Syr Darya Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Syr Darya Oblast


an oblast in Uzbek SSR. Formed on Feb. 16, 1963. In 1973 a large part of the oblast’s territory was transferred to the newly formed Dzhizak Oblast. Area, 5,300 sq km (1 percent of the area of the Uzbek SSR). Population, 405,000 (Jan. 1, 1975; 3 percent of the republic’s population). The oblast is divided into seven raions and has four cities and three urban-type settlements. Its administrative center is Gulistan. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on July 25, 1967.

Natural features. The surface of the oblast is a rolling plain, which contains part of the Golodnaia Steppe. The broad valley of the Syr Darya lies in the eastern part. The climate is sharply continental. The mean January temperature ranges from –6°C in the north to –2°C in the south; the average July temperature is 27°–29°C. The annual precipitation is 180–220 mm. The frost-free period lasts 218 days.

The principal river is the Syr Darya, which is used for irrigation. The oblast has meadow soils (in the irrigated regions), light sierozems, and gypsum-bearing soils. Vegetation includes shrubs (the genera Calligonum and Astragalus), ephemerals (sedge and Poa bulbosa var. vivípara), and grasses (Aristida pennata, quack-grass, and brome). Wildlife includes the corsac fox and numerous rodents (susliks, jerboas, and gerbils), reptiles (lizards, snakes, and turtles), and birds (Pander’s ground jay desert warbler, and sandgrouse).

Population. According to the 1970 census, Uzbeks constitute approximately 60 percent of the oblast’s population; other nationalities include Russians, Tatars, Kazakhs, Tadzhiks, and Koreans. The average population density is 76.5 persons per sq km (1975). More than 90 percent of the population resides in the irrigated regions. Thirty percent of the population is urban. The oblast’s four cities are Gulistan, Syr Darya, Iangier, and Shirin.

Economy. During the years of Soviet power, the area occupied by the Syr Darya Oblast has become a developed industrial and agricultural region. Industry is based on the processing of raw cotton and other agricultural raw materials. The gross industrial output in 1974 was 3.1 times higher than the 1960 level. Cotton ginning and garment manufacturing are the predominant branches of light industry; the food industry is represented by the production of butter, milk, and vegetable oil. Iangier and Gulistan have enterprises for the production of building materials. Construction of the Syr Darya State Regional Electric Power Plant, with a capacity of 4.4 gigawatts, was under way in 1976; the plant’s first unit was put into operation in 1972.

Syr Darya Oblast produces 4.7 percent of the republic’s gross agricultural output; the principal crop is cotton. Farming is done almost exclusively on irrigated land. The oblast’s network of canals includes the Kirov and Iuzhnaia Golodnaia Steppe canals. In 1974 the oblast had 29 kolkhozes and 34 sovkhozes. In the same year the sown area totaled 48.1 percent (216,700 hectares) of the available land; the remainder was used for pasture. Cotton is planted on 60.2 percent of the available land. In 1974, 336,700 tons of cotton were harvested, which accounted for 6.3 percent of the republic’s total cotton output. The cotton yield rose from 18.8 quintals per hectare in 1965 to 25.8 in 1974. Alfalfa (10.2 percent of the arable land) and grain crops (17.7 percent) are also raised. Potatoes account for 700 hectares, and other vegetables for 2,600 hectares. Melons and gourds account for 6,400 hectares. Orchards and vineyards occupy 6,200 hectares.

As of Jan. 1, 1975, the livestock population totaled 102,300 cattle, including 39,600 cows, 27,500 hogs, 70,200 sheep and goats, 2,200 horses, and 682,300 fowl. Silk farming is developed and accounts for 1.2 percent of the republic’s output of silk cocoons.

The oblast had 146 km of railroads in 1974. The Tashkent-Krasnovodsk line passes through the oblast, and a line runs from Khavast to Andizhan. The oblast had 1,020 km of hard-surfaced vehicular roads in 1974.

Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1974–75 school year, there were more than 13,700 students in the oblast’s 329 general-education schools, approximately 2,000 students in its five vocational-technical educational institutions of the State Vocational-Technical Education System of the USSR, 7,400 students in seven specialized secondary schools, and 3,100 students at the pedagogical institute in the city of Syr Darya. Approximately 18,600 children attended 156 preschool institutions.

In 1974, Syr Darya Oblast had 210 public libraries, with 1,328,000 books and journals, 167 clubs, 170 motion-picture projection units, and eight extracurricular institutions, including five palaces and houses of Pioneers and schoolchildren, a station for young naturalists, a station for young technicians, and a station for children’s excursions.

The oblast newspapers are Sirdare khakikati (Syr Darya Pravda), published in Uzbek since 1963, and Syrdar’inskaia pravda (Syr Darya Pravda), published in Russian since 1963. Radio programs are on the air for 21.3 hr daily, including 4.5 hr of All-Union Radio. Republic Radio provides 13 hr of broadcasting, and local programming totals 1.3 hr, in Uzbek and Russian.

On Jan. 1, 1975, there were 49 hospitals with 4,500 beds (11.1 beds per 1,000 inhabitants) and 814 doctors (one per 498 inhabitants).


Uzbekistan. Moscow, 1967. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
Narodnoe khoziaistvo Uzbekskoi SSR za 50 let (1924–1974): Statistich. ezhegodnik. Tashkent, 1974.


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