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city and capital of Sakha republic (Yakutia), in far northeastern Russia, on the Lena River. A fort was founded on the Lena's low right bank in 1632 and transferred 43 miles (70 km) upstream to the present site of Yakutsk in 1642. Long a small provincial centre of wooden houses where, beginning in the 19th century, dissidents were exiled, Yakutsk has grown in size and acquired light industries, up-to-date housing, and paved streets, but its functions remain primarily those of administration and of a river port. It has a university (founded 1956). Pop. (1994 est.) 194,400