Krasnoiarsk Krai

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Krasnoiarsk Krai


part of the RSFSR; formed on Dec. 7, 1934. Located chiefly in Eastern Siberia in the Enisei Basin. Area, 2,401,600 sq km, including the Severnaia Zemlia and NordenshePda (Nordenskiold) archipelagoes, the Sergei Kirov Is-lands, Sibiriakov Island, and several smaller islands. Population, 2,922,000 (1972). Krasnoiarsk Krai includes the Khakass Autonomous Oblast and the Taimyr and Evenki national okrugs. It is divided into 54 administrative raions and has 20 cities and 61 urban-type settlements. The administrative center is the city of Krasnoiarsk. Krasnoiarsk Krai has been awarded two Orders of Lenin (Oct. 23, 1956, and Dec. 2, 1970).

Natural features. Extending almost, 3,000 km from the shores of the Arctic Ocean to the mountain regions of Southern Siberia, Krasnoiarsk Krai is distinguished for the enormous variety and wealth of its natural features and resources.

TERRAIN. The coast of the Taimyr Peninsula in the extreme north of Krasnoiarsk Krai is dissected by numerous bays and gulfs of the Kara and Laptev Seas. The central part of the peninsula is occupied by the Byrranga Mountains, which descend steeply in the south toward the North Siberian Lowland (known as the Enisei-Khatanga Depression in Krasnoiarsk Krai), which is very swampy and has many lakes.

The valley of the Enisei, which flows from south to north through almost the entire krai, divides into a western, lowland area that forms the edge of the West Siberian Lowland and an eastern, elevated part which is occupied by the vast Central Siberian Plateau (average elevation, 500–700 m; highest elevations—in the Enisei Range 1,104 m, and in the Putorana Plateau, 1,701 m). The southern part of Krasnoiarsk Krai is located in the mountains of Southern Siberia, whose most important orographic units include the Vostochnyi Saian (maximum elevation within Krasnoiarsk Krai, 2,922 m) and the Zapadnyi Saian (maximum elevation, 2,930 m). Other major orographic features of this region are the Abakan Range, the eastern slopes of the Kuznetskii Alatau, and several intermontane basins, the most important of which is the Minusinsk.

CLIMATE. The climate is sharply continental and is especially Severo in the north. The winters are long. The average January temperature ranges between—30° and—36°C in the north and on the Central Siberian Plateau, and from -18° to -22°C around the cities of Eniseisk and Krasnoiarsk and in the south. In the central regions the summer is moderately warm, and in the south it is warm. The average July temperature ranges from 13°C in the north (below 10° on the coasts) to between 16° and 18°C in the center and 20°C in the south. The frostless period varies from 73–76 days (Khatanga and Tura) to 103–120 days (Eniseisk and Krasnoiarsk). Most of the precipitation occurs in the summer. The annual precipitation varies from 200–300 mm in the north to 400–600 mm on the Central Siberian Plateau, and 800–1,200 mm on the northern slopes of the mountains of Southern Siberia. In the intermontane basins in the south the precipitation ranges from 250 to 300 mm a year. Permafrost is common in much of Krasnoiarsk Krai, particularly north of the Nizhniaia Tunguska.

RIVERS AND LAKES. The rivers belong to the Arctic Basin. The most important of them is the Enisei. Its main right tributaries are the Tuba, Mana, Kan, Angara, Bol’shoi Pit, Podkamennaia Tunguska, Nizhniaia Tunguska, Kureika, and Khantaika, and its left tributaries are the Abakan, Sym, Elogui, Turukhan, and BoPshaia Kheta. In addition, Krasnoiarsk Krai is drained by the Chulym and Kef rivers (upper and middle reaches), which belong to the Ob’ Basin. Several major rivers—the Khatanga, Piasina, and Taimyra—flow through the northern region of the krai. The rivers are fed primarily by melted snows in the spring and summer (in the mountains) and by summer and autumn rains. Almost all of them carry large amounts of water. Many are suitable for floating logs or for navigation and are important sources of hydroelectric power (48 hectowatts, or one-eighth of the All-Union resources). The Krasnoiarsk Hydroelectric Power Plant has been built on the Enisei, and the Saiano-Shushenskoe Hydroelectric Power Plant is under construction (1975).

The largest lakes are Taimyr and Piasino, which are located on the North Siberian Lowland. There are also many lakes on the Central Siberian Plateau, including Lama, Glubokoe, Keta, and Khantaiskoe.

