Riazan Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Riazan’ Oblast


an oblast in the RSFSR, established Sept. 26, 1937. Area, 39,600 sq km. Population, 1,368,000 (1975). The oblast includes 24 raions, 11 cities, and 29 urban-type settlements. Its administrative center is Riazan’. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Mar. 12, 1958.

Natural features. Riazan’ Oblast lies in the center of the European USSR, in the basin of the middle and, partly, lower Oka River. It has a predominantly flat surface. In the north, along the left bank of the Oka, is the Meshchera Lowland, which has an average elevation of 80–100 m and reaches a maximum elevation of 120–130 m in the south. The eastern part of the right bank of the Oka is occupied by the Oka-Don Plain, with a maximum elevation of 180 m. In the west, along the Oka’s right bank, rise the spurs of the Central Russian Upland, with elevations of up to 237 m.

Natural resources include deposits of limestone, clay, and sand. Skopin and Miloslavskoe raions, situated along the eastern edge of the Moscow Coal Basin, have lignite deposits, and the Meshchera Lowland contains peat.

The climate is continental, with moderately cold winters and warm summers. The mean July temperature is 19.2°C. January temperatures average – 11.5°C in the northeast and – 10.3°C in the southwest. The oblast receives an average of 450–500 mm of precipitation annually.

The most important river is the Oka, which flows for more than 500 km within the oblast. Its left tributaries, the Pra and the Gus’, are shallow. Larger and deeper are the right tributaries—the Pronia with the Ranova, the Para, and the Moksha with the Tsna. The Oka, the Moksha, and the Tsna are navigable. Most of the oblast’s lakes, the largest of which are Velikoe, Beloe, and Chernoe, are located in the Meshchera Lowland.

The soils are chiefly podzolic, gray forest, and degraded chernozems. Forests occupy 24 percent of the oblast’s area, and large tracts have survived in the Meshchera Lowland. Coniferous forests are found in the north, and hardwood forests grow south of the Oka. The forests are inhabited by squirrels, foxes, hares, wolves, boars, and elk. The oblast’s rivers and lakes abound in such fish as roach, bream, pike, crucian carp, ide, pike perch, Eurasian perch, and Aspius aspius. The Oka Preserve has been established in the basin of the Pra River.

Population. Most of the oblast’s inhabitants are Russians. The average density is 34.6 persons per sq km (1975); the central and western raions are more densely settled. Urban dwellers constitute 54.9 percent of the total population. There are four cities under oblast jurisdiction (Riazan’, Kasimov, Skopin, and Sasovo) and seven cities under raion jurisdiction.

Economy. Prior to the October Revolution of 1917 the oblast was a backward agricultural region in which small domestic workshops processed agricultural produce with primitive equipment. Under Soviet power the oblast has become a major industrial region. In 1974 the gross output of large industries was 185 times greater than in 1913. Small fragmented peasant farms have been replaced by large-scale socialist agriculture equipped with up-to-date machinery. The oblast produces cereals, potatoes, vegetables, and fruit, and it is noted for its well-developed dairy farming and livestock raising for meat.

The oblast’s present industrial complex evolved in the postwar period, when a strong energy base was created. The Diagilevo and Novoriazanskaia heat and electric power plants have been completed, and the Riazan’ State Regional Electric Power Plant is under construction (the first section has been put into operation). Among the industries that have developed most rapidly are machine building, metalworking, oil refining, food processing, and the chemicals, building materials, fuel, and light industries. As of Jan. 1, 1973, the oblast’s industries were equipped with 64 automatic and 614 mechanized assembly lines, as well as a large number of machine tools with programmed control.

Machine building and metalworking provide 27 percent of the oblast’s industrial output. The largest plants produce machine tools, forge and press equipment, potato-harvesting combines and other agricultural machinery, tabulating machines, thermal instruments (Teplopribor Plant), electronic instruments, and automotive equipment (Skopin). In 1975 a factory to produce automatic assembly lines was being built in Sasovo. The oil refining industry, accounting for 12.8 percent of the oblast’s industrial output, is represented by the large Fiftieth Anniversary of the USSR Plant in Riazan’. Synthetic fibers are also produced.

The building materials industry, contributing 5.2 percent of the industrial output, includes plants producing cement (the Spartak and Mikhailov plants), acid-resistant goods, reinforced concrete structural components, silicates, cardboard, roofing materials, and bricks.

The oblast’s light industry, providing 15.2 percent of the industrial output, manufactures textiles, garments, leather and furs, and footwear. The main enterprises are the spinning and net factory in Kasimov, the Spas-Klepiki cotton-batting production association, the silk fabric combine in Korablino, the Pobeda Oktiabria Shoe Factory in Riazan’, garment factories, sheepskin and fur factories, and leather plants. The rapidly expanding food industry contributes 19.5 percent of the industrial output. Enterprises include large combines producing canned meat and milk, a tea-processing factory, a brewery, a cheese plant, a sour cream and cottage cheese plant, sugar refineries, distilleries (liqueurs, vodka), confectionery factories, starch-hydrolysis factories, flour mills, and factories processing fruits and vegetables.

