Cheliabinsk Oblast

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Cheliabinsk Oblast


part of the RSFSR. Formed on Jan. 17,1934. Area, 87,900 sq km. Population, 3,403,000 (1977). Cheliabinsk Oblast is divided into 24 administrative districts and has 27 cities and 25 urban-type settlements. The administrative center is the city of Cheliabinsk. The oblast was twice awarded the Order of Lenin, on Oct. 23,1956, and on Dec. 4,1970.

Natural features. Most of the oblast lies on the eastern slopes of the Southern Urals and in the adjacent territories of the Trans-Ural Plain. In the northwest, which includes some of the mountain ranges of the Urals, the oblast reaches its highest elevation, at Mount Nurgush (1,406 m). Cheliabinsk Oblast may be divided into two topographic areas: the western region has ridges and a hilly terrain, with an average elevation of 300–500 m; the eastern plain has numerous zapadinas (flat-bottom step depressions) and gently sloping parallel ridges (elevations of approximately 20 m) separated by depressions. The central part of the oblast is hilly, with elevations of approximately 100–200 m.

Cheliabinsk Oblast has a continental climate, with long, cold winters. The average January temperature ranges from – 15°C in the northwest to – 17°C in the southeast. Summers are warm or, in the southeast, hot. The average July temperature is 16°C in the northwest and 18°C in the southeast. The growing season lasts 130 days in the northwest and 150 days in the southeast. Annual precipitation ranges from 600 mm in the mountains to 350 mm in the plains; the greatest amount of precipitation falls in summer. The oblast’s rivers, the largest of which are the Ural and the Miass, are capable of producing 0.3 gigawatt of hydroelectric power. The Verkhneural’sk, Cheliabinsk-Argazi, and Shersh-ni reservoirs have been built to supply water to Magnitogorsk. The oblast has numerous freshwater and saltwater lakes, the largest being Uvil’dy, Irtiash, Turgoiak, Bol’shie Kasli, and Chebarkul’.

The predominant soils are typical and highly leached chernozems; gray-forest, mountain-forest gray, and meadow-chernozem soils are also found. More than one-fourth of the oblast is forested, with total timber reserves of 185 million cu m. Pine forests and forests of aspen and birch are found in the north. Most of the central part of the oblast is forest-steppe; the south is predominantly forb and grass steppe. The mountains have spruce and fir forests with an admixture of pine, larch, linden, and oak.

Fauna is represented primarily by forest and steppe animals, including such mammals as the elk, fox, wolf, blue hare, and squirrel. The most common birds are ducks, geese, grouse, willow ptarmigan, and hazel hens. The V. I. Lenin Il’men Preserve is located in the oblast.

Population. According to the 1970 census, Russians constitute approximately 81 percent of the oblast’s population, with the remaining 19 percent made up of various peoples, including Tatars, Ukrainians, and Bashkirs. The average population density is 38.7 persons per sq km; 82 percent of the population is urban. The oblast’s principal cities are Cheliabinsk, Zlatoust, Kopeisk, Korkino, Magnitogorsk, Miass, and Troitsk.

Economy. Cheliabinsk Oblast is one of the most highly industrialized areas in the USSR. Most of the economy’s output comes from industry, principally heavy industry. The main industrial branches are ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, machine building, metalworking, and the chemical industry. Power engineering is only partly based on local fuel, which comes from the Cheliabinsk Coalfield (brown coal). A variety of fuels are shipped into the oblast, such as coking coals from the Kuznetsk and Karaganda coal basins, power-generating coal from the Ekibastuz Coalfield, natural gas from Western Siberia, and petroleum products from other oblasts in the Urals, from the Volga Region, and from Western Siberia. The electric power industry of the oblast forms part of the Ural Power Grid. Most of the electric power is generated at local electric power plants, such as the Iu-zhno-Uralsk and Troitsk state regional electric power plants and the fossil-fuel-fired steam power plants at Magnitogorsk, Cheliabinsk, and Argaiash.

