Khabarovsk Krai

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Khabarovsk Krai


part of the RSFSR. Established Oct. 20, 1938. Area, 824,600 sq km. Population, 1.547 million (Jan. 1, 1977). Khabarovsk Krai is situated in the central part of the southern half of the Soviet Far East, along the Pacific Ocean. It borders on China in the southwest and on the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan in the east. It is separated from the island of Sakhalin by the Tatar and Nevel’skoi straits. Khabarovsk Krai, which includes the Jewish Autonomous Oblast, is divided into 21 administrative raions and has nine cities and 43 urban-type settlements. The administrative center is the city of Khabarovsk. The krai has been awarded the Order of Lenin (Dec. 31, 1965).

Natural features. For the most part, Khabarovsk Krai’s coastline, which extends for approximately 2,500 km, is slightly indented, with the exception of the southwestern section of the Sea of Okhotsk, which has the Uda Bay and the gulfs of Tugur, Akademiia (with the bays of Ul’ban and Nikolai), Aleksandra, and Sakhalin. The largest islands are the Shantar Islands, consisting of 15 large (Bol’shoi Shantar, Feklistov, Belichii) and small islands.

TERRAIN. More than 70 percent of the krai is mountainous. In the south, the mountain systems extend in a northeasterly direction. The southwestern part of the krai is occupied by the Tura-na, Malyi Khingan, Bureia, Iam-Alin’, Badzhal’skii, and Kukan ranges, with elevations ranging from 750–1,000 m to 2,000–2,500 m. The southeastern part is occupied by a number of mountain chains of the Sikhote-Alin’ Mountains, with average elevations of 700–1,400 m; the highest point here is Mount Tardoki-Iani, with an elevation of 2,077 m. The central part is occupied by the Dzhagdy, Selemdzha, Maiskii, and Stanovoi ranges, which extend latitudinally. The north is dominated by the Suntar-Khaiata Range, with the highest peak in the krai (2,933 m). Stretching along the Sea of Okhotsk are the Pribrezhnyi, Ul’ia, and Dzhugdzhur ranges, with elevations to 2,000 m; behind these ranges lies the Iudomo-Maia Highland, with elevations generally ranging between 800 and 1,200 m.

The largest lowlands are the Lower and Middle Amur lowlands and the Evoron-Tugur Lowland in the south and the Okhotsk Lowland in the north.

CLIMATE. Khabarovsk Krai has a monsoonal climate. Winters are severe, with little snowfall, and summers are warm and humid. The average January temperature ranges from – 22°C in the south to – 30 to – 40°C in the north and from – 15°C to – 25°C along the coast. The average July temperature varies between 12°–16°C in the coastal regions to 20°–21oC in the southern interior regions. Annual precipitation is 400–600 mm in the north, 600–800 mm in the south, and 1,000 mm on the eastern slopes of the Sikhote-Alin’ Mountains. Most precipitation (70 to 75 percent) occurs in the summer. The growing season lasts 170 to 180 days in the southern part of the krai. A cold current flows from north to south along the coast, causing extensive fogs in the summer.

RIVERS. Most of the rivers belong to the basin of the Amur River, which flows for 1,500 km within the krai. They include the Bureia (upper and middle reaches), Bidzhan, Bira, Tunguska, Goriun, Amgun’, Ussuri, Aniui, and Gur. Other rivers include the Tumnin and Koppi, which empty into the Sea of Japan, and the Tugur, Uda, Ul’ia, Urak, Okhota, and Inia, which empty into the Sea of Okhotsk. The rivers in the northwestern part of the krai—the Maia and Uchur rivers—are tributaries of the Aldan and belong to the Lena River basin. The rivers of the Amur Region are fed mostly by monsoon rains, while the rivers that empty into the Sea of Okhotsk are fed primarily by snow and by spring floods. The krai’s potential hydroelectric resources are estimated at 22.8 billion kilowatt-hours per year. The rivers are important for transportation and fishing. The krai has many lakes, most of which are small and shallow. Lakes within the Amur River basin include the Bolon’, Chukchagir, Khummi, Bol’shoi Kizi, Udyl’, Orel’, Chlia, and Evoron.