FLORA AND SOILS. Boggy peaty soils prevail in the arctic desert and tundra zones on the Taimyr Peninsula. Moss-lichen and especially reindeer-moss tundra is used as pasture for rein-deer. In the narrow forest-tundra band that stretches south of the Taimyr Peninsula, brush tundra and enclaves of larch forests are found on weak podzol soils, and brush tundra and spruce forests, on peaty gley soils.

The taiga zone occupies most of the West Siberian Plain and the Central Siberian Plateau. In some places in southern Krasnoiarsk Krai it adjoins the mountain-taiga forests of the Zapadnyi and Vostochnyi Saian. In terms of vegetation the taiga zone is divided into northern, central, and southern subzones, each of which is in turn subdivided into a moderately humid western province and a more arid eastern province. In the northern subzone, or northern taiga, sparse, boggy forests of Dahurian larch prevail, with admixtures of spruce and birch on frozen gley podzols.

The central taiga, which is located south of the arctic circle, is covered with shrub and grassy-shrub larch forests on podzols and frozen taiga soils. In the southern taiga, which is located south of the Podkamennaia Tunguska in the western part of the krai, primarily along the left bank of the Enisei and in the Enisei Range, dark coniferous forests of spruce, fir, Swiss stone pine, and Siberian larch prevail. In the larger eastern part of the krai, larch-pine and pine forests of the Cisangara area prevail on soddy-podzol frozen soils.

Between the taiga and the enclave of forest-steppes running to the south of it lies a band of mixed and small deciduous forests —the southern subtaiga, which combines taiga and forest-steppe landscapes. The forest-steppe enclaves (Achinsk, Krasnoiarsk, and Kansk), which give way in the south to the steppes of the Minusinsk Basin, are characterized by lowland and rolling landscapes and by fertile gray forest, chernozem, and chestnut soils. The Zapadnyi and Vostochnyi Saian are marked by sharply pronounced horizontal zonality. The mountain forest-steppe on the edges of the Minusinsk Basin, the park larch forests, and the mountain taiga (fir, spruce, and larch, and stone pine at the upper limit of the forests) give way to meadow and mountaintundra flora at the top of the highest ranges.

FAUNA. Typical tundra animals include the lemming, arctic fox, blue hare, reindeer, alpine ptarmigan, snowy owl, swan, goose, and duck. Marine fauna include the white whale, pinnipeds such as the seal and walrus, and a number of fishes, including the arctic cod and arctic flounder. Among the freshwater fishes are the arctic cisco, the muksun, and the loach. The most typical taiga fauna include the elk, musk deer, squirrel, chipmunk, Eurasian brown bear, wolverine, ermine, sable, fox, capercaillie, hazel hen, nutcracker, crossbill, woodpeckers, and numerous waterfowl. There are many fish species in the rivers, including the Siberian sturgeon, sterlet, common whitefish, greenlings, broad whitefish, nelma, least cisco, and taimen. The American mink, the Barguzin sable, and the muskrat have been acclimatized.

Population. Most of the inhabitants are Russians (86.4 percent of the total population in 1970). Ukrainians, Khakass (in the south), and Tatars also live in Krasnoiarsk Krai, as well as Evenki, Dolgans, Nentsy, Yakuts, Nganasans, and Kets (in the north). The average population density is 1.2 inhabitants per sq km. Along the Enisei Valley south of the Cisangara area the density rises to 10 per sq km, and in the forest-steppe and steppe regions it reaches 20–25 per sq km. More than 60 percent of the population (1,908,000 people) live in cities and settlements. Under Soviet power old cities, such as Krasnoiarsk, Kansk, Achinsk, Minusinsk, and Eniseisk, have grown, and new cities have been built—for example, Abakan, Abaza, Chernogorsk, Ilanskii, Uzhur, Uiar, Igarka, NoriPsk, Zaozernyi, Dudinka, Nazarovo, Divnogorsk, and Sorsk.

Economy. Before the Great October Socialist Revolution the territory of Krasnoiarsk Krai was poorly developed economically and sparsely populated. Many regions had been places of political exile for centuries. Under Soviet power Krasnoiarsk Krai has become Eastern Siberia’s economically most developed region, ranking first in industrial and agricultural output. Deposits of many minerals have been discovered and prospected. The area is rich in coal (the Kansk-Achinsk, Minusinsk, Tunguska, and Taimyr basins), iron ore (the Teia, Abakan, Irbinskoe, Krasnokamensk, Angara-Pit, and Central Angara basins), nonferrous and rare metals (copper, nickel, cobalt, and platinoids near NoriPsk and lead and antimony in the Cisangara area), gold (Enisei Range and the Khakass Autonomous Oblast), aluminum raw materials (in the Kuznetskii Alatau and the Transangara area), common salt, and phosphorites. Natural gas deposits have been discovered in northern Krasnoiarsk Krai.

