a part of the Kazakh SSR. Formed on Mar. 16, 1944. Area, 78,100 sq km. Population, 596,000 (1972). Kokchetav Oblast has 15 administrative raions, four cities, and six urban-type settlements. The center is the city of Kokchetav. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Oct. 28, 1958.
Natural features. Kokchetav Oblast is located in the northern part of the republic, on the boundary of the Western Siberian Plain and the Kazakh melkosopochnik (area of low, rounded, isolated hills). A large portion of the surface is hilly. The southern and western parts are occupied by the northern edge of melkosopochnik (with elevations of 200–400 m) with individual monadnock mountain areas. The Kokchetav elevation in the south of Kokchetav Oblast (the highest point is Mount Siniukha, 947 m) is the most picturesque area. In the north and east the melkosopochnik becomes the Ishim Plain (elevation 70–200 m), with sinks and depressions filled with lakes.
The climate is sharply continental and arid, with a warm summer and a severe winter with little snow. The average July temperature is 19°-20°C; the average January temperature in the north is — 19°C and in the south, — 16°C. Strong, dry southwesterly winds are characteristic. Precipitation averages 280–300 mm per year in the north and about 230 mm in the southeast (up to 400 mm in the mountainous areas). The growing season is 165–175 days.
The river network is sparse. All the rivers flood heavily in the spring but become shallow in the summer, with some of them breaking up into isolated stretches. The Ishim River runs 120 km across the extreme west of the oblast. The right-hand tributaries of the Ishim originate in the melkosopochnik, as does the Chaglinka River, which flows into Lake Shaglyteniz. Ponds and reservoirs have been built along the rivers for retaining floodwater, which is used for the estuary irrigation of meadows and pastures. Underground water is widely used for water supply. Within the melkosopochnik are many lakes, both freshwater (Shchuch’e, Bol’shoe Chebach’e, Borovoe, Aidabul’, and Zerenda) and saltwater (Atansor, Mailysor, Mamai, Shalkar, and Kalmakkol’). There are also numerous lakes in the plains portion of the oblast—especially saltwater lakes (Seletyteniz, Teke, UPken-Karoi, Kishi-Karoi, Kalibek, and Alabota) and partly freshwater (Shaglyteniz).
Over the major portion of the oblast chernozem soils predominate, covered in the unplowed areas by feather-grass and mixed-grass vegetation. In the southeast there are dark chestnut soils under a feather-grass-sheep-fescue steppe. In the northwest, here and there in the sinks in the melkosopochnik, sections of the forest-steppe have survived with birch and aspen outliers in the midst of the mixed-grass and feather-grass steppe, as well as areas of meadow vegetation on the alluvial soils of the river floodplains. The plains steppes and the steppe areas of the forest-steppe have to a significant degree been tilled. The virgin lands are used for hayfields and common pasture. About 300,000 hectares (ha) in the oblast are forested. On the northern slopes of the melkosopochnik are pine-birch forests and on the granite massifs, pine forests. In the northeast and east there is worm-wood-saltwort-meadow vegetation in the landlocked basins and around the salt lakes.
In the steppes there are many hares, rodents (lemmings, voles, hamsters, susliks, and jerboas), predators (the wolf, fox, and Siberian polecat), and birds (the quail, bustard, little bustard, kite, and harriers). Among the birch outliers and in the pine forests there are partridges and black grouse and, on the lakes, swans, geese, ducks, divers, gulls, and snipes. The fish include pike, perch, crucian carp, and ide. The red squirrel and the muskrat have become acclimatized here.
Population. Kokchetav Oblast is inhabited by Kazakhs (23 percent according to the 1970 census), Russians (40 percent), Ukrainians, Germans, Belorussians, Tatars, Mordovians, and other nationalities. The average population density is 7.6 persons per sq km. The northern and central regions are the most densely populated. The urban population makes up 32 percent of the total (188,000 in 1972); the cities of the oblast are Kokchetav, Shchuchinsk, Krasnoarmeisk, and Stepniak.
