Perm Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Perm’ Oblast


part of the RSFSR. Formed on Oct. 3, 1938. Area, 160,600 sq km. Population, 2,974,000 (1974). Perm’ Oblast includes the Komi-Permiak National Okrug. The administrative center is the city of Perm’. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Jan. 28, 1967.

Natural features. The oblast is situated in the northeast of the East European Plain and on the western slopes of the Central and Northern Urals. Most of it is occupied by a rolling plain stretching from north to south across the central part of the oblast. The east is occupied by the foothills and mountains of the Central and Northern Urals (highest peak, 1,469 m).

The Verkhnekama Elevation, with elevations of 200–300 m, is in the west, the weakly dissected Severnye Uvaly, with elevations of 200–250 m, in the northwest, and the outer edges of the Ufa Plateau in the southeast. Karst is developed mainly in the southeast (Kungur Peshchera).

Perm’ Oblast is rich in mineral resources, including oil, gas, potassium and magnesium salts, common salt, and peat; coal and chromites are abundant in the east. The climate is temperate continental. The winter is long, with abundant snow; the summer is temperate and warm. The average January temperature ranges from —18° C in the northeast to —15° C in the southwest, and the July temperature from 16° C to 18.5° C. The period with temperatures above 10° C totals 100 to 125 days, with the sum of temperatures ranging from 1,400° C to 1,800° C. Precipitation totals 450 mm to 600 mm a year, with about 800 mm falling in the northeast.

The main rivers are the Kama—which dissects the oblast from north to south—and its tributaries the Vesliana, the Vishera with the Kolva, the Iaiva, the Kos’va, and the Chusovaia with the Sylva on the left and the Kosa, the In’va, and the Obva on the right. The flow of the Kama is regulated by hydroelectric power plants. The hydroelectric potential of the major rivers is 1.6 gigawatts. The Kama is navigable during its high-water period for its entire course through Perm’ Oblast (more than 1,000 km), and the Vishera, Chusovaia, and several other tributaries are navigable in their lower reaches.

Podzolic soils cover 38 percent of the oblast; soddy podzolic soils, 40 percent; gray forest soils and degraded chernozems, 2.4 percent (in the southwest); bog soils, 6.8 percent; and other soils, 12.8 percent. Forests cover more than 60 percent of the oblast. Central- and southern-taiga spruce forests are widespread; the south is dominated by broad-leaved and spruce forests mixed with Siberian fir. The southeast is occupied by the Kungur Forest Steppe. The timber reserves in the state-fund forests total 1.24 billion cu m, of which 1 billion cu m are coniferous forests. Taiga fauna is typical of the oblast and includes the squirrel, Siberian weasel, pine marten, mink, foxes of the genus Vulpes, and the blue hare, as well as forest game. Steppe animals that have penetrated the oblast from the south include the weasel Putorius eversmanni, the European hare, cricetines, and the Hungarian partridge.

Population. According to the 1970 census, the population comprises 2,490,000 Russians, 169,000 Tatars, 139,000 Komi-Permiaks, 48,000 Bashkirs, 48,000 Ukrainians, 31,000 Udmurts, and 98,000 people of other nationalities. The average population density is 18.5 persons per sq km; in rural areas it is six persons per sq km, varying from 25 persons in the south to one to two persons in the north. Seventy-one percent of the population resides in urban areas. Cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants are Perm’, Berezniki, Solikamsk, Kungur, Lys’va, Chusovoi, Kras-nokamsk, and Chaikovskii.

Economy. Perm’ Oblast is highly industrialized. Industrial output increased more than 14 times between 1940 and 1973. Heavy industry accounts for four-fifths of the industrial output, with the machine-building, chemical, and lumber industries constituting more than one-half of the total output. Machine building is represented by enterprises that manufacture equipment for the mining, metallurgical, oil, coal, and paper industries and for electrical-engineering enterprises. It is also represented by enterprises that manufacture power machines, machine tools, ships, and household and other consumer goods, including electric appliances, enamel ware, and bicycles. Especially important plants include a group of machine-building plants, an electrical-engineering plant, and a cable plant in Perm’, a petroleum-machine-building plant in Kungur, a turbogenerator plant in Lys’va, a mining-machine-building plant in the city of Aleksan-drovsk, and a lens plant in the settlement of Suksun. The machine-building industry uses metals produced in Urals plants, including plants in Perm’ Oblast, such as the Chusovoi and Lys’va plants. Ferroalloys are produced in the oblast; chromites are mined at the settlement of Sarany; and a titanium and magnesium industry has been developed.

