a part of the RSFSR formed on July 5, 1944. Located in the central part of the East European Plain. Area, 34,900 sq km. Population, 1,582,000 (1970). Briansk Oblast is divided into 22 raions and has 15 cities and 27 urban-type settlements. The city of Briansk is its center.
Natural features. The surface of Briansk Oblast is basically a plain sloping in general from northeast to southwest. Elevated, extremely broken eroded plains, with elevations of 200-250 m (the western part of the Central Russian Plateau and the southern part of the Smolensk Plateau), are combined with the flat, morainic outwash plains of the Dnieper Lowland. The landscape is mixed forest and woodland.
The climate is moderate continental. The winter is relatively mild with snow, and the summer is warm. The average January temperature ranges from 7.4°C to -9°C, and the average July temperature ranges from 18.1°C to 19.1°C. The average annual precipitation is 560-600 mm, and the growing season lasts from 180 to 200 days.
The rivers of Briansk Oblast belong to the Dnieper basin. The most important river, a tributary of the Dnieper, is the Desna with its tributaries—the Bolva, Navlia, Nerussa, Sudost’, and others—which flow into the Desna within the boundaries of Briansk Oblast. The Iput’ and Besed’ rivers, tributaries of the Sozh, flow west.
Podzol, sod-podzol, and gray forest soils prevail. The podzolic soils have a light, mechanical composition and are distributed primarily on outwash plains, where sod-podzolic gley soils are also found. In the communities of Prisudost, Trubchevsk, and Briansk, which are located on the right banks of the Sudost’ and Desna rivers, the more fertile loamy gray forest soils are distributed. Dark-gray and gray forest soils and podzolic chernozem are distributed on the western border of the Central Russian Plateau. There are sod-alluvial soils in the Desna, Sudost’, and Iput’ valleys.
Briansk Oblast is located in the forest zone; only the extreme southeastern part is in the forest-steppe zone. Agricultural lands occupy a large part of the oblast’s territory. Forests, occupying about 1 million hectares (ha) are unevenly distributed. (The most important forest tracts—for example, the Briansk forest tract—are on the left bank of the Desna, and minor forest tracts are located along the Sudost’ and Iput’ rivers.) Pine forests (42 percent of the forested area) are the most valuable; birches cover a significant part of the forested area (23 percent), as do aspen (15 percent). Other trees include oak, alder, ash, maple, and linden. The total wood supply is about 100 million cubic meters. There are flooded meadows on the floodplains of the rivers and dry and low meadows in the interfluvial areas.
In the forests wild animals are still found (elk, wild boar, European brown bear, wolf, fox, badger, squirrel, and others), and the beaver has been reacclimatized. Game birds include the capercaillie, ptarmigan, woodcock, snipe, and duck.
Population. The basic population of Briansk Oblast is Russian, but there are also Ukrainians and Byelorussians. The average population density is 45.3 people per sq km (1970). The northeastern industrial regions adjoining the city of Briansk are more densely populated, as are the communities with fertile soils. The forested areas and marshy parts of the outwash plain are relatively sparsely populated. The population is 47 percent urban. The most important cities are Briansk, Klintsy, Novozybkov, and Diat’kovo. There is a significant number of small cities, including Zhukovka, Zlynka, Karachev, Mglin, Pochep, Sevsk, Starodub, Surazh, Trubchevsk, Unecha, and Fokino.
Economy. Briansk Oblast is a region of developed and varied industry and intensive agriculture. From 1914 to 1940 the gross production of large-scale industry increased 8.5 times. A convenient geographical location in the central part of the country at the junction of a number of economic regions and the existence of an industrial base inherited from the past promoted the industrialization of the economy of Briansk Oblast. The economy was heavily damaged during the Great Patriotic War (1941-45), when the major enterprises were destroyed. The postwar period has been characterized by an accelerated tempo of industrial development: gross production has increased 7.3 times during 1941-68. The energy base depends on imported fuel (Donets coal and natural gas), and there is considerable extraction of local peat. The large Briansk State Regional Electric Power Station is also important.
The leading branches of industry are machine building and metalworking. Machine building for transportation is most developed—diesels, locomotives, special freight cars, powerful tractors, and other equipment are produced in the city of Briansk. Road machinery, equipment for the building-materials industries, and agricultural machinery are also produced there. Zhukovka produces bicycles; Novozybkov, equipment for the woodworking industry; and Klintsy, machinery for the textile industry. Other developed industries are conversion metallurgy and steel production in Briansk and iron casting in Liubokhna and Bytosh’. The building-materials industry, which is based on local deposits of sands, clays, chalk, and marl, is very important. There is a large cement plant and an asbestos-cement combine (Fokino), as well as brick and lime plants. The production of glass is developed: window glass is made in Bytosh’, signal glass in Star’, fiberglass and insulation materials in Ivot, and crystal in Diat’kovo. Phosphate rocks are extracted and phosphate fertilizers are produced.
