Mogilev Oblast

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Mogilev Oblast

 

part of the Byelorussian SSR. Formed on Jan. 15, 1938. Area, 29,000 sq km. Population, 1,238,000 (1973). Mogilev Oblast is divided into 20 raions and has 13 cities and 11 urban-type settlements. Its administrative center is the city of Mogilev. It was awarded the Order of Lenin on July 8, 1967.

Natural features. Most of the oblast is a lowland, with elevations ranging from 150 m to 200 m. The northeast is occupied by the Orsha-Mogilev Plain, which is made up of loessal rocks. The southwest is occupied by the Central Berezina Plain, which is composed of fluvial and glacial deposits of sand and sandy loam. Low moraine hills are widespread.

The climate is moderate continental, with mild winters. The average January temperatures are – 6.6°C in the southwest and – 8.2°C in the northeast, and the average July temperatures, 17.8°C and 18°C, respectively. The annual precipitation is 550–650 mm, two-thirds of which falls during the warm months. The growing season ranges from 183 days in the north to 193 days in the south.

The rivers in Mogilev Oblast belong to the Dnieper Basin. The most important ones are the Dnieper, which flows for 202 km through the oblast, the Sozh (with its tributary the Besed’), the Berezina (with its tributaries the Svisloch’ and the Drut’), and the Ptich’. The oblast’s major lakes are the Vygoda, Chernoe, and Neroplia.

The Orsha-Mogilev Plain has soddy podzolic (silty loamy) soils, and the Central Berezina Plain, soddy podzolic (sandy and sandy loamy) and some peaty boggy soils. Forests cover 31 percent of the territory, with the biggest tracts located in the south and southwest. The most densely wooded areas are Klichev, Osipovichi, Glusk, and Belynichi raions. Conifers, particularly pine and spruce, prevail, accounting for 66 percent of the forests. Birch and aspen make up 28.6 percent of the forests. Oak, ash, and maple also grow in the oblast, and the hornbeam is found in the south. Swamps, most of which are low-lying, cover about 7 percent of the territory.

Commercially important animals include the fox, squirrel, marten, skunk, mole, blue hare, European hare, and badger. The forests are also inhabited by the elk, roe deer, and boar, as well as by the wolf and lynx. The otter, mink, muskrat, and raccoon dog (an acclimatized species) are found around bodies of water. There are about 200 species of birds, including the hazel grouse, red grouse, wood grouse, and various ducks, and more than 20 species of fishes, including the bream, ide, perch, roach, pike, and sheatfish.

Population. Byelorussians account for 85.6 percent of the population (1970), Russians for 9.8 percent, Jews for 2.1 percent, Ukrainians for 1.7 percent, and Poles and others for 0.3 percent. The average density is 42.7 inhabitants per sq km (1973). In Gorky, Shklov, Mogilev, and Mstislavl’ raions the population density is relatively high. In 1973, 47 percent of the total population was urban. The major cities are Mogilev, Bobruisk, Krichev, Gorky, and Osipovichi.

Economy. Under Soviet power Mogilev Oblast was transformed from a backward agrarian area into a highly developed industrial area with mechanized socialist agriculture. It now accounts for a tenth of the industrial output of the Byelorussian SSR. In 1972 the industrial output was 11 times that of 1940, and the oblast produced all the electric engines, centrifugal pumps, and elevators manufactured in the republic, as well as 79 percent of the slate, 65 percent of the cement and sole leather, and 64 percent of the chemical fibers.

The power base consists of major heat and electric power plants in Mogilev, Bobruisk, and Krichev, as well as the Osipovichi Hydroelectric Power Plant, which is part of the Byelorussian system. Peat, the main local fuel, is processed at the Dneprovskoe Plant (Bykhov Raion), the Redkii Rog Plant (Bobruisk Raion), and the Tatarka Plant (Osipovichi Raion).

Machine building and metalworking are important in the oblast’s economy. The major plants are the S. M. Kirov Motor-vehicle Plant, which produces scrapers and dumptruck trains for underground work, the Elektrodvigatel’ Plant in Mogilev (electric engines, record players, and illumination equipment), the Strommashina Plant (elevators and equipment for the roofing materials, asbestos-cement, and ceramics industries), and the Miasnikov Metallurgical Plant (sheet steel and pipes for water mains). A specialized plant for producing automatic elevators for high-rise buildings was under construction in 1974. The chemical industry, which is developing rapidly, is represented by the V. V. Kuibyshev Synthetic Fibers Plant, which produces staple, cellophane, and about two-fifths of the output of viscose fibers of the Byelorussian SSR; a synthetic fibers combine that produces more than two-thirds of the country’s total output of Lavsan (Soviet trade name for Dacron); and the Bobruisk and Krichev rubber plants. The Byelorussian Tire Combine, which went into operation in 1971 in Bobruisk, produces various sizes of tires (primarily large ones) for motor vehicles, as well as for tractors and other agricultural machines.

Mogilev Oblast supplies 16 percent of the Byelorussian SSR’s exports of commercial lumber. The wood products industry produces plywood, furniture, paper, and fiberboard. Bobruisk, which produces more than half the oblast’s sawed timber and a fifth of the Byelorussian SSR’s plywood, is a major center of the wood products industry. The waste products of lumber processing are used by a hydrolysis plant that produces ethyl alcohol and carbonic acid.

