part of the Kazakh SSR. Formed on Dec. 23, 1967 (separated from Alma-Ata Oblast on Mar. 16, 1944, and returned to it on June 6, 1959). Taldy-Kurgan Oblast borders on China in the east. Area, 118,500 sq km. Population, 664,000 (1975). The oblast has 12 administrative raions, five cities, and ten urban-type settlements. The administrative center is the city of Taldy-Kurgan. The oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on Mar. 5, 1973.
Natural features. Taldy-Kurgan Oblast is situated in the southeastern part of the republic, south of Lake Balkhash and the Alakol’ system of lakes and north of the Hi River. The eastern and southeastern parts of the oblast are occupied by the Dzunga-rian Alatau, with elevations to 4,442 m. Between the Dzungarian Alatau and the Barlyk Range lies a broad mountain pass, the Dzungarian Gates. Much of the Balkhash-Alakol’ basin, with elevations of 340–600 m, and the Hi Plain, which are dissected by rivers, is occupied by the ridge sands of the Sary-Ishikotrau, Liukkum, Zhamankum, Moinkum, and other deserts.
The climate is sharply continental. The winter is moderately cold, with an average January temperature of –5°C in the north and 0°C in the south, and the summer is hot and dry, with an average July temperature of 25°C in the north and 27°C in the south. Annual precipitation ranges from 128 mm on the plains to 700–800 mm in the mountains, with a maximum in late spring. The growing season in the foothills and on the plains is 200–250 days.
The rivers are fed by glaciers and snow and belong to the closed basin of Lake Balkhash and the Alakol’ system of lakes. The largest rivers—the Hi, Aksu, Lepsy, and Karatal with its tributaries, the Koksu and Bizhe—empty into Lake Balkhash or vanish in the sand (the Bien and a number of other rivers); some rivers, including the Tentek, flow toward the Alakol’ system of lakes. Other major rivers are the Usek and Khorgos, which are the right tributaries of the Hi. All the rivers are widely used for irrigation and, to some extent, for hydroelectric power. The largest lakes are Balkhash, the eastern part of which is salty, the salty Alakol’ and Zhalanashkol’, and the freshwater Sasykkol’ and Ui-aly. In the mountains there are many mineral springs, among them Arasan-Kapal and Oisaz.
The level parts of the oblast are occupied by wormwood and halophyte deserts and semideserts on brown desert-steppe soils; these are the main regions of winter pastures. Large areas are also occupied by sands with thickets of saxaul (Haloxylon) and psammophytic grasses and shrubs. The thickets alternate with patches of solonetz, solonchak, and takyr soils and, in the floodplains of the rivers and along the lake shores, with Middle Asian gallery forests of the poplars Populus diversifolia and P. pruinosa and of tamarisk and thickets of reed and Achnatherum on meadow-solonchak soils. Altitudinal zonation is pronounced in the mountains. In the foothills, at 600–700 m, the semideserts give way to grassy and wormwood dry steppes on sierozems and light chestnut soils, whereas grassy steppes on mountain-steppe chestnut soils and chernozems predominate on the mountain slopes and plateaus, at elevations of 1,200–1,300 m. The lower part of this area is the main region of irrigation farming, and the higher part is the main region of dry farming. Deciduous aspen, birch, and apple forest parks are found at elevations above 1,200–1,300 m, and coniferous forests of Schrenk’s spruce with an admixture of fir grow on dark mountain-forest soils at elevations above 1,700–1,800 m. The highest elevations have subalpine and alpine forb meadows on mountain-meadow soils; the main summer pastures (dzhailiau) are located there. Forests and shrubs cover 3.2 percent of the oblast’s area.
The semideserts are inhabited by wolves, foxes, cape hare, small rodents, saiga, bustards, snakes, the turtle Agrionemys horsfieldi, and lizards. Wild boars and pheasants are found in reed thickets, and the muskrat has been acclimatized. There are ducks, geese, and swans on the oblast’s lakes and rivers; Eurasian brown bears, badgers, mountain goats, argali, the red deer Cervus elaphus songaricus, and chukar partridges are found in the mountains. The lakes and the Hi River contain carp, Old World minnows (genus Schizothorax), Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis), and European bream.
Population. Taldy-Kurgan Oblast is inhabited mainly by Kazakhs, Russians, Ukrainians, and Koreans; there are also Uighurs, Tatars, Germans, and Poles. The average population density is 5.6 persons per sq km. The maximum density is in the foothills and mountain valleys (more than 20 persons per sq km). The semidesert regions and the high mountains are virtually uninhabited. The urban population is 269,000, or 41 percent of the total (1975). All the mountain settlements are small and arose in the Soviet period in connection with the construction of railroads, the working of mineral deposits, and other economic activities.
Economy. The main branches of the economy are irrigated and dry farming, meat, dairy, and wool livestock raising, food and light industry (which use local raw materials), and mining. The power industry uses coal brought in from the Kuznetsk and Karaganda basins. Complex metal ores are mined at the Tekeli deposit. The food industry is represented by sugar refining, meat canning, fish processing, butter-making, extraction of vegetable oil and animal fats, flour milling, beer brewing, and wine-making. Light industry includes the production of garments, knitwear, leather goods, and footwear. The oblast also has enterprises of the machine-building, metalworking, wood-products, and building-materials industries.
