Donets-Dnieper Economic Region

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Donets-Dnieper Economic Region


one of the major economic regions of the Soviet Union, lying chiefly in the Left-bank Ukraine and basically within the forest-steppe and steppe zones. In the southeast it borders the Azov Sea. The region includes Donetsk, Voroshilovgrad, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozh’e, Kirovograd, Kharkov, Poltava, and Sumy oblasts. Area, 220,900 sq km (36.5 percent of the Ukrainian SSR); population, 20,210,000 (1971),. including an urban population of 71 percent. The average population density is 91.5 persons per sq km.

The surface is a slightly undulating plain. In the west lie the Dnieper Uplands, which abut the Dnieper and the Dnieper Depression; in the northeast are the spurs of the Middle Russian Uplands; and in the south and southeast are the Donets Ridge and the Azov Uplands. Various types of chernozems and dark chestnut soils predominate; solonchaks and solonetses are encountered in the south. The region is crossed by the Dnieper River, with its reservoirs (the Kremenchug, Dneprodzerzhinsk, V. I Lenin Dneprovskii, and Kakhi), the Severskii Donets River (with the Krasnyi Oskol reservoir), and the tributaries of these rivers. Major reservoirs have been built in the Donets Basin (Donbas) and Krivoi Rog Basin. The waters of the Dnieper are used as a power resource and as a water supply for the population, industry, and agriculture. There are also the Severskii Donets-Donbas and Dnieper-Krivoi Rog canals.

The region possesses many minerals. The anthracite of the Donbas included explored reserves in the Ukrainian part of over 42 billion tons at the start of 1970. In the Dnieper Basin there are 2.6 billion tons of lignite, chiefly in Kirovograd and Dnepropetrovsk oblasts. Natural gas is found in Kharkov Oblast; the Shebelinka deposit has explored reserves of 218 billion cu m, and deposits are also found near Efremovka, Kegichevka, and elsewhere. The Poltava, Sumy, and Voroshilovgrad oblasts also have natural gas deposits. The Krivoi Rog Basin has known reserves of iron ores of around 23 billion tons; the Kremenchug Basin, around 2 billion tons; and the Belozerka Basin, 500 million tons. Manganese ores are found in the Nikopol’ and Tokmak basins, and mercury ores in the Nikitovka deposit. There are also deposits of rock salt and salt brines (Artemovsk and Slaviansk), refractory clays (Chasov lar), graphite (the Zaval’e deposit), bauxites (the Vysokopol’e deposit), and various building materials. Springs of mineral waters are found in the Donbas (Slaviansk), as well as in Poltava (Mirgorod) and Kharkov (Berezovka) oblasts.

The Donets-Dnieper Economic Region is one of the largest industrial regions of the nation, an important coal and metallurgical base of the USSR, and a major region of electric power, machine building and metalworking, the chemical industry, building materials production, and intensive agriculture. In terms of the output of industrial product, it holds second place in the USSR. Here is concentrated 12 percent of the industrial fixed assets of the USSR and around 67 percent of those of the Ukrainian SSR. The Donets-Dnieper Economic Region in 1970 was responsible for 31 percent of Soviet and 93 percent of Ukrainian coal mining (over 190 million tons) and 50 percent of the nation’s roasting coke (37.5 million tons). In 1970 the Donets-Dnieper Economic Region produced 41.4 million tons of iron and 46.4 million tons of steel (around 40 percent of the national output) and 32.4 million tons of finished rolled metal; 107 million tons of iron ore were mined (54 percent of the national output). Almost all the production of ferrous metals and 96 percent of the iron ore output of the Ukrainian SSR are concentrated in the region.

Almost 90 percent of the industrial production is located in Donetsk, Voroshilovgrad, Dnepropetrovsk, Zaporozh’e, and Kharkov oblasts. The largest territorial production complex within the region is the Donbas (Donetsk and Voroshilovgrad oblasts), which produces around 30 percent (1970) of the Soviet coal output, much of the metallurgical product, and chemical and machine-building products. Natural gas holds an important place in the fuel industry of the region.

