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an oblast in the Ukrainian SSR. Formed on Mar. 30, 1944. Area, 28,500 sq km. Population, 1,125,000 (Jan. 1, 1977). Kherson Oblast is divided into 18 raions and has eight cities and 29 urban-type settlements. The administrative center is the city of Kherson. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Feb. 11, 1967.
Natural features. Kherson Oblast is located in the southern Ukraine on the Black Sea Lowland, in the basin of the lower course of the Dnieper River. On the south it is bounded by the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The terrain is relatively level; elevations range from approximately 100 m in the north to approximately 5 m in the south. The surface slopes slightly from north to south and is dissected by the valleys of the Dnieper and its tributaries. The left-bank region of the Dnieper is low-lying; the right bank is steep and is dissected by numerous gulleys and ravines (balki). The shoreline is highly indented, especially the shore of Sivash. Extending along the seacoast are sand islands (Dzharylgach and Dolgii), spits (Tendra, Kinburn, and Arabat Tongue), shallow bays (Tendra, Iagorlyk, Dzharylgach, and Korzhinskii), and the Dnieper Liman.
The oblast has a moderate continental climate. Mean January temperatures range from –3°C in the south to –5°C in the north; the corresponding range of mean July temperatures is 23.5°C to 21.5°C. The summer is dry and hot, with occasional dust storms. The growing season lasts from 215 to 230 days. Annual precipitation is 300–400 mm. The principal rivers are the Dnieper (lower course) and its right tributary the Ingulets. Most of the Kakhovka Reservoir, whose water flows through the North Crimean Canal to the Kakhovka irrigation system, lies within the oblast. Southern chernozems of low humus content, which predominate in the north, give way to dark chestnut soils in the south. Chestnut soils, as well as solonetz and similar soils occur along the seacoast.
Kherson Oblast has several preserves: the Askaniia-Nova Preserve, which is located on the steppe; the Black Sea Preserve, which provides a protected resting-place for migratory birds; and the Azov-Sivash Natural and Hunting Preserve, which is located on islands of the Sea of Azov and Sivash. Forests (primarily pine) and shrubs cover 3.5 percent of the oblast. Major projects are underway to reforest sandy regions and gullies. The vast swampy areas of the Dnieper River valley, known as plavni, are covered by woody plants.
Population. According to the 1970 census, Ukrainians constitute 78.3 percent of the population of Kherson Oblast; Russians 18.1 percent; Byelorussians, 1 percent; and Jews, 1 percent. The average population density as of Jan. 1, 1977, was 39.5 persons per sq km. The most densely settled regions are the southwestern raions. In 1977 approximately 60 percent of the population was urban. The most important cities are Kherson, Kakhovka, Ska-dovsk, Tsiurupinsk, and Novaia Kakhovka.
Economy. In the prerevolutionary period Kherson Oblast was a typical agricultural region. Industry was represented primarily by the processing of agricultural products, by small-scale shipbuilding, and by the production of simple agricultural implements. During socialist construction, the oblast has become a developed industrial and agricultural region, with sophisticated machine-building, petroleum-refining, and food-processing industries, as well as highly developed light industry. The Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant and the Kherson District Heat and Power Plant provide electricity for the oblast.
Kherson Oblast has numerous enterprises of the machine-building and metalworking industries. The shipyards of Kherson produce dry-cargo ships, tugboats, passenger steamers for river and lake transport, barges, and reinforced-concrete docks. Also in Kherson are the G. I. Petrovskii Combine Plant, a crank-shaft plant, and a plant that produces electrical machinery. Kakhovka has a plant that produces electrical-welding equipment and a motor-vehicle repair plant. Novaia Kakhovka manufactures electric motors, primarily for the coal industry. Kherson has a petroleum refinery and one of the Soviet Union’s largest factories for the production of glass articles. There is a pulp and paper mill in Tsiurupinsk and a plant that produces metal structural members in Novaia Kakhovka.
The textile industry, represented by the Kherson Cotton Textile Combine, is the leading light industry. The food-processing industry, which occupies an important place in the branch structure of industry, includes canning (Kherson, Genichesk, and Skadovsk), wine-making (Kherson, Novaia Kakhovka, and Berislav), flour and groats milling, and fish processing.
The production of building materials has undergone extensive development, and Kherson Oblast has plants for the manufacture of reinforced-concrete products and lime in Kherson, Novaia Kakhovka, Kakhovka, Belaia Krinitsa, and Arkhangel’skoe. The construction industry has also experienced substantial growth; enterprises include a prefabricated-housing combine and the Stroiindustriia Combine.
The principal agricultural product is grain, although some land is devoted to vegetable growing, the cultivation of melons and gourds, viticulture, fruit growing, and the raising of livestock for meat and dairy products. In 1976 the oblast had 146 kolkhozes, excluding fishing kolkhozes, and 142 sovkhozes. In 1975 plow-land constituted 61.9 percent of the total land area, hayfields and pastures made up 6.7 percent, and such perennial plantings as orchards, small-fruit plantings, and vineyards accounted for 1.6 percent.
