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Desna(dyĭsnä`), river, c.740 mi (1,190 km) long, Russia and Ukraine. It is a main tributary of the Dnieper. Rising SE of Smolensk, the Desna flows S and SW past Bryansk and Chernihiv, joining the Dnieper above Kiev. It is navigable for c.330 mi (530 km) below Novgorod Seversky, Ukraine.
a river in the RSFSR and the Ukrainian SSR; the left, longest tributary of the Dnieper. Length, 1,130 km; basin area, 88,900 sq km.
The Desna originates in the Smolensk Upland in Smolensk Oblast, RSFSR, and flows through Briansk Oblast, RSFSR, and for most of its length through Chernigov and Kiev ob-lasts, Ukrainian SSR. It flows into the Dnieper a short distance above Kiev. In its upper reaches most of its banks are low and swampy. The right bank rises below Briansk. Beyond the mouth of the Seim River the Desna valley be-comes much wider, and the river forms many branches, overgrown lakes, and old riverbeds. The channel is sandy, winding, and unstable, and there are many shoals. The river freezes over in the first ten days of December and thaws in early April. In the springtime at high water the river overflows in many places. The average annual discharge of water at the mouth is 360 cu m per sec. The main tributaries from the right are the Sudost’ and Snov and from the left, the Bolva, Navlia, Nerussa, Seim, and Oster.
Since antiquity the Desna has been an important transportation artery along which trade flowed to the Don (along the Seim) and the Oka (along the Bolva). The Desna is navigable as far as Novgorod-Severskii (535 km from the mouth), and in places it is navigable as far as Zhukovka (above Briansk). Its main wharves are at Novgorod-Severskii, Makoshino, Chernigov , Oster, and Zhukin.