The Donbas and the Dnieper region are an important electric power base of the Ukrainian SSR. Most of the Ukrainian power plants are located here; they have been linked into the Southern Power Grid and constitute an important part of the Integrated Power Grid of the European USSR. A high degree of centralization is characteristic for the power system. Some 77 percent of the electric power is generated at large state regional electric power plants (Starobeshevo, Pridneprovskaia, Zmiev, Krivoi Rog No. 2, and Voroshilovgrad) and at the hydroelectric power plants of the Dnieper cascade (the V. I. Lenin Dneproges, Kremenchug, and Dneprodzerzhinsk power plants). In 1971 several large state regional electric power plants were under construction, including the Uglegorsk (3.6 million kilowatts) in Donetsk Oblast, Zaporozh’e, and Dneproges II power plants.

The heavy industry of the Donets-Dnieper Economic Region employs around 84 percent of all industrial workers of the region. In 1970 the coal industry included over 300 enterprises. Around 60 percent of the coal obtained from gently sloping seams was mined by combines; 95.5 percent of the cutting and breaking of the coal is now mechanized, as is 85 percent of the bulk loading, 100 percent of the delivery and haulage, 87.4 percent of the coal and rock loading in the mines, and 100 percent of the loading into railway cars; some of the mines have been fully mechanized. Iron ore is mined by the underground and open-cut methods. There are large mining-concentrating combines in operation, including the luzhnyi, Tsentralnyi, Novyi Krivoi Rog, Dneprovskii, Ingulets, Severnyi, and Zaporozh’e combines. The metallurgical industry is represented by large modern plants with a complete metallurgical cycle and powerful blast and open hearth furnaces, continuous rolling mills, and the like, many of them unique in design and capacity. The largest combines and plants of ferrous metallurgy are the V. I. Lenin Plant (Krivoi Rog), the S. M. Kirov Plant (Makeevka), the Il’ich and Azovstal’ plants (Zhdanov), Zaporozhstal’ and Dneprospetsstal’ (Zaporozh’e), the F. E. Dzerzhinskii Plant (Dneprodzerzhinsk), the G. I. Petrovskii Plant (Dnepropetrovsk), and the Donetsk, Enakievo, and Kommunarsk plants. The region produces more than one-third of the Soviet output of steel pipe (the Novomoskovsk, the Nikopol’, the Lenin and Liebknecht, the Dnepropetrovsk, and other pipe plants). Nonferrous metallurgy is represented by a mercury combine, a zinc plant, the Dneprovskii Aluminum Plant, and other enterprises.

Machine building and metalworking in the region are characterized by a high degree of production concentration. The metal-intensive sectors predominate. In 1970 the region produced 47 percent of the Soviet and 100 percent of the republic production of metallurgical equipment (Dnepropetrovsk, Kramatorsk, Druzhkovka, and other towns), 17 percent of the Soviet and 50 percent of the republic’s production of chemical equipment (Sumy and the cities of the Donbas), a significant portion of the country’s tractor production, 94 percent of the mainline diesel locomotives (Voroshilovgrad), and a large share of the output of motor vehicles, railway cars, and tank cars (Zaporozh’e, Kremenchug, Dneprodzerzhinsk, Kadievka, and Zhdanov), bearings, turbines, and heavy machine tools (Kharkov, Kramatorsk, and elsewhere), farm machinery (Kharkov, Kirovograd, Berdiansk, and elsewhere), mining equipment (Gorlovka, Druzhkovka, and elsewhere), cable (Kharkov, Berdiansk), and transformers, equipment for large electrical machinery, presses, and other products.

