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an oblast in the Ukrainian SSR. Formed on Jan. 10, 1939. Area, 23,800 sq km. Population, 1.452 million (1975). Sumy Oblast is divided into 18 raions and has 15 cities and 20 urban-type settlements. The city of Sumy is the oblast’s administrative center. Sumy Oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on June 22,1967.
Natural features. Sumy Oblast is located in the northeastern part of the Ukrainian SSR. It lies largely in the Dnieper Lowland, with its northernmost part in the Poles’e Lowland. In the east and northeast there are spurs of the Central Russian Upland. The oblast’s topography is a rolling plain dissected by wide valleys of the region’s numerous rivers and by ravines and gorges. The maximum elevation is 226 m.
The oblast has a temperate continental climate, with cool winters and moderately hot summers. Average temperatures in January range from –7.9°C in the north to –7.1°C in the southwest; average July temperatures range from 18.4°C in the north to 19.9°C in the southeast. Annual precipitation is 550–600 mm in the north and 450 mm in the south, with most precipitation falling in the summer. The growing season (temperatures above 10°C) is 144–161 days. The rivers are part of the Dnieper River basin and for the most part constitute the Dnieper’s left tributaries. The most important rivers are the Desna, the Seim, the Sula, the Psel, and the Vorskla. The river valleys have numerous oxbow lakes and swamps, and there are also many artificial ponds. The southern forest-steppe region has mainly chernozem soils (typical chernozems with a low humus content and either a low or moderate amount of loam and podzolized chernozems), while the northern Poles’e region has soddy podzolized soils. Forests and shrub thickets occupy 17 percent of the oblast’s territory, with mixed forests (pine, birch, oak) predominating in the north and insular forests (mainly linden, maple, and ash; also oak groves) in the central and southern regions. With the exception of an area of virgin steppe known as the Mikhailovo Virgin Land (part of the Ukrainian Steppe Preserve), the entire expanse of steppe in the oblast is cultivated.
The fauna of the oblast is varied. The northern region has such representatives of forest fauna as the wolf, elk, ermine, squirrel, grouse, capercaillie, and hazel hen. The forest-steppe regions have the true fox, European hare, black-bellied hamster, Hungarian partridge, skylark, and calandra lark.
Population. Sumy Oblast’s population is made up mainly of Ukrainians (87.2 percent in 1970) and Russians (11.7 percent). The average population density is 61 persons per sq km (1975). The southern forest-steppe region is the oblast’s most densely populated area, while the northern Poles’e region is the most sparsely populated. As of 1975, 48 percent of the population was urban (1975). The oblast’s most important cities are Sumy, Konotop, Shostka, Romny, Trostianets, Akhtyrka, Belopol’e, Putivl’, Druzhba, and Krolevets.
Economy. During the years of Soviet power, Sumy Oblast has been transformed from a backward agrarian region into an industrial and agricultural region with various types of industry and with diversified, highly intensive agriculture.
Figures from 1974 reveal the dominance of the food-processing (36.1 percent), machine-building and metalworking (23.2 percent), and light (10.7 percent) industries in the oblast’s economy. As of 1975, there were 271 industrial enterprises, and the output of all industries in 1974 was 8.5 times greater than in 1940. Sumy Oblast is provided with electric power plants and the Zmiev State Regional Electric Power Plant (Kharkov Oblast). Natural gas and coal, the latter brought in from the Donbas, form the energy base. There has been marked growth in the oil-drilling industry.
The food-processing industry includes sugar processing (enterprises at Sumy, Druzhba, Chupakhovka, Mezenovka, Kuianovka, Stepanovka, Ugroedy, and Terny) and meat-packing (Sumy, Konotop, Shostka, Akhtyrka, Vorozhba, Romny, Lebedin, and Glukhov). Enterprises for the milling and hulling of grain are located throughout the oblast. The food-processing industry also includes a number of distilleries (Duboviazovka, Popovka, Budilka, Bezdrik, and Vysokoe), as well as butter, cheese, and milk plants (Sumy, Glukhov, Belopol’e, Krolevets, Akhtyrka, Putivl’, Lipovaia Dolina, Krasnopol’e, and Trostianets).
During the years of Soviet power, the machine-building, metalworking, and chemical industries have been revived. Machine building and metalworking are done at the Frunze plant in Sumy, which makes equipment for the chemical industry, at the Tsentrolit Iron Foundry, also in Sumy, and at other plants in Sumy that produce electron microscopes, pumps, and heavy compressors. The Krasnyi Metallist Electromechanical Plant, which produces fittings and other equipment needed for the automation of the mining industry, is in Konotop, as are a piston plant and a plant for the repair of locomotives and railroad cars. Romny has a plant producing printing machinery, and Seredina-Buda has a plant producing construction blocks. Electrical machinery is produced in Glukhov, and pumps are manufactured in Svessa. The largest chemical plants are the Svema Production Association, which makes recording tapes and color and black-and-white motion-picture film, the chemical reagent plant in Shostka, the Khimprom Chemical Production Association in Sumy, producing phosphate mineral fertilizers and sulfuric acid, and the tanning-extract plant in Svessa.