SOIL AND FLORA. The soils in Khabarovsk Krai include soddy podzolic, meadow bog, and bog soils in the low-lying plains and chestnut forest soils and chestnut taiga soils in the southern regions. Mountain taiga soils and mountain tundra soils predominate in the north.

Khabarovsk Krai lies in the forest zone. The forests have a highly diverse composition, including species of the Far East (Amur), Okhotsk-Kamchatka, and East Siberian floristic regions. Coniferous forests predominate. Light coniferous forests of dahurian larch (Larix gmelini) and dark coniferous forests of Yeddo spruce (Picea jezoensis) and silver fir (Abies alba) grow in the north, northwest, and east—along the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, in the lower Amur region, in the Sikhote-Alin’ Mountains, and in the basins of the Amgun’, Bureia, and Maia rivers. In the southern part of the krai and in the Middle Amur Lowland, there are mixed forests of cedar and broadleaf trees, including Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis), Manchurian ash (Fraxinus manshurica), maple, elm, Mongolian oak (Quercus mongólica), Manchurian walnut (Juglans manshurica), Amur cork tree (Phellodendron amurense), and several species of birch and linden. Various species of lianas grow in the forests, including the Amur grape (Vitis amurensis), Chinese magnolia vine (Schizandra chinensis), and silvervine (Actinidia). The krai abounds in meadows of sedge and rough bluejoint reed grass, both floodplain meadows and dry meadows. The upper parts of the mountains are occupied by tundra, with thickets of dwarf stone pine.

Forests cover 43 million hectares of the krai. The total timber reserves are estimated at 5.2 billion cu m.

FAUNA. The fauna of Khabarovsk Krai combines elements of the fauna of both the northern and southern regions. Ungulates, such as musk deer, elk, and reindeer, inhabit the taiga, as do carnivores, such as the brown bear, lynx, wolf, sable, fox, marten, Siberian weasel, wolverine, ermine, weasel, and otter. Taiga rodents include the squirrel and chipmunk, and taiga birds, the capercaillie, the hazel hen, various waxwings, and the nutcracker. The mixed forests are the habitats of the Manchurian red deer, roe deer, European wild hog, and Manchurian hare (Caprolagus brachyurus). Birds here include the grouse, pheasant, Indian cuckoo, Siberian blue and white flycatcher (Muscicapa cyano-melana), and blue rock thrush (Monticola solitarius); there are also numerous waterfowl.

The rivers and lakes have more than 100 species of fish, including the Amur pike, grasscarp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), Amur ide (Leuciscus waleckii), crucian carp (Carassius carassius), grayling, sheatfish, taimen (Hucho taimen), lenok (Brachymystax lenok). European bream, common carp, burbot, bighead carp (Aristichthys nobilis), and zheltoshchek (Elopichthys bambusa). The Amur River abounds in sturgeon and kaluga (Huso dauricus), while the coastal waters abound in the Pacific herring, flounder, true smelt, halibut, cod, walleye pollock, navaga (Eleginus navaga), and Atlantic mackerel; migrating fish include the chum and pink salmon. The most common marine mammals are Steller’s sea lion, the common sea lion, and the beluga whale. The warmer waters of the Sea of Japan are the habitat of squids, trepangs, mollusks, and algae.

There are two wildlife refuges in Khabarovsk Krai—the Khekhtsirand Komsomol’skii preserves.

Population. The population of Khabarovsk Krai comprises (1970 census) Russians (85.4 percent), Ukrainians (5.7 percent), the nationalities of the North, Siberia, and the Far East (Nanai, Evenk, Ulchi, Nivkh, Orochi, Udegei, Negidal, and others—1.5 percent), Koreans (1.4 percent), Jews (1.4 percent), Tatars, Byelorussians, Mordovians, and Chuvash. The average population density is 1.8 persons per sq km (as of Jan. 1, 1976). The most densely populated part of the krai is the south, particularly along the Trans-Siberian Railroad (20–25 persons per sq km). The urban population accounts for 80 percent of the total population (as of Jan. 1, 1977).

