Krasnodar Krai

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Krasnodar Krai


part of the RSFSR. Formed on Sept. 13, 1937. Area, 83,600 sq km. Population, 4,608,000 (1972). Krasnodar Krai is divided into 39 raions and has 27 cities and 26 urban-type settlements. The Adygei Autonomous Oblast is part of Krasnodar Krai. The administrative center is the city of Krasnodar. Krasnodar Krai has been awarded two Orders of Lenin (Oct. 31, 1957, and Nov. 20, 1970).

Natural features. Located in the western part of the Caucasus, Krasnodar Krai is bordered by the Black Sea on the southwest and by the Sea of Azov on the northwest. The Black Sea shoreline is relatively even, especially in the south, and is broken only in the north by Gelendzhik and Tsemess bays and by the Abrau Peninsula. The shoreline is more indented at the Kerch’ Strait, where the Taman’ Gulf cuts into the Taman’ Peninsula, and on the Sea of Azov, where there are a number of lagoons, including the Eisk and the Beisug.

TERRAIN. A third of the territory of Krasnodar Krai is occupied by mountains and plains. The mountainous part, which belongs to the western Greater Caucasus, is made up of a relatively short stretch of the high western Caucasus, with its southern and northern slopes and foothills, and the medium-elevation mountains of the Black Sea Caucasus (the northwestern extremity of the Greater Caucasus). High mountains extend from the upper course of the Mzymta River to Mount Fisht (2,867 m). Located in this area is the Glavnyi Range (Mount Akaragvarta, 3,360 m, and Mount Pseashkho, 3,256 m), which is characterized by alpine terrain. Farther north are the massifs of the Bokovoi (Peredovoi) Range, which have lower elevations, and the advance cuesta ridges of a number of ranges, including the Skalistyi. A system of medium-elevation folded ranges of the Black Sea Caucasus stretches northwest from Mount Fisht.

Karst is developed in the limestone Fisht-Oshten Massif, on the Lagonaki Plateau, in the limestones and gypsums of the Skalistyi Range, and in the southeast in the limestone of the Khosta and Mzymta basins. The Nazarovskaia karst pit, one of the deepest points in the USSR (about 500 m), is located on the upper course of the Khosta River.

The plains of Krasnodar Krai are part of western Ciscaucasia. They include the Kuban’-Azov region lowland (maximum elevation, 120 m), the Kuban’ region sloping plain, the Kuban’ delta, and the Taman’ Peninsula, with its low, folded ridges (up to 164m) and mud volcanoes. The edge of the Stavropol’ Plateau extends into the eastern part of Krasnodar Krai.

Characteristic of the plains is a moderate continental steppe climate. In the mountains the climate is cooler and more humid. The nothern Black Sea coast has a Mediterranean climate (dry summers followed by a humid, cool season). The bora is characteristic of this region. In the southeast the Mediterranean climate gives way to a humid subtropical climate. The average January temperature ranges from −5°C in western Ciscaucasia to 4°C along the northern Black Sea coast and 5°C along the southern coast. The average July temperature is 22°−24°C. In the mountains, at an elevation of 2,000 m, the average temperature in January is −7 ° or −8°C, and in August, 12°−13°C. The annual precipitation is 400–600 mm on the plains, and in the mountains, 3,242 mm or more (in the Achishkho Range near Krasnaia Poliana). On the plains of western Ciscaucasia the growing season ranges from 220 to 240 days. There are glaciers in the high mountains of the western Caucasus.

RIVERS. The Kuban’, the chief river in Krasnodar Krai, has many left tributaries, including the Urup, Laba, and Belaia. The largest of the Black Sea coast rivers is the Mzymta. The rivers are used to produce hydroelectric power and to irrigate rice fields (the lower reaches of the Kuban’). To regulate the flow of the Kuban’, the Tshchik, Shapsug, and Krasnodar reservoirs have been built. Lakes Kardyvach and Abrau and many small cirque lakes are located in the high mountains of the western Caucasus. There are lagoon-lakes on the Taman’ Peninsula and along the coast of the Sea of Azov.

SOILS AND FLORA. On the plains of western Ciscaucasia chernozems (especially Ciscaucasian carbonaceous soils) prevail; in the mountains, brown mountain-forest and soddy carbonaceous soils; and in the high mountains, mountain-meadow soils. The lowland steppes that once prevailed have given way to cultivated fields. The mountains are covered with broad-leaved forests (oak and beech, and near Tuapse-Sochi, mixed Kolkhidian forests), as well as with dark coniferous forests (Caucasian fir and spruce), which give way to subalpine and alpine meadows at higher altitudes. The wood and bush flora of the northern Black Sea coast resembles that of the Crimea and the eastern Mediterranean region.

