Far East Economic Region
Far East Economic Region
one of the economic regions of the USSR. It consists of the Primor’e and Khabarovsk krais, the Yakut ASSR. and the Amur, Kamchatka, Magadan, and Sakhalin oblasts. Area, 6,215,900 sq km. Population, 5,889,000 (1971), of which 72 percent is urban. The majority of the population is Russian. There are many Ukrainians and Yakuts. In the national okrugs and the regions of the North live many Chukchi, Koryak, Itelmen. Aleuts, Orochi, Nivkh, Evenki, Nanai, Ude, and others.
The Far East Economic Region comprises the most eastern part of the USSR, washed by the Laptev, East Siberian, Chukotsk, Bering, and Okhotsk seas, by the Sea of Japan, and by the Pacific Ocean. In the south extends the national border with China and with the Korean Democratic People’s Republic. More than three-fourths of the territory of the region is mountainous. The major mountain systems and ranges are the Sikhote-Alin’, Bureia, Stanovoi, Dzhagdy. Turkuringra, Dzhugdzhur, Sredina, Cherski, and Verkhoiansk, as well as the Koryak and Kolyma uplands.
The principal lowlands and plains are the Zeia-Bureia, Prikhankaiskaia, Nizhnii Amur, Kolyma, and Tsentral’nyi Yakutsk. Major rivers are the Amur, with its tributaries Zeia, Bureia, and Ussuri; the Lena, with the tributaries Aldan and Viliui; and the Anabar, Olenek, lana, Indigirka, Kolyma, Anadyr’ and Kamchatka.
Of particular importance are the mineral and raw material resources of the region: gold, diamonds, tin, zinc, lead, tungsten, fluorite, mercury, mica, coal, oil, and natural gas. The climate is monsoonal in the southern part and distinctly continental in the north. Permanently frozen rock covers most of the territory of the region.
Forests make up 40 percent of the region (250,300,000 hectares). Reserves of timber total 22.6 billion cu m (almost 30 percent of the Soviet Union’s reserves). Basic types of tree include the larch, fir, pine, and birch. Hydroelectric resources represent 29.4 percent of the potential hydroelectric resources of the USSR. Coal reserves are concentrated mainly in little-developed areas of the region. The coal of the Iuzhnyi Yakutsk basin, suitable for coking, may have interregional significance.
Despite the favorable geographic conditions and rich natural resources, the economy of the region developed very slowly before the October Revolution, especially the manufacturing industry, which represented only 0.35 percent of the production of the manufacturing industry of the Russian empire in 1908.
During the years of Soviet power, the gross product of industry of the region grew almost 173 times, the cultivated area expanded 3.9 times, and the population increased more than four times. During the first five-year plans and after World War II, young people responding to calls by the party and the Lenin Komsomol, went to construction sites and enterprises in Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, Khabarovsk, Sol-nechny, Mirnyi, Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk, and other cities and settlements of the Far East Economic Region. The natural population growth of the region was higher than the mean index for the country. As a result, the population of the Far East Economic Region rose significantly faster than that of other economic regions (especially in the period 1939–59).
The main branches of industry are ore extraction, timber, and fishing. The extraction of diamonds is flourishing in the Viliui basin, as is that of gold in the basins of the upper Kolyma, Aldan and Indigirka, the Zeia and Selemdzha (Amur Oblast), and the Amgun’ (Khabarovsk Krai). The extraction of tin is developing in the region of Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, in Magadan Oblast, in the northeastern regions of the Yakut ASSR, in Primor’e Krai, and in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast. Lead and zinc deposits are being exploited in the Primor’e Krai; mercury is extracted in the north of the Chukotsk National Okrug and mica in southern Yakutia.
