Kzyl-Orda Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kzyl-Orda Oblast


a part of the Kazakh SSR. Formed on Jan. 15, 1938. Located in the southern part of the republic. Area, 227,000 sq km; population, 516,000 (1972). The Kzyl-Orda Oblast has eight administrative raions, three cities, and seven urban-type settlements. Its center is the city of Kzyl-Orda. The Kzyl-Orda Oblast has been awarded the Order of Lenin (Aug. 21, 1967).

Natural features. The oblast is located to the east of the Aral Sea, on the lower course of the Syr Darya River, basically within the bounds of the Turan Lowland (elevation, 50–200 m). Along the left bank of the Syr Darya are extensive areas of hilly, ridgelike sands of the Kyzylkum, intersected by the dried-up river beds of the Zhanadar’ia and the Kuandar’ia; encountered along the right bank are uplands (Egizkara, 288 m), sections of sands (Aryskum and others), and shallow depressions filled with solonchaks. In the north are massifs of hilly sands (Lesser Barsuki and the Aral Kara-Kum). The extreme southeastern borders of Kzyl-Orda Oblast are flanked by the northwestern spurs of the Karatau Mountain Range (elevations up to 1,419 m).

The climate is sharply continental and extremely arid, with lengthy hot summers and relatively warm, brief winters with little snow. The average July temperature in the northwest is 25.9°C, in the southeast it is 28.2°C; in January the average temperatures for these areas are — 3.5°C and — 19.8°C. Precipitation in the northwest near the shore of the Aral Sea amounts to approximately 100 mm per year (the lowest in the Kazakh SSR); in the southeast in the foothills of the Karatau it amounts to 175 mm. The growing season ranges from 168 days in the northwest to 198 days in the southeast.

The borders of Kzyl-Orda Oblast include the northeastern half of the Aral Sea; its shores are indented by numerous bays and inlets (Saryshiganak, Shevchenko, Tushchibas, Chernyshev, and Bozkol’) with a large number of peninsulas and islands. The only major river in Kzyl-Orda Oblast is the Syr Darya, which flows through the central portion of the oblast from the southeast to the northwest for a length of about 1,000 km; it is extremely winding, with many streams and branches, and has an extensive, swampy delta. Dikes have been built along the riverbanks for protection against floods; in 1956 the Kzyl-Orda Dam was constructed on the Syr Darya River; in 1958 water from the Syr Darya was allowed to flow through the dry bed of the Zhanadar’ia in order to irrigate fields and pastures. In 1969 the Kazalinsk Hydroengineering Complex was put into operation. There are many saltwater lakes (Zhasky-Kylysh, Kamyslyba, Arys), which frequently dry up summer; Lakes Kupek and Teresken have therapeutic muds. In the northeast just within the borders of Kzyl-Orda Oblast are the lower reaches of the Sarysu River.

A considerable portion of the territory is occupied by sands with almost no vegetation; growing on the fixed sands are wormwood, sheep-fescue, and halophytic vegetation. In the spring ephemeral plants also grow on the brown and sierozem sandy and solonets soils; springing up in the hollows amid the sandy areas are vetch, Calligonum aphyllum, and types of couch grass. The hilly sands are anchored by white saxaul, tamarisk, winterfat, Anabasis salsa, and wormwoods. In the floodlands of the Syr Darya are alluvial-meadow, frequently saline, soils, covered by meadow vegetation with sparse forests and shrubs (willows, Turanga, and olive); in the delta and along the banks there are extensive growths of reeds. The desert has many predators (the corsac fox, wolf, and others) and ungulate animals (the saiga), as well as rodents and birds (various types of grouse and others); the muskrat has been acclimatized in the delta of the Syr Darya. There are many fish in the Aral Sea and the Syr Darya River, as well as in the small lakes (for example, carp, bream, Caspian roach, catfish, fish of the Aspius genus, pike perch, perch, sturgeon, and barbel). There is a preserve on Barsakel’mes Island (with saiga, Persian gazelle, Asiatic wild ass, etc.).

Population. Kzyl-Orda Oblast is inhabited by Kazakhs (up to 70 percent), Russians (for the most part in the urban settlements), Koreans, and others. The urban population totals 54 percent. The average population density is 2.3 persons per sq km. Almost the entire population lives in the Syr Darya valley, along the railroad, or along the shore of the Aral Sea. In the desert there are only small settlements occupied seasonally by farmers that raise livestock. The oblast’s cities include Kzyl-Orda, Aral’sk, and Kazalinsk.

Economy. Predominant in the economy of Kzyl-Orda Oblast are branches of the food-processing and light industry that are connected with the processing of agricultural raw materials and fish. Developed primarily are irrigational agriculture and livestock raising with distant pasturing. The oblast is an important region for growing rice, raising sheep, and fishing and the processing of fish.

