Lvov Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

L’vov Oblast


part of the Ukrainian SSR. Formed Dec. 4, 1939, through the reunification of the Western Ukraine with the Ukrainian SSR. Area, 21,800 sq km. Population, 2,488,000 (1973). The oblast is divided into 20 raions and has 37 cities and 38 urban-type settlements. Its administrative center is L’vov.

The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Oct. 25, 1958.

Natural features. Most of the oblast is situated on the Volyn’ and Podolia uplands, sections of which are known as Roztoche (elevation 414 m), Maloe Poles’e (276 m), Opol’e (471 m), and Gologory (471 m). To the south stretches a belt of Carpathian foothills, whose terrain consists of terraced plains, such as the Upper Dnestr and Stryi plains, alternating with ridgy and flat watersheds rising to elevations of 300-400 m. In the southern part of the oblast the Ukraninian Carpathians—part of the Eastern Carpathians—rise as a steep scarp; the mountains are a system of ridges with elevations of 600-1,000 m (maximum, 1,405 m).

The climate is temperate, with warm humid summers and mild winters broken by thaws. The average July temperature is 18.3°C in the plains section (L’vov) and 12.8°C in the mountainous area; January temperatures are—4.1°C and—6.1°C, respectively. Annual precipitation ranges from 650 mm in the plains to 750-1,000 mm in the foothills and mountains, with the maximum occurring in the summer. The growing season is about 210 days in the plains and 190-195 days in the mountainous regions. The rivers empty into the Baltic and Black seas. The Bug and its tributaries, including the Poltva, Rata, and Solokia, flow into the Baltic Sea. The Styr’, a right tributary of the Pripiat’, and the Dnestr and its tributaries—the Tysmenitsa, Stryi, and Svicha—empty into the Black Sea. Heavy rain in the Carpathians or the rapid, uninterrupted thawing of snow causes the mountain headwaters of the Dnestr and Stryi to overflow in the summer and fall (and occasionally in winter), sometimes producing catastrophic floods. There are many artificial ponds (about 400), covering a total area of 3,300 ha.

Gray forest-steppe podzolized soils on loesslike loams predominate in the soil cover, occupying about 45 percent of the total arable land. More than 35 percent of the oblast’s land resources consist of waterlogged soddy, meadow, and meadow-swamp soils, and nearly 23 percent of the arable land is soddypodzolic, loamy, or sandy loam soil. Naturally fertile humus-calcareous soils occupy 8 percent of the arable land. On the whole the soils are podzolized and wet, requiring drainage, liming, and organic fertilizers.

The plains are covered with forest vegetation in the north and forest-steppe vegetation in the south; forest and meadow flora grows in the foothills and mountains. Forests occupy about 26 percent of the oblast’s total area. In the northern part of the plain the forests are of pine or pine and oak, and in the southern plains area grow oak-hornbeam and oak-beech forests. The foothills are covered with oak-beech and beech-fir forests, and the mountains, with beech-fir and spruce forests. Meadows and swamps occupy about 30 percent of the area.

The fauna is mixed, including Eastern European, Western European, and Mediterranean boreal and mountain species. The Carpathian newt is a species unique to the Carpathian mountains. Common mountain species include the European spotted salamander, the Carpathian capercaille, and the Carpathian squirrel and deer. In the plains are found the collared turtle dove, Podolian mole rat, and swamp turtle. In the Soviet era, the spotted deer, European bison, muskrat, raccoon dog, and elk have been acclimatized or reacclimatized. The coypu, American mink, silver fox, and Norwegian arctic fox are raised. There are a number of wildlife preserves, notably the Maidanskii in the Carpathians.

Population. Ukrainians make up 87.9 percent of the population (1970). Other ethnic groups include Russians (8.2 percent), Poles (1.7 percent), Jews (1.1 percent), and Byelorussians (0.5 percent). Average population density is 114.1 per sq km, with the highest density in the central part of the oblast and the lowest in the mountain regions. In 1973 half the population lived in cities. The most important cities are L’vov, Drogobych, Stryi, Chervonograd, Borislav, and Sambor; Novyi Rozdol and Sosnovka developed in the Soviet period.

Economy. Prior to reunification with the Soviet Ukraine, the region’s economy was backward, but through socialist transformations the oblast has become one of the most highly developed in the Ukraine. The 1972 gross industrial product was 38 times that of 1940. The industrial structure has changed radically and is now dominated by new branches—machine building and metal-working, which together accounted for 31.1 percent of the total gross industrial product in 1972. The food-processing industry accounted for 24.8 percent of the gross industrial product; light industry, for 16 percent; fuel, for 6.8 percent; chemicals, for 6.5 percent; forestry, woodworking, and paper and pulp, for 6.1 percent; and building materials, for 3.6 percent.

The most important sources of fuel and energy are coal (obtained from the L’vov-Volyn coal basin) and natural gas (Dashava, Rudki, and Opary). The Dobrotvor State District Power Plant and the L’vov Electric Power Plant are found here, and the Mir power system passes through the oblast. The mining of coal (9.6 million tons in 1972), potassium salts (the Stebnik deposit), and sulfur (Rozdol and lavorov) and the quarrying of building materials have expanded. Natural gas (7.4 billion cu m in 1972), petroleum (the Borislav deposit), and peat (in the north) are extracted.

Among the most important machine-building and metalworking industries are instrument-making, electronics, and motor-vehicle construction. In 1972 the oblast accounted for 78.1 percent of the republic’s output of electric bulbs, 81.6 percent of its motorized cranes, 100 percent of its motorized loaders, 98.7 percent of its buses, and 32 percent of its television sets. The major enterprises are located in L’vov, Drogobych (motorized cranes and gas appliances), and Stryi.

