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part of the Ukrainian SSR. Formed on Sept. 22, 1937. Situated in the central part of the Left-bank Ukraine. Area, 28,800 sq km. Population, 1,730,000 (1974). The oblast is divided into 25 raions and has 13 cities and 23 urban-type settlements. The administrative center is the city of Poltava. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1967.
Natural features. Poltava Oblast is situated on the ancient terraces of the Dnieper and its tributaries, at the southwestern slope of the Central Russian Upland. It occupies a plain, which slopes gently toward the Dnieper. The plain has elevations in the northeast of 170 to 202 m, and in the southwest of 60 to 100 m. In the east it is slightly rolling, dissected by deep river valleys, ravines, and gorges; in the west it is flat. The climate is temperate and continental. The average temperature in January ranges from –5.5° to –7.6°C, and in July from 20° to 21.7°C. The average annual precipitation varies from 430 to 560 mm and falls mainly in the summer. The length of the growing season, when the temperature is above 10°C, is 157 to 172 days. Rivers of the Dnieper River Basin that flow through the oblast are the Sula, Psel, and Vorskla, left tributaries of the Dnieper. Part of the Kremenchug Reservoir is in the oblast.
Chernozems, both thick and ordinary low- and average-humus chernozems, occupy a large part of the oblast (up to 70 percent). There are solodized soils and solodi in regions near the Dnieper. Dark-gray podzolized soils cover the areas along the Sula, Vorskla, and Psel rivers. The southern boundary of the forest-steppe passes through the oblast, along the Kremenchug-Poltava railroad line. There is almost no natural steppe vegetation. Forests and shrubs together with shelterbelts occupy 7.5 percent of the land area. Predominant trees are oak, ash, smooth-leaved elm, and maple; also encountered are linden and hornbeam. The underbrush consists largely of frangula and plants of the genus Coryla. Pine forests mixed with oak are common along the sandy river terraces, and there are many floodplain meadows.
The forests are inhabited by elk, roe deer, wild boar, wolves, badgers, and foxes of the genus Vulpes, and the steppes by the polecat Mustelaputorius eversmanni, European hares, cricetines, and spotted susliks. Birds include imperial eagles, bustards, European, or common, cranes, wild ducks and geese, quail, Hungarian partridges, skylarks, and wood larks. The rivers, lakes, and ponds contain carp, pike perch, European bream, crucian carp, the Esocidae, and other fish. There is a dendrologic park —in Globino Raion—and two forest-reserve sectors—Para-sotskoe in Dikan’ka Raion and Urochishche in Kotel’va Raion.
Population. The population of Poltava Oblast consists mostly of Ukrainians (91.3 percent in 1970) and Russians (7.2 percent). The average population density is 60.1 persons per sq km. The most densely populated areas are the central regions (93 persons per sq km), and the least densely populated are in the southeast (40 persons per sq km). Urban population accounts for 46 percent of the total population. The principal cities are Poltava, Kremenchug, Lubny, Mirgorod, Piriatin, Khorol, and Gadiach. During the years of Soviet power, new cities have arisen, including Karlovka, Grebenka, and Komsomol’sk.
Economy. Before the October Revolution of 1917, what is now Poltava Oblast was a backward agrarian region. Industry was represented chiefly by small-scale enterprises for the processing of agricultural raw materials. During the years of Soviet power the oblast has become a developed industrial and agricultural region. Gross industrial output in 1973 was 8.9 times higher than in 1940. The main industries are machine building, metal working, food processing, light industry, building materials, and wood products. New industries emerged in the postwar years in connection with the discovery of deposits of oil and gas in Rad-chenkovo and Glinsko-Rozbyshevskoe and iron ore near Kremenchug; they include the extraction of oil and gas, oil refining, production of chemicals, and mining. Electric power is provided by thermal power plants and the Kremenchug Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Dnieper. In 1973, electric-power output totaled 1,597 million kwh.
Machine building and metalworking are the largest industries, accounting for 34 percent of the oblast’s industrial output. Enterprises are concentrated mostly in Poltava (a diesel-engine-repair factory, a turbine works, the Khimmash Factory), Kremenchug (plants that build motor vehicles, railroad cars, and roading machinery), Lubny (machine-tool-manufacturing, machine-building, and adding-machine plants), and Karlovka (equipment for the food-processing industry). The rapidly developing chemical industry is represented by oil refineries and a carbon-black plant (Kremenchug), a chemical-pharmaceutical plant (Lubny), and plants producing synthetic diamonds and diamond tools (Poltava). An ore-dressing combine has been built in Kremenchug.
The food-processing industry is a leading industry, accounting for 31 percent of the oblast’s industrial output. Its most developed branches are the meat-packing industry (27 percent; Poltava, Kremenchug, Lubny, Mirgorod, Piriatin, Gadiach), the sugar industry (Lokhvitsa, Kobeliaki, Iares’ki), the dairy industry (Poltava, Kremenchug), the canned-fruit industry (Piriatin, Mirgorod, Poltava), the fats and vegetable oil industry (Poltava), the alcohol industry (Lokhvitsa), and the tobacco industry (Kremenchug). Branches of light industry (8 percent) include the cotton-spinning (Poltava), knitwear (Kremenchug, Poltava), footwear, and garment industries. The wood-products industry (3 percent) has been substantially developed. There are furniture and prefabricated-housing combines (Kremenchug, Lubny) and furniture factories (Poltava, Piriatin). The building-materials industry has branches in Kremenchug Raion (the quarrying and processing of granite) and in Poltava, Lubny, Mirgorod, and Gadiach (production of reinforced-concrete structural members, brick, keramzit). There are also enterprises that produce felt footwear (Kobeliaki), decorative majolica dishes (Oposhnia), and embroidery (Poltava, Reshetilovka).
