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an oblast within the RSFSR, established on Aug. 23,1944. Area 55,300 sq km. Population 860,000 (1974). It is divided into 24 raions and has 14 cities and 11 urban-type settlements. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Feb. 16,1967. Its administrative center is Pskov.
Natural features. Pskov Oblast is situated in the northwestern European part of the USSR. Most of its surface is flat. The western part of the oblast is occupied by the low-lying Velikaia River Plain containing the Pskov-Chudskaia Depression. In the east are several uplands: the Luga (rising to 204 m), the Sudoma (to 294 m), and the Bezhanitsy (maximum elevation 338 m, the highest point in the oblast). The extreme eastern part of the oblast is a plain.
The climate is moderately continental, with average January temperatures of –7° or –8°C and July temperatures of 17°-17.5°C. The region receives 550–650 mm of precipitation annually, most of it during the summer and autumn. In the west the growing season lasts up to 144 days, and in the east it is somewhat shorter.
The oblast’s rivers drain into the Baltic Sea. In the west flow the Velikaia River and its tributaries: the Sorot’, Cherekha, Pskova (right), Issa, Siniaia, Utroia, and Kukhva (left). The eastern part of the oblast is drained by the Shelon’ River and its tributaries. The Lovat’ River flows in the southeast, and the Pliussa River, in the north. Part of the upper course of the Zapadnaia Dvina River flows along the border with Kalinin Oblast.
Of the oblast’s many lakes, the largest are Chudskoe (Peipus) and Pskov. The soils are mostly podzolic (in the south, soddypodzolic) and bog types. The most fertile soils are to be found in the south. Most of the oblast lies in the subzone of mixed forests. Forests occupy 31 percent of its area, or 1.8 million hectares (ha). The northern and southeastern raions are heavily forested (50–60 percent), but in the central raions the forests have been largely cut down. Pine, spruce, birch, aspen, and alder predominate. Meadows are basically of the dry-valley type. There are many bogs with large peat deposits. Wildlife includes elk, boar, blue hare, fox, and pine marten. The most numerous birds are capercaillies, black grouse, hazel hens, Hungarian partridges, and various ducks. The principal commercial fish are lacustrine smelt, riapushka (least cisco), European bream, pike perch, whitefish, burbot, and pike.
Population. Russians constitute 96.6 percent of the population. Other groups include Ukrainians, Byelorussians, and, in areas adjoining the Estonian and Latvian SSR’s, Estonians and Latvians. The average population density is 15.6 persons per sq km, and the most densely settled areas are around Pskov. Density of the rural population ranges from six persons per sq km in the north to 20 persons per sq km in the central and western parts. In 1974 urban dwellers constituted 49 percent of the population. The most important cities are Pskov and Velikie Luki.
Economy. The oblast’s economy rests on agriculture and industry. The leading branches of agriculture are livestock raising for milk and meat and flax growing. Industry includes enterprises processing local farm and mineral raw materials, as well as metalworking and machine-building enterprises, operating with imported raw materials and fuel. Located between the huge industrial centers of Moscow, Leningrad, and the Baltic area, Pskov Oblast was for a long time predominantly agricultural. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the oblast was occupied by fascist German troops, and its economy was destroyed.
After the war the oblast’s industry was rebuilt, and between 1940 and 1970 industrial output increased 11 times. The enterprises in Pskov and Velikie Luk produce two-thirds of the oblast’s total industrial output. Energy production is based on coal and petroleum brought in fron other areas and on local peat. In 1970 construction began on the Valdai-Pskov-Riga gas pipeline. In 1973 some 819,000 tons of peat (standard moisture content) were extracted for fuel. Electrical energy is produced by small heat and power plants. The Pskov State Regional Electric Power Plant was under construction in 1975. The oblast is part of the Unified Energy System of the European USSR.
The principal branches of industry are machine building and metalworking (accounting for 35 percent of the oblast’s gross industrial output in 1973), light industry (29 percent), food-processing (24 percent), and lumbering, woodworking and pulp and paper production (6 percent). The machine-building and metalworking industries produce radio components, electrical goods (since the 1960’s), machine tools, machinery (and spare parts) for flax processing, and peat-extracting machinery (Pskov and Velikie Luki). There is also a railroad-car repair plant in Velikie Luki. Building-materials enterprises in Pskov, Novoizborsk, Pechory, and Velikie Luki produce bricks, reinforced concrete, and alabaster. Lumbering is done on a small scale because of limited timber reserves. There are woodworking and furniture enterprises in Pskov and Velikie Luki. Light industry is represented by factories producing linen textiles and knitted goods in Pskov, Velikie Luki, Ostrov, and elsewhere, leather footwear factories in Nevel’, and glass-making enterprises. Almost all raions have facilities for the preliminary processing of flax. Food-processing enterprises—dairies, meatpacking plants, vegetable-processing enterprises, and flour mills—are found throughout the oblast. There are fish-processing plants in Pskov, Gdov, and Velikie Luki.
Of the oblast’s 2,022,000 hectares (ha) of agricultural land, 1 million ha are plowed fields. In 1974 the oblast had 273 kolkhozes and 134 sovkhozes. The sown area totals 929,600 ha, of which 195,100 ha are planted to cereals (rye, wheat, oats), 73,600 ha to flax, 449,600 ha to fodder crops, and 67,500 ha to potatoes. The oblast supplies 12 percent of the republic’s total flax output. As of 1975 the livestock population included 640,500 cattle (298,100 cows), 323,900 hogs, and 397,100 sheep and goats. Fishing is important in the lake regions.
