Lipetsk Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lipetsk Oblast


a part of the RSFSR. Formed on Jan. 6, 1954. Area, 24,100 sq km; population, 1,223,000 (1973). The oblast has 18 raions, eight cities, and four urban-type settlements. The center is the city of Lipetsk. On July 4, 1967, Lipetsk Oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin.

Natural features. Lipetsk Oblast is situated in the central part of the Eastern European Plain, in the basin of the upper course of the Don River. A great part of the oblast is occupied by the Central Russian Upland, a rolling plain strongly dissected by ravines and gullies. The elevation in the western part, the Don right-bank region, is from 220 to 260 m, and in the eastern part, in the Don-Voronezh interfluve, from 170 to 230 m. There are many karst caverns, caves, seasonal small rivers, and karst springs. The Oka-Don plain east of the Voronezh River is flat and has a slightly dissected terrain with swampy depressions (elevation from 150 to 170 m). The climate is moderately continental, with an average January temperature of —10° to — 11°C and an average July temperature of 19° to 20°C. The annual precipitation is from 450 to 500 mm (greatest precipitation is in the summer). The length of the growing season is from 180 to 185 days. Lipetsk Oblast is drained by the Don River and its tributaries the Voronezh (with the Stanovaia Riasa and Matyra rivers), Sosna, Krasivaia Mecha, and other rivers.

Chernozem soils predominate, with leached chernozems in the north and rich chernozems in the southeast and southwest; there are also small areas of podzolized chernozems and dark-gray and gray forest soils. The large areas of steppe vegetation that predominated in earlier times have been plowed up and replaced by agricultural land. Forests, primarily birch and pine forests on sand, cover 8.3 percent of the oblast. There is a large forest on the left bank of the Voronezh River. The Usman’ Forest in the southeast of the oblast is part of the Voronezh Preserve. A mixed-grass steppe has been preserved in the region of the Don-Voronezh watershed on the Kuimanka River (the Bykova Sheia area). The sparse relict flora of the Galich’ia Gora area in the Don Valley is protected vegetation. Animals are represented by rodents, which include the spotted suslik, common hamster, marmot, and field mouse; also present are the squirrel, the brown hare, the fox, and the wolf. There are many birds, including larks, owls, the gray crane, quail, ducks, and the gray goose. The fish in the bodies of water include carp and perch varieties.

Population. Russians form the bulk of the population (98.2 percent in 1970). The average population density is 50.7 persons per sq km (1973). The density is highest in the central and southern industrial and agricultural regions (about 100 persons per sq km) and lower in the northern and northeastern regions (20–30 persons per sq km). The urban population amounts to 591,000, or 48 percent of the total. The major cities are Lipetsk, Elets, Dankov, and Griazi.

Economy. During the years of Soviet power Lipetsk Oblast turned from a backward agrarian region into a developed industrial and agrarian region of the Chernozem Center. The gross output of industry as a whole increased 19 times from 1940 to 1972. The power base is composed of the Lipetsk, Dankov, and Elets thermoelectric power plants, which form part of the Unified Power System of the European USSR. The leading industries are ferrous metallurgy, machine building and metalworking, building materials, and food. Heavy industry accounts for more than 60 percent of the gross product, and the food industry for about 25 percent. Metallurgy is concentrated in Lipetsk; the Novolipetsk Plant, built in 1934, and the reconstructed Svobodnyi Sokol Plant produce cast iron, converter and transformer steel, rolled metal, pipes, and ferrous alloys. The Kursk magnetic anomaly is the main iron ore supplier. Some of the ore and limestone (Studenovskoe deposit) are mined near Lipetsk; deposits near Elets yield limestone for the sugar industry and clay for the production of pipes, acid-resistant and heat-and acid-resistant articles, and plates; Dankov is the site of a dolomite combine. Machine building and metalworking produce primarily tractors, metal-cutting machine tools (Lipetsk), casting equipment (Usman’), joints and parts for machine tools and tractors (Lipetsk, Elets, Griazi, and Chaplygin), construction equipment and pumps (Elets and Lebedian’), electrical engineering products (Elets), and boilers (Chaplygin). In 1972 the oblast produced 47,900 tractors (5,000 in 1950) and 368,000 tons of cast iron pipes (67,000 in 1950).

The chemical industry is involved in the production of organic silicon products (such as thermostable lacquers, lubricants, grease, and waterproofing liquids), enamels, drying oil, ready-to-use paints, mineral fertilizers, and other products. Building materials are produced in Lipetsk (cement, silicate bricks, and blocks), Griazi, Elets (reinforced-concrete products), and elsewhere. In 1972 the oblast produced 380 million bricks (57 million in 1950), 1,120,000 tons of cement, and 450,000 cu m of reinforced-concrete structural elements and parts (16,200 cu m in 1955). The largest enterprises of the food industry are sugar refineries in Lebedian’, Griazi, and Elets; a food combine in Griazi; a canning plant in Lebedian’; and tobacco factories in Usman’ and Elets. The 1972 output figures are 48,600 tons of meat (5,100 tons in 1950), 24 million conventional-size cans of food (1.7 million in 1950), and 77,500 tons of granulated sugar (7,300 tons in 1950). Light industry satisfies mainly local needs. The Elets leather plant and Elets lace are well known.

