The Republic of Karelia (Respublika Kareliya; ; ; ) is a federal subject of Russia (a republic), located in the northwest of Russia. Its capital is the city of Petrozavodsk. Its population in 2010 was 643,548.
Historically, Karelia was a region to the northwest of Russia, east of present-day Finland, controlled by the Novgorod Republic. From the 13th century and onwards, various parts were conquered by Sweden, and incorporated into Swedish Karelia until they were lost to Russia by the Treaty of Nystad in 1721.
In 1920, the province became the Karelian Labour Сommune. In 1923, the province became the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Karelian ASSR). From 1940 it was made into the Karelo-Finnish SSR, incorporating the Finnish Democratic Republic which nominally operated in those parts of Finnish Karelia that were occupied by the Soviet Union during the Winter War. Annexed territories were incorporated into Karelo-Finnish SSR, but after the Continuation War the Karelian Isthmus was incorporated into the Leningrad Oblast. Its status was changed back to an ASSR in 1956. During the Continuation War in 1941 Finland occupied large parts of the area but was forced to withdraw in 1944. Though Finland is not currently pursuing any measures to reclaim Karelian lands ceded to Russia, the "Karelian Question" is still a topic present in Finnish politics, but it has never been discussed officially.
The autonomous Republic of Karelia in its present form was formed on November 13, 1991.