Primore Krai

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Primor’e Krai


(Maritime Territory), an administrative unit (krai) within the RSFSR, formed on Oct. 20, 1938. The krai is bounded on the west and southwest by China and the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea. Area, 165,900 sq km. Population, 1,872,000 (Jan. 1, 1974). It is divided into 24 administrative raions and has nine cities and 48 urban-type settlements. Its administrative center is Vladivostok. The krai was awarded the Order of Lenin on Dec. 31, 1965.

Natural features. The Primor’e Krai lies in the southern part of the Soviet Far East, facing the Sea of Japan. Its coast, more than 1,350 km long, is strongly indented in the south, where the large Petr Velikii Gulf is divided into several small bays: Pos’et, Slavianka, Amur, Ussuri, Vostok, and Amerika. The southern coast is also fringed by many islands, of which the largest are the Russkii, Reineke, Putiatin, and Askol’d. The remainder of the coast (about 700 km), from Cape Povorotnyi in the south to the border of Khabarovsk Krai in the north, is slightly indented, with only two bays: Ol’ga and Vladimir.

Most of the krai is occupied by mountains belonging to the Sikhote Alin’ System. Medium-elevation mountains (600–700 m) prevail, and the highest peak is Mount Oblachnaia (1,855 m). The ranges run parallel to each other from southwest to northeast. The largest lowlands are the Ussuri and Khanka, and small stretches of lowland are also found along the coast.

The krai has a distinctly monsoonal climate. Winters are short but cold, with minimum January temperatures of — 30°C in Vladivostok and — 40°C to — 45°C in the interior. Average January temperatures range from — 12°C to — 14°C along the coast and from — 20°C to — 27°C inland. Summers are cloudy and rainy, with frequent cyclones. The maximum summer temperature is 40°C, with the average July temperature varying from 14°C to 21°C. The annual precipitation ranges from 600 mm to 900 mm, most of it occurring in the summer months, particularly during typhoons. A cold current flowing along the coast causes long periods of fog. The growing season lasts from 120 to 130 days in the north, increasing to 160 to 200 days in the south.

Most of the rivers belong to the Amur basin. The Ussuri and its tributaries, including the Bol’shaia Ussurka, Bikin, Krylovka, and Arsen’evka, are mountain rivers only in their upper reaches. The Samarga, Kema, Avvakumovka, Kievka, Partizanskaia, Artemovka, and Razdol’naia, all swiftly flowing short mountain rivers, empty into the Sea of Japan. Several rivers, including the Ilistaia and Mel’gunovka, flow into Lake Khanka. The rivers are fed chiefly by rain. Many are spawning grounds for the masu, chum, and pink salmon. The rivers are used to irrigate rice fields and to supply water to populated areas. The krai’s hydroelectric potential is estimated at 25.8 billion kilowatt-hours per year. The Sea of Japan has a narrow shelf that drops abruptly to depths of 3,000 m or more. Near the shore depths reach 50 m to 100 m.

In forested mountainous regions, brown forest soils and brown taiga soils, both podzolic and nonpodzolized, predominate. Brown podzolic soils and meadow brown podzolized soils are common in the plains, and the river valleys have alluvial soils. For the most part, only the fertile soils of the lowlands and river valleys are used for agriculture.

Covering 74 percent of the krai’s territory, the forests vary greatly in composition and include both coniferous and broad-leaved species, many of them endemic. The north has dark coniferous forests and forests of Yeddo spruce and white fir. On the mountain slopes in the north grow light coniferous forests of Daurian larch. In the south are multilayered forests of the Manchurian type, in which broad-leaved species predominate. These forests consist of Korean pine, Korean and Yeddo spruces, Manchurian fir, Mongolian oak, yellow birch, elm, linden, Manchurian walnut, Amur cork, ash, and hornbeam. The forests are overgrown with lianas, including the Amur vine Schizandra and Actinidia.

Coniferous species account for 73 percent of the krai’s lumber resources, totaling some 1.8 billion cu m. The Khanka Lowland is swampy, and thickets of reeds and bulrushes fringe the shores of Lake Khanka.

The krai’s wildlife, rich in species, includes both northern and southern fauna. Typical ungulates are the goral, sika deer, roe deer, musk deer, elk, and wild boar. Predators include the Ussuri tiger, lynx, leopard, wolf, bear, sable, raccoon dog, Ussuri cat, fox, Siberian weasel, otter, and glutton. Squirrels, Manchurian rabbits, burunduks (Eutamias sibiricus), and voles are the most common rodents. Many species, such as the sable, Siberian weasel, otter, squirrel, and deer, are commercially important. There are more than 100 species of fish. The krai has four wildlife sanctuaries: Sikhote-Alin’, Lazo’, Suputinsk, and Kedrovaia Pad’.