FAUNA. The plains of western Ciscaucasia are inhabited by the fox, weasel, polecat, brown hare, hamster, and various mouselike rodents. In the mountain forests the brown bear, fox, lynx, European wildcat, pine and stone marten, wild boar, red deer, roe deer, dormouse, black woodpecker, crossbill, and bullfinch are encountered. The west Caucasian wild goat, chamoix, and snow vole and the Caucasian grouse and snow partridge inhabit the high mountains. The Caucasian Preserve is located on the upper reaches of the Belaia, Malaia Laba, and Sochi rivers.

NATURAL REGIONS. The steppes of western Ciscaucasia have been turned into farmlands. In the Northern Caucasus, mountain forests prevail on the ranges of the Black Sea Caucasus and on the advance cuesta ridges. Characteristic of the western Caucasus are high elevations, alpine landscapes, and mountain meadows. The northern Black Sea region, with its east Mediterranean landscape, has many vineyards. In the Kolkhidian mountain region there are humid, subtropical forest landscapes and a coastal resort zone.


Population. About 90 percent of the inhabitants of Krasnodar Krai are Russian. Ukrainians, Armenians, and Adygeians are among the other people who live in the krai. The average population density is 55.1 per sq km (1972). The low-lying part of the middle Kuban’ Basin is the most densely populated region. In the mountain regions the density drops to nine to ten persons per sq km. The urban population constituted 48 percent of the total population in 1972. Under Soviet power 17 new cities have been founded in Krasnodar Krai, including Kropotkin, Labinsk, Slaviansk-na-Kubani, and Tikhoretsk. The largest cities are Krasnodar, Sochi, Armavir, Novorossiisk, and Maikop. Characteristic of the low-lying regions are large rural communities called stanitsas.

Economy. In Krasnodar Krai industry is well developed, agriculture is diversified, and there are a number of internationally known resorts.

INDUSTRY. Gross industrial output was 7.4 times greater in 1972 than in 1940. Between 1960 and 1972 it doubled. The most rapidly developing industries are machine building and metal-working. The timber, woodworking, pulp and paper, electric power, chemicals, petrochemicals, and building materials industries have grown more important. The food-processing industry produces almost 50 percent of the industrial output; light industry, 16 percent; and machine building and metalworking, 12 percent.

Electric power is produced by a number of steam power plants, including the Krasnodar, Novorossiisk, and Armavir plants, which use natural gas, and by hydroelectric power plants such as the Belorechensk plant on the Belaia River and the Krasnaia Poliana plant on the Mzymta River.

The highly developed machine-building industry produces machine tools, instruments, tools, electrical engineering goods, pump and compressor equipment, and agricultural machines. The industry’s major centers are Krasnodar, Novorossiisk, Armavir, Tikhoretsk, Tuapse, Maikop, Eisk, and Khadyzhensk. The fuel industry extracts and processes petroleum and gas (a deposit on the plains of the Kuban’ region). Most of the gas is sent by pipeline to other parts of the country. The Afips gas refinery processes gas-condensate raw materials. There are oil refineries in Tuapse and Krasnodar. Large-scale cement production is concentrated near Novorossiisk. Abundant salt deposits have been discovered near Shedok, and mercury is mined near Tuapse.

Krasnodar Krai has a diversified food-processing industry (wine-making, vegetable oil and fat, dairy products, sugar, fruit and vegetables, and meat) which depends on locally produced agricultural raw materials. The wine-making industry produces chiefly high-quality light table wines, champagne, and cognac. Abrau-Diurso is the oldest center of wine-making. The vegetable-oil industry is concentrated in the southeastern part of Krasnodar Krai, where sunflowers are cultivated. More than 50 vegetable-oil extraction plants and workshops process more than 700,000 tons of sunflowers and castor-oil plants a year. Among the vegetable-oil extraction plants are the Armavir and Krasnodar vegetable-oil and fat combines (the latter includes a large margarine plant) and the Kropotkin, Labinsk, Novomikhailovsk, and Seversk combines. There are more than 20 meat and poultry processing combines, located chiefly in the major cities and the centers of consumption.

