The Khanate of Kalmykia, West Kalmykia, Kalmykia, is a medium sized authoritarian monarchy on the borders between Europe and Asia and is largely famous solely for being the only Buddhist state in 'Europe'. It is bordered by Vladimir and the Beylik of Nogai. The capital is Elista and the population is around 369,000.
The Kalmyk Horde originally migrated from Southern Siberia in search of fresh pastures and away from their Mongol neighbours in the early 1600s. They successfully evicted the Nogai from the Lower Volga and established a powerful Khanate.
It soon formed an alliance with the Grand Princes of Vladimir who had recently crushed the Astrakhan Khanate, campaigning on their behalf against the other tribal federations in Transcaucas and around the Caspian Sea. This gave them access to the Rus' market towns helping the economy and slowly allowed for the eventual abandonment of the old nomadic ways and creation of their own towns and cities.
In 1843 the horde divided, with a large percentage of the peoples moving eastwards, two blocks subsequently forming; West, or Old Kalmykia, and East Kalmykia on the Chinese borders. This eastern block fared less well and was absorbed by Vladimir after rebelling in 1875. Despite occasionally poor relations with Vladimir West Kalmykia has retained its nominal independence.
Kalmykia is mostly arid and subsistence agriculture, particularly herding, has proved the mainstay of the population for centuries. Coal is mined and usually exported northwards to Vladimir. The khanate's effective control of the last sections of the Volga river have made it rich from Caspian trade and the discovery of oil and gas reserves in the Volga delta has the potential to make the state and its population relatively rich. It is currently in talks with Luxembourgeois oil companies to help exploit the resources, a move which has irked Vladimir.
Galdan Ochirtu Khan is the current ruler of Kalmykia. Political parties are banned and the parliament is little more than a tribal council.