Southern Economic Region

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Southern Economic Region


a major economic region of the Soviet Union, situated in the southern part of the Ukrainian SSR. The region includes the Crimean Oblast and the Nikolaev, Odessa, and Kherson oblasts. Area, 113,400 sq km. The region has 44 cities. The principal cities (with population figures forjan. 1, 1978) are Odessa (1,051,000), Nikolaev (456,000), Kherson (331,000), Simferopol’ (301,000), Sevastopol’ (291,000), and Kerch’ (157,000). The region borders on the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, and it shares its southwestern border with Rumania.

The Southern Economic Region lies in the steppe zone, within the borders of the Black Sea Lowland. The Crimean Mountains stretch along the southern coast of the Crimean Peninsula. The region is drained by the lower reaches of the rivers Dnieper, Dnestr, Iuzhnyi Bug, and Danube (Kiliia Branch). The steppes are almost entirely plowed up. Chernozem soils predominate, yielding in the southeast to dark chestnut soils with sections of sandy soil and solonchak. There are deposits of iron ore (for example, at Kerch’), fluxing limestone, marble (in the Crimean Mountains), and gas (Crimean Oblast), as well as therapeutic muds and mineral springs.

The region has a thriving shipbuilding and ship-repair industry as well as agricultural machine building and machine tool building industries; light industry is highly developed, as is the food industry. The region also produces certain types of construction materials. Agriculture is intensive and diversified.

The region’s fuel and energy resources are mostly imported—coal from the Donets Basin, natural gas from the Shebelinka deposits, and petroleum and water power from the Caucasus. Hydroelectric power plants include the Kakhovka plant on the Dnieper and the Pervomaisk and Voznesensk plants on the Iuzhnyi Bug. There are large district heat and power plants in Simferopol’, Odessa, Nikolaev, Kherson, Sevastopol’, and Kerch’. The Southern Ukrainian Atomic Power Plant is under construction (1978).

The leading branches of industry are machine building and metalworking. Shipyards and ship-repair enterprises in Nikolaev, Kherson, Kerch’, Odessa, and Sevastopol’ produce dry-cargo freighters, oil tankers, floating docks and cranes, dredging equipment, tugs, barges, and diesel-engine river vessels. In addition, road-building machines are produced in Nikolaev, agricultural machines in various cities, including Kherson, Odessa, and Simferopol’, electrical engineering equipment in Kherson and Novaia Kakhovka, power equipment and hoisting and conveying machinery in Nikolaev, and food-processing equipment in Simferopol’. Odessa, which is a big center of diversified machine building, produces machine tools, tractor plows, derricks, and motion picture, refrigeration, and printing equipment.

The main branches of the food industry are the fish-processing, wine-making, canning, meat-processing, and dairy industries. The most important enterprises are the Kherson, Odessa, Izmail, and Dzhankoi canning combines, the Massandra Combine for vine-growing and wine-making, the wine-making and sugar-refining plants and meat-packing combine in Odessa, the Kherson wine-making plant, and the Kerch’ fish-canning plant.

The most important branch of light industry is the textile industry—for example, in Kherson, Tatarbunary, and Odessa. There are clothing and knitted-goods enterprises in Odessa, Nikolaev, Kherson, Simferopol’, Kerch’, Izmail, Pervomaisk, and Voznezensk; footwear is produced in Odessa, Nikolaev, and Simferopol’.

The chemical industry’s output consists primarily of products of basic chemistry (superphosphates and sulfuric acid) and paints and varnishes—mainly in Odessa. The chemical plant in Saki and the bromine plant in Perekop use natural brine from salt lakes and limans as their raw material. The tenth five-year plan (1976–80) provides for the construction of a harbor plant in Odessa, near the Grigor’ev liman, on the basis of compensatory agreements. Odessa and Kherson have petroleum refineries.

In the category of construction materials, some of the region’s important products are precast reinforced-concrete structural members and cement (in Odessa, Ol’shanskoe, and Bakhchisarai) and building bricks. Linoleum (manufactured in Odessa) and nonmetallic construction materials are produced for nationwide use.

The main branch of agriculture in the region is plant growing. In 1977 the sowing area was more than 6.5 million ha, of which 56 percent was accounted for by grain crops—namely, winter wheat (2.4 million ha)—and barley, buckwheat, corn grown for grain, rice, oats, and peas. Industrial crops include sunflowers (481,900 ha), sugar beets (106,800 ha), essential-oil crops, and tobacco. The extent of vegetable growing is significant, and the region is also an important producer of cucurbits and fodder crops (1.9 million ha). Orchards and vineyards, most of which are in the Crimean Oblast, covered 414,000 ha in 1977. The region accounts for more than 90 percent of the republic’s vineyards.

The region’s arid lands are irrigated by the Krasnoznamensk, Severo-Rogachik, Ingulets, and Tatarbunary irrigation systems and by the first stage of the North Crimean Canal, which also supplies water to the population. The second stage of the North Crimean Canal and the first stage of the Danube-Dnestr irrigation system are under construction (1978). Irrigated lands constituted an area of 818,000 ha in 1976. As of Jan. 1, 1978, the region had 3.5 million sheep and goats, 3.9 million head of cattle, and 3.2 million swine. Poultry raising and sericulture are fairly well developed.

The region’s resorts, most of which are in the Crimea and around Odessa, serve the entire country.

In 1976 the length of the railroad lines was approximately 3,000 km, with a density of 26.4 km per 1,000 sq km. The main lines are Odessa-Kiev-Moscow, Kherson-Dnepropetrovsk-Kharkov, Simferopol’-Zaporozh’e-Moscow, Simferopol’-Kiev, and Nikolaev-Znamenka-Kharkov. The seaports of Odessa, Il’ichevsk, Kherson, Yalta, Izmail, Kiliia, Reni, Nikolaev, and Kerch’, as well as the river ports of Kherson and Novaia Kakhovka, play an important role both in coastal transportation and in the USSR’s export and import operations.

In 1976 there were 26,300 km of highways, including 19,900 km of hard-surface highways. The major ones are the Simferopol’-Kharkov-Moscow, Odessa-Kiev, and Odessa-Nikolaev-Kherson highways. Two natural-gas pipelines traverse the region—the Shebelinka-Dnepropetrovsk-Odessa-Kishinev and Glebovka-Simferopol’-Sevastopol’ pipelines. The main airports are at Simferopol’, Odessa, and Kherson.

The region exports iron ore, corn combine-harvesters, machine tools, tractor plows, fluxing limestone, fish and fish products, grapes, wine, wheat, vegetable oil, and cotton fabrics. The principal imports are coal, petroleum, natural gas, metals, lumber, certain types of machines and appliances, sugar, and potatoes.


Materialy XXV s”ezda Kommunisticheskoi partii Ukrainy. Kiev, 1976.
Ukrainskaia SSR: Ekonomicheskie raiony. Moscow, 1972.
Palamarchuk, M. M. Ekonomichna heohrafiia Ukrains’koi RSR. Kiev, 1975.
Narodne hospodarstvo Ukrains’koi RSR u 1975 rotsi: Stat. shchorichnyk. Kiev, 1976.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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