Novosibirsk Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Novosibirsk Oblast


part of the RSFSR; formed on Sept. 28, 1937. Area, 178,200 sq km. Population, 2,522,000 (1973). Novosibirsk Oblast is divided into 30 raions. There are 14 cities and 15 urban-type settlements. The administrative center is the city of Novosibirsk. The oblast has been awarded the Order of Lenin twice (Jan. 8, 1957, and Nov. 27, 1970).

Natural features. Novosibirsk Oblast is located in the southeastern part of the Western Siberian Plain, primarily in the area between the Ob’ and the Irtysh. Most of the oblast lies in the southern part of the Vasiugan Plain and the Barabinsk Lowland. In the east it borders on the Salair Ridge. The oblast occupies a plain, with elevations of 150–200 m. Only in the eastern Salair region are there elevations of 300–350 m (maximum elevation, 493 m). Characteristic of the central and southern parts of the oblast are 6–10-m crests extending from northeast to southwest. Swamps and lakes occupy the depressions between the crests. South of Novosibirsk there are deposits of hard coal (the Gorlovka anthracite basin and the Zav’ialovo region of the Kuznetsk Coal Basin) and peat (primarily north of the Baraba Steppe). Deposits of oil and natural gas have been discovered in the northwest.

The climate is sharply continental. The average January temperature is –16°C in the south and –20°C in the north. Summers are short and hot, with average July temperatures of 18°–20°C. The total annual precipitation is 300–450 mm, with the maximum occurring in the summer. The growing season is 144–148 days in the north and 158–163 days in the south. The southern steppe regions tend to be arid. Dry winds are common in the summer, and cold winds in the winter.

Most of the rivers in the oblast belong to the Ob’ Basin. Many flow into drainless lakes. The Ob’ crosses the eastern part of the oblast from south to north. The northwestern region is drained by the Om’ and the Iara—tributaries of the Irtysh. Novosibirsk Reservoir was built on the Ob’. Located in the southwestern and central parts of the oblast are Lakes Chany, Sartlan, Ubinskoe, and Urium. As much as 28 percent of the area of Novosibirsk Oblast is occupied by swamps. Extensive reclamation projects are under way.

The oblast is distinguished by the great diversity of its soils. The main types are podzolic, gray forest, and chernozem, the last of which is most widespread in the forest-steppe and steppe zones. Almost 4 million hectares (ha)—that is, more than one-fifth of the oblast’s territory—are covered with forests. The greatest percentage of forest area (35 percent) is found in the subzone of the southern taiga, where conifers (fir, spruce, pine, cedar) prevail, with a mixture of birch, ash, and, more rarely, larch. The Salair region is densely forested (34 percent forest), as is the Ob’ region of pine forests (24 percent). Birch and ash groves prevail in the Barabinsk Lowland (11 percent forest). Meadows and pastures are found primarily in the Barabinsk Lowland and in the large river valleys.

The fauna is diverse. The northern forest regions are inhabited by bears, reindeer, elk, lynx, roe deer, wolverines, otters, and river beavers. Squirrels, weasels, and ermine are important for the fur industry. Birds include the capercaillie and hazel hen. Wolves, corsac, ermine, weasels, jerboas, blue (or mountain) hare, and European hare are found in the forest-steppe zone. Muskrats and water rats inhabit the lakes on the Baraba Steppe.

Population. The population of Novosibirsk Oblast includes Russians (91.3 percent; 1970 census), Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Germans, Kazakhs, and Tatars. The average population density is 14.1 inhabitants per sq km (1973). The most densely populated area is the eastern part of the oblast, where there are 25–30 inhabitants per sq km in some rural regions. The most sparsely settled area is the northern Barabinsk Lowland (four to five inhabitants per sq km). Under Soviet power, the ratio of urban to rural population has changed sharply. In 1917 the urban population accounted for 8.6 percent of the total population of the territory of what is now Novosibirsk Oblast, and in 1973, 68 percent. The largest city in the oblast is Novosibirsk. A number of other cities have developed: Barabinsk, Berdsk, Iskitim, Kuibyshev, and Tatarsk.

Economy. The oblast’s economy combines a powerful manufacturing industry and a substantial agricultural output. In 1973 the gross output of industry was 39 times that of 1940. The oblast’s industries include the production of electric and thermal power, ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy, a diverse machine-building and metalworking industry, the chemical industry, the lumber and wood-products industry, the building materials industry, light industry, and food processing. Of these, the most important are machine building and metalworking, which account for 43.8 percent of the total industrial output. Machine-building enterprises manufacture metal-cutting lathes and forge and press machinery, including custom-built heavy-duty lathes, as well as electrical engineering equipment, looms, and agricultural machinery. The radio engineering and instrument-making industries are widely represented. Food processing, whose branches include the milk and butter, meat, fat, flour, confectionery, and alcoholic beverages industries, occupies second place in overall volume of industrial output, accounting for 20 percent of the oblast’s total industrial output. Third place is occupied by light industry (8.4 percent of the total industrial output), which is represented by the cotton cloth, leather footwear, knitted goods, and fulling and felting industries.

