Leningrad Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Leningrad Oblast


part of the RSFSR. It was formed on Aug. 1, 1927. It borders on Finland in the northwest and is bounded by the Gulf of Finland, the Baltic Sea, and Lakes Ladoga and Onega. Area, 85,900 sq km. Population (without Leningrad), 1,495,000 (1973); with Leningrad, 5,628,000. The oblast is divided into 16 administrative raions and has 27 cities and 41 urban-type settlements. The center is the city of Leningrad. On Nov. 30, 1966, the oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin.

Natural features. The oblast is located in the northwest of the European USSR. The coastline of the Gulf of Finland (330 km) has few indentations, with the exception of the area near Vyborg Bay; in the south are the large Kopor’e and Narva bays and Luga Bay.

The terrain is flat, with traces of glacier activity. Much of the oblast is occupied by low-lying areas: the Baltic Depression, the Neva, Vuoksa, and Svir’ lowlands, and the Ladoga Depression. The high (up to 40–60 m) Baltic-Ladoga scarp, or glint, extends south of the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga. South of the glint is an Ordovician plateau, within which the Izhora Upland (168 m) and other, smaller uplands are found. Also situated in Leningrad Oblast are the northeastern part of the Luga Upland (to 140 m), Vepsovskaia Upland (about 300 m), Tikhvinskaia Ridge, Lembolovo Upland (to 200 m), and various areas of small hills near Leningrad: Pulkovo, Pargolovo, and others. The climate is transitional from maritime to continental. Winters are moderately warm, with the temperature of the coldest month, January, registering between —7° and —11°C. Summers are cool, with the temperature of the warmest month, July, registering between 15° and 17.5°C. The oblast is situated in a zone of excessive rainfall, with 550–850 mm of precipitation a year. The snow cover lasts 120–160 days. The growing season is 150–170 days long.

The river network is dense; nearly all of the rivers belong to the Baltic Sea basin. The major rivers—the Neva, Volkhov, Svir’, Vuoksa, Narva, Sias’, and Luga—have substantial hydroelectric power reserves and are used for navigation and timber floating. The largest lakes are Ladoga and Onega, which are partially located in the oblast. There is a great numer of small lakes of glacial origin (especially on the Karelian Isthmus). Reservoirs have been created on the Narva River near the Narva Hydroelectric Power Plant and on the Svir’ River near the Verkhniaia Svir’ and Nizhniaia Svir’ hydroelectric power plants.

Soils of the podzolic and swamp varieties predominate. Soddycalcareous and alluvial soils are the most suitable for agricultural use. Much of the soil is characterized by excessive moistening and high acidity and requires reclamation.

Forests occupy 54 percent of the oblast’s area (pine, spruce, birch, and aspen predominate), swamps 11.9 percent, and meadows 3.2 percent. Total reserves of timber are 480 million cu m. The northeastern sections of the oblast have the greatest number of forests.

Squirrels, moles, martens, foxes, polecats, blue hares, and elk are characteristic of the oblast. Whitefish, smelts, European cisco, Baltic herring, and other fish are found in the rivers, lakes, and the Gulf of Finland. The fauna is being enriched by bringing in muskrat, beaver, and mink.

There is a preserve on the Karelian Isthmus—the Lindulov larch grove, which was established in 1738 to obtain ship timber.

Population. The population includes Russians (92 percent in 1970), Ukrainians, Finns, Byelorussians, Veps, Jews, Estonians, Tatars, and Karelians. The average population density of the oblast (including Leningrad) is 65.5 persons per sq km. The most densely settled regions are near Leningrad (Vsevolozhsk, Lomonosov, and Gatchina); the least densely settled regions are in the east and northeast. A total of 63 percent of the population is urban (1973). The cities that have arisen during the Soviet period are Volkhov, Boksitogorsk, Pikalevo, Kirovsk, Podporozh’e, and Slantsy. The largest cities (excluding Leningrad) are Vyborg (68,000) and Gatchina (68,000).

Economy. Leningrad Oblast is one of the most economically developed oblasts of the Soviet Union. Under Soviet power, the size of the gross output of large-scale industry has increased by a factor of 84. A considerable part of the oblast was occupied during the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 (from August 1941 to February 1944) by fascist troops, who caused enormous damage to its economy. More than 90 percent of the industrial enterprises were wiped out and more than 2,000 settlements destroyed. In the postwar years industrial enterprises and ravaged cities and villages were restored within a short period of time, and many new plants and factories were built.

Leningrad, one of the largest industrial centers of the USSR, is located in the oblast. The main characteristics of the oblast’s industry are its diversified nature, the utilization of local resources, the close tie with Leningrad, and the existence of branches of industry of Union-wide importance (aluminum, paper and pulp, and chemicals).