The largest cities are Khabarovsk, Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, Sovetskaia Gavan’, Birobidzhan, Amursk, and Nikolaevsk-na-Amure. Most of the cities and urban-type settlements have sprung up during the years of Soviet power in connection with the development of industry and transportation.

Economy, INDUSTRY. Khabarovsk Krai is one of the most important industrial regions of the Far East. In the inter-regional division of labor, the krai’s economy specializes in machine building, metalworking, ferrous metallurgy, forestry, woodworking, pulp and paper production, the mining of several nonferrous ores, fishing and fish processing, and oil refining.

Khabarovsk Krai produces oceangoing and river vessels, metal-cutting lathes, transformers, compressors, agricultural machinery, cranes, foundry equipment, and consumer goods, such as washing machines, household appliances, and metal kitchen ware. The chief centers of machine building are Khabarovsk (the Dal’dizel’ plant, a plant for the production of power-engineering machinery, and the 50th Anniversary of the USSR Plant, which produces all-purpose cables), Komsomol’sk-na-Amure (the Amurlitmash plant, the Metallist plant, and plants for the production of cranes, hoisting and conveying equipment, and electrical equipment), Birobidzhan (the Dal’sel’mash plant and a plant for the production of power transformers), Sovetskaia Gavan’, and Nikolaevsk-na-Amure. The ferrous metallurgy industry is represented by the Amurstal’ plant in Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, founded in 1942, which uses scrap iron to produce steel and rolled metal. Nonferrous metallurgy is also well developed.

Forestry, woodworking, and the pulp and paper industry are the most highly developed branches of industry in Khabarovsk Krai. In 1975, 12.3 million cu m of timber were felled and stacked. Logging is concentrated in the southern half of the krai, predominantly in massifs near railroad lines and along the Amur River and its tributaries. Most of the timber is shipped outside the krai, mainly abroad. The woodworking industry is represented by a group of enterprises, including the Tungus, Khor, and Amur woodworking combines, the Vanino timber combine, and the Dormidontovka and Bikin sawmills, which produce lumber, wood fiberboard, parquet, prefabricated houses, and boxes. Plywood is produced by the lumber combine in Mukhen and the plywood plant in the settlement of Litovko. The Khor Hydrolyzing Plant operates on the by-products of the wood industry. There are plants for the production of construction components and furniture in Khabarovsk, Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, and Birobidzhan. The pulp and paper industry is represented by a combine in the city of Amursk, the largest paper combine in the Far East. The industry is working on the development of the most advanced methods of thoroughly processing wood and the complete utilization of all raw materials and industrial by-products.

Coal and petroleum products are the leading sources of energy in the krai. Urgal’skoe is one of several coal deposits presently being worked. However, most of the coal is brought in from Raichikhinsk, which is in Amur Oblast. Most of the electric energy in the krai is provided by the steam power plants in Khabarovsk, Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, Nikolaevsk-na-Amure, and Amursk. The krai’s centralized power network also supplies electricity to the economically developed regions, which are part of the developing power system of the southern part of the Far East.

The building-materials industry is developed in Khabarovsk (reinforced-concrete articles, bricks, ruberoid, fiberglass, and slag cotton), Komsomol’sk-na-Amure (reinforced concrete, bricks), Teploozersk (cement), and Londoko (lime).

The krai’s light industry produces footwear, garments, knitwear, socks, stockings, and leather notions and clothing accessories; the centers of production are Khabarovsk. Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, and Birobidzhan (garments) and Bikin and Birobidzhan (knitwear). The food industry is primarily represented by fishing and fish processing, which are important throughout the krai. Other branches of the food industry, centered in Khabarovsk, Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, and Birobidzhan, include flour milling and the production of confectionaries, beer, liqueurs and spirits, meat, dairy products, and butter and fats.