INDUSTRY. In the All-Union division of labor Krasnoiarsk Krai is developing into a region known for its metallurgical, chemicals, timber, and power industries. The 1972 gross industrial output was 28 times that of 1940. The leading branches of industry are nonferrous metallurgy, machine building and metalworking, mining, chemicals, timber, and wood products. The building-materials industry, light industry, and the foodprocessing industry are also very important.

The power base includes the Krasnoiarsk Hydroelectric Power Plant and a number of steam power plants, which use coal from the Kansk-Achinsk Basin. (The largest steam power plant is the Nazarovo State District Power Plant.) Also part of the krai’s power base is the Ust’-Khantaika Hydroelectric Power Plant, which is located on the Khantaika River at Snezhnegorsk. It supplies power to the NoriPsk Mining and Metallurgical Combine and to regions of the Far North. A gas pipeline has been built from Messoiakha to NoriPsk.

Coal is mined chiefly in the Minusinsk Basin at Chernogorsk. The iron ore mined in southern Krasnoiarsk Krai is shipped to the West Siberian Metallurgical Plant and to the Kuznetsk Combine in the city of Novokuznetsk. Deposits of nonferrous and rare metals in the north made possible the large-scale development of nonferrous metallurgy. At the NoriPsk Mining and Metallurgical Combine copper, nickel, cobalt, and other metals are processed. The Sorsk Molybdenum Combine in the Khakass Autonomous Oblast opened in the 1950’s. The aluminum industry, which is concentrated in the city of Krasnoiarsk, relies on cheap electric power and on the nepheline ores mined in Kiia-Shaltyr’ in the Kuznetskii Alatau. At the Achinsk Combine the nepheline ores are processed into alumina, which is shipped to the Krasnoiarsk Aluminum Plant. Gold is mined in the Enisei Range and in the Khakass Autonomous Oblast, and graphite is extracted on the Nizhniaia Tunguska. In addition, various building materials are mined in Krasnoiarsk Krai.

Machine building, metalworking, and steel smelting are concentrated chiefly in southern Krasnoiarsk Krai. Located in the city of Krasnoiarsk are a number of major enterprises, including Sibtiazhmash (a heavy machinery plant), plants that manufacture combines and machinery for logging, and SibelektrostaP, an electric steel plant that produces high-grade steel. In Kansk there is a plant that manufactures paper-making equipment. Shipbuilding and ship repair are developing in Krasnoiarsk and other cities. Most of the enterprises of the chemicals industry, such as plants producing synthetic rubber, tires, chemical fibers, and industrial rubber products, are located in Krasnoiarsk. An oil refinery is being built in Achinsk (1973).

Krasnoiarsk Krai has a well-developed timber industry. State forests cover about 150 million hectares (ha). The major timber-yielding trees are the larch, pine, spruce, and fir. The chief regions for the procurement and primary processing of timber are the Cisangara area, the mountains of Southern Siberia, and the left bank of the middle Enisei, from which timber is shipped to wood products, sawmilling, and housing construction combines in Krasnoiarsk, Kansk, Lesosibirsk, Ust’-Abakan, and Igarka (a sawmilling and transshipment center that primarily prepares products for export). Between 1960 and 1971 lumber shipments rose from 17 million cu m to 24 million cu m, and the output of sawed goods increased from 4,750,000 cu m to 6,247,000 cu m. The complex processing of timber provides raw materials for the pulp and paper, hydrolytic, and microbiological industries (nutrient yeast), as well as for the production of wood-fiber panels, pressed sawdust, and furniture. The huge Eniseisk-Lesosibirsk Logging and Timber Complex, which is now under construction, will include wood products and pulp and paper enterprises, as well as a plant for the production of hydrolyzed alcohol and rosin.

The building materials industry, which produces prestressed reinforced-concrete structural components, cement, asbestos-cement pipes, slate, bricks, and lime, is concentrated mainly in the southern cities, including Krasnoiarsk and Achinsk. Between 1960 and 1971 the output of cement increased from 906,-000 tons to 2,622,000 tons, and that of reinforced-concrete structural components, from 412,000 cu m to 1,493,000 cu m. A marble-processing plant is under construction in Oznachennoe (1973).