Local fuel and fuel brought in from outside the oblast are used in energy production. In the pattern of fuel resource consumption (1970), gas accounts for 0.7 percent, shale for 5.8 percent, coal for 24.1 percent, oil and oil products for 48.6 percent, peat for 8.4 percent, and firewood for 4.4 percent. In 1972 the output of fuel peat was 2.3 million tons (3.7 percent of the country’s total output), and shale output was 4.6 million tons (16 percent of the country’s total). In 1972 electric power plants had a capacity of 2.6 gigawatts, and the electric energy produced totaled 6.6 billion kilowatt-hours (of which 50 percent was produced by hydroelectric power plants). The Volkhov Hydroelectric Power Plant, the hydroelectric power plants on the Svir’, Narva, and Vuoksa, the Dubrovka and Kirishi state regional electric power plants, and a number of others have been built during the Soviet period. All the power plants belong to the Lenenergo System. Coal is brought in from the Pechora, Donets, and Kuznetsk basins, and oil from the Volga Region. The Leningrad Atomic Power Plant is under construction (1973).

Over the period 1929–65, 60 large enterprises were built or restored in the oblast (excluding Leningrad). The timber industry is well developed; there is logging, woodworking, paper and pulp production, and wood chemical production. Lumber taken out of the oblast totaled 6.6 million cu m in 1972, of which 74 percent was commercial lumber. The main logging region is in the northeastern part of the oblast, and lumber is also brought in from Novgorod and Arkhangel’sk oblasts, the Komi ASSR, and the Karelian ASSR. The main woodworking centers are Lodeinoe Pole, Dubrovka, Pashskii Perevoz, Podporozh’e, Liuban’, Vyborg, and Tosno. The oblast has the Svetogorsk, Vyborg, Priozersk, and Sias’ paper and pulp combines and paper factories in Kamennogorsk and elsewhere. Leningrad Oblast (including Leningrad) accounts for 8.6 percent of the national output of pulp, 6.8 percent of the plywood, 5.8 percent of the paper, and 4.7 percent of the cardboard.

The building materials industry is well developed. There are large cement plants in Volkhov, Pikalevo, and Slantsy, providing 4.4 percent of the total national output of cement. There are plants producing glass, brick, and reinforced concrete articles; limestone and building stone are quarried.

Among the main branches of the chemical industry are shale chemistry (Slantsy) and the production of phosphate fertilizer (Kingisepp) and double superphosphate (Volkhov), sulfuric acid (Volkhov), artificial fiber (Lesogorsk), and wood chemical products (Tikhvin and elsewhere). In Boksitogorsk there is a plant for the artificial dehydration of peat. A complex of chemical enterprises is being built at the Kirishi oil refinery. The Volkhov aluminum plant, the first such plant built under Soviet rule, the alumina plant in Boksitogorsk, and the alumina combine in Pikalevo operate in the oblast.

Machine-building and metalworking enterprises produce equipment for the paper and pulp industry (Gatchina), electric instruments (Vyborg), and equipment for the fishing industry (Vyborg). There are ship repair enterprises in Petrokrepost’, Novaia Ladoga, and elsewhere; in Luga there is a plant for abrasive articles and in Tikhvin a foundry and a metal structural components plant. Light industry is represented chiefly by branches of Leningrad textile, clothing, footwear, and other firms. In addition, there is a jute and flax factory in Ivangorod, a knitted goods factory in Luga, a net-making factory in Vyborg, and footwear factories in Gatchina and Luga.

Prominent among the branches of the food industry are the fishing industry (based on fishing in the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga) and fish-canning enterprises in Ust’-Luga, Primorsk, and Novaia Ladoga. A number of fish hatcheries have been established.

Agricultural land makes up 10 percent of the State Land Fund of the oblast (1972), with arable land accounting for 43 percent of the agricultural land, pastures for 27 percent, and hayfields for 24 percent. Sovkhozes number 171 (1972) and kolkhozes 16, of which seven are fishing kolkhozes. Agriculture is suburban in nature. The main branches of agricultural production are meat and dairy livestock raising, vegetable growing, and potato growing.

The crop area totals 376,000 hectares (1972), with cereals occupying 16 percent of the crop area, potatoes 13 percent, vegetables 3 percent, and feed crops 68 percent. Cereals planted include rye, oats, and barley; the small plantings of spring wheat are mainly in the southern, western, and southeastern regions; potatoes are prevalent everywhere, particularly in the southwest of the oblast and the area adjoining the city of Leningrad; vegetables are grown chiefly near Leningrad.