Population. The krai is inhabited by Russians (85.5 percent, 1970 census), Ukrainians (9.5 percent), Byelorussians, Tatars, Mordovians, Chuvash, Koreans, Nanai, Udegei, and other ethnic groups. The average population density is 11.3 persons per sq km. The population is concentrated in the lowlands and river valleys, with the greatest density, exceeding 50 persons per sq km, occurring in the south. Some 75 percent of the population lives in urban areas. The most important cities are Vladivostok, Nakhodka, Ussuriisk, Artem, and Arsen’ev. Most of the cities and urban-type settlements were founded in the Soviet period.

Economy. The economy of the krai is based on industry. Different regions specialize in fishing, nonferrous metallurgy, lumbering and woodworking, fur trapping, or soybean cultivation. Also important are machine building, metalworking, the fuel and power industry, the building materials industry, the production of chemicals and consumer goods, and food-processing.

The krai’s chief source of fuel is coal, mostly brown coal, mined at the Partizanskoe, Artemovskoe, Rettikhovskoe, Pavlovskoe, Lipovetskoe, and Tavricheskoe coalfields. Currently, some 9 million tons are produced annually, and open-pit mining operations are expanding. Electric power is supplied by a power system whose largest plants are the Artem and Partizansk state regional electric power plants and the Vladivostok Heat and Electric Power Plant.

The Primor’e Krai is the chief center of the fishing industry in the Far East. Fishing accounts for about one-third of the value of the krai’s gross industrial output. The industry’s fishing, processing, and transport-refrigeration vessels operate both in the seas of the Far East and in the open waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. The catch includes salmon, herring, Pacific ocean perch, plaice, halibut, atka fish, walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma), tunny, Pacific saury, mackerel, and sardines, as well as crabs and shrimp. Trepangs, mollusks, mussels, sea urchins, and algae (Laminaria and Ahnfeltid) are obtained in the coastal waters. A whaling fleet, operating mainly along the coast of Antarctica, is based in the krai. The total catch of fish, whales, and other marine products exceeds 11 million quintals annually; more than 300 million standard cans of fish products were manufactured in 1973.

The main branches of nonferrous metallurgy are the tin and lead-and-zinc industries. The main enterprises are the Khrustal’nenskii Ore-dressing Combine and the Dal’nevostochnyi Mining and Metallurgical Combine. Fluorite ores from the Voznesenskoe deposit are mined and processed by the Iaroslavskii Ore-dressing Combine.

The forestry industry, which produced 6.1 million cu m of timber in 1973, is concentrated primarily in the basin of the middle course of the Ussuri and along the Partizanskaia River. The woodworking industry produces sawn lumber (at Lesozavodsk and Iman), plywood (the Okeanskii Plant), furniture (Artem, Ussuriisk, Vladivostok), parquet wood, chip boards, and boxes.

The krai’s machine-building and metalworking enterprises produce equipment for the fishing and mining industries, woodworking machines, tools, spare parts, washing machines, household refrigerators, and other goods. The main centers of machine building are Vladivostok, Ussuriisk, and Nakhodka.

The chemical industry is represented by the Primor’e Mining and Chemical Combine and a number of other enterprises. The krai’s flourishing building-materials industry produces cement, slate shingles, and asbestos-cement pipes.

The main products of light industry are clothing, manufactured in Vladivostok and elsewhere, and footwear made in Ussuriisk. The food-processing industry, excluding fish processing, contributes more than 15 percent of the value of the krai’s gross industrial output. Its main branches are the meat and dairy industry, hulling and milling, vegetable-oil extraction, sugar refining, and confectionery-making. Most of the enterprises are in Vladivostok, Ussuriisk, and Nakhodka.

The Primor’e Krai contributes more than 30 percent of the agricultural output of the Far East Economic Region. Of this amount, crop cultivation accounts for 38 percent and livestock raising for 62 percent. In 1973 the krai had 182 sovkhozes and 37 kolkhozes, and its agricultural land resources totaled 1.4 million hectares (ha), of which arable land accounted for 759,000 ha, hayfields for 253,000, and pastures for 359,000 ha. The cultivated area amounted to 729,000 ha in 1973, of which 272,000 ha were sown to cereals, 70,700 ha to potatoes and other vegetables, and 221,200 ha to fodder; 7,900 ha were covered by fruit orchards and berry plantings. In 1974 the krai had 34,700 ha of irrigated land and 128,500 ha of drained land. The chief cereal crops are wheat (39,400 ha in 1973), rice, and oats; soybeans are the leading industrial crop (165,000 ha). Soybean production, of national importance, is concentrated in the southwestern part of the krai. Conditions are favorable for growing plums, pears, cherries, gooseberries, currants, and grapes. The fruit orchards and berry plantations are on the mountain slopes.

Animal husbandry is oriented toward the production of meat and milk. As of Jan. 1, 1974, the livestock population totaled 389,000 head of cattle (including 148,000 dairy cows), 375,000 pigs, 88,000 sheep and goats, and 3,640,000 poultry. Fur farming (mink and silver-black fox), deer herding (sika deer), and beekeeping are also important.

