After Ermak`s march in 1681 the road to Siberia was open, the Russians rushed there to extend tsar`s properties. Reclamation of Altai went more rapidly when two fortresses Beloyarskaya (1717) & Bikatunskaya (1718) were built against nomads.
The pioneers of ore-fields in Altai are considered to be the father & the son Kostylyovs. Altai is also famous for its pines & rivers. Thus, there were all conditions to found mining & metallurgical industry. On the 1st of May in 1747 by a decree Altai became the private property of Russian tsars. In the second half of the 18th century Altaisky mining okrug appeared. It included a vast territory, covering 500 thousand square km. The tsar was the owner of plants, mines, lands & forests, but the general direction was accomplished by the so-called Cabinet in St. Petersburg. In the end of the 19th century a section of Siberian railway went through the northern part of Altai, by 1915 Altai railway had been built. The land reform, conducted by Stolypin, gave the stimulus to migration movement. Altaisky region was founded in 1937. By the beginning of 1930 the collectivization of peasant farms had been finished.
| Geographical location|
Altaisky region is situated in the south-east of the West Siberia. Its area is 167.85 thousand square km (its length from west to east-600 km, from north to south-400 km). On the territory of Altai there are 60 administrative districts & 11 towns. Administrative centre-Barnaul. Main towns: Barnaul, Byisk, Rubtsovsk, Zarinsk, Novoaltaisk. Population -2.7 million people. Head of administration of Altaisky region-A. A. Surikov (elected in 2000). The plenipotentiary representative of the President of the RF in Altai is Shuba Nikolai Mikhailovich. Difference in time with Moscow is 3 hours. Position between the West-Siberian plain & mountains causes the difference of climate, diversity of natural conditions & landscapes of the region. There are almost all natural zones of Russia: steppe, forest-steppe, taiga & mountains, rich river ecosystems.
| Natural resources|
Minerals: salt, soda, coal, nickel, iron ore, precious stones. There are unique fields of marble, granite, mineral & drinking waters, natural mud-cure. Resources are located closely to each other, not far from mines in Altai & metallurgical plants in Kazakhstan. In perspective Altai will become the leading provider of ferrous metals for all Russia. Coal stocks of Altai are estimated as 1750 million tons. Between regional administration & foreign company there is an agreement about reclamation of iron-ore fields. In Altai there are stocks of different salts for chemical industry. The state gives licence for land, working up of the depths & also collects a special payment for exploitation of the depths.
Altaisky region possesses great scientific potential, on its territory a lot of researches are done. There are several Universities, Institutes & other educational establishments. 48 488 thousand students study on 40 scientific directions. In the region there are specialized health scientific centres, equipped with modern apparatus. Due to diversity of natural conditions resort business is developed. Resort "Belokurikha" is very popular.
Many well-known writers, artists & actors are from Altai. Among them: V. Shukshin, V. Zolotukhin, M. Evdokimov, I. Pyrjev, M. Terekhova, M. Yudalevich, P. Kuchiyak, A. Zalygin, A. Koptelov. World-known creator of the first steam engine, I. I. Polzunov & K. Frolov, who first in the world built hydropower machine. Due to the works of the artist, traveller, writer, philosopher, well-known statesman Nikolai Rerikh Altai attracts people`s attention from the whole world.