Agriculture is concentrated in grain and beet fanning, with some dairy farming and stock raising for meat. Most of the agricultural industry involves land cultivation, which accounts for 52.6 percent of agricultural output. In 1973 there were 481 kolkhozes (excluding those devoted to fishing) and 44 sovkhozes. Agricultural lands occupy 77.3 percent of the oblast, with plowed land (84.7 percent) and pastures and hayfields (13.6 percent) predominating. The crop area (1973) is 1,852,200 hectares (ha), of which 913,700 ha are under grain crops (winter wheat, legumes, corn, rye), 263,400 ha under industrial crops (162,400 under sugar beets, 76,500 ha under sunflowers), 100,-500 ha under potatoes, vegetables, and gourds, and 574,600 ha under fodder crops. The majority of farms have fruit orchards. Vegetable growing is well developed in the suburban regions of major industrial centers. Suburban farms grow 14 percent of the herbs grown in the Ukrainian SSR (valerian, Dalmatian chamomile [Pyrethrum cineraril folicum], mostly in Lubny Raion.
Poltava Oblast has 22,000 ha of drained agricultural land and 7,000 ha of irrigated agricultural land. Stock is raised both for dairy products and for meat. In 1973 the oblast had 1,164,000 head of cattle (including 445,600 cows); 1,289,200 hogs; and 373,600 sheep and goats. Industrial stock-raising complexes are being built in Lubny, Zen’kov, Lokhvitsa, and other raions. Poultry and rabbit raising and beekeeping are important in the economy.
Railroads are the chief means of transportation. In 1973 there were 853 km of operating railroads. The principal lines are the Kiev-Poltava-Kharkov, Poltava-Donetsk, Nikolaev-Kremen-chug-Bakhmach, and Kremenchug-Poltava. The main railroad junctions are Poltava, Kremenchug, Grebenka, and Romodan. Automobile roads total 10,500 km, including 3,400 km of paved roads. The main highways are the Kiev-Poltava-Kharkov, Poltava-Zaporozh’e-SimferopoF, Keiv-Piriatin-Sumy, Poltava-Kremenchug, and Poltava-Gadiach-Romny. The Dnieper River is of great importance as a transport route, and the Sula River is navigable for 146 km. Poltava is joined by air with Moscow and oblast centers and raions of the Ukrainian SSR. Pipelines through the oblast include the Shebelinka-Kremenchug-Odessa gas pipeline and the Kremenchug-Kherson oil pipeline.
Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1973–74 academic year, the oblast had 1,258 general educational schools of all types with 267,000 students; 37 vocational and technical schools, with 16,300 students; 30 specialized secondary schools, with 27,000 students; and five higher educational institutions— agricultural, pedagogical, medical-stomatological, civil-engineering, and cooperative institutes, all in Poltava—with 16,900 students. There is also a general technological department of the Khar’kov Automobile and Highway Institute in Kremenchug. In 1973, 50,800 children were enrolled in 516 preschool institutions.
Major scientific institutions include the Poltava Scientific Research Institute of Hog Raising, the All-Union Scientific Research and Technological Design Institute of Railroad-Car Construction (Kremenchug), and the Scientific Research Design and Production Process Planning Institute for Enameled Chemical Hardware (Poltava).
As of Jan. 1, 1974, there were 1,228 public libraries, with 11.8 million copies of books and magazines. Museums include the Museum of the History of the Battle of Poltava, an art museum, and an oblast museum of local lore in Poltava, with branches in Lokhvitsa and Mirgorod. There are literary memorial museums in Poltava honoring P. Mirnyi (who lived in Poltava from 1871), I. P. Kotliarevskii (born in Poltava in 1769), and V. G. Koro-lenko (lived in Poltava from 1900). There is a literary memorial museum honoring D. Guramishvili in Mirgorod, where Gura-mishvili lived from 1760, a literary memorial museum honoring N. V. Gogol in the village of Velikie Sorochintsy, where Gogol was born in 1809, one honoring A. S. Makarenko in Kremenchug Raion, where Makarenko worked from 1918 to 1920, and another honoring A. M. Gorky in the village of Manuilovka, which Gorky visited in 1897 and 1900. There are also museums of local lore in Lubny and Kremenchug. The oblast has two theaters—a theater of music and drama and an oblast puppet theater, both in Poltava. It has 1,105 clubs, 1,346 motion-picture projection units, and 70 extracurricular institutions.
The oblast has two newspapers that are published in Ukrainian: Zoria Poltavshchyny (since 1917) and Komsomolets’ Poltavshchyny (since 1938). The oblast receives the programs of Central and Republic Television; radio programs of the All-Union Radio and Republic Radio are broadcast in Russian and Ukrainian.
As of Jan. 1, 1974, Poltava Oblast had 215 hospitals, with 18,900 beds (10.9 beds per 1,000 inhabitants) and 4,200 doctors (one doctor per 407 inhabitants). It has a balneological resort (Mirgorod), sanatoriums, and houses of rest.
REFERENCESBondarchuk, V. H. Heomorfologyia URSR. Kiev, 1949.
Poltavshchyna Kharkov, 1969.
Ukraina. Moscow, 1969. (In the Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
Narodne hospodarstvo Poltavs’ koi oblasti: Statystychnyi zbimyk Karkov, 1971.
Barabash, V. I. Poltavshchyna v dev’iatiip’iatyrichtsL Kharkov, 1972.
P. N. EMETSAND N. I. NIKITENKO