The most highly developed branches of light industry are the textile industry (the Kansk Cotton Combine, the Krasnoiarsk Silk Combine, and the Chernogorsk Worsted Combine), and the leather and footwear industry, of which the largest enterprises are the Krasnoiarsk Combine and the Saiany Shoe Factory in Abakan. Concentrated in the southern cities, the food-processing industry, which handles primarily local agricultural raw materials, includes creameries, condensed and dry milk plants, meat-packing combines, milling combines, factories that produce flour and macaroni products, liquor and vodka plants, and breweries. The northern part of Krasnoiarsk Krai is important for fish processing and fish canning (Ust’-Eniseiskii port and Igarka).

AGRICULTURE. Krasnoiarsk Krai, an important agricultural region of Eastern Siberia, produces grain, meat, and milk. In 1972 there were 236 sovkhozes and 198 kolkhozes. Of the 242.9 million ha of land held by them, in 1971 there were 7,156,000 ha of farmlands, including 3,960,000 ha of plowlands, 2,123,000 ha of pastures, and 1,068,000 ha of hayfields. Most of the plow-lands are in the steppe and forest-steppe regions of the Minusinsk Basin and in the enclaves of forest-steppes. In 1972 the total sown area was 3,533,900 ha, of which cereal crops covered 2,246,200 ha, fodder crops 1,167,900 ha, potatoes 87,400 ha, and vegetables 12,700 ha. (The sown area was only 2,013,000 ha in 1940.) Since 1954 more than 1 million ha of virgin and fallow lands have been brought under cultivation, primarily in the south. The chief cereal crop is spring wheat, (1,513,100 ha in 1972), which is grown primarily south of the Angara Valley. In addition, rye, oats, barley, millet, and buckwheat are sown. Among the vegetable and industrial crops of the central regions are potatoes, spinning flax, wild tobacco (Nicotiana rusticand), and Camelina plants. Crown flax, mustard, and sunflowers are grown in the south. In the Khakass Autonomous Oblast irrigated farming is developing. Root and berry crops are grown chiefly in the Minusinsk Basin and in the forest-steppe enclaves. In the Far North there is farming in only a few small areas. Some vegetables are grown on open ground.

In animal husbandry the emphasis is on meat-and-dairy cattle, although in the south fine-wooled sheep and horses are also raised. Reindeer are raised in the northern taiga, the forest tundra, and the tundra. In 1972 there were 1,377,500 head of cattle, 2,322,200 sheep and goats, 816,700 pigs, 105,800 horses, 154,400 reindeer, and 7,312,000 domestic fowl. Apiculture is well developed south of the Angara Valley.

Hunting and fur farming are very important. Among the fur-bearing animals are the squirrel, muskrat, mink, sable, arctic fox, black silver fox, hare, and ermine. The Usinsk sovkhoz, which raises Siberian stags, is located in the Zapadnyi Saian.

TRANSPORTATION. In southern Krasnoiarsk Krai the main means of transportation is the railroad. On the Enisei and its major tributaries transportation by boat is important. There were 2,546 km of railroads in 1971, of which 1,586 km were electrified. The main railroads are the Trans-Siberian trunk line and the Novokuznetsk-Abakan and Abakan-Taishet sections of the South Siberian trunk line. The Achinsk-Abakan line and the Achinsk-Abalakovo-Lesosibirsk line, which hauls lumber from the Cisangara area, are branches of the Trans-Siberian trunk line. The Kiia-Shaltyr’ (Belogorsk)-Krasnaia Sopka railroad has been built to haul nepheline ores. As of 1973, a railroad was being built from Reshoty to Boguchany. The northernmost rail-road in the USSR—the Dudinka-NoriPsk line—runs through Krasnoiarsk Krai.

The chief waterway is the Enisei, and the main landings are Dudinka, Igarka, Turukhansk, Eniseisk, Lesosibirsk, Strelka, Krasnoiarsk, and Abakan. The large reservoir on the Enisei, which was built as part of the Krasnoiarsk Hydroelectric Power Plant, has improved navigation conditions above Krasnoiarsk. The ports of Dudinka and Igarka are the gateways to the sea in the northern Enisei region. Ships following the Northern Sea Route sail up the Enisei to Igarka. In 1971 there were 13,200 km of navigable routes.

Highway transportation is very important in the southern part of Krasnoiarsk Krai. In 1971 there were 23,800 km of paved roads. Airlines connect the remotest northern regions with the city of Krasnoiarsk, and Krasnoiarsk with Moscow, Irkutsk, and other cities.