The chemical industry includes enterprises that produce basic chemicals and mineral fertilizers—a group of potassium combines in Berezniki and Solikamsk, a nitrogen-fertilizer plant and soda plants in Berezniki, and a superphosphate plant in Perm’; other enterprises produce coke by-products (in Gubakha), dyes (Berezniki, Perm’), and wood chemicals (Krasnokamsk, Solikamsk, Krasnovishersk). A major petrochemical industry has been created. The oblast’s chemical industry has abundant sources of raw materials, of which the great Verkhnekama potassium salt deposit is especially important.

Perm’ Oblast is one of the leading oblasts in logging and the manufacture of lumber products, ranking first in paper output. In 1973, 23.7 million cu m of timber was hauled; the output of sawn lumber was 3.5 million cu m, of plywood 112,000 cu m, of paper 926,000 tons, and of cardboard 98,000 tons. Fiberboard and splint slabs are produced. The main logging regions are in the north and northeast, from where the timber is transported by water and rail to sawmilling and woodworking plants, which are located mainly on the Kama and its major tributaries and include the Vishera, Solikamsk, and Kama pulp-and-paper combines, the Perm’ paper combine, and a sawmill in Dobrian-ka. Along with the production of lumber products, the oblast exports round timber, which is mostly rafted down the Kama.

The extraction and processing of minerals used in construction is developed. In 1973 the oblast quarried more than 7 million cu m of sand, rock, rock debris, and gravel, all used in construction, and large amounts of gypsum (at Ergach station), limestone, and dolomite for metallurgy. It produced 2.6 million tons of cement, more than 1 million cu m of reinforced-concrete structural members and components, 443 million bricks, and 2.5 million sq m of window glass. A diamond deposit is under exploitation in the northeast.

Light industry and the food-processing industry, which is only of oblast significance, account for about one-fifth of the total industrial output. Especially important are a large silk combine in the city of Chaikovskii (89.7 million m of silk fabric in 1973), the footwear industry (10.6 million pairs of leather shoes and boots in 1973), the production of common salt (Solikamsk), and ancient crafts such as stone and gypsum carving (Kungur).

The extraction of fuel for energy and technological needs plays an important role. The 1973 output figures are 19.3 million tons of oil, 1.1 billion cu m of gas, and 7.6 million tons of coal (Kizel Basin). Oil and gas are extracted in the central and southeastern regions.

There are oil refineries in Perm’ and Krasnokamsk; pipelines transport oil from Al’met’evsk (Tatar ASSR) to Perm’ and gas from Western Siberia. An electric power system unites all the important thermal power plants and the largest hydroelectric power plants—the Kama (504 megawatts) and the Votkinsk (1 gigawatt)—the construction of which also improved the navigability of the Kama.

Agriculture is dominated by animal husbandry and grain farming; there is suburban farming around the industrial centers. There were 213 kolkhozes and 196 sovkhozes in late 1973. Agricultural lands (as of Nov. 1, 1973) cover one-fifth of the oblast, mainly in the south. Plowlands occupy 2.1 million hectares (ha); hayfields, 0.5 million ha; and pastures, 0.5 million ha. The kolkhozes and sovkhozes have 16,400 tractors and 5,300 grain-harvesting combines (as of late 1973). In 1973, 1,875,000 ha were under cultivation. Grain crops occupied 1,125,000 ha; potatoes and vegetables, 99,000 ha; industrial crops (flax), 6,000 ha; and fodder crops, 645,000 ha. The principal grain crops are rye, wheat (380,000 ha), and oats. Animal husbandry is practiced for both dairy and meat products. As of Jan. 1, 1974, Perm’ Oblast had 800,000 head of cattle, including 339,000 cows; 329,000 hogs; 223,000 sheep and goats; and 5.3 million fowl.

The chief means of transportation are railroads, most of which are electrified, and waterways. The main trunk lines are the east-west Sverdlovsk-Kungur-Perm’-Kirov and Sverdlovsk-Krasnoufimsk-Kueda-Kazan lines and the north-south Soli-kamsk-Kizel-Chusovskaia-Lys’va-Kuzino-Berdiaush line. The operating length of the railroads of general use was 1,500 km in 1973. The oblast has a developed network of air transportation, and the importance of highway and pipeline transport is rapidly growing.

