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part of the RSFSR. Formed on Sept. 27, 1937. Situated in the northeastern part of the Central Chernozem Economic Region. Area, 34,300 sq km. Population, 1.419 million (as of Jan. 1, 1975). The oblast has 22 administrative raions, eight cities, and 12 urban-type