The timber industry is located mainly in the central part of Khabarovsk Krai, the western regions of the Primor’e Krai, and the northwestern part of Amur Oblast and also in the central regions of Sakhalin Oblast and in the south of the Yakut ASSR. In 1970 the volume of timber cutting was 21 times greater than in 1913. Chemical processing of wood is concentrated along the lower reaches of the Amur River (the settlement of Amursk) and in Sakhalin Oblast. There are ship-repair facilities in Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Sovetskaia Gavan’, and elsewhere. Machine-building enterprises are located in Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, and Blagoveshchensk and individual enterprises, mainly repair, in Yakutsk, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii, Iuzhno-Sakhalinsk, and in the area around Magadan.
The main enterprises of the coal industry are in Amur Oblast (Raichikhinsk), Khabarovsk Krai (Srednii Urgal), Primor’e Krai (Partizansk, Artem, and elsewhere), Sakhalin Oblast, the Yakut ASSR (Sangar, Dzhebariki-Khaia), and Magadan Oblast. The extraction of oil and natural gas is carried out on Sakhalin Island and the extraction of gas has begun in the Yakut ASSR. Cement is produced in Primor’e and in Khabarovsk Krai. There is a remolding metallurgical plant in Komsomol’sk-na-Amure.
The fishing industry has shifted almost entirely from coastal catches to active exploitation of the fish resources of the Bering and Okhotsk seas, the Sea of Japan, and the open waters of the Pacific. The catch of fish and the exploitation of other sea products increased from 110,000 tons (11 percent of the Russian catch) in 1913 to 2.6 million tons in 1970 (more than 30 percent of the USSR catch).
Agriculture principally serves internal needs. The area of utilized arable land in 1970 was 6,500,000 hectares (ha); sown areas (1970) totaled 2,700,000 ha. Grain covered 1,141,700 ha. The main sown crops are wheat, oats, barley, and rice. The main industrial crop is the soya bean (about 850,000 ha). Almost all the sown areas are in the south of the Far East Economic Region. Cattle breeding is developing. At the beginning of 1971 the region had 1,403,000 head of cattle, 919,000 pigs, 204,000 sheep and goats, and 1,356,000 reindeer. The raising of reindeer and fur-bearing animals, as well as beekeeping, has all-Union importance.
There are 5,600 km of railroads, 14,000 km of hard-surface roads, 27,100 km of riverboat routes and 700 km of pipelines. The transport system is unevenly developed. The main arteries are concentrated in the southern parts of the region.
Railroads hold first place in interregional and intraregional cargo movement in the south, and motor vehicles are first in the north and in local transport. Shipping plays a significant role in interregional transport, especially in supplying the north and also in export-import cargoes. Among railroads, the most important for the economy are, besides the Siberian main line, the Volochaevka-Komsomol’sk-na-Amure-Sovetskaia Gavan’ and Ugol’naia-Nakhodka lines. The main river transport routes are the Amur, Lena, Aldan, Viliui, Kolyma, Zeia, and lana. To improve the transport links, a bridge is being built across the Amur at Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, and a ferry crossing is being developed between Va-nino and Sakhalin Island. The principal motor vehicle routes are the Amur-Yakutsk and Kolyma roads and, among secondary roads, the Svobodnyi-Ekimchan and Varfolomeev-ka-Kabalerovo-Dal’negorsk roads.
Imports consist of oil, oil products, grains, ferrous metals, fertilizers, motor vehicles, machinery, machine tools, equipment, salt, sugar, meat, and canned goods. Exports are timber, fish and canned foods, oil products, and nonferrous and ferrous metals.
REFERENCESMargolin, A. B. Problemy narodnogo khoziaistva Dal’nego Vostoka. Moscow, 1963.
Dal’nii Vostok: Ekonomiko-geograficheskaia kharakteristika. Moscow, 1966.
Iuzhnaia chast’ Dal’nego Vostoka.Moscow, 1969.
Rossiiskaia Federatsia: Dal’nii Vostok.Moscow, 1971. (Part of the Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
A. B. MARGOLIN