The main branches of agriculture are grain farming and livestock raising. Agricultural land—1,980,000 hectares (ha) in 1972—covers 82 percent of the oblast. Tillable land (1,709,000 ha) predominates; hayfields are located along river valleys with broad floodplains (63,000 ha) and the pastureland along gullies and on land unsuitable for cultivation (165,000 ha). On Jan. 1, 1973, there were 159 kolkhozes and 137 sovkhozes. The area of land under cultivation is 1,681,000 ha (1972); on this land grain crops (wheat, rye, barley, oats, millet, and buckwheat) occupy 890,000 ha, sugar beets 104,000 ha, sunflowers 19,000 ha, potatoes 74,000 ha, and fodder crops 575,000 ha. Vegetable crops, covering 10,800 ha, are grown near the industrial cities. Potatoes are grown mainly in the north of the oblast and sugar beets in the south. Makhorka is cultivated around Elets and Usman’.

The branches of livestock raising are dairy and beef cattle (621,000 head in early 1973, including 265,000 cows), swine (654,000), sheep for meat and wool (352,000 sheep and goats), and poultry (5.7 million).

The oblast has 814 km of railroads, of which 130 km are electrified (1971). The most important lines are the trunk lines crossing Lipetsk Oblast: the Moscow-Elets-Donbas, Moscow-Griazi-Voronezh-Rostov-on-Don, and Riga-Orel-Lipetsk-Volgograd lines. The chief railroad hubs are Elets and Griazi. There are 8,000 km of highways, of which 1,800 km are paved. The main highway is the Moscow-Elets-Voronezh highway. The Stavropol-Moscow gas pipeline crosses Lipetsk Oblast. Airlines connect Lipetsk with many points in the oblast and other regions of the country.

INTERNAL DIFFERENCES. The central part, the chief industrial region of the oblast, has developed ferrous metallurgy and machine building and metalworking, as well as developed building-materials, chemical, and food industries (Lipetsk, Elets, and Griazi). Agriculture is mainly of the suburban type, with vegetable and potato farming, meat and dairy livestock raising, and horticulture. The northern part is marked by grain and potato farming and developed horticulture, dairy and meat livestock raising, and poultry raising. Industry is represented by chemicals, machine building and metalworking, building materials, and the processing of agricultural raw materials (Dankov, Lebedian’, and Chaplygin). The southern part is primarily agricultural; it is noted for the farming of grain and industrial crops (sugar beets, sunflowers, and makhorka) and meat and dairy livestock raising. Its industry processes agricultural raw materials (Usman’ and Zadonsk).


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1914–15 academic year there were 1,268 schools with 102,700 students, one specialized secondary educational institution with 18 students, and no higher educational institutions. In the 1972–73 academic year the oblast had 1,200 general educational schools of all types with 240,000 pupils, 34 vocational and technical schools with 21,000 students, and 19 secondary specialized educational institutions with 21,000 students; moreover, there were over 9,400 students in pedagogical institutes in Lipetsk and Elets, in a branch of the Moscow Institute of Steel and Alloys (a polytechnic institute since 1973), and at the Lipetsk department of the All-Union Correspondence Finance and Economics Institute. In 1973 there were 35,000 children in 275 preschool institutions.

Lipetsk is the site of the All-Union Scientific Research and Design Institute of Secondary Metals.

As of Jan. 1, 1973, Lipetsk Oblast had 725 public libraries with 6,896,000 copies of books and magazines; museums of local lore in Lipetsk (oblast museum), Elets, Dankov, and Usman’; the L. N. Tolstoy Memorial Museum in the settlement of Lev Tolstoi; oblast drama and puppet theaters in Lipetsk; 749 club institutions; 773 motion picture projectors; and 29 extracurricular institutions, including 11 palaces and houses of Pioneers, five young technicians’ stations, and eight children’s sport schools.

The press includes the oblast newspaper Leninskoe znamia (since 1918) and the Komsomol newspaper Leninets (since 1957). The oblast radio broadcasts local radio programs for one hour and 30 minutes a day and continuously relays programs of the All-Union Radio; a relay television station makes it possible to receive the first program of Central Television.

On Jan. 1,1973, the oblast had 12,300 hospital beds (10.1 beds per 1,000 population) and 2,500 physicians (one physician per 489 population). A balneological and mud-bath resort is situated in the oblast center.


Rossiiskaia Federatsiia: Tsentral’naia Rossiia. Tsentral’nyi raion. Volgo-Viatskii raion. Chernozemnyi tsentr. Moscow, 1970. Pages 765–81. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
Geografiia Lipetskoi oblasti. Lipetsk, 1963.
Narodnoe khoziaistvo Lipetskoi oblasti za gody Sovetskoi vlasti: Statistich. sb. Voronezh, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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