A chemical and petrochemical industry has been developing, using both local and imported raw materials. The largest enterprises are the Stebnik Potassium Salt Combine, the Novyi Rozdol and lavorov chemical combines, the L’vov Chemical and Pharmaceutical Plant, the Drogobych and L’vov oil refineries, and the Sokal’ Synthetic Fiber Plant. Forestry and woodworking are important industries. Forest reserves cover 33 percent of the oblast’s territory, and multipurpose industries are engaged in forestry. The woodworking industry, located chiefly in Ciscarpathia at Zhidachov, Stryi, Drogobych, Sambor, and Dobromil’, produces furniture, veneer, parquet, paper, cardboard, and skis. The building materials industry manufactures glass, cement, reinforced-concrete products, bricks, and tiles at plants in L’vov, Nikolaev, Nesterov, and Chervonograd.

The food industry is represented by meat combines, oil and fats combines, dairies, and creameries (L’vov, Zolochev, Drogobych), by sugar refineries (Khodorov, Sambor, Krasnoe, Zolochev), by confectionery plants and a tobacco factory in L’vov, and by fruit canneries in lavorov and Brody. Light industry enterprises include plants producing knitwear, clothing, and leather products in L’vov, Stryi, Borislav, and Sokal’. The oblast has 26 production and production-technical associations. Artistic handicrafts include wood carving, embroidery, and rug weaving.

Agriculture has become highly mechanized and productive. In 1972 there were 409 kolkhozes and 49 sovkhozes. The area sown to crops totaled 840,300 hectares (ha) in 1972, of which 328,600 ha were under cereals (winter wheat, winter rye, legumes, spring barley), 95,300 ha under industrial crops (sugar beets, flax), 113,700 ha under vegetables, melons, and potatoes, and 302,700 ha under feed crops. There are many orchards, and market gardening is expanding in areas adjacent to L’vov.

Livestock is raised for both meat and milk; in addition to cattle, hogs and sheep are also raised. At the beginning of 1973 there were 1,122,000 cattle, including 444,000 dairy cows, 430,000 hogs, and 104,000 sheep and goats. Other important economic activities are poultry farming, pond fish raising, and beekeeping.

In 1973 there were 1,268 km of railroad lines, the most important of which were the Kiev-Zdolbunov-Krasnoe-L’vov-Sam bor-Uzhgorod line, the Kiev-Vinnitsa-Zhmerinka-L’vov-Stryi-Chop line, the L’vov-Mostiska line, the L’vov-Sokal’-Kovel’ line, and the L’vov-Ivano-Frankovsk-Chernovtsy line. The L’vov-Zdolbunov-Kiev-Moscow and the L’vov-Chop lines are electrified. The largest rail junctions are L’vov, Stryi, and Krasnoe. Paved highways totaled 6,300 km in 1972; the main highways are the Kiev-Rovno-Brody-L’vov road, the L’vov-Zolochev-Ternopol’-Vinnitsa road, the L’vov-Stryi-Mukachevo road, and the L’vov-Sambor-Uzhgorod road. The Druzhba (Friendship) Pipeline and several gas pipelines (Bratstvo, Dashava-Kiev, Dashava-Riga) pass through the oblast. Air routes connect L’vov with many large cities in the USSR and with raion centers within the oblast.

Schools, scientific and cultural institutions, and public health. In the 1972-73 academic year, 469,700 students were emrolled in 1,820 general schools; 46,000 students, in 43 specialized secondary schools; and 71,300 students, in 12 higher educational institutions. That year 52,000 children attended 411 preschool institutions.

The Western Scientific Center of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR and about 40 scientific research institutes are located in L’vov. As of Jan. 1, 1973, the oblast had 1,648 public libraries (with 16.6 million books and magazines), six theaters, and 12 museums. Among the museums in the city of L’vov are the Historical Museum, the L’vov Branch of the Central V. I. Lenin Museum, the Picture Gallery, the Museum of Ukrainian Art, the Museum of Ethnography and Artistic Crafts of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, the Museum of Natural History of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR, and the I. Franko Literary Memorial Museum. The oblast has 1,631 clubs and 1,536 motion-picture projectors.

Newspapers published in the oblast include Vil’na Ukraina (Free Ukraine, since Sept. 25, 1939, in Ukrainian), L’vovskaia pravda (L’vov Pravda, since 1946), and the Komsomol newspaper Lenins’ka molod’ (Leninist Youth, since 1940, in Ukrainian). Radio broadcasts are transmitted over three stations; 3.6 hours daily are devoted to local broadcasts in Ukrainian, and programs of the all-Union and republic systems are broadcast continuously. There are four hours daily of local television broadcasting, eight hours of republic broadcasting, and ten hours of central broadcasting, over two channels. The television center is in L’vov.

As of Jan. 1, 1973, there were 197 hospitals with 26,600 beds (10.7 beds per thousand inhabitants) and 7,800 physicians (one for every 321 persons). The oblast has several well-known health resorts—Truskavets, Liuben’-Velikii, Morshin, and Nemirov—sanatoriums, and houses of rest.


Ukraina: Raiony. Moscow, 1969. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
Istoriia mist i sil Ukrains’koi RSR: L’vivs’ka oblast’. Kiev, 1968.
Pryroda L’vivs’koi oblasti. L’vov, 1972.


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