Economy. In the economy there is a predominance of large-scale unirrigated grain farming combined with partial indoor maintenance of meat livestock with some dairy livestock and distant pasturing of meat-and-wool livestock. There has been development in a number of industries, such as the processing of local agricultural raw materials, including grain and livestock products (flour, meat, butter, cheese, dairy, and liquor); metal-working (machine and mechanical repair plants, an oxygen respiratory equipment plant, and enterprises serving the needs of the railroad); the production of building materials (plants producing glass, gravel, brick, and reinforced-concrete products); and the clothing industry. A large number of the plants and factories were built during the years of Soviet power. The largest individual enterprises are located in Kokchetav, Shchuchinsk, and Krasnoarmeisk. There is gold mining in the region of the city of Stepniak.
Of the land used for agriculture (6.5 million ha), arable land under cultivation predominates (3.8 million ha, or 57 percent of the area in 1971). During the years of the intensive development of the virgin lands (1954–58) the area of tillable land increased by a factor of 2.8. In 1971 there were 135 sovkhozes, including 95 raising grain, 17 raising sheep, and six producing meat. Hay-fields (in waterless valleys and flood areas) make up about 1 percent of the agricultural land (48,000 ha), and pastures cover 2.7 million ha (42 percent of the area). In the summer animals are pastured in the melkosopochnik and in winter, in the eastern part of the oblast.
In 1971 the area under cultivation was 3,186,000 ha, including 2,452,000 ha in cereal grains (77 percent), chiefly spring wheat (2,057,000 ha). Barley is also cultivated (297,000 ha), as well as millet (34,000 ha), buckwheat (10,000 ha), and some industrial crops (15,400 ha, about 0.5 percent of the area), almost exclusively in linseed. A large area is devoted to fodder crops (696,000 ha, or 22 percent of the cultivated land), corn for green fodder (230,000 ha), and perennial grasses; potatoes (20,000 ha) and vegetables (2,400 ha) are also raised. Of total livestock there is a very high proportion of cattle, which numbered 602,000 head in early 1972, including 209,000 cows; there were also 729,000 sheep and goats, 266,000 hogs, 76,000 horses, and 2,457,000 head of domestic poultry. Fishing is carried on in the lakes.
The length of the railroads is 896 km (1971). The main railroad lines are the Trans-Siberian Railroad Petropavlovsk-Karaganda-Chu line (via Kokchevtav) and the Middle Siberian Kustanai-Kokchetav-Kamen’-na-Obi line with a number of branches. The length of motor vehicle roads is 7,700 km, of which 4,000 km is paved; the most important of them run from Kokchetav to Shchuchinsk-Stepniak, Aidabul-Atbasar, and Volordarskoe-Ruzaevka.
O. R. NAZAREVSKII
Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1914–15 academic year there were 130 schools with 6,700 students and no institutions of higher learning on the territory of the present-day oblast. In the 1971–72 academic year the 697 general educational schools of all types had 155,100 students, the 18 vocational-technical schools had 8,200 students, the 11 specialized secondary schools had 12,600 students, and the Ch. Ch. Valikhanov Pedagogical Institute in Kokchetav had 2,700 students. Since 1972 a branch of the Karaganda Polytechnic Institute has been in operation. In 1971 the 330 preschool institutions took care of 24,800 children. On Jan. 1, 1972, there were 516 public libraries (4.2 million copies of books and magazines), 373 club institutions, two museums (the Oblast Museum of Local Lore and the republic V. V. Kuibyshev Memorial Museum in Kokchetav), and 619 motion picture installations.
The oblast newspapers that are published include Kokshetau pravdasy (Kokchetav pravda; since 1944) in Kazakh and Stepnoi maiak (since 1944). The oblast radio station broadcasts one program in Kazakh and one in Russian, as well as relay broadcasts from Moscow and Alma-Ata. The oblast receives television broadcasts from Moscow and Tselinograd.
On Jan. 1, 1972, Kokchetav Oblast had 107 hospital institutions with 7,300 beds (12.2 beds per 1,000 inhabitants); 900 physicians (one physician per 666 inhabitants) were working in the oblast. Close to the town of Shchuchinsk is the resort of Borovoe (now Shchuchinskii).
REFERENCESKazakhskaia SSR: Ekonomiko-geograficheskaia kharakteristika. Moscow, 1957.
Kazakhstan. Moscow, 1969 (Prirodyne usloviia i estestvennye resursy SSSR).
Narodnoe khoziaistvo Kazakhstana v 1968 g.: Stat. sbornik. Alma-Ata, 1970.
Kazakhstan. Moscow, 1970. (The Series Sovetskii Soiuz.)