The building materials industry, which is well developed, is represented by a cement and slate plant in Krichev, a building materials combine in Klimovichi (lime and bricks), a silicate products combine in Mogilev (silicate bricks and panels), a brickyard in Bobruisk, glass-making plants in the settlement of Elizovo and in Glusha, and a cardboard and roofing materials plant in Osipovichi. Mogilev Oblast accouns for more than 8 percent of the republic’s output of reinforced concrete (plants in Mogilev, Bobruisk, and Krichev).

Light industry includes the production of clothing, leather, and textiles. The most important of the oblast’s 11 flax combines is in Shklov. Knit clothing and underwear are produced in Mogilev and Bobruisk. A silk fabrics combine was under construction in Mogilev in 1974. There are clothing, leather footwear, and felt footwear factories, and two leather goods plants (Mogilev and Bobruisk).

In 1972, Mogilev Oblast produced 18 percent of the republic’s butter, 14 percent of the meat, 15 percent of the confectioneries, and 9 percent of the canned goods. Meat combines are located in Mogilev and Bobruisk, and another was under construction in Krichev in 1974. The oblast has a number of dairy enterprises. There are three milling combines (Mogilev, Bobruisk, and Osipovichi), vodka and liquor plants, beer breweries (Mogilev, Krichev), and dried and canned vegetable plants (Bykhov, Chausy, Slavgorod, Gorky, and Cherikov).

In early 1973 there were 310 kolkhozes and 132 sovkhozes in Mogilev Oblast. In 1972, 55.2 percent of the land was used for agricultural purposes, including 35.7 percent plowland, 9.6 percent meadows, and 9.0 percent pastures. Heavy agricultural work is mechanized. In 1972 the planted area was 17 percent greater than in 1940. There are 172,000 hectares (ha) of drained land (1973), including 77,000 ha that were previously occupied by peat bogs. In 1972 the total planted area was 1,031,700 ha, of which 46.8 percent was occupied by cereal crops (rye, barley, oats, and wheat), 4.7 percent by industrial crops (chiefly fiber flax), 14.9 percent by potatoes, 0.7 percent by vegetables, and 32.9 percent by fodder crops. Rye, potatoes, and spring grains are planted throughout the oblast, and fiber flax in the northeast. There are 26,400 ha of fruit and berry plantings.

Animal husbandry is oriented toward the production of both dairy products and meat. In early 1973 there were 847,100 head of cattle (including 377,500 cows), 624,800 pigs, and 82,900 sheep and goats. There are 27 poultry farms.

Railroads are the main means of transportation. In 1972 there were 806 km of track and about 484 km of spur tracks. The main lines are Leningrad-Odessa, Orsha-Unecha, BakhmachBobruisk-Minsk-Vilnius, and Krichev-Mogilev-OsipovichiBaranovichi. The major railroad junctions are Mogilev, Bobruisk, Osipovihchi, and Krichev. In 1972 there were 7,700 km of motorways, including 2,900 km of paved roads. The main routes run from Leningrad to Odessa, from Mogilev to Minsk, from Mogilev to Bobruisk, and from Bobruisk to Minsk. The Dnieper, Berezina, and Sozh (below Slavgorod) are navigable. Airlines connect Mogilev with Moscow, Minsk, and other cities, as well as with the raion centers. The Unecha-Polotsk oil pipeline passes through the oblast.

Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. In the 1972–73 academic year there were 1,605 general education schools of all types with an enrollment of 256,900, 26 vocational and technical schools with 15,600 students, and 17 secondary specialized schools with 22,400 students. There were also four higher educational institutions—machine-building, technological, and pedagogical institutes in Mogilev and the Byelorussian Agricultural Academy in Gorky—with a total enrollment of 18,300. In 1973, 39,300 children were enrolled in 346 preschool institutions.

A branch of the Institute of Physics and Technology of the Academy of Sciences of the Byelorussian SSR (AN BSSR) and a branch of the Physics Institute of the AN BSSR are located in the city of Mogilev.

As of Jan. 1, 1973, Mogilev Oblast had 969 public libraries with 9.4 million copies of books and magazines. There is an oblast museum of local lore in the city of Mogilev. Other museums of local lore are located in Bobruisk and Krichev. The oblast also has the Krichev National Glory Museum, the Museum of Soviet-Polish Combat Cooperation in the village of Lenino, and the V. K. Bialynitskii-Birula Art Museum in the settlement of Belynichi. There is a drama theater in Mogilev and a drama and comedy theater in Bobruisk. The oblast has 993 clubs, 711 motion-picture projectors, and various extracurricular facilities, including 24 houses of pioneers, four young technicians’ stations, four young naturalists’ stations and 30 children’s sports schools.

The Byelorussian-language oblast newspaper Mahileuskaia prauda (Mogilev Pravda) has been published since 1918.

The first and second programs of republic television (7.7 hours), the all-Union radio program “Beacon,” and the first program of the republic radio are relayed to Mogilev Oblast. Local radio programs in Byelorussian are broadcast for 36 minutes a day.

As of Jan. 1, 1973, the oblast had 142 hospitals with 14,100 beds (11.4 beds per 1,000 inhabitants) and 2,800 physicians (one per 435 inhabitants). Sanatoriums and workers’ resorts are located in Mogilev Oblast.

REFERENCES

Borodina, V. P. Mogilevskaia oblast’: Geograficheskii ocherk. Minsk, 1962.
Belorusskaia SSR: Mogilevskaia oblast’ Minsk, 1968.

N. S. RATOBYL’SKII

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