The power system is based, for the most part, on coal imported from the Lenger, Angren, and Karaganda basins. The principal branch of industry is food processing (fish, rice, vodka, beer, meat, dairy, bakery products, and milled grains). There is a cellulose-and-cardboard complex, as well as footwear, furniture, and clothing factories. The oblast also has the metalworking (servicing the needs of railroad, maritime, and automotive transport), chemical, and building-materials industries (the production of bricks, reedboard, etc.). Almost all the industrial enterprises are located in the city of Kzyl-Orda; other important centers are Aral’sk, Dzhusaly (metalworking), Saksaul’skii, Novokazalinsk, and Chiili (servicing railroad transport); there are fish-processing factories on the shores of the Aral Sea and on the islands.

Of the land used for agriculture (10.7 million hectares [ha]) pastures cover 10 million ha—winter pastures in the deserts and year-found pastures in the floodlands of the Syr Darya. There are 157,000 ha of tillable land (1971). Irrigated land occupies 149,-400 ha. Of the tilled land (145,600 ha in 1971) 49 percent of the area was sown with grain crops (71,400 ha), primarily rice (67,-600 ha). The oblast supplies about 80 percent of the rice of the Kazakh SSR. Cultivated on small areas are spring and sometimes winter wheat (1,900 ha), barley (300 ha), and corn (1,400 ha for grain and 13,000 ha for green fodder); 48 percent of the sown area (70,300 ha) is occupied by fodder crops, for the most part, perennial grasses (alfalfa); in addition, potatoes are also grown (800 ha), as are vegetables (700 ha), especially melons (muskmelons); gardens, orchards, and vineyards occupy 1,300 ha. In livestock raising the most developed is Karakul sheep raising (as many as 90 percent of the sheep are Karakuls), as well as the raising of sheep with fine fleece, and, to a lesser degree, livestock raising for dairy and meat purposes. In livestock sheep greatly predominate (1,453,500 head in 1971); other livestock include cattle (191,800), horses (49,200), camels (21,800), domestic fowl (354,300), and swine (6,900).

In the northern part of the oblast—the Aral Kara kum—the raising of Karakul sheep and camels is prevalent, since this area has year-round pasture for maintaining livestock. Grown in the Syr Darya valley are primarily rice and melons (Kazalinsk, Kzyl-Orda, and Chiili muskmelons); there is also livestock raising for the production of meat and milk. There is fishing in the Syr Darya delta and along the shore of the Aral Sea; in the sandy areas saxaul is stockpiled.

The length of the railroads amounts to 728 km (part of the Orenburg-Tashkent main line); motor vehicle roads total 3,376 km (1971), including 1,223 of paved highways; the most important of these run along the Syr Darya. There is regular navigation on the Aral Sea (from the city of Aral’sk to the landing of Muinak).


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. Before 1917 on the territory of Kzyl-Orda Oblast there were 45 schools with 3,655 pupils; there were no specialized secondary schools or higher educational institutions. During the 1971–72 academic year there were 132,367 pupils attending 355 general education schools of all types, 5,208 at 16 vocational-technical schools, 5,482 at five specialized secondary schools, and 4,341 students at the Kzyl-Orda Pedagogical Institute. In 1971 there were 15,-739 children enrolled at 132 preschool institutions. As of Jan. 1, 1972, there were 266 public libraries in the oblast (with 2,298,000 copies of books and journals), 272 clubs, an oblast museum of local lore, the Kazakh Drama Theater in Kzyl-Orda, and 343 motion-picture projectors.

Among the newspapers published are the oblast newspapers Lenin zholy (The Path of Lenin, since 1929) in Kazakh and Put’ Lenina (since 1930) in Russian and the interrepublic newspaper Lenin kichi (The Banner of Lenin, since 1938) in Korean. The oblast radio broadcasts in Kazakh, Russian, and Uzbek on one program, and it relays radio broadcasts from Alma-Ata and Moscow; there is also a local television studio, which transmits one program in Russian and relays television broadcasts from Moscow.

By Jan. 1, 1972, Kzyl-Orda Oblast had 82 hospitals with 6,700 beds (13 beds per 1,000 inhabitants); 1,000 physicians were employed in the oblast (one physician per 496 inhabitants). There is a mud-therapy health resort near the Ianykurgan railroad station.


Kazakhskaia SSR: Ekonomiko-geograficheskaia kharakteristika. Moscow, 1957.
Belokopytova, M. A., M. S. Vasil’eva, and I. A. Tiutiunnikov. Kzyl-Ordynskaia oblast’ i ee administrativnye raiony. Alma-Ata, 1961.
Kazakhstan. Moscow, 1969. (Prirodnye usloviia i estestvennye resursy SSSR).
Narodnoe khoziaistvo Kazakhstana v 1968: Statisticheskii sbornik. Alma-Ata, 1970.
Kazakhstan. Moscow, 1970. (The series Sovetskii Soiuz.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.