AGRICULTURE. In 1976 the krai numbered 91 sovkhozes and 24 kolkhozes. Land resources total (Nov. 1, 1975) 24.525 million hectares (ha), including 628,000 ha of agricultural lands (of which 272,000 ha are cultivated), 205,000 ha of hayfields, and 145,000 ha of pastureland. In 1976, of the total land cultivated (272,000 ha), 93,000 ha were sown with grain, 30,000 ha with potatoes and other vegetables, 83,000 ha with fodder crops, and 3,800 ha with fruits and berries. In 1975 irrigated lands totaled 3,200 ha, and reclaimed lands, 144,700 ha.

Grain crops include wheat (32,000 ha in 1976), oats, and barley; industrial crops include soybeans (65,200 ha). Grains are grown mainly in the south; the gross harvest of grain crops in 1976 was 151,000 tons. Potatoes occupy 21,500 ha, and vegetables, 8,400; the gross potato harvest in 1976 was 247,000 tons, and the gross vegetable harvest, 116,000 tons. Vegetables are grown primarily near the cities of Khabarovsk, Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, and Birobidzhan, while potatoes are grown chiefly in Oktiabr’skii, Leninskii, and Imeni Lazo raions. Fruit growing is concentrated in the southern part of the krai, near cities.

Animals in the krai are raised for milk and meat; there is intensive poultry farming in the suburban areas. There are (Jan. 1, 1977) 191,000 head of cattle, including 74,000 cows, in the krai and 182,000 hogs; the poultry population numbers (Jan. 1, 1976) 3,004 million. A number of stock-raising enterprises have been built, including the large poultry plants and complexes producing milk and pork products near Khabarovsk and Komsomol’sk-na-Amure. Reindeer, numbering 51,500 (Jan. 1, 1976), are raised in the north of the krai.

There are 13 beekeeping sovkhozes in the krai, located in the southern and central regions. Much of the honey and wax is shipped out of the krai; some is exported. Other important industries are fur farming and hunting. Fur farms raise mink and silver fox. Hunting is the traditional occupation of the native peoples of the North living in the krai; they deal in sable, squirrel, and otter, among other animals.

TRANSPORTATION. Rail transport is important in the krai. The main railroad line is the Trans-Siberian Railroad (the Obluch’e-Khabarovsk-Zven’evoi section). Branch lines include the Izvest-kovaia-Chegdomyn, Volochaevka-Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, and Komsomol’sk-na-Amure-Sovetskaia Gavan’ lines. The Baikal-Amur Railroad is under construction (1977) in the krai. In 1975 construction was completed on a railroad bridge across the Amur River at Komsomol’sk-na-Amure.

River transport, along the Amur and its tributaries the Ussuri, Tunguska, and Amgun’, is also important.

Ocean transport, linking Khabarovsk Krai with the coastal regions of the Far East and the foreign countries of the Pacific, particularly Japan, is well developed. The chief commercial ocean port is Vanino, which operates year-round with the aid of icebreakers; there is rail ferry service between Vanino and Kholmsk, on the island of Sakhalin. Other ports include Niko-laevsk-na-Amure, Mago, Mys Lazareva, De-Kastri, and Okhotsk.

A highway network serves primarily the southern areas of the krai; the main highways are those between Khabarovsk and Vladivostok and Khabarovsk and Birobidzhan. A highway between Khabarovsk and Komsomol’sk-na-Amure is (1977) under construction.

Air transportation is well developed. Khabarovsk is a major junction of international, national, and local air routes. There is an oil pipeline from Okha (Sakhalin Island) to Komsomol’sk-na-Amure.

