an oblast located in the southern part of the Ukrainian SSR. Formed on Sept. 22, 1937. Area, 24,700 sq km; population, 1,181,000 (1973). The oblast is divided into 19 raions, with six cities and 19 urban-type settlements. The city of Nikolaev is the administrative center. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Nov. 4, 1958.
Natural features. Nikolaev Oblast is located on a plain (elevation, 20–40 m) that gradually slopes downward from north to south toward the Black Sea. Most of the oblast forms part of the Black Sea Lowland, but the north is characterized by spurs of the right-bank Dnieper Upland (elevations to 240 m), with a greatly dissected network of ravines, gullies, and valleys. The broad expanses between the rivers are characterized by the presence of vast, rounded depressions, which in spring fill with water and form temporary lakes.
Nikolaev Oblast has a moderately continental climate. Summers are hot and windy, with frequent dry winds; the average temperature during the warmest month, July, is 27°C. Winters are relatively mild, with little snow; the average temperature during the coldest month, January, is —4° to —5°C. Annual precipitation varies from 300–350 mm in the south to 450 mm in the north. Most of the precipitation occurs in the summer, in the form of cloud bursts. The growing season is approximately 210 days. The oblast’s Black Sea coastline is broken by limans of the Bug, Berezan’, Tuzlov, Tiligul, and Dnieper rivers. The principal rivers are the Iuzhnyi Bug, which crosses the western part of the oblast from northwest to southeast, the Ingul (a left tributary of the Iuzhnyi Bug), and the Ingulets (a right tributary of the Dnieper).
The predominant soils in the northern part of the oblast are common chernozems. In the south, the common chernozems are replaced by southern chernozems and dark chestnut and weakly alkaline and medium alkaline chernozems. There are also solonetzes, solonetzic solodized soils, marshy floodplains, and peat bogs. The areas bordering the rivers or the sea have sandy and sandy loam soils, in places giving way to drifting sands.
Almost all of the oblast’s land is cultivated. The natural steppe vegetation has been preserved only on the slopes of the ravines and gullies. Approximately 2 percent of the oblast is occupied by forests and shrub thickets (primarily oak, aspen, maple, black poplar, elm, and pine). Field shelter belts account for approximately 29,300 ha. The Katerinovka and Voznesensk forests are under government protection.
The fauna of the oblast includes foxes, European hares, the black-bellied hamster, spotted susliks, quails, bustards, the English pheasant, Hungarian partridges, wild ducks, greylags, Limicoline birds, skylarks (Alauda arvensis), and calandra larks (Melancorypha calandra). Black Sea fish of commercial importance include gobies, the anchovy Engraulus encrasicholus, mullets, chekhon (or saber carp; Pelecus cultratus), mackerel, and fish of the family Acipenseridae. Commercially valuable river fish include carp, European bream, and pike perch.
Population. Nikolaev Oblast is inhabited by Ukrainians, who constituted 78.9 percent of the population in 1970, as well as by Russians (16.1 percent) and other nationalities. The average population density is 47.8 per sq km (1973). Urban dwellers constitute 57 percent of the population (1973). The major cities are Nikolaev, Pervomaisk, Voznesensk, Snigirevka, Ochakov, and Novyi Bug.
Economy. The oblast’s gross industrial output increased 14.1 times between 1940 and 1973 and 2.9 times between 1960 and 1973. Heavy industry accounts for 56 percent of the gross industrial output. Nikolaev Oblast uses metals coming predominantly from the Dnieper region, coal from the Donets Coal Basin, and natural gas from Shebelinka. Other sources of energy include hydroelectric power plants on the Iuzhnyi Bug (at Pervomaisk, Konstantinovka, and Voznesensk) and a heat and electric power plant in Nikolaev. The oblast also receives electrical energy from the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant. Leading industries include machine building, metalworking, and, particularly, shipbuilding (the Chernomorskii Imeni 61 Kommunara shipbuilding plants and the Okean Plant, the latter built in the postwar period). Heavy industry also includes the production of diesel engines, hydraulic, and complex power-engineering equipment, and steel structures. The Dormashina Plant in Nikolaev produces bulldozers, asphalt spreaders, and other road-building machines. Factories built in the postwar period include the Fregat Plant in Pervomaisk (deck equipment and sprinklers) and the Ol’shanskoe Cement Plant.
The food-processing industry is well developed and accounts for 34 percent of the oblast’s industrial output. It includes the meat-processing, dairy, flour-milling, sugar-refining, and canning industries. It is represented by the Nikolaev and Voznesensk meat combines, the Pervomaisk Poultry Combine, sugar combines, in Pervomaisk and the village of Zasel’e, a canned milk combine in Pervomaisk, canning plants in Voznesensk and Snigirevka, a marine mussels processing plant in Ochakov, a powdered milk plant in Veselinovo, and a hydrolysis and yeast plant in Ol’shanskoe. The southern region produce wine and mineral waters (Snigirevka).
The largest light-industry enterprises include a knitwear combine, the S. M. Kirov and A. A. Zhdanov garment factories in Nikolaev, the Pervomaisk and Voznesensk factories, and a shoe factory. There are also processing plants for hemp, which is cultivated in the northern and central parts of the oblast.
The construction materials industry accounts for 5.9 percent of industrial production of the oblast. It includes a wall-blocks building factory, a brickyard, and cement, tile, and lime factories. There are also granite quarries.