The dairy industry includes more than 100 enterprises (dairies, creameries, cheese combines, butter and cheese plants, canned milk combines, and plants for the primary processing of milk). The sugar industry is represented by 16 plants. The fruit and vegetable processing industry is important to the economy of Krasnodar Krai (the Abinsk, Slaviansk-na-Kubani, Dinsk, Kropotkin, Armavir, Labinsk, Sochi, Crimea, and Kurganinsk plants). The fish-processing enterprises on the coast of the Sea of Azov (for example, those at Eisk, Akhtar, Achuev, and Temriuk) pack mainly sturgeon, carp, pike perch, pike, roach, and bullheads, whereas those located on the Black Sea coast (the Novorossiisk, Tuapse, and Adler plants) process horse mackerel, mullet, flounder, and anchovies.

The most highly developed branches of light industry are the wool, cotton, garment, leather and fur, and footwear industries. The Krasnodar Worsted Combine is one of the largest of its kind in the RSFSR.

Forests cover 2,085,200 hectares (ha) in Krasnodar Krai (1968). Of the total forested area, oak covers 53.4 percent, beech 20.5 percent, hornbeam 9 percent, fir 4 percent, chestnut 2.4 percent, and ash, poplar, and false acacia about 8 percent. In 1971, Krasnodar Krai exported 3.1 million solid cu m of timber, including 2.2 million cu m of workable wood, and produced 1.8 million cu m of sawed lumber, 47,200 cu m of plywood, and 96,200 tons of cardboard. The major centers of the wood pro-ducts industry, which produces furniture, structural components, and wood, paper, and cardboard crating materials, include Maikop, Krasnodar, Novorossiisk, and Armavir.

AGRICULTURE. Krasnodar Krai is one of the most important agricultural regions in the USSR. Its chief agricultural products are wheat, rice, corn (for grain), sunflowers, sugar beets, tobacco, castor-oil plants, southern hemp for seed, grapes, meat, and milk. The cultivation of fruits, tea, and essential-oil crops is very important.

By early 1973 there were 348 kolkhozes and 222 sovkhozes in Krasnodar Krai. Agricultural lands cover 5.1 million ha, or 61 percent of the territory. Of these lands, 86 percent are plowlands, 8.8 percent pastures, and 1.2 percent hayfields (1971). The kolkhozes and state farms have more than 209,000 ha of irrigated agricultural lands and 45,800 ha of drained lands (1971). Farming is most productive in the central regions.

Between 1913 and 1972 the sown area increased from 3.8 million ha to 4.3 million ha, and the kinds of crops planted changed greatly. For example, in 1972, 1.7 times less wheat was planted than in 1913, but 66 times more sugar beets were planted, 28 times more fodder crops, 2.4 times more vegetables, and 1.4 times more sunflowers. Rice farming has been widely developed. In 1972 cereal crops covered 2,155,000 ha (including 1.2 million ha of wheat and 103,000 ha of rice); sugar beets, 212,000 ha; sunflowers, 370,000 ha; vegetables, 69,700 ha; and fodder crops, 1,311,000 ha. The gross harvest of cereal crops in 1970 was 7.9 million tons (2.9 million tons in 1940), including 5.6 million tons of wheat (1.5 million tons in 1940).

In animal husbandry, dairy-and-meat livestock raising and pig farming prevail. As of early 1973 there were 2,016,000 head of cattle (including 690,000 cows), 3,116,000 pigs, and 1,205,000 sheep and goats. By comparison, in 1941 there were 966,000 head of cattle (including 438,000 cows), 794,000 pigs, and 973,-000 sheep and goats. Poultry raising is also important (20,-178,000 fowl in early 1973).

TRANSPORTATION. On the plains all types of transportation are well developed. There were more than 2,000 km of railroads in 1971. The main lines (Rostov-on-Don-Baku and Volgograd-Novorossiisk) cross Krasnodar Krai, intersecting at the Tikhoretskaia junction. An important role is played by the Armavir-Tuapse-Adler freight line, as well as by lines connecting Krasnodar with the cities of Primorsko-Akhtarsk and Eisk on the coast of the Sea of Azov and with the Kavkaz station on the coast of the Kerch’ Strait. A new freight railroad—the Krasnodar-Goriachii Kliuch-Tuapse line—was under construction in 1973. A total of 738 km of railroads are electrified, and the rest use diesel power. There were 10,900 km of paved highways in 1971. Sea and air transportation are well developed. The Kuban’ is navigable from Krasnodar to its mouth, and its branch, the Protoka, is navigable from Slaviansk-na-Kubani to Achuev.

ECONOMIC REGIONS. The Kuban’-Azov region occupies more than 50 percent of the territory of Krasnodar Krai and is its most densely populated part. Located in this region are three-fourths of the Krai’s sown area, orchards, and livestock and poultry, as well as almost all of its vegetable-oil extraction, tobacco-curing, sugar-refining, and flour-and-groat industries. Machine building is strongly represented. The Kuban’-Azov region produces two-thirds of the gross industrial output of Krasnodar Krai. Its largest industrial centers are Krasnodar, Armavir, Kropotkin, Tikhoretsk, Eisk, and Maikop.