In 1976, 1,640,600 hectares (ha) were under cultivation, with 788,700 ha planted to grains, (primarily winter wheat, but also barley, leguminous grain crops, maize, rice, and millet), 134,400 ha to industrial crops (primarily sunflowers), 72,800 ha to potatoes, other vegetables, and melons and gourds, and 644,700 ha to feed crops. In 1976 fruit and small-fruit plantings took up 24,300 ha, of which 19,100 ha produced fruit; corresponding figures for vineyards were 25,100 ha and 10,000 ha. The area, provided with water from the Ingulets, Krasnoznamenskaia, and Kakhovka (under construction in 1977) irrigation systems, is increasing: at the end of 1975 there were 250,000 ha of irrigated land.
Animal husbandry is oriented toward the raising of livestock for meat and dairy products, but swine and fine-fleeced sheep are also raised. In 1976 the livestock population included 836,500 head of cattle (264,300 cows), 810,800 swine, and 938,300 sheep. Sericulture is also of considerable economic importance. Industrial livestock-raising complexes are being established. The oblast has nine fishing kolkhozes, which engage in commercial fishing. Fish raising is also important.
In 1975 the oblast’s railroads had a route length of 536 km. The principal lines are Kherson-Dnepropetrovsk, Kherson-Dzhan-koi-Simferopol’, Kherson-Nikolaev, and Fedorovka-Kakhovka-Snigirevka. The ports of Kherson and Skadovsk handle ships from all over the country (see). Navigation on the Dnieper is well developed. In 1975 the oblast had approximately 6,000 km of roads, including 3,200 hard-surface roads. Important highways that pass through Kherson Oblast are Moscow-Simferopol’, Rostov-on-Don-Odessa-Reni, and Kak-hovka-Genichesk. Kherson Oblast is linked by air with Moscow, Kiev, Leningrad, and other major cities of the Soviet Union, as well as with the administrative centers of the oblast’s raions.
Education and cultural affairs. In the 1975–76 academic year, Kherson Oblast had 696 general-education schools of all types, with more than 198,000 students; 19 vocational-technical educational institutions, with 9,800 students; and 21 specialized secondary educational institutions, with 21,500 students. In that year, 11,200 students attended the oblast’s higher educational institutions; the N. K. Krupskaia Kherson State Pedagogical Institute, the A. D. Tsiurupa Kherson Agricultural Institute, the Kherson Branch of the Lomonosov Odessa Technological Institute of the Food-processing Industry, and the Kherson Branch of the Nikolaev Shipbuilding Institute. In 1976 more than 68,500 children were enrolled in 762 preschool institutions. In 1976, the oblast’s research institutes included the M. F. Ivanov Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Livestock Breeding of the Steppe Regions (Askaniia-Nova) and the Ukrainian Scientific Research Institute of Irrigation Farming of the Southern Division of the V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences (Kherson). In that year the oblast had 635 public libraries, with more than 7.7 million copies of books and periodicals, and two museums: the Kherson Museum of Local Lore and its Kakhovka branch. The oblast’s two theaters were the Kherson Ukrainian Musical Drama Theater and the Kherson Oblast Puppet Theater. In 1976 there were 654 clubs, 881 stationary motion-picture projection units, and 40 extracurricular institutions.
Press, radio, and television. Kherson Oblast has two oblast-level newspapers, both in Ukrainian: Naddniprians’ka pravda (Dnieper Region Pravda). published since 1917, and the Komsomol newspaper Lenins’kyi prapor (Leninist Banner), published since 1960. Two programs of All-Union Radio are broadcast for a total of 44 hours daily, the republic information program is transmitted for 19 hours daily, and an oblast program is on the air for 1.2 hours daily. Radio broadcasts are in Russian and Ukrainian. With regard to television, Program 1 carries broadcasts of Central Television for 13.4 hours daily, and Program 2 presents republic and oblast broadcasts for 10 hours and 0.6 hour, respectively.
Public health. As of Jan. 1, 1976, Kherson Oblast had 104 hospitals, with a total of 13,400 beds (12 beds per 1,000 persons) and 3,000 physicians (one physician per 374 persons). The peloid health resort of Gopri is located in the oblast. There are numerous houses of rest and boarding hotels; those along the Black Sea coast are located at the climatic health resort of Skadovsk and in the settlements of Lazurnoe and Zheleznyi Port; those on the coast of the Sea of Azov are located on Arabat Tongue. Kherson Oblast has two tourist hotels and a tourist center.
REFERENCESNarodne hospodarslvo Ukrains’koi RSR: Slat, zbirnyk, 1974. Kiev, 1975.
Istoriia mist v sil Ukrains’koi RSR: Khersons’ka oblast’. Kiev, 1972.
A. E. KASTANENKO