tours regarding outstanding people of science and culture, Decembrists, historical and architectural monuments.
Investment attractiveness of Irkutsk region is determined a number of components including the nature and mineral resources potential, powerful industrial base, well-developed financial and investment infrastructure, good labor and scientific potential.