The power industry depends on coal from the Kuznetsk Coal Basin and hydroelectric power produced by the Ob’ River (the Novosibirsk Hydroelectric Power Plant). Some electrical energy comes from Eastern Siberia. The Bashkiria-Omsk-Novosibirsk-Irkutsk oil pipeline is in operation. Metal comes primarily from the Kuznetsk Coal Basin, the Urals, and Kazakhstan. Most of the heavy industrial enterprises are concentrated in the city of Novosibirsk. The cement (Iskitim) and ceramics (Dorogino) industries are well developed. Timber is felled chiefly on the right bank of the Ob’ and in the northeastern Barabinsk Lowland.

In agriculture, the emphasis is on cereal crops and livestock. There are 8.4 million ha of farmland, including 4 million ha of plowlands, 2.2 million ha of hayfields, and 2.2 million ha of pasture. In 1973, 2.4 million ha were occupied by cereal crops and legumes, including spring wheat (1.7 million ha, or 71 percent of the total). The sown area of fodder crops, including maize, has increased considerably (up to 1.2 million ha). Flax is the leading industrial crop (75,000 ha). Potatoes are of considerable importance. Cereal crops are sown chiefly in the southern Barabinsk Lowland. Flax and potato production has been developed in the northeastern regions on the right bank of the Ob’.

A suburban zone of sovkhozes and kolkhozes specializing in the production of potatoes and vegetables, as well as in stock raising and poultry farming, is located near the city of Novosibirsk. The oblast has 292 sovkhozes and 169 kolkhozes, including six fishing cooperatives.

Stock raising is oriented toward the production of meat and dairy products. As of Jan. 1, 1974, there were 1,788,000 head of cattle, including 635,000 cows, and 1,637,000 sheep and goats, 460,000 pigs, 104,000 horses, and 8,876,000 fowl. Dairy livestock is raised chiefly in the Barabinsk Lowland.

There are 1,533 km of railroads (1972). The main lines are part of the Trans-Siberian Railroad and the Novosibirsk-Kuznetsk Coal Basin, Novosibirsk-Barnaul, Tatarsk-Karasuk-Kulunda, and Karasuk-Kamen’-na-Obi lines. The Ob’ is navigable.


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1914–15 academic year there were 574 general education schools, with 35,400 students, and one specialized secondary educational institution, with 79 students. There were no higher educational institutions. During the 1973–74 academic year there were 2,060 general education schools of all types, with a total enrollment of 466,100; 51 specialized secondary educational institutions, with 52,600 students; and 80 vocational technical schools, with 34,600 students. The oblast’s 14 higher educational institutions, as well as the branch of the Moscow Institute for Light Industry and Technology and the evening department of the Sverdlovsk Law Institute (all located in the city of Novosibirsk), had a total enrollment of 75,700. In 1973, 93,900 children were enrolled in preschool institutions.

As of Jan. 1, 1974, Novosibirsk Oblast had 955 public libraries, with 13.2 million books and journals. There are four museums, including the oblast museum of local lore (with its branch, the S. M. Kirov House-Museum) and the oblast picture gallery (both in the city of Novosibirsk), and the V. V. Kuibyshev Museum (in Kuibyshev, formerly Kainsk, where Kuibyshev served out his exile in 1907–09). The oblast’s six theaters are located in the city of Novosibirsk. There are 1,404 clubs, 1,984 motion-picture projection units, 36 houses of pioneers, five young technicians’ and young naturalists’ stations, and 25 sports schools for children.

Periodical publications include the oblast newspaper Sovetskaia Sibir’ (since 1919) and the Komsomol newspaper Molodost’ Sibiri (since 1920). Throughout the oblast, the number of radio and television programs transmitted is equal to that in the city of Novosibirsk.

As of Jan. 1, 1973, there were 276 hospitals with 29,200 beds (11.6 beds per 1,000 inhabitants). There were, at that time, 7,400 physicians (one per 341 inhabitants). The oblast has a mud therapy resort (Karachi) and various sanatoriums.


Priroda Novosibirskoi oblasti. Novosibirsk, 1968.
Po Leninu zhivem i stroim: Atlas Novosibirskoi oblasti. Moscow, 1970.
Protopopov, N. Novosibirskaia oblast’. Novosibirsk, 1955.
Novosibirskaia oblast’ za 50 let: Statisticheskii sb. Novosibirsk, 1967.
Rossiiskaia Federatsiia: Zapadnaia Sibir’. Moscow, 1971. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
Otsenka prirodnykh resursov Novosibirskoi oblasti. Novosibirsk, 1972.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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