Agriculture is highly mechanized and diversified. Nikolaev Oblast is an important area in the Ukrainian SSR for highly marketable grain and industrial crops and cattle raising for milk and meat. At the beginning of 1974, there were 108 sovkhozes, 221 kolkhozes, and seven fishery kolkhozes. At the beginning of 1973, there were 13,600 tractors (complete individual units), 3,676 grain-harvesting combines, 1,714 silage combines, and 980 corn-harvesting combines. All the kolkhozes and sovkhozes have been electrified. In 1972 the total land area comprised 71.5 percent arable land, 0.4 percent hay fields, 11.4 percent pastures, and 2 percent orchards, berry bushes, and other perennial plantings.
Of the 1,646,200 hectares (ha) under cultivation in 1973, 853,200 ha were sown with grain, 217,000 ha with industrial crops, 63,400 ha with vegetables, melons, and potatoes, and 513,000 ha with fodder. The main grain crop is winter wheat (502,000 ha); summer barley and corn grown for grain are also important. The leading industrial crops include the sunflower (146,000 ha), the sugar beet (in the north), and coriander. Vegetables are cultivated primarily on irrigated lands in Snigirevka and Voznesensk raions. Irrigated lands, primarily located in the Ingulets River system, totaled 84,600 ha in 1972. Fruit and berry crops (apples, pears, cherries, apricots, plums) covered 32,500 ha in 1973; of this, 25,200 ha were fruit-bearing. In 1973 the gross harvest of fruits and berries was 73,800 tons. Vine-growing sovkhozes are located in the south (66,900 ha). The 1973 grape harvest totaled 47,900 tons.
The principal branches of animal husbandry are cattle raising for milk and meat. Pigs, sheep, and poultry are also raised. At the beginning of 1972 there were 902,300 head of cattle (including 322,800 cows), 932,500 pigs, and 510,800 sheep. There is fishing in the Black Sea, in the limans, and in the Iuzhnyi Bug, the Ingul, and the Ingulets. Other branches of animal husbandry include rabbit farming, sericulture, pond fishery, and apiculture.
Nikolaev Oblast had 760 km of railroad tracks in 1973. The oblast is crossed by the lines from Nikolaev to Znamenka, linking the oblast with Moscow, Kiev, and other cities; the Odessa-Voznesensk-Bakhmach-Moscow line; and lines to the Donets Coal Basin, the Crimea, and elsewhere. In 1973 there were 8,000 km of automobile roads, of which 3,400 km were paved. Sea transport is of great importance. Nikolaev and Ochakov are the ports. There is regular freight traffic and passenger service along the Iuzhnyi Bug. The Ingul and Ingulets are navigable in their lower courses to cutters and small barges. Nikolaev is linked by air with many cities of the Soviet Union.
Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1914–15 academic year the oblast had 740 general education schools, mainly primary schools (about 68,000 pupils), and four specialized secondary schools (400 students); there were no institutions of higher education. In 1972, 51,500 children were enrolled in 611 preschool institutions. In the 1973–74 academic year there were about 213,000 students enrolled in 872 general education schools of various kinds; 14,400 students in 32 technical-vocational schools; 15,200 students in 15 specialized secondary schools; and 11,900 students in higher educational institutions. There are shipbuilding and pedagogical institutes in Nikolaev, a general technical department of the Odessa Technological Institute of the Refrigeration Industry in Pervomaisk, a construction engineering department of the Odessa Construction Engineering Institute, and a cultural enlightenment department of the Kiev Institute of Culture in Nikolaev. Nikolaev has a division of the Central Astronomy Observatory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
As of Jan. 1, 1973, there were 676 public libraries, with 8,600,000 copies of books and journals, a museum of local lore and the V. V. Vereshchagin Art Museum in Nikolaev. Nikolaev also has a Russian drama theater, a Ukrainian music and drama theater, and a puppet theater. The oblast has 658 clubs, 826 film projectors, and 45 extracurricular institutions, including 21 houses of Pioneers and 13 sports schools for children.
There are two Ukrainian-language oblast newspapers: Pivdenna pravda (Southern Pravda, since 1917) and the Komsomol paper Lenins’ke plem’ia (Lenin’s Generation, since 1920). The Russian-language oblast newspaper Iuzhnaia Pravda (Southern Pravda) has been published since 1938. The oblast has radio broadcasts one hour each day. Radio and television programs are relayed from Moscow and Kiev.
As of Jan. 1, 1973, the oblast had 124 hospitals with 12,600 beds (10.7 beds per 1,000 inhabitants) and 2,700 physicians (one for every 434 inhabitants). The Bereznegovatoe and Snigirevka raions have chloride-sulfate-sodium mineral springs. Ochakov has therapeutic mud, as well as mineral water springs. Rest and recreation centers are located on the Black Sea coast at Ochakov, Rybakovka, and Koblevo.
REFERENCESIstoriia mist i sil Ukrains’koi RSR: Mykolaivs’ka oblast’. Kiev, 1971.
Narodne hospodarstvo Ukrains’koi RSR: Stat. zbirnyk. Kiev, 1971.
Ukraina: Raiony. Moscow, 1969. (Part of the series Sovetskii Soiuz.)
N. P. IARKIN