Kostroma Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kostroma Oblast


part of the RSFSR. Formed on Aug. 13, 1944. Area, 60,100 sq km. Population in 1972, 835,000. There are 24 administrative raions, 11 cities, and 18 urban-type settlements in Kostroma Oblast; the city of Kostroma is the center of the oblast. Kostroma Oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Aug. 16, 1967.

Natural features. Kostroma Oblast is located in the central part of the European USSR. The territory of the oblast is a hilly plain, with the Kostroma lowlands (elevation, 80–100 m) in the west, the Galich high-land (maximum elevation, 293 m) and the Volgo-Unzha lowlands (maximum elevation, 150 m) in the center, and the Northern Urals (maximum elevation, 227 m) in the northeast.

The oblast has a moderate continental climate. Average January temperatures range from — 11.7°C in the southwest to — 14.2°C in the northeast; average July temperatures are 17.9°C in the southwest and 17.6°C in the northeast. Total annual precipitations ranges from 550 to 600 mm. The growing season is 156–166 days. The Volga River flows through the southwestern part of the oblast and its tributaries, the Kostroma, Unzha, and Vetluga, flow from the north to south. The Galich and Chukhloma lakes are the largest in the oblast. Turf-podzol soils predominate—clay and loam soils in the west and northeast and sandy and sandy loam soils in the center and southeast. Peaty and swampy soils are widespread at low elevations, as are alluvial soils along the rivers and lakes. Kostroma Oblast is located in the forest zone, and forests cover 4.1 million hectares (67 percent of the total area of the oblast). Coniferous trees, such as pine and spruce, make up less than half of the area of the oblast’s forests; 53 percent are composed of birch, aspen, and alder trees, the latter predominating in the sparsely forested southwestern regions. Meadow grass vegetation of various types is widespread mainly in the river valleys. Large predators found in the oblast include the brown bear, the wolf, and the lynx. Ungulate animals include the elk, and game animals include the fox, squirrel, marten, and acclimatized muskrat.

Population. The bulk of the population is made up of Russians. The average density of population in 1972 was 13.9 persons per sq km; it was 25–50 persons per sq km in the southwest, 11–25 in the center, and 10 in the north. A total of 58 percent of the population lives in cities and urban-type settlements. The most important cities are Kostroma (population in 1972, 231,-000), Nerekhta, Bui, Galich, and cities that have arisen during the Soviet period, including Shar’ia, Manturovo, and Neia.

Economy. Kostroma Oblast is part of the old central industrial region of Russia. New industries, which had earlier been lacking or weakly developed, were developed in the years of the prewar five-year plans, including machine building, woodworking, and the shoe industry. At the same time, the linen industry continued to develop. The principal branches of industry are timber processing, woodworking, and linen. Machine building, the production of construction materials, and especially the energy industry (6.8 billion kilowatt-hours of electrical energy in 1971) developed rapidly in the postwar years. The volume of industrial production increased almost sevenfold from 1940 to 1971.

The linen industry, which produced 93.4 million m of fabric in 1971, has been developing for a long time in Kostroma Oblast, using local raw materials, and is now concentrated in Kostroma, with five enterprises, and, to some extent, in Nerekhta, where the Krasnaia TekstiPshchitsa Linen Combine is located. The V. I. Lenin Kostroma Flax Combine is the largest flax-spinning establishment in the USSR. Machine building and metalworking are represented by enterprises in Kostroma (the Rabochii Metallist Plant, producing excavators; the Tektsil’mash Plant; the Krasnaia Maevka Plant, producing needles; a ship-machinery plant; the Strommashina Needle-board Plant; and a plant producing automated lines), as well as in Galich (an excavator plant) and other cities. The production of construction materials includes reinforced-concrete structures and silicate brick (in Kostroma) and red brick. The construction of the first stage of the Kostroma State Regional Electric Power Plant was completed in 1970.