The Azov-Black Sea region, which includes the Kuban’ delta and the hills and low mountains of the western part of the Greater Caucasus, is known for intensive farming, the foodprocessing industry, including canning, and the cement and oil and gas industries. Almost three-fourths of the vineyards of Krasnodar Krai are located in this region, as well as in Abrau-Diurso, the chief wine-making center of the krai. The main area for industrial horticulture, the Azov-Black Sea region is also important for the fishing industry. Novorossiisk is the region’s industrial center and port city. Anapa and Gelendzhik are resort cities.

The piedmont region occupies the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus (about 20 percent of the territory of Krasnodar Krai). The leading branches of the economy are logging, the wood products industry, and oil and gas, which are extracted near Apsheronsk and Khadyzhensk. Vegetables and potatoes are cultivated throughout the region. Yellow tobacco is grown in the western part of the piedmont region, and essential-oil crops and southern hemp, in the eastern part. There are many cold and thermal medicinal springs (for example, at Goriachii Kliuch, Apsheronsk, and Neftegorsk).

The Black Sea region, which occupies the southern slopes of the western Caucasus and the coastal zone between the Dzhubga and Psou Rivers, is a major resort region of the Soviet Union. Market gardening and subtropical agriculture, including the cultivation of tea, as well as orchards and tobacco farming, are important to the region’s economy.


Education and cultural affairs. In the academic year 1914—15 there were 1,873 general education schools (including 1,795 elementary schools), with an enrollment of 172,700 students, but no higher educational institutions on the territory of present-day Krasnodar Krai. By comparison, in 1971–72 there were 2,303 general education schools of all kinds with 815,500 students, 67 vocational training schools with 26,000 students, and 55 specialized secondary schools with 65,900 students (including 22,000 correspondence students). There were eight higher educational institutions in Krasnodar Krai in the academic year 1971–72: Kuban’ University and polytechnical, agricultural, medical, culture, and physical culture and sports institutes (all in Krasnodar), a pedagogical institute in Armavir, and the Adygei Pedagogical Institute in Maikop. The total enrollment of these institutions was 47,600, including 21,000 correspondence stu-dents. In 1971 there were 180,100 children in preschool institutions.

As of Jan. 1, 1972, there were 1,699 public libraries with 21 million copies of books and magazines. The krai has 13 museums: museums of local lore and history in Krasnodar, Sochi, Anapa, Armavir, Novorossiisk, Maikop, Gelendzhik, Eisk, Temriuk, Tuapse, and the settlement of Dzhankhot; the A. V. Lunacharskii Art Museum in Krasnodar; and the N. A. Ostrovskii Literary Memorial Museum in Sochi. Krasnodar Krai’s five theaters are the M. Gorky Drama Theater and the operetta and puppet theaters in Krasnodar, the A. S. Pushkin Drama Theater in Maikop, and the A. V. Lunarcharskii Drama Theater in Armavir. Philharmonic societies are located in Krasnodar, Sochi, and Maikop, and circuses, in Sochi and Krasnodar. There are 1,910 club institutions and 3,399 motion-picture projectors in Krasnodar Krai.

Among the local newspaper are Sovetskaia Kuban* (since 1917), Chernomorskaia zdravnitsa (since 1917), and Komsomo-lets Kubani (since 1921). The krai radio and television stations broadcast one radio and two television programs and relay broadcasts from Moscow. The television center is located in the city of Krasnodar.

Public health. As of Jan. 1, 1972, Krasnodar Krai had 398 hospital insitutions with 43,800 beds, or 9.5 beds per 1,000 inhabitants. At that time 13,300 physicians (one per 347 inhabitants) were working in the krai. The Black Sea coast is among the most important resort regions of the USSR. The major resorts are Sochi, Anapa, and Gelendzhik; the balneological health resorts Eisk (on the Sea of Azov) and Goriachii Kliuch (in the foothills of the western Caucasus); and Krasnaia Poliana mountain climatological station.

Tourism. All-Union and local tourist trails pass along the Black Sea coast and through the adjoining mountainous regions of the western Caucasus, including the Caucasus Preserve.

The area around Novorossiisk, the site of fierce battles against the fascist German troops during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), is also a well-known tourist attraction.

Krasnodar Krai has a network of tourist bases, hostels, boarding houses, and campsites.


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