Komi-Permiak National Okrug

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Komi-Permiak National Okrug


part of Perm’ Oblast of the RSFSR. Formed on Feb. 26, 1925. Area, 32,900 sq km. Population, 200,000 (1972). Divided into six raions, the Komi-Permiak National Okrug has one city and three urban-type settlements. The administrative center is Kudymkar.

Natural features. The Komi-Permiak National Okrug is located in Cisuralia in the Kama Basin. The surface is made up of hilly plains. In the north lie the Northern Uvals (highest point, 270 m), and in the west, the Upper Kama Highland (maximum elevation, 280 m). A large part of the okrug is occupied by lowland areas.

The climate is continental, with a harsh, snowy winter and a comparatively short, warm summer. The average January temperature ranges from — 15.7°C (Kudymkar) to — 16.7°C (Gainy). Average July temperatures for the same cities are 17.6°C and 17.3°C, respectively. The sum of temperatures during the period with temperatures above 10°C ranges from 1,400 degrees in the north to 1,800 degrees in the south. The annual precipitation is 500–550 mm, and the snow cover is 60–75 cm (up to 100 cm in the north). The principal river, the Kama, flows from west to east in a broad valley for 120 km. Its main right tributaries are the Kosa and In’va, and its main left tributaries are the Vesliana, Lup’ia, and Leman. Most of the lakes are in floodplain areas (for example, Leman, Nakhty, and Staraia Kama).

The soils are mostly podzolic. In the vicinity of Kudymkar they are soddy podzolic (clayey and loamy), and in places they are podzolic and peaty boggy. The predominant vegetation is the taiga forest in which spruce prevails (pine in the north). Forests cover more than 80 percent of the territory of the okrug. Timber reserves total about 300 million cu m. Marshes occupy about 5 percent of the area of the Komi-Permiak National Okrug.

The fauna is typical of forest regions. However, the alteration of the forest landscape by man has resulted in the penetration of the area, to some degree, by animals from more open habitats (the steppe polecat, hare, and gray field mouse, for example). The chief animals of commercial significance are the squirrel, white and gray hares, ermine, fox, and marten. The hazel grouse, wood grouse, black grouse, and various waterfowl and marsh fowl are also commercially important. Efforts are being made to increase the number of beavers, reindeer, and elk.

Population. Most of the inhabitants of the okrug are Komi-Permiaks (in 1970, 58 percent), who are concentrated almost entirely within the okrug. Russians (36 percent) and other peoples also live in the Komi-Permiak National Okrug. The average population density is 6.1 inhabitants per sq km (more than 20 per sq km in the south). Of the total population, 20 percent is urban.

Historical survey. The Komi-Permiak people first came to the Kama region at the end of the first millennium A.D. They are first mentioned in Russian sources dating from the end of the 12th century. At that time they had reached the stage of the breakdown of the primitive communal system and the inception of feudal relations. In the 15th century the Kama region Komi had a territorial unit headed by a prince. The Komi-Permiaks lived in huts on the ground. Their chief occupations were farming, hunting, fishing, and cattle breeding.

Beginning in the 14th century the influence of the Muscovite state on the Komi-Permiaks increased, as is evidenced particularly by their conversion to Christianity. The Komi-Permiak lands were annexed to the Muscovite state in the second half of the 15th century, and an influx of Russian settlers began. In the second half of the 16th century the feudal votchina (patrimonial estate) of the Stroganov salt industrialists was established in the Kama region, leading to the enserfment of the Russian and Komi-Permiak population. The Komi-Permiaks who lived on the Stroganovs’ lands paid quitrent in money and grain. In addition, they fulfilled obligations in kind, chopping and delivering wood to the saltworks, procuring charcoal for metallurgical plants, and accompanying vessels loaded with salt, iron, and pig iron.

In 1861 the caravan revolt broke out. It was suppressed by a command of soldiers, and a military court sentenced its leaders (A. V. Ketov, U. I. Gusel’nikov, and D. I. Systerov) to be beaten with rods and exiled to hard labor. In the late 19th century property stratification grew sharper in the Komi-Permiak countryside, where up to 55 percent of the inhabitants were poor peasants. Extreme indigence and lack of land drove them out of their native territory. (Most of them went to Siberia to the vicinity of present-day Novosibirsk.)

The October Revolution of 1917 opened up for the Komi-Permiak people a noncapitalist path of development and ensured a socialist reorganization of their economy, culture, and everyday life. In December 1917 in Kudymkar a congress of representatives of the region’s 13 volosts (small rural districts) elected from among the revolutionary soldiers the In’va Regional Land Committee, which nationalized the property of the Stroganovs and created an armed detachment to defend Soviet power. The Kudymkar Volost Soviet was elected in February 1918, and a cell of the RCP (Bolshevik) was founded. In 1919 the entire territory of the Komi-Permiaks was captured by the White Guards. Soviet power was restored in March 1920.

In 1923 the territory populated by the Komi-Permiaks became part of the Urals Oblast, and on Feb. 26, 1925, the Komi-Permiak National Okrug was formed as part of this oblast. When the Urals Oblast was divided in 1934, the Komi-Permiak National Okrug became part of Sverdlovsk Oblast. Since 1938 it has belonged to Perm’ Oblast. Under Soviet power the Komi-Permiak National Okrug has become one of the country’s major timber-producing areas. The agriculture of the okrug emphasizes the production of meat and dairy goods. A new branch of agriculture—beekeeping—is developing. Culture and public health have made great advances under Soviet power.

Economy. The contemporary economy of the Komi-Permiak National Okrug combines a developed agriculture and an industry for processing agricultural raw materials with a large-scale timber industry. Industrial output in 1971 was 74 times higher than in 1925.