Railroads, which handle about 80 percent of all freight, are the most important means of transportation. The Trans-Siberian Railroad crosses the krai, terminating in Vladivostok; several local lines are linked up with the railroad. Maritime transport is vital, and ship routes connect Vladivostok and Nakhodka with Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, the Okhotsk coast, Kamchatka, and Chukchi. The Primor’e ports also handle import and export cargo. A new deep-sea port, Vostochnyi, is being constructed (1975) in Wrangel Bay, and the existing ports are being widened. The main highway runs between Khabarovsk and Vladivostok. Air transport has been expanding rapidly.

REGIONAL DIFFERENCES. The economy of the southern Primor’e, the krai’s most important industrial region, is based on the resources of the Pacific Ocean and the development and servicing of maritime transport. The leading industries are fishing and the production of equipment for merchant and fishing vessels. Other major industries include coal mining, electric power production, the manufacture of building materials, light industry, and food processing. The chief industrial and transportation centers are Vladivostok, Nakhodka, and Partizansk.

The Kavalerovo-Dal’negorsk region specializes in the mining and dressing of nonferrous ores (tin, lead, and zinc). Its main centers are Kavalerovo and Dal’negorsk. The Central region, whose main city is Arsen’ev, has machine-building and lumber-processing enterprises. The main industries of the Dal’nerechensk-Bikin region are lumbering (Lesozavodsk, Dal’nerechensk), nonferrous metallurgy and coal mining (Bikin coalfield), and electric power production (Primor’e State Regional Electric Power Plant in Luchegorsk).

The Khanka region, an agricultural area, produces most of the krai’s grain (including rice), soybeans, potatoes, meat, milk, and honey. Coal, fluorite, and tin ores are also mined here. The largest cities are Ussuriisk and Spassk-Dal’nii.


Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. In the 1914–15 school year, the Primor’e Krai had 545 general schools (with 35,000 pupils), one specialized secondary school (about 100 students), and one higher educational institution (about 150 students). In the 1973–74 school year 303,000 pupils attended the krai’s 866 general schools of all types, and 34,000 students were enrolled in its 33 specialized secondary schools. Some 43,000 students attended the krai’s ten higher educational institutions: the Far East University, the Kuibyshev Polytechnic Institute, the Institute of Soviet Trade, the Medical Institute, the Technical Institute of the Fishing Industry, the Institute of Communal Services Technology, the Admiral G. I. Nevel’skoi Higher School of Marine Engineering, the Pedagogical Art Institute (all in Vladivostok), the Pedagogical Institute, and the Agricultural Institute (both in Ussuriisk). In 1973, 118,900 children were cared for in preschool institutions.

Vladivostok also has several research institutions: the Far East Scientific Center of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the Pacific Research Institute of Fisheries and Oceanography (TINRO), the Far East Research Institute of Hydrometeorology, the Far East Research Institute of Industrial Construction, the Vladivostok Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, and the Far East Research Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Land Reclamation.

On Jan. 1, 1974, the krai had 763 public libraries containing 8.2 million books and journals.

Museums include the V. K. Arsen’ev Primor’e Museum of Local Lore in Vladivostok and its branches—the Merchant Fleet Museum in Vladivostok, the Historical Museum in Ussuriisk, and the Museum of the History of the City of Arsen’ev. Other outstanding museums are the TINRO Fisheries Museum, the Naval Museum of the Red-Banner Pacific Fleet, the Primor’e Krai Picture Gallery (all in Vladivostok), and the House-Museum of A. A. Fadeev in the village of Chuguevka, where the writer spent his childhood years.

There are four theaters: the M. Gorky Krai Drama Theater, the Theater for Young Audiences, the Primor’e Krai Puppet Theater (all in Vladivostok), and the Ussuriisk Drama Theater. Also active is the Primor’e Krai Philharmonic Society. The krai has 771 clubs and 994 film projection units.

The krai newspapers are Krasnoe znamia (Red Banner), published since 1917, and Tikhookeanskii komsomolets (Pacific Komsomolets), founded in 1940. The krai’s three local radio stations broadcast 17½ hours a day, and the first program of the All-Union Radio is retransmitted. The local television station broadcasts over two channels for a total of 4½ hours daily, and telecasts are received from the Orbit system (6.4 hours a day).

Public health. As of Jan. 1, 1974, the krai had 180 hospitals with 21,900 beds (12 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), and 5,700 doctors (one per 330 inhabitants). Along Amur Bay are several climatic and mud-therapy health resorts, as well as the spas of Sadgorod and Shmakovka. Other health resorts include Vangou, Lastochka, Bulyga-Fadeevo, Amgu, and Rakovskie Istochniki. There are four tourist hotels. Vladivostok is the starting point for cruises to Sakhalin, the Kuril Islands, and the Kamchatka Peninsula.


Chernyshev, V. E. Ordenonosnoe Primor’e. Vladivostok, 1967.
Iuzhnaia chast’ Dal’nego Vostoka. Moscow, 1969.
Rossiiskaia Federatsiia: Dal’nii Vostok. Moscow, 1971. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
Po rodnomu kraiu. Vladivostok, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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