ECONOMIC REGIONS. In the far northern Enisei region (the Taimyr National Okrug) reindeer raising, hunting, and fishing are important. The region’s industrial centers are NoriPsk and Igarka. The near northern Enisei region includes the Evenki National Okrug and Turukhansk Raion, which are located along the Enisei. It is known for fur hunting, reindeer raising, and fishing. Forestry, the wood products and pulp and paper indus-tries, and mining are the main industries of the Cisangara area. With the central Krasnoiarsk, Achinsk, and Kansk industrial centers, the Krasnoiarsk region is economically the most highly developed part of the krai, as well as its most densely populated area. The hydroelectric power, machine-building, and aluminum industries are important.

The Saian region occupies the southern part of Krasnoiarsk Krai, including the Khakass Autonomous Oblast. The Saian territorial and industrial complex has been developing since the early 1970’s. It includes the Saian Hydroelectric Power Plant, the Abakan Railroad Car Building and the Minusinsk Electrical Engineering complexes, enterprises for the processing of nonferrous metals, and light industrial and food*processing enterprises located near Abakan and Minusinsk. I. G. NORDEGA

Education and cultural affairs. In the academic year 1914–15 there were 780 general education schools (mostly elementary schools) with an enrollment of 46,400 on the territory of presentday Krasnoiarsk Krai. There were no specialized secondary or higher educational institutions. In the academic year 1971–72 there were 2,601 general education schools of all types (595,800 students) and 66 specialized secondary schools (65,200 students). There were 50,900 students in Krasnoiarsk Krai’s ten higher schools: the university and the polytechnical, technological, agricultural, pedagogical, medical, and nonferrous metallurgy institutes (all in Krasnoiarsk), pedagogical institutes in Eniseisk and Abakan, and the NoriPsk Evening Industrial Institute. In 1971, 146,600 children were enrolled in preschool institutions.

The Physics Institute and the Forestry and Lumber Institute of the Siberian Division of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, as well as several scientific research and design institutes, are located in the city of Krasnoiarsk.

As of Jan. 1, 1972, there were 1,625 public librairies in Krasnoiarsk Krai, with more than 15 million copies of books and magazines. In the city of Krasnoiarsk there is a museum of local lore and history, an art gallery, and four Lenin memorial museums, as well as the V. I. Surikov Museum House. A complex of buildings, the V. I. Lenin Siberian Exile Museum, is located in the settlement of Shushenskoe. There are museums of local lore and history in Eniseisk, Kansk, Achinsk, and Minusinsk; a museum of Taimyr local lore and history in Dudinka; a museum of Khakass local lore and history in Abakan; and a museum of Evenki local lore and history in the settlement of Tura. Krasnoiarsk Krai has nine theaters: the krai drama theater, a young people’s theater, a puppet theater, and a musical comedy theater in Krasnoiarsk, and drama theaters in Abakan, NoriPsk, Achinsk, Minusinsk, and Kansk. In addition, there are 2,260 clubs, 2,719 motion-picture houses, and 98 extracurricular institutions.

Krasnoiarsk Krai’s newspapers are Krasnoiarskii rabochii (published since 1905) and Krasnoiarskii komsomolets (since 1935). The krai radio and television stations broadcast one radio and two television programs and relay programs from Moscow. The Orbit program is received in Krasnoiarsk Krai. There are television centers in the cities of Krasnoiarsk, Abakan, NoriPsk, Igarka, and Kansk.

Public health. As of Jan. 1, 1972, Krasnoiarsk Krai had 417 hospital institutions with 35,000 hospital beds (11.7 beds per 1,000 inhabitants) and 6,900 physicians (one per 431 inhabitants). There are balneological health resorts in the south on Lakes Shira and Uchum. A mud-therapy resort is located on Lake Tagarskoe. There are a number of sanatoriums and houses of rest.

TOURISM. Krasnoiarsk Krai is a popular tourist area in Siberia. There are four tourist bases located in Krasnoiarsk, Minusinsk (the Saiany Tourist Base), and Shushenskoe, and on Lake Malyi KyzykuP (the lunost’ Tourist Base). The major tourist routes are the route in the Stolby Preserve and the one to Shushenskoe (V. I. Lenin Siberian Exile Museum). In addition, there are automobile tours of the Saiany Ring (Abakan—Minusinsk-Shushenskoe-Kyzyl-Ak-Dovurak-Abaza-Abakan) and boat rides from Krasnoiarsk to Dudinka.


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