The main enterprises of ferrous metallurgy are the V. I. Lenin Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine, the Magnitogorsk Sizing Plant, and the Magnitogorsk Hardware and Metallurgical Plant. Other large enterprises are metallurgical, pipe-rolling, and ferroalloys plants in Cheliabinsk and metallurgical plants in Zlatoust, Asha, and Chebarkul’. Refractories are produced at the Magnezit Plant in Satka. Nonferrous metallurgy includes the Karabash Copper-smelting Combine, the Verkhnii Ufalei Nickel Combine, and the Cheliabinsk Electrolytic Zinc Refinery.

Mining is represented by the extraction of iron ore (the Bakal, Magnitogorsk, and Zlatoust iron ore deposits), magnesite (the Satka group of deposits), graphite (the Taiginka deposit), brown coal (the Cheliabinsk Coalfield), and refractory clays (the Ni-zhneuvel’skoe deposit). Other major industrial branches are the transportation industry, which produces tractors and motor vehicles, and agricultural machine building; the oblast also produces construction and highway machinery and machinery for the mining industry. The machine-tool and instrument-making industries are highly developed. Major enterprises are the Cheliabinsk Tractor Works, the Urals Automotive Plant (Miass), the Kopeisk Machine-building Plant, and the Koliushchenko Cheliabinsk Plant, which manufactures road-paving machinery.

The chemical industry, which is concentrated in Cheliabinsk, Magnitogorsk, and Kyshtym, is integrated with ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy. The principal centers of the building-materials industry are Cheliabinsk, Magnitogorsk, and Korkino. The principal enterprises of light industry and the food-processing industry are located in the large cities; there are meat-packing plants, butter factories, leather-processing enterprises, garment factories, knitwear factories, and enterprises for the production of animal fats. The oblast is known for the artistic cast-iron articles produced at Kasli and Kusa, the engraved metal articles produced in Zlatoust, and watches.

In 1976, Cheliabinsk Oblast produced 31.2 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, 5,000 metalcutting machine tools, 135 million standard slate tiles, 12.6 million pairs of leather footwear, and more than 214,000 radios.

The oblast’s large-scale, mechanized agriculture is oriented toward animal husbandry and the cultivation of grains. Near the main industrial centers (Cheliabinsk and Magnitogorsk), agriculture specializes in supplying the urban market. In 1976 the oblast had 163 sovkhozes and 64 kolkhozes. Of the 5 million hectares (ha) of agricultural lands (56 percent of the oblast’s territory), plowland occupies 3.2 million ha, hayfields 0.6 million ha, and pastureland 1.2 million ha. In 1976 the total sown area was 2.9 million ha, of which 1,828,000 ha were sown to grains and leguminous crops, including spring wheat (1,160,000 ha), feed crops (1,007,000 ha), potatoes (68,000 ha), and melons and gourds (12,300 ha).

Livestock is raised primarily for dairy products and meat. At the beginning of 1977 the livestock population included 1,114,000 cattle (of which 40 percent were cows), 773,000 sheep and goats, 382,000 swine, and 8,295,000 poultry. In 1978 several livestock-raising complexes, including the Uvel’skii Complex, were being constructed for the production of meat on an industrialized basis.

In 1976 the oblast had 1,800 km of railroad lines. The principal east-west lines are Ufa-Cheliabinsk-Kurgan and Beloretsk-Mag-nitogorsk-Kartaly-Tobol. Of major importance is the Orsk-Kar-taly-Troitsk-Cheliabinsk-Sverdlovsk line, which runs from north to south. Motor-vehicle transportation is also highly developed: in 1976 there were 6,100 km of hard-surface roads. The main highways are Ufa-Asha-Miass-Cheliabinsk-Kurgan and Troitsk-Cheliabinsk-Sverdlovsk. The oblast is served by a network of transit petroleum and natural-gas pipelines and by air transportation.