There are several important industrial centers in Taldy-Kurgan Oblast. Tekeli has a lead and zinc smelter and enterprises of light industry and the food industry, and Taldy-Kurgan has a plant producing storage batteries, a fruit cannery, a sugar refinery, and garment, footwear, and furniture factories. Ushtobe has a meatpacking plant, and sugar refineries are located in the settlements of Kirovskii, Karabulak, and Dzhansugurov. The settlement of Lepsy has metalworking industry. There are fish-processing plants along the shores and on the islands of Lake Balkhash and the Alakol’ system of lakes.
In 1974 arable land covered 7.9 million hectares (ha), of which more than 85 percent, or 6.7 million ha, was pastures. Plowland accounts for 846,000 ha, or about 11 percent of the arable land, and 233,000 ha, or 28 percent of the total plowland, is irrigated. Livestock raising accounts for 65 percent of the agricultural output, and farming for 35 percent. The sown area is 882,000 ha, including 219,000 ha on irrigated lands (1974). More than two-thirds of the area, or 583,800 ha, is under grain crops, mainly wheat and barley; rice, oats, millet, corn, and various fodder crops (237,000 ha) are also cultivated. The main industrial crops, which cover 43,000 ha, are sugar beets (35,000 ha) and, to some extent, sunflowers; potatoes are planted on 11,800 ha, and vegetables and melon crops on 6,600 ha. Viticulture is well developed, as is fruit growing (apples, pears, and apricots).
Among livestock, sheep and goats predominate, with 3,093,800 animals (Jan. 1, 1975). There are 314,200 head of cattle, 95,000 hogs, 87,400 horses, and 3,400 camels; domestic fowl are also raised. There is fishing and fish culture on Lake Balkhash, the Alakol’ system of lakes, and the rivers and ponds. The oblast has a number of balneological health resorts, such as Arasan-Kapal, which are located near mineral springs.
Taldy-Kurgan Oblast has 837 km of railroads. The only trunk line is a sector of the Turkestan-Siberian Railroad, part of the Novosibirsk-Alma-Ata-Tashkent line, from which the Aktogai-Druzhba and Koksu-Tekeli lines branch out toward the east. There are 4,368 km of highways (1974), of which 3,089 km had a hard surface. The most important is the Alma-Ata-Taldy-Kurgan-Semipalatinsk highway. There is regular steamship service on Lake Balkhash and the Hi River. Air service connects Taldy-Kurgan with Alma-Ata and with many raion centers of the oblast.
Internal differences. The Northern Dzungarian Region is an area of dry and irrigation grain farming, sunflower cultivation, fruit growing, meat and dairy livestock raising, transhumant semistall sheep raising for meat and wool, apiculture, and fishing.
The Western Dzungarian Region is known for irrigation farming with large-scale cultivation of rice and sugar beets, vegetable and fruit growing, meat and dairy livestock raising, sheep raising for meat and wool, and pond fishing. It also has food industry, light industry, and mining.
The Southern Dzungarian Region is an area of irrigation grain farming, fruit and vegetable growing, viticulture, and transhumant sheep raising.
The Balkhash Region has transhumant sheep and camel raising, fishing, and small areas of irrigation farming.
O. R. NAZAREVSKII
Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1974–75 academic year, Taldy-Kurgan Oblast had 432 general-education schools of all types, with about 165,600 pupils. There were 15 vocational and technical schools of the State Vocational Education System of the USSR, with 7,600 students, seven secondary specialized schools, with 7,800 students, and one pedagogical institute, situated in Taldy-Kurgan, with more than 600 students. In 1975 there were 275 preschool institutions, attended by 25,800 children. As of Jan. 1, 1975, there were 452 public libraries, with 3,523,000 books and journals.
An oblast museum of history and local lore is located in the city of Taldy-Kurgan, and the settlement of Cherkasskoe has the Museum of the Cherkasskoe Defense of 1919. The oblast has 514 motion-picture projection units and 45 extracurricular institutions, including 15 palaces of Pioneers, four young technicians’ stations, a young naturalists’ station, a hiking and tourism center, 12 music schools, and 12 sports schools.
The oblast press includes the Kazakh-language newspaper Oktiabr’ tuy (Banner of October) and the Russian-language newspaper Zaria Kommunizma (Dawn of Communism), both founded in 1944. The television programs Vostok (13 hours a day) and Orbita (6.5 hours) are relayed from Moscow. Programs in Kazakh and Russian are relayed from Alma-Ata for eight hours a day. Broadcasts of the All-Union Radio take up 8.7 hours a day, those of the Republic Radio 9.5 hours, and those of the local radio, in Kazakh and Russian, 1.5 hours.
As of Jan. 1, 1975, the oblast had 100 hospitals, with 7,000 beds, or 10.5 beds per 1,000 inhabitants. There were 1,153 doctors, or one doctor per 576 inhabitants. The health resort of Arasan-Kapal is located in Taldy-Kurgan Oblast.
REFERENCESKazakhskaia SSR: Ekonomiko-geograficheskaia kharakteristika. Moscow, 1957.
Khan, I. V. Taldy-Kurganskaia oblast (Kratkii ekonomiko-geo-graficheskii ocherk). Alma-Ata, 1956.
Kazakhstan. Moscow, 1969. (Prirodnye usloviia i estestvennye resursy SSSR.)
Kazakhstan. Moscow, 1970. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
Narodnoe khoziaistvo Kazakhstana v 1971 g.: Stal. sbornik. Alma-Ata, 1972.
Iarmukhamedov, M. Sh. Ekonomicheskaia geografiia Kazakhskoi SSR. Alma-Ata, 1975.