Timber processing is well developed on the forested left bank of the Volga (approximately 8.5 million cu m of timber were cut down in 1971), where the utilized reserves of timber are located, totaling approximately 375 million cu m, including 164 million cu m of harvestable timber. Commercial lumber, making up 66 percent of the total output of cut timber, is shipped outside the oblast, to the Balakhna Cellulose and Paper Combine in Gorky Oblast, among others, and is also processed at local enterprises. The most well-developed branches of the timber industry are the production of plywood (122,200 cu m in 1971) and the production of lumber (over 1.8 million cu m of sawn lumber). The main centers of timber processing are Shar’ia (sawn lumber, sleepers, kits for standardized houses, furniture, and compressed sheets of wood shavings), Kostroma (sawn lumber, plywood, and furniture), Manturovo (sawn lumber and plywood), Neia (sawn lumber), and Bui (sawn lumber and furniture). A biochemical plant is under construction in Manturovo. There are also branches of the food industry (especially butter and cheese processing and flour milling), the leather and shoe industry, and the knittedwear industry. Krasnoe-na-Volge is an ancient center of popular jewelry handicrafts.

As of late 1972, there were 200 kolkhozes (excluding fishing cooperatives) and 108 sovkhozes in Kostroma Oblast. Agricultural land equals 1,220,000 hectares (ha), or one-fifth of the total territory of Kostroma Oblast, and includes 727,000 ha that are tillable, 312,000 ha in hay, and 172,000 ha in pasture. The total land in agricultural crops was 615,000 ha, with over 41 percent allotted to grains (winter rye and spring wheat, barley, and oats), and 43 percent allotted to forage crops. Flax of the tall variety is grown everywhere, (44,000 ha in flax in 1972), and 37,000 ha were in potatoes. The environs of Kostroma and the floodlands of Galich Lake are important vegetable-growing regions.

Livestock raising is for both dairy and meat purposes. There were 356,000 head of cattle, 47 percent of them cows, in 1972. The high-yield milk-producing Kostroma breed of cattle has been developed near Kostroma, at the former Karavaevo State Breeding Farm (now the training and experimental farm of the Kostroma Agricultural Institute). There were 88,000 hogs and 212,000 sheep and goats in the oblast in 1972.

As of 1971, there were 592 km of railroads in Kostroma Oblast. The main line—the Northern Railroad—crosses the oblast from east to west. Other lines passing through the oblast include the Yaroslavl-Nerekhta-Ivanovo and the Yaroslavl-Kostroma-Galich lines. There is shipping along the Volga and in the lower reaches of its large tributaries. The Kostroma, Unzha, and Vetluga rivers are the principal timber-floating routes. The more than 9,000 km of highways play a very important part in transportation within the oblast. Air transport is also in operation.


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. A total of 65,700 pupils were enrolled in the schools (almost all primary) of what is now the territory of Kostroma Oblast in the 1914–15 academic year. There were no higher educational institutions. In the 1971–72 academic year, 157,200 students were enrolled in 1,042 schools of general education of all types. There were, in addition, approximately 6,800 students in 19 vocational and technical schools, 18,500 students in 21 specialized secondary schools, and 13,000 students in three higher educational institutions (of engineering and pedagogy in Kostroma and the agricultural institute in the settlement of Karavaevo). A total of 38,300 children were enrolled in 555 preschool establishments in 1972.

As of Jan. 1, 1972, there were 540 public libraries in the oblast, with 7 million books and journals. The oblast’s 16 museums include the Kostroma Historical-Architectural Museum-Preserve and its branches; the Kostroma Oblast Museum of Fine Arts; museums of local lore in the cities of Bui, Galich, Kologriv, Soligalich, and Chukhloma; and the musuem-estate of A. N. Ostrovskii in the village of Shchelykovo. The A. N. Ostrovskii Oblast Drama Theater and an oblast puppet theater are located in Kostroma. There are also 919 clubs, 1,032 motion-picture establishments, and 30 extracurricular education institutions.

The regional newspaper, Severnaia pravda, has been published since 1907, and the Komsomol newspaper, Molodoi leninets, since 1956. The oblast radio transmits one program, and radio and television programs are rebroadcast from Moscow.

As of Jan. 1, 1972, there were 114 hospitals in the oblast, with 10,400 beds (12.4 beds per 1,000 inhabitants). A total of 1,700 doctors (one doctor per 482 inhabitants) practice in the oblast.


Vladimirskii, N. N. Kostromskaia Oblast’: Istoriko-ekonomicheskii ocherk. Kostroma, 1959.
Matveev, G. P., G. A. Privalovskaia, and B. S. Khorev. Volgo-Viatskii raion: Ekonomiko-geograficheskaia kharakteristika. Moscow, 1961.
Sredniaia polosa Evropeiskoi chasti SSSR. Moscow, 1967.
Rossiiskaia Federatsiia: Tsentral’naia Rossiia. Moscow, 1970. (In the series Sovetskii Soiuz.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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