Based on local natural resources and on the waste products of coal coking, the chemical industry here has become the most highly developed in the Ukrainian SSR and among the most highly developed of the USSR. The main sectors are coke by-products, basic chemistry, and the production of aniline dyes, synthetic resins, plastics, organic synthesis products, varnishes, rubber-asbestos articles, chemical agents, and household chemicals. In 1970 there were 160 chemical enterprises, the largest being the Severodonetskii, Dneprodzerzhinsk, Konstantinovka, Gorlovka, Lisichansk, and Sumy combines (producing nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers, sulfuric and acetic acids, methanol, and acetaldehyde), the Dnepropetrovsk Tire Plant, the Kremenchug Lampblack Plant, the Dneprodzerzhinsk and Dnepropetrovsk paint and varnish plants, the Krivoi Rog Red Lead Plant, the Slaviansk and Donetsk soda plants, and the Donetsk, Kharkov and Shostka chemical agent and pharmaceuticals plants. Large coke by-product plants in the Donbas and in the Dnieper area operate jointly with metallurgical enterprises. The oil and natural gas deposits discovered in the region favor the development of the petrochemical industry (Kremenchug). The production of building materials, including cement (62 percent of the republic output), window glass (21 percent of the country’s production), porcelain and earthenware dishes, wall materials, refractory materials, crushed rock, and brick, is important in the industrial complex of the region.

The food industry is responsible for 4.6 percent of the industrial fixed assets of the region. It is based chiefly on the rich agricultural raw material resources of the region and has a diversified character. The sector is represented by the sugar (28 percent of the republic production), meat, oil and fat, butter and cheese, canning, and starch-molasses industries. Light industry produces garments and knitwear, footwear, hemp fiber, and so forth.

The Donets-Dnieper Economic Region excels in favorable natural and economic conditions for intensive agriculture. Here are concentrated around 14 million hectares of planted area, representing 42 percent of the total cultivation of the Ukrainian SSR. The region produces 37 percent of the gross Ukrainian agricultural product (more than 8.3 percent of that of the USSR), around 42 percent of the grain (chiefly winter wheat, barley, and corn), around 30 percent of the sugar beets, and around 70 percent of the sunflowers grown in the republic (1970). In the north of Sumy Oblast, flax- and potato-growing have been developed. Orchards are being developed in Poltava and Zaporozh’e oblasts. Suburban agriculture (vegetable raising, potato raising, and meat and dairy livestock raising) has developed around the large industrial cities. In early 1971, the region had around 7.9 million head of cattle (including 3.1 million cows), 8.1 million pigs, and 3 million sheep and goats (over 34 percent of the number of head in the republic). There is fishing in the Azov Sea and in the major rivers and reservoirs.

The region is characterized by a dense transportation network. Railways are the most important type of transportation (9,100 km of general line). The average density of the railway network is over 41 km per 1,000 sq km of territory (36.5 km for the Ukrainian SSR). The most important main lines are Moscow-Donbas, Moscow-Kharkov-Sevastopol’, Moscow-Zaporozh’e, Krivoi Rog-Donbas, Kiev-Kharkov, and Kharkov-Dnepropetrovsk-Kherson. A majority of these lines have been electrified. The major railway junctions are Kharkov, Krivoi Rog, Debal’tsevo, Dnepropetrovsk, Lozovaia, and Zhaporozh’e. The chief river artery is the Dnieper (the middle course). After the construction of the V. I. Lenin Volga-Don Canal, the Severskii Donets River became more important for transportation. The ports are Kremenchug, Dnepropetrovsk, and Zaporozhy’e. The port of Zhdanov on the Azov Sea plays a significant role. The most important highways include Moscow-Kharkov-Dneproperovsk-Zaporozh’e-Simferopol’, Kiev-Poltava-Kharkov, Kiev-Dnepropetrovsk, and Kharkov-Donbas. There are also large gas lines in service, including Shebelinka-Poltava-Kiev, Shebelinka-Dnepropetrovsk-Krivoi Rog-Odessa, Shebelinka-Belgorod-Moscow, Shebelinka-Slaviansk-Lisichansk, and Efremovka-Dikan’ka-Kiev. The Donbas is also supplied with gas from the Northern Caucasus.

The Donets-Dnieper Economic Region has close economic ties with many regions of the USSR. The basic products exported from the region are coal, coke, iron and manganese ores, steel, iron, rolled products, turbines, diesel locomotives, tractors and other farm machinery, motor vehicles, mineral fertilizers, salt, soda, and glass. The products imported include precision machine-building products, textiles, and industrial rubber articles from the Center and Northwestern economic regions, oil products from the Volga Region and the Northern Caucasus, lumber from the North-western Region, and certain food products from the Southern and Southwestern economic regions and the Central Chernozem Economic Region.


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The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.