Light industry is represented by textile factories (Ochkino, Sumy, lampol’, Glukhov, and Romny), clothing factories (Sumy, Akhtyrka, Lebedin, Romny, and Konotop), and leather-footwear and fur factories (Sumy, Akhtyrka, and Romny). There are also lumber-processing, woodworking, and furniture factories (Sumy, Shostka, Trostianets, Romny, and Akhtyrka) and a plant producing faience (Sumy). The building-materials industry is supplied from local deposits of kaolin, chalk, and clay (Shostka, Konotop, Glukhov, Belopol’e, and Lebedin).
Agriculture. Agriculture in Sumy Oblast is geared toward grain crops, beets, hemp, potatoes and other vegetables, meat, and dairy products.
As of 1974, the oblast had 367 kolkhozes and 34 sovkhozes, and all the main operations were mechanized. There were 1,741,300 hectares (ha) of farmland, of which 1,416,100 ha were available for crop cultivation, 170,200 ha were used for hay, and 129,000 ha were used for pasture. The total sown area in 1974 was 1,422,300 ha, including 695,200 ha for grain crops (winter wheat, spring barley, buckwheat, grain corn, legumes), 148,900 ha for industrial crops (sugar beets, sunflowers), 117,900 ha for potatoes and 17,000 ha for other vegetables, 414,300 ha for feed crops, and 50,500 ha for perennial grasses. Fruits and berries covered 36,400 ha. There were 53,700 ha of drained land.
Animal husbandry is geared toward meat and dairy products. As of Jan. 1, 1975, there were 873,800 head of cattle (including 355,200 cows), 912,900 swine, and 281,900 sheep and goats. There is also poultry husbandry, beekeeping, and fish-farming.
As of 1974, Sumy Oblast had a total of 770 km of railroads. Of greatest importance are the Kiev-Kharkov line (through Bakhmach, Konotop, Vorozhba, Sumy), Vorozhba-L’gov-Kursk line, and Briansk-Khutor-Mikhailovskii-Krolevets-Konotop-Bakhmach-Lokhvitsa line (through Romny). There are more than 11,000 km of roads, of which 2,800 km are paved (1974). The main highways are the Kiev-Sumy-Kursk, Sumy-Kharkov, and Moscow-Kiev routes, which pass through the northern part of the oblast. Sumy is linked by air with Moscow, Kiev, Odessa, Simferopol’, Poltava, Kursk, and other cities and with several of the oblast’s raion administrative centers. Sumy, Shostka, and other cities are supplied with natural gas through pipelines.
Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions. In the 1974–75 academic year, there were 251,000 students enrolled in a total of 976 general-education schools of all types. In the 31 vocational and technical schools of the oblast, total enrollment was 15,200 students. The 24 specialized secondary schools had 20,400 students, and the two pedagogical institutes (at Sumy and Glukhov) and the Sumy branch of the Kharkov Polytechnic Institute had a total of 5,400 students. In 1974 there were 44,600 children in 563 preschool centers.
The principal scientific institutions in Sumy Oblast are the All-Union Scientific Research and Design Institute for Compressor Construction and the All-Union Scientific Research and Design Institute for Pump Construction, both in Sumy, and the All-Union Scientific Research Institute for Bast Fibers in Glukhov.
As of Jan. 1, 1975, there were 985 public libraries, with 10,165,000 books and periodicals. The oblast’s museums include the Sumy Oblast Museum of Local Lore, with branches in Putivl’ and Akhtyrka, the Sumy Art Museum, with a branch in Lebedina, and the museums of local lore in Romny and Konotop. The M. S. Shchepkin Music and Drama Theater is in Sumy. The oblast also has 1,031 clubs, 1,151 motion-picture projection units, and 47 extracurricular organizations.
The oblast newspaper, Lenins’ka Pravda (Leninist Pravda), has been published in Ukrainian since 1917. The oblast receives television broadcasts from the Central Television Studio (12.5 hours a day) and from the republic station and also conducts its own broadcasts (0.5 hour). Radio broadcasts are relayed from All-Union Radio (eight hours) and from the republic station (8.5 hours) in Ukrainian, Russian, and Moldavian; the oblast broadcasts its own programs one hour a day.
As of Jan. 1, 1975, there were 162 hospitals in the oblast, with a total of 16,200 beds (11.1 beds per 1,000 population), and 2,900 physicians (one doctor per 500 population). The oblast has seven sanatoriums and three houses of rest.
REFERENCESIstoriia mist i sil URSR: Sums’ka oblast’. Kiev, 1973.
Narodne gospodarstvo Ukrains’koi RSR v 1972 r. Stat. shchorichnyk. Kiev, 1974.
Gudzenko, P. A. Sums’ka oblast’. Kiev, 1958.
I. A. EROFEEV