Reclamation projects are being carried out; the area of drained land is 377,000 hectares (1972).

Dairy cattle raising is the main branch of livestock raising (cows constitute 50 percent of the cattle). At the beginning of 1973 the oblast had 391,000 cattle (including 195,000 cows), 534,000 swine, 85,000 sheep and goats, and 9.9 million fowl. There are 16 poultry farms and sovkhozes (in the neighborhood of Leningrad) and eight fur-farming sovkhozes.

Railroads are the main form of transportation. The length of rail lines (including the Leningrad junction) is 2,800 km (1971), with almost one-third of them electrified (the Leningrad junction and the Leningrad-Moscow railroad). The main railroad junction is Leningrad; others are Gatchina, Luga, Vyborg, and Mga. River transport is important, with navigable routes (rivers and lakes) amounting to 2,000 km. The Volga-Baltic Waterway plays a primary role; the oblast is connected to the White Sea by the Baltic-White Sea Canal; the Saimaa Canal has been operating since 1968. River ports (in addition to Leningrad) include Petrokrepost’, Sviritsa, Voznesen’e, Podporozh’e, and Lodeinoe Pole. The seaports include Leningrad and Vyborg.

There are more than 13,000 km of highways. Bus routes cover more than 11,000 km.

The oblast has more than 600 km of pipelines, including the Serpukhov-Novgorod-Chudovo-Leningrad, Belousovo-Lenin-grad, Kokhtla-Iarve-Leningrad, and Slantsy-Leningrad gas pipelines; the Yaroslavl-Kirishi oil pipeline; and the Kirishi-Leningrad oil products pipeline.


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1914–15 academic year there were 1,590 general educational schools (chiefly primary schools) with 85,500 students and one secondary specialized school (138 students) in what is now Leningrad Oblast (excluding Petrograd). In the 1972–73 academic year the oblast had 927 general educational schools of all types with 215,000 students, 53 vocational and technical schools with 18,900 students, and 14 secondary specialized schools with 12,600 students. In 1971 there were 50,900 children enrolled in 636 preschool institutions.

As of Jan. 1, 1973, there were 690 general libraries in the oblast (7.7 million copies of books and journals), 14 museums—the V. I. Lenin Museum House in the city of Vyborg and the one in the settlement of Il’ichevo; museums of local lore in Gatchina (with a branch in Priozersk), Tikhvin, and Vyborg; a museum of history and local lore in the city of Lodeinoe Pole; Penaty, the museum-estate of I. E. Repin in the settlement of Repino; the N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov Museum House in Tikhvin; and also museum-palaces and parks in the cities of Lomonosov, Pushkin, Petrodvorets, and Pavlovsk (under the jurisdiction of the Leningrad City Soviet). In addition the oblast has a theater of drama and comedy and a drama theater, 904 clubs, and 1,183 film units. There are also various public education and cultural-educational institutions in the city of Leningrad.

The oblast newspapers are Leningradskaia pravda (published since 1918), Leningradskii rabochii (published since 1951; to May 1973 under the name Stroitel’nyi rabochii), Smena (since 1919), and the Young Pioneers’ newspaper Leninskie iskry (since 1924). The oblast has ten hours of daily radio broadcasting and eight hours 18 minutes of television programming; radio and television broadcasts are also relayed from Moscow.

As of Jan. 1, 1973, there were 134 hospitals with 19,300 beds (12.9 beds per thousand persons) and 3,800 doctors (25.7 doctors per 10,000 persons). Such well-known health resorts as Sestroretsk and Zelenogorsk are located in the oblast. There are also various sanatoriums and houses of rest.


Leningradskaia oblast’: Priroda i khoziaistvo. Leningrad, 1958.
Grishina, L. I., L. A. Fainshtein, and G. Ia. Velikanova. Pamiatnye mesta Leningradskoi oblasti. Leningrad, 1973.
Atlas Leningradskoi oblasti. Moscow, 1967.
Leningradskaia oblast’ za 50 let: Statistich. sbornik. Leningrad, 1967.
Darinskii, A. V. Leningradskaia oblast’. Leningrad, 1970.
Leningrad i Leningradskaia oblast’ v tsifrakh: Statistich. sbornik. Leningrad, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Dzeniskevich also sheds new light on the forced relocation eastward of ethnic Finns and Germans from Pargolovskii raion, just north of Leningrad, in March 1942 (document 80), which completed the process started in late August, when the NKVD had ordered the expulsion of more than 100,000 Finns and Germans from the Leningrad area (although that quota was never attained).
After a period of expansion at the facility, Holsten will be distributed under license and marketed predominantly in the Leningrad area.

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