INTERNAL DIFFERENCES. The Kama Region, which occupies the southern half of the plain of Perm’ Oblast, has machine-building, lumber, and chemical industries, as well as a developed hydroelectric-power industry. It also has oil refineries and wells. It is the chief agricultural region. The principal city of the region is the city of Perm’. The Gorno-Kama Region, which occupies the southern half of the mountainous part of the oblast, has large-scale mining, metallurgical, and logging industries and is the center of the oblast’s machine-building, chemical, and woodworking industries. Principal cities are Chusovoi, Lys’va, Kizel, and Berezniki. The Vishera Urals Region, which occupies most of the Vishera River basin, has a logging and sawmilling industry, small-scale agriculture, and hunting. The principal cities are Krasnovishersk and Cherdyn’. The Komi-Permiak National Okrug has a forestry industry and, in the south of the okrug, large-scale agriculture dominated by animal husbandry and grain farming, with the cultivation of flax and potatoes also important. The principal city is Kudymkar.


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1914–15 academic year there were 1,427 general-education schools (mainly primary schools), with 100,300 students, and six specialized secondary schools, with 420 students, in what is now Perm’ Oblast. In the 1973–74 academic year the oblast had 2,169 general-education schools of all types, with 551,600 students; 100 vocational-training schools, with 50,100 students; 59 specialized secondary schools, with 56,700 students; and six higher educational institutions—a university and polytechnic, medical, agricultural, pharmaceutical, and pedagogical institutes in Perm’—with 43,500 students. There were 181,200 children in 2,289 preschool institutions in 1973.

Some institutions of the Urals Scientific Center of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR are located in Perm’ Oblast, in the city of Perm’, including departments of polymer physics and the genetics and selection of microorganisms and an economics laboratory. Also in the oblast (in the city of Perm’) are a scientific research and design institute of the oil industry (Perm NIPINeft’), a scientific research coal institute, and a scientific research institute of control machines and systems (NIIUMS). The oblast has branches in the city of Perm’ of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Drilling Technology, of the All-Union Scientific Research and Design Institute of the Chemical Industry, and of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of the Pulp-and-Paper Industry. Also located in Perm’ are the Kama Division of the All-Union Scientific Research Geological Oil Exploration Institute and the Urals branch of the All-Union Scientific Research and Design Institute of Salt Science. A branch of the All-Union Scientific Research and Design Aluminum and Magnesium Institute is in Berezniki.

As of Jan. 1, 1974, Perm’ Oblast had 1,219 public libraries, with 16.9 million books and magazines. It had an oblast museum of local lore, with a branch called the Museum of the Underground Press of the Perm’ Committee of the RSDLP of 1906; a state art gallery, with an affiliated picture gallery in Chaikovskii; and a diorama entitled The December Armed Revolt of 1905 in Motovilikha—all in Perm’. It also had museums of local lore in Berezniki, Solikamsk, Cherdyn’, Kungur, Kudymkar, and the settlement of Il’inskii. The oblast had eight theaters: an academic theater of opera and ballet, a drama theater, a young people’s theater, and a puppet theater, all in Perm’, and drama theaters in Berezniki, Kizel, Lys’va, and Kudymkar. It had an oblast philharmonic society and a state circus in Perm’, as well as 1,706 clubs and 2,313 motion-picture projection units.

There are two oblast newspapers, Zvezda (since 1917) and the Komsomol newspaper Molodaia gvardiia (since 1932). Oblast radio programs are broadcast for two hours and 30 minutes a day and oblast television programs for three hours and 30 minutes a day; programs of the All-Union Radio and the Central Television are relayed.

As of Jan. 1, 1974, Perm’ Oblast had 37,200 hospital beds, or 12.5 beds per 1,000 inhabitants, and 7,800 doctors, or one doctor per 383 inhabitants. It has the balneological health resorts Kliu-chi and Ust’-Kachka, the health resort Trushniki, two tourist centers, and boardinghouses (pensions).


Rossiiskaia Federatsiia: Ural. Moscow, 1968. (In the series Sovetskii Soiuz.)
Permskaia oblast’: Priroda, Istoriia, Ekonomika, Kul’tura. Perm’, 1959.
Tiunov, V. F. Promyshlennoe razvitie Zapadnogo Urala, books 1–3. Perm’, 1954–58.
Komar, I. V. Geografiia khoziaistva Urala. Moscow, 1964.
Nikolaev, S. F., M. N. Stepanov, and P. N. Chepkasov. Geografiia Permskoi oblasti. Perm’, 1969.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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