Internal differences. Cheliabinsk Raion is the oblast’s most densely populated and industrialized region, with numerous enterprises of heavy industry. Of particular note are the Cheliabinsk, Miass, Zlatoust, and Troitsk industrial complexes. Agriculture is oriented toward production for the urban market.

Magnitogorsk Raion is highly industrialized and contains most of the oblast’s metallurgical enterprises. Agriculture is oriented toward animal husbandry and the cultivation of grains.


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1914–15 academic year Cheliabinsk Oblast had 809 general-education schools, with 59,400 students; three specialized secondary educational institutions, with 173 students; and no higher educational institutions. In the 1976–77 academic year there were 1,513 general-education schools of all types, with more than 542,000 students; 127 vocational-technical schools, with 69,900 students; and 70 secondary specialized educational institutions, with more than 77,000 students. In that year 57,600 students were enrolled in the oblast’s ten higher educational institutions, which include the Cheliabinsk Polytechnic Institute, the Cheliabinsk Institute of the Mechanization and Electrification of Agriculture, the Cheliabinsk Medical Institute, the Cheliabinsk and Magnitogorsk pedagogical institutes, the Magnitogorsk Institute of Ore Mining and Metallurgy, and the Troitsk Veterinary Institute.

Dozens of scientific institutions are located in the oblast, ineluding the Urals Branch of the F. E. Dzerzhinskii All-Union Scientific Research Heat Engineering Institute, the Scientific Research and Design Institute of the Opencut Mining of Minerals, and the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Labor Protection and Accident Prevention in Ferrous Metallurgy.

In 1976, 209,000 children were enrolled in 1,976 preschool institutions. There were 976 public libraries, with more than 22 million copies of books and periodicals. The oblast’s 13 museums are the oblast art gallery and oblast museum of local lore in Cheliabinsk; museums of local lore in Troitsk, Miass, Satka, Zlatoust, Verkhneural’sk, Magnitogorsk, and the village of Uiskoe; the Museum of the H’men Preserve in Miass; the Museum of Artistic Casting in Kasli; the Museum of the History of Varna Raion in Varna; and a branch of the Cheliabinsk Oblast Museum of Local Lore in Kopeisk.

The oblast’s seven theaters are a theater of opera and ballet, a drama theater, a young people’s theater, and an oblast puppet theater, all in Cheliabinsk; a drama theater and puppet theater in Magnitogorsk; and a drama theater in Zlatoust. Cheliabinsk Oblast has 1,267 clubs, 1,532 stationary motion-picture projection units, and 50 extracurricular institutions.

The two oblast-level newspapers are Cheliabinskii rabochii, published since 1917, and Komsomolets, published since 1931. Three programs of All-Union Radio are broadcast for a total of 58 hours daily and are supplemented by oblast broadcasts for 2.5 hours daily. The television program East is transmitted for 12.9 hours daily, and local television programs are carried for 3.5 hours daily.

As of Jan. 1,1977, Cheliabinsk Oblast had 284 hospitals, with 45,300 beds, or 13.3 beds per 1,000 inhabitants; there were 9,900 physicians, or one physician per 343 inhabitants. The climatic and balneological health resorts of Kisegach and Uvil’dy are located in the oblast, and Troitsk Raion offers climatic and koumiss therapy. The oblast has 30 sanatoriums, as well as houses of rest and a boarding hotel.


Komar, I. V. Geografiia khoziaistva Urala. Moscow, 1964.
Ural. Moscow, 1968. (In the series Sovetskii Soiuz.)
Gavrilov, F. P. Cheliabinskaia oblast’ za 50 let. Cheliabinsk, 1967.
Kirin, F. Ia. Geografiia Cheliabinskoi oblasti, 4th ed. Cheliabinsk, 1973.
Varlamov, V. S., and O. A. Kibal’chich. Nov’ drevnego Urala. Moscow, 1975.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Kambar Pusurov, Chair of Kyrgyz Diaspora in Cheliabinsk Oblast, Russia 34.