INTERNAL DIFFERENCES. The southern areas (the Ussuri Region, Jewish Autonomous Oblast) are the most populated parts of Khabarovsk Krai and the most developed industrially and agriculturally. Machine building, metalworking, woodworking, and the production of building materials are concentrated here, as well as the food industry, light industry, and most of the farming and stock raising. The largest industrial and transportation junction is Khabarovsk; Birobidzhan is also a major industrial center.

The central part of the krai encompasses the region affected by the Baikal-Amur Railroad (Verkhnebureinskii, Solnechnyi, Komsomol’sk, Vanino, and Sovetskaia Gavan’ raions), in which the economy is based primarily on the exploitation of timber resources, mineral resources (nonferrous metals, coal), and the rich fish resources of the ocean and rivers. Fur farming and trapping are also highly developed. The Komsomol’sk Industrial and Transportation Junction is being established for ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy, machine building, and timber processing. The industrial centers of the central region are Sovetskaia Gavan’ (fishing industry and ship repair) and Chegdomyn (coal mining).

The northern parts of the krai, encompassing the lower Amur and the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, are sparsely populated and poorly developed economically. Their economy is based on fishing, logging, reindeer raising, and hunting. The industrial centers are Nikolaevsk-na-Amure and Okhotsk.


Education, scientific institutions, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1914–15 academic year, the area now occupied by Khabarovsk Krai had 240 general-education schools, with 17,300 pupils; there were no specialized secondary schools or higher educational institutions. In the 1976–1977 academic year, there were 235,600 pupils enrolled in 639 general-education schools of all types. There were 21,600 students in 49 vocational schools, 41,500 students in 34 specialized secondary schools, and 45,800 students in nine higher educational institutions. The last include the schools of rail transport engineering, medicine, pedagogy, polytechnical training, culture, the national economy, and physical culture in Khabarovsk and the pedagogical and polytechnical schools in Komsomol’sk-na-Amure.

Scientific institutions in Khabarovsk Krai include the Far East Scientific Research Institute of the Forestry Industry, the Far East Scientific Research Institute of Mineral Raw Materials, the Far East Scientific Research Institute of Agriculture, the Far East Scientific Research Institute of Forestry, and the Khabarovsk Scientific Research Integrated Institute (all in Khabarovsk).

In 1975, Khabarovsk Krai had 1,100 preschool facilities caring for 112,400 children. It had 631 public libraries, with 9.3 million books and journals, and eight museums, including a museum of art, a museum of local lore, and the Komsomol Glory Museum in Khabarovsk, a museum of fine arts and city history in Komsomol’sk-na-Amure, a museum of local lore in Birobidzhan, a museum of city history in Nikolaevsk, and two branches of the Khabarovsk Museum of Local Lore, one in Sovetskaia Gavan’ and one in the village of Volochaevka-1. It also had four theaters, including a theater of drama, a theater of musical comedy, and a young people’s theater in Khabarovsk and a drama theater in Komsomol’sk-na-Amure. In addition, there were 619 clubs, 796 motion-picture projection units, and 53 extracurricular facilities, including a palace of pioneers, houses of Pioneers, sports schools, and young technicians’ stations.

Krai newspapers include Tikhookeanskaia zvezda (Pacific Ocean Star; since 1920) and Molodoi dal’nevostochnik (Young Far Easterner; since 1925). Two programs from the All-Union Radio, totaling 44 hours per day, are supplemented by three programs originating in the krai, totaling 15 hours per day. Television broadcasts relayed by the Orbita system total 12.9 hours a day, and krai television broadcasts total 3.5 hours a day.

As of Jan. 1, 1976, Khabarovsk Krai had 190 hospitals, with 20,200 beds (13.4 beds per thousand inhabitants), and 5,600 physicians (one physician per 271 inhabitants). Balneological resorts include Kul’dur and Annenskie Mineral’nye Vody. There are eight sanatoriums and five houses of rest in the krai.


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Gladyshev, A. N., A. V. Kulikov, and B. F. Shapalin. Problemy razvitiia i razmeshcheniia proizvoditel’nykh sil Dal’nego Vostoka. Moscow, 1974.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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