In connection with the exhaustion of the forests, the lumber industry has been reduced in scope. In 1968, 1.3 million cubic meters of lumber were exported (in 1940, 2.6 million cubic meters). The woodworking industry specializes mainly in furniture production (in Briansk, Belaia Berezka, Brasovo, Klintsy, Altukhovo, Kletnia, and other cities); cardboard is produced in Surazh and matches in Vyshkov. In 1968 28,100 tons of cardboard were produced, as compared to 5,400 tons in 1940. Among the light industries are the woolen industry (in Klintsy and Briansk), in which Briansk Oblast holds second place in production in the RSFSR after Moscow Oblast; leather shoe manufacturing (in Klintsy and Briansk); the clothing industry; and hemp processing. In 1968, 26.6 million meters of woolen fabrics (in 1940, 5.9 million meters) and 1,708,000 pairs of shoes (in 1940, 665,000 pairs) were produced. The food industry is basically oriented toward processing local agricultural raw materials: canned goods (68.2 million standard cans in 1968), dried vegetables, starch, alcoholic beverages, butter and cheese (10,100 tons of butter in 1968), meat, sugar (20,600 tons of beet sugar), and tobacco goods (a cigar combine in Pogar) are produced.
Agriculture involves primarily cereal and potato cultivation and dairy and meat cattle breeding, and technical crops are widespread. Agricultural land occupies 1.9 million ha—56 percent of the territory of the oblast; 1.4 million ha are cultivated, and the highest percentage of cultivated land is in the southern part of the oblast and the communities. Natural meadowlands occupy 500,000 ha. In 1968 there were 339 kolkhozes and 102 sovkhozes in Briansk Oblast. In 1969 the sown area was 1,326,000 ha; the crops of cereal grains (rye, wheat, legumes, buckwheat, and others) occupied 690,000 ha; potatoes, 191,000 ha; and fodder crops, 401,000 ha. In livestock raising, dairy and meat cattle and pigs are most important. In early 1970 there were 728,000 head of stock including 369,000 cattle, 649,000 pigs, 299,000 sheep and goats, and 1,151,000 fowl.
Briansk Oblast has a dense railroad network (more than 1,000 km). The most important lines passing through the oblast are the Moscow-Kiev and Riga-Orel-Volgograd. Briansk and Unecha are major railroad junctions. The road network is extensive, and the Desna River is navigable.
The northern part of the oblast is most developed economically. Concentrated in the old Briansk-Diat’kovo industrial district are the main industrial centers and large-scale industrial enterprises—machine building, building materials, glass, timber and woodworking, light and food-processing industries (in Briansk, Diat’kovo, Fokino, Zhukovka, Ivot, Bytosh’, Liubokhna, and other cities). In this area agriculture is carried on mainly in the suburbs.
The western part of the oblast is distinguished by well-developed agriculture (cereals, potatoes, and hemp) and the processing of agricultural raw materials. The industrial centers are Klintsy (cloth, leather and shoes, and machine building) and Novozybkov (machine building and woodworking). The southeastern part of the oblast includes intensively cultivated agricultural areas (cereals, potatoes, sugar beets, and dairy and meat cattle raising) and forested regions on the left bank of the Desna, where lumbering and woodworking are carried on.
A. A. MINTS
Education, cultural affairs, and public health. During the 1968-69 academic year, there were 1,846 general education schools of all types, in which 348,700 students received instruction. (In the 1914-15 academic year there were 132,300 were educated in preschool institutions. There are 35 professional-technical schools and colleges and 25 specialized secondary educational institutions (28,400 students) in the oblast, as well as three institutes—a transportation machine building and a technological institute in Briansk and a pedagogical institute in Novozybkov. More than 13,000 students were studying in institutions of higher learning during the 1968-69 academic year. As of Jan. 1, 1970, there was a drama theater in the city of Briansk, 838 public libraries (8,167,000 copies of books and journals), 1,175 clubs, five museums of local lore (in Briansk, Novozybkov, Trubchevsk, Klintsy, and Sevsk), 1,532 cinemas, and 27 extracurricular institutions.
The oblast newspapers are Brianskii rabochii (from 1917) and Brianskii komsomolets (from 1952). The oblast radio and television station transmits one radio and one television program, and it relays telecasts originating in Moscow from its center in Briansk.
As of Jan. 1, 1969, there were 2,400 physicians in Briansk Oblast (one physician for every 666 inhabitants) and 14,300 hospital beds (9.2 beds for every 1,000 inhabitants).
REFERENCESBabushkin, A. N. Brianskaia oblast’. Briansk, 1958.
Dolgopolov, K. V. Tsentral’no-Chernozemnyi raion. Moscow, 1961.
Volokhov, V., and S. Kizimova. Brianshchina industrial’naia. Briansk, 1964.