There are 198 sovkhozes and 294 kolkhozes in the oblast. Of the 2,572,000 hectares (ha) of agricultural land, 1,897,000 ha are arable land and 639,000 ha are hayfields and pastures. Cereals are the main field crops. In 1974 cereals, primarily wheat and barley, occupied 63 percent of the sown area; potatoes, 9 percent, sugar beets, 2 percent; and fodders, 26 percent.

Large vegetable-growing farms, using irrigation, have been established in the floodplains of the Oka. A large proportion of the vegetables, potatoes, and meat and dairy products are shipped to Moscow and other industrial centers. There are large fruit-growing sovkhozes with orchards covering more than 16,000 ha.

Large-scale land reclamation is under way, especially in the Meshchera Lowland. Between 1966 and 1974 more than 43,000 ha of swampland were drained and put to agricultural use. Irrigated pastures are also being established.

The leading branch of agriculture is livestock raising for meat and milk. As of Jan. 1, 1975, there were 808,000 head of cattle on the kolkhozes and sovkhozes (including 291,000 cows), 396,000 hogs, and 368,000 sheep. The oblast’s 53 highly mechanized livestock raising complexes supply 30 percent of the beef and 57 percent of the pork produced in the oblast. Under construction are 12 large modern dairy and hog-raising complexes, as well as poultry farms.

The resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR entitled On Measures for the Further Development of the Agriculture of the Nonchernozem Zone of the RSFSR (1974) created new opportunities for the further development of the oblast’s agriculture through a sharp increase in agricultural production, a rise in the level of socialization of kolkhoz production, and a significant convergence of kolkhoz and state forms of property.

In 1974 the oblast had 1,034 km of railroad tracks and 2,888 km of motor-vehicle roads. The oblast is crossed by the Moscow-Kuibyshev and Moscow-Volgograd highways.


Schools, scientific and cultural institutions, and public health. Prior to 1917, there were 171,700 students attending the 2,000 general schools in the area now included in Riazan’ Oblast. Some 304 students were enrolled in two special secondary schools, and there were no institutions of higher learning. In 1974–75, there were 233,300 pupils in 1,413 general schools of all types, 15,200 students in 37 vocational-technical schools, and 28,600 students in 29 special secondary schools. Some 18,500 students were enrolled in higher schools of radio engineering, agriculture, medicine, and pedagogy, all located in Riazan’. In 1975 more than 49,300 children were attending 538 preschool institutions.

The oblast’s leading scientific institutions are the All-Union Research and Planning Institute for the Organization and Economics of the Material and Technical Supplying of Agriculture and for the Technology of Storing and Using Fertilizers and Toxic Chemicals, based in Riazan’; the Meshchera Zonal Land Reclamation Experiment Station in Solotcha; the Scientific Research Institute of Beekeeping in Rybnoe; the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Horse Breeding in Rybnoe Raion; and an oblast-level state agricultural experiment station in Riazan’ Raion.

On Jan. 1, 1975, the oblast had 1,019 public libraries containing 12.1 million copies of books and magazines. Other cultural institutions include the Oblast Art Museum in Riazan’; the Museum-Preserve of the History of Architecture in Riazan’ and its branches—the K. E. Tsiolkovskii Memorial Museum in the village of Izhevskoe (the scholar’s birthplace), the planetarium in Riazan’, the historical and archaeological preserve of Old Riazan’ in the village of Staraia Riazan’, and the museum of local lore in the village of Zhelannoe; the museums of local lore in Kasimov and Spassk-Riazanskii; the Museum House of S. A. Esenin in the village of Konstantinovo, where the poet was born and spent his childhood and youth; and the Museum House of Academician I. P. Pavlov in Riazan’, the scientist’s hometown.

In Riazan’ are the oblast’s three theaters, a drama theater, a puppet theater, and a young people’s theater. In addition, there are 1,519 clubs, 1,306 film projection units, a palace of Pioneers, 31 houses of Pioneers, five children’s parks, four stations for young naturalists, five stations for young technicians, 17 sports schools, and other extracurricular institutions.

The oblast newspapers are Priokskaia pravda (published since 1917) and Riazanskii komsomolets (since 1920). The inhabitants receive all the programs broadcast by All-Union Radio from Moscow. Oblast radio broadcasting is available 1½ hours a day. All the broadcasts of Central Television are retransmitted.

As of Jan. 1, 1975, the oblast had 164 hospitals with 16,200 beds (11.9 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), 4,300 doctors (one for every 317 inhabitants), five sanatoriums, and three tourist centers.


Shustov, B. S. Nash krai riazanskii. Moscow, 1968.
Narodnoe khoziaistvo Riazanskoi oblasti: Kratkii statistich. sbornik. Riazan’, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.