Kabardino-Balkar Republic was established in January, 1991. Nalchik is the administrative center of the republic. Its territory covers 12470 square kilometers: 100 km from the north to the south and 175 km from the west to the east. According to the Population Census of 2002 the population of the republic is 902 thousand people. Kabardino-Balkaria is a multinational republic, represented by more than 100 ethnic groups. The Republic consists of 10 administrative-territorial districts, 8 cities and towns, two of them are under republican's jurisdiction, 4 semi urban centers. There are also 113 rural settlement administrations.
The republic is situated on the northern flank of the central part of the Caucasus and adjoining Kabardian plain.
Kabardino-Balkar Republic borders Georgia, Stavropol region, the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania and Karachay-Chercess Republic.
The republic is rather peculiar due to natural contrasts, original relief that combines dry steppes and semidesert zones in the north and floriferous plains of foothills, luxuriant alpestrine meadows and mountains, cliffs and unapproachable glaciers covered with everlasting snow in the south. There is a number of unique natural complexes and sights on the territory of Kabardino-Balkaria. Cascaded waterfalls in Chegemskoe gorge, famous Golubye Lakes, dolines and caves of the Malkinskoe gorge, etc. Mountains cover half of the territory of the republic with the highest Mt. of Europe Elbrus (5642 metres).
The capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, the city of Nalchik is in the center of the republic. It is situated at an altitude of 450-600 meters above the sea level, in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. According to the majority of scientists the city is named after the Nalchik River, on the shores of which it is located. The word "Nalchik" means "small horseshoe" in Kabardian. Nalchik covers an area of 150 square kilometers of which 1000 hectares is occupied by green belt. The population of the city according to the Census data of 2002 is 272 thousand people. It is an all-Russian resort. All agencies of State power are situated in Nalchik as well as an international airport, a railway station, and bus stations of interurban and suburban communication, recreation complex, stadiums, a hippodrome, a State University and other educational institutions.
Russia and Kabardino-Balkaria: 450 years of history
Geopolitical conditions that were shaped after the fall of the Golden Horde as well as reinforcement of political positions of Muscovy, Ottoman Empire, Persia, Crimean Khanate and Great Lithuanian Princedom were the basis for the rapprochement of Russia and Kabarda.
Turkey, Persia, and the Crimean Khanate began active attacks of the North Caucasus in the XVI century. To guard against them the first adyg embassadors in Moscow announced in 1552 about their wish to ally with Russia. Ivan the Terrible urgently needed this alliance to resist the Crimean and Turkish press and to conquest Astrakhan Khanate and consolidate on it.
In 1552-1561 Kabarda and Muscovy had been exchanging embassies, negotiating on mutual assistance and support, first of all military support. In 1557 princes Makhashoko Kanokov, Sibok Kansaukov and others came in Moscow with a 50 thousand adyg army to serve there.
Following them an embassy headed by the prince Kanklyich Kanukov came to Ivan the Terrible. On behalf of the sovereign prince of Kabarda Temr'yk Idarov they brought requests and suggestions on assistance and cooperation. This event raised the Russian-Adyg relationship on a higher level.
Mutually beneficial political-military alliance known as Symmachia (from Greece symmachia- "together" + machomai "fight") was concluded between Russia and Kabarda in the summer of 1557. In case of need and as far as possible each side undertook to render each other military assistance in the fight against external and internal enemies and to serve on the territory of the allied country.
Marriage of Ivan the Terrible and the youngest daughter of Prince Temr'yk Idarov Guashaney (she adopted the name of Maria after taking Baptism) promoted strengthening relations of the Russian State and Kabarda. The wedding ceremony took place on August 21, 1561 in Moscow.
Conjugal union of the royal families of the Muscovy and Kabarda turned to the extantion of the political-military alliance, the symbol of firm connection of two countries. Descendants of Guashaney's brothers who served the tsar, founded the family of Cherkasskiy that gave Russia a pleiad of commanders and statesmen, admiral Ushakov among them.
In September 1921, the Kabardian Autonomous Oblast was formed as a member of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and in 1922, the Balkar Okrug was attached to the Kabardian Autonomous Oblast.
On December 5,1936, it was changed into the Kabardino-Balkarian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (KBASSR).
In 1991 the Supreme Soviet of the KBASSR adopted the Declaration about the sovereignty of the republic. It was named the Kabardino-Balkaryan Republic (KBR).
Today Kabardino-Balkaria is a presidential republic and a part of the Russian Federation. The president of the republic is Arsen Bashirovich Kanokov.