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(ko͞obăn`, –bän`, Rus. ko͞obä`nyə), river, c.570 mi (920 km) long, rising in the Greater Caucasus on the western slopes of Mt. Elbrus, S European Russia, and flowing north in a wide arc past Karachayevsk, Cherkessk, and Armavir, then W past Krasnodar, entering the Sea of Azov through two arms. Its upper course is precipitous and leads through several gorges; it then meanders slowly through the Kuban Steppe, a rich black-earth area and one of the major grain and sugar-beet districts of Russia. The last 150 mi (240 km) are navigable. Russia annexed the khanate of Crimea, of which the Kuban area was a part, in 1783. Now mainly within the Krasnodar TerritoryKrasnodar Territory,
administrative division (1995 pop. 5,004,200), 32,317 sq mi (83,701 sq km), SE European Russia, extending E from the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea into the Kuban steppe and straddling the northwestern end of the Greater Caucasus. Krasnodar is the capital.
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, the Kuban region was from about the mid-18th cent. to 1920 the territory of the Kuban Cossacks. After Catherine II defeated (1775) the ZaporizhzhyaZaporizhzhya
, Rus. Zaporozhye, city (1989 pop. 884,000), capital of Zaporizhzhya region, in Ukraine, a port on the Dnieper River, opposite the island of Khortytsya.
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 Cossacks in Ukraine, some of them emigrated to Turkey, but in 1787 they were allowed to return and settle along the Black Sea between the Dnieper and the Buh rivers. Then known as the Black Sea Cossacks, they were in 1792 resettled in the Kuban region. Though they lost much of their freedom and their rights were restricted, they were granted local self-government in return for military service. In 1860 they were renamed the Kuban Cossacks, while defending the Kuban region from hostile Circassian mountaineers to the south. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Kuban Cossacks proclaimed an independent republic and fought against the Bolsheviks. After the civil war of 1918–20 the Soviet regime abolished their government, and their traditional privileges were abrogated.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a river in Stavropol’ and Krasnodar krais, RSFSR. It is formed by the confluence of the Ullukam and Uchkulan rivers, which originate on the slopes of Mount Elbrus in the region of the Ullukam Glacier. The Kuban’ falls into the Temriuk Bay of the Sea of Azov. Length, 870 km (measured from the source of the Ullukam River, 906 km); basin area, 57,900 sq km.

From its source to the city of Nevinnomyssk the Kuban’ flows primarily through a deep and narrow gorge, where it has a steep gradient and rapids. Located at Nevinnomyssk is a dam supplying water to the Nevinnomyssk Canal. In its middle course (before it is joined by the Laba River) the Kuban’ flows through a broad valley with terraced slopes. After the river turns west, a left-bank floodplain appears (at Ust’-Labinsk it extends up to 4 km in breadth). The river meanders and breaks up into several branches, and there are a great number of shallow places and sandbanks. Below the mouth of the Laba River the Kuban’ has much more water, the valley becomes even broader, and the width (of the floodplain at the stanitsa (large cossack village) of Varenikovskaia reaches 20 km (by the time the river reaches its mouth, the floodplain narrows to 3–4 km). In places the riverbed is higher than the floodplain, and the river is held in its course by embankments.

Situated between the mouths of the Laba and Afips rivers are the Adygei Floodplains (which have an area of 300 sq km), and below the Afips River are the Transkuban’ Floodplains (which total as much as 800 sq km in area). At a distance of 116 km from the mouth of the Kuban’ the Protoka (130 km long) branches out to the right. The area of the Kuban’ estuary amounts to 4,300 sq km. Up to the late 19th century the Kuban’ was emptying the principal mass of its water into the Black Sea; but after the deepening of the Azov branches, the river’s Black Sea branch was cut off from the sea.

The Kuban’ River is fed by mixed sources; in its upper reaches glaciers and high-mountain snows predominate, accounting for about 49 percent of its water. At Krasnodar they account for 32 percent; the amount of groundwater increases from 21 to 32 percent respectively, and rainwater increases from 27 to 32 per-cent. The river is characterized by an extended high-water period in the summer, with flash floods from showers; in the winter there are floods from thaws and rains. The average annual discharge at Krasnodar is 425 cu m per sec. With the creation of a number of hydraulic engineering structures (the Nevinnomyssk Canal and the Tshchikskoe, Krasnodar, and Shapsug reservoirs) and the use of water for irrigation, the flow of the Kuban’ has decreased to approximately 30 cu m per sec. The average turbidity of the water is 682 g per cu m, and the annual flow of sediments amounts to 8.4 million tons. In the regions where the various branches and the Protoka empty out, the delta is advancing into the sea at the rate of 70 m and 45 m per year. All the major tributaries of the Kuban’ come in from the left— Malyi and Bol’shoi Zelenchuk, Urup, Laba, Belaia, and Pshish.

In the lower reaches of the Kuban’ an important area for rice growing is being created. Fish caught in the delta include pike perch, roach, sturgeon, Vimba vimba, and Alburnus chalcoides. The Kuban’ is navigable from Krasnodar to its mouth. Located on the river are the cities of Karachaevsk, Cherkessk, Nevinnomyssk, Armavir, Novokubansk, Kropotkin, Ust’-Labinsk, Krasnodar, and Temriuk.


Davydov, L. K. Gidrografiia SSSR, part 2. Leningrad, 1955.
Zalogin, B. S., and N. A. Rodionov. Ust’evye oblasti rek SSSR. Moscow, 1969.


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


a river in SW Russia, rising in the Caucasus Mountains and flowing north and northwest to the Sea of Azov. Length: 906 km (563 miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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