Railroads are the chief means of transportation; in 1973 the oblast had 1,104 km of track. The main north-south lines are the Leningrad-Dno-Novosokol’niki-Vitebsk line and the Leningrad-Luga-Pskov-Daugavpils-Vilnius line. The two main east-west lines are the Rybinsk-Bologoe-Staraia Russa-Dno-Pskov-Pechory-Riga line and the Moscow-Velikie Luki-Novosokol’niki-Rezekne-Riga line. The oblast has about 10,000 km of motor-vehicle roads, of which some 6,000 km are paved. Lakes Chudskoe and Pskov, as well as the lower course of the Velikaia River, are used for shipping.
Regional differences. The oblast may be divided into five distinct economic regions: central, northern, western, eastern, and southern.
The central region, particularly the area around Pskov, is the most highly developed region, providing half of the oblast’s gross industrial output. Other important economic activities are dairying, hog raising, and flax growing. The northern region is the principal supplier of wood. Livestock raising for dairy and meat purposes is also well developed here, as is flax growing and fishing.
The western region, with about one-third of the oblast’s sown area and livestock, is the most important agricultural region. The main activities are flax growing, livestock raising for meat and milk, and poultry farming. Ostrov is the region’s industrial center. The same branches of agriculture dominate the eastern economic region, although here farming is less intensive. Industries have been established in Porkhov and Dno. In the southern region Velikie Luki is an important industrial center. Major industries include the processing of food and flax. The principal branches of agriculture are flax raising and dairy farming.
V. S. LEONTEV
Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1914–15 school year the area now included in Pskov Oblast had 1,752 lower-level schools (100,700 pupils) and five secondary specialized educational institutions (532 students). There were no institutions of higher learning. In the 1974–75 school year the oblast’s general schools of all types had an enrollment of 136,800 pupils, and its 16 secondary specialized educational institutions had an enrollment of 15,400 students. More than 8,500 students attended the oblast’s two institutions of higher learning (an agricultural institute in Velikie Luki and a pedagogical institute in Pskov), as well as the Velikie Luki branches of the Leningrad Institute of Physical Culture and the Leningrad Institute of Railroad Transport Engineering and the Pskov branch of the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute. As of Jan. 1, 1974, there were 22 vocational-technical schools with an enrollment of 8,800. In 1973 some 27,100 children were attending 318 preschool institutions.
The oblast’s leading scientific institutions are the Pskov Division of the State Research Institute of Commercial Lake and River Fishing, the Pskov Oblast State Agricultural Experiment Station, and the Pskov Interbranch Territorial Center for Scientific and Technical Information and Propaganda.
As of Jan. 1, 1974, the oblast had 598 libraries containing more than 9 million books and magazines. The oblast has a number of outstanding museums. The Museum-Preserve of the History of Art and Architecture in Pskov has several branches—the Izborsk Fortress (in Izborsk), the K. Nazarova Museum (in Ostrov), the M. P. Mussorgsky Museum (Kun’ia Raion), and the estate of N. A. Rimsky-Korsakov (Pliussa Raion). The Pushkin Preserve in Mikhailovskoe has branches in the villages of Trigorskoe and Petrovskoe and a branch at the Sviatogorsk Monastery in Pushkinskie Gory. The V. I. Lenin House Museum in Pskov commemorates the illegal conference of Social Democrats called by Lenin in 1900 to discuss the founding of the newspaper Iskra and the magazine Zaria. Also in Pskov is the V. I. Lenin Museum Apartment, where he lived from February to May 1900. There are interregional museums of local lore in Velikie Luki, Sebezh, and Pechory (containing material on the history of the Pskov-Pechory Monastery) and a museum of local lore in Porkhov. The performing arts are represented by drama theaters in Pskov and Velikie Luki, an oblast puppet theater, and an oblast philharmonic society. Pskov also has a planetarium. The oblast has 1,254 clubs, 1,409 film projection units, and 35 extracurricular institutions.
The oblast newspaper Psovskaia pravda has been published since 1917, and Molodoi leninets has appeared since 1957. Oblast radio broadcasting is conducted 1½ hours a day, and Program 1 of the All-Union Radio and Maiak are relayed. Broadcasts from the Central Television Studio are transmitted 12 hours a day, and local television broadcasting is allocated 0.7 hours. There is a television center in Pskov.
As of Jan. 1, 1974, the oblast had 98 hospitals with 11,500 beds (13.3 beds per 1,000 inhabitants) and 2,100 physicians (one for every 408 inhabitants). There is a balneological health resort at Khilovo. The main tourist attractions are the Pushkin Preserve, the Izborsk Fortress, Lake Pskov, and the southern lake district. There are five tourist centers with camping facilities.
REFERENCESSevero-zapad RSFSR. Moscow, 1964.
Atlas Pskovskoioblasti. Moscow, 1969.
Priroda raionov Pskovskoi oblasti. Leningrad, 1971.
Narodnoe khoziastvo Pskovskoi oblasti: statisticheskii sbornik. [Velikie Luki] 1972.
Dostoprimechatel’nosti Pskovskoi oblasti. [Leningrad] 1973.