Agriculture is oriented toward the production of livestock and grain. In 1972 there were 26 kolkhozes and 24 sovkhozes in the okrug. There is less than 400,000 hectares (ha) of farmland, of which about 60 percent is plowed. Between 1925 and 1972 the sown area doubled, totaling about 200,000 ha, located primarily in the south. The principal crops are grains (rye, oats, and spring wheat) and fodder grasses. Potatoes and vegetables are grown everywhere, and flax is also cultivated. Animal husbandry emphasizes the production of both meat and dairy products. Cattle, pigs, and sheep are raised. At the end of 1971 there were 105,000 cattle, 46,000 pigs, and 47,000 sheep and goats.

The timber industry has mechanized enterprises, the largest of which are in the north, where the tracts of forests are concentrated. (More than 50 percent of the okrug’s total timber resources are found in the north.) The volume of lumbering has increased several times during the Soviet period, and the hauling of commercial timber has increased more than 16-fold (300,000 cu m in 1925). Lumber is floated along the Kama to lumber-processing enterprises in Perm’ Oblast and to the timberless areas of the southern European USSR. Lumber is also processed in the okrug (sawmilling, furniture production, cooper’s products, and wood chemicals). A meat combine, creameries, and flax mills depend on local raw materials. The production of building materials has been organized in the okrug. Matalworking and repair plants and garment and knitwear production lines depend on raw materials brought in from other parts of the country. Kudymkar produces more than half of the okrug’s total industrial output, excluding its output of timber.

The construction of the Perm’-Kudymkar electrical transmission line linked the okrug with the Urals power system. (In addition, there is a network of small power stations.) Transportation is primarily by road and river. The motor vehicle route linking Mendeleevo (on the Perm’-Kirov railroad line) to Kudymkar was later extended to the settlement of Gainy on the Kama. Another route runs from Kudymkar to Pozhva. Navigation is maintained chiefly along the Kama. There are local air routes and a regular air link with Perm’.

The southern region (the In’va Basin) is the most densely populated part of the okrug, whose administrative center, Kudymkar, is located there. Agriculture and the processing of agricultural raw materials prevail, and timber is processed. Located in the basin of the upper and middle reaches of the Kosa, the central region, whose administrative center is Iurla, has considerable areas of cultivated land, as well as large tracts of forest that are being cut. The northern region occupies the territory of the Severnye Uvals and the sandy depressions of the Kama region. Its center is Gainy. The timber industry prevails, but agriculture is of some importance in small areas of the northern region.


Education and cultural affairs. Until the October Revolution of 1917 there were 98 church schools with 4,800 pupils in the territory now occupied by the Komi-Permiak National Okrug. There were no secondary general-education or specialized educational institutions. In the academic year 1971–72, 48,400 pupils were attending 292 general-education schools of all types, and 3,600 pupils were enrolled in four specialized secondary educational institutions. In 1972, 14,600 children were attending 350 preschool institutions.

As of Jan. 1, 1973, there were 128 public libraries in the Komi-Permiak National Okrug, with holdings of 1,175,000 books and magazines. A museum of regional studies and a drama theater are located in Kudymkar. The okrug also has 280 club establishments, 332 motion-picture facilities, a Pioneers’ Palace, a young naturalists’ station, and three children’s music schools.

The okrug newspaper, Po leninskomu puti, has been published since 1926. Local radio broadcasts are carried on one channel in the Russian and Komi languages, and programs from Moscow and Perm’ are rebroadcast.

Literature. The literature of the Komi and of the Komi-Permiak peoples developed together. In the 1920’s the first Komi-Permiak poems were published by M. P. Likhachev (1901–45), V. I. Deriabin (1894–1968), A. N. Zubov (1899–1945) and F. G. Tarakanov (born 1900) in the collections The Ringing Sphere (1923) and Komi Writers (1926), the newspaper Pakhar’ (The Plowman), and the magazine Tropinka (The Trail).

Likhachev—the founder of Komi-Permiak literature—depicted in his poems, narrative poems, short stories, and the novel My Son (1936) the struggle of the Komi-Permiaks during the October Revolution and the Civil War of 1918–20 and their participation in the construction of socialism. The theme of women’s fate is prominent in Zubov’s creative work, including the collection of poems Something (1929) and the poem Along a New Path (1933). S. I. Karavaev (born 1908) described the period of the first and second five-year plans in his poems and short stories. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the frontline soldier-poets Karavaev, N. V. Popov (born 1902), I. D. Gagarin (1917–42) and M. D. Vavilin (born 1921) wrote patriotic poems. In the postwar years the poets Popov, Karavaev, Vavilin and I. A. Minin (born 1926) created many outstanding works.

Characteristic of contemporary Komi-Permiak literature is the intensive development of prose genres. Among the best examples of Komi-Permiak prose are novellas by Minin (for instance, The Moon Floated Halfway, 1968) and V. V. Klimov (born 1927), including Gavka’s Cudgel (1968). V. Ia. Batalov (born 1926) is the author of the novella A Pine Grows Beyond the Village (1965) and of the novel At Dawn (1970). Works by Komi-Permiak writers have been translated into Russian.


In Russian translation:
Solntse nad Parmoi: Stikhi komi-permiatskikh poetov. Perm’, 1956.
Zori nad In’ voi: Izbr. proizvedeniia komi-permiatskikh pisatelei. Perm’, 1959.
Chetyre vetra: Poeziia narodov Prikam’ia. (A collection.) Perm’, 1970.


Pakhorukova, V. “Ozyrmo Komi-permiak”iaslon proza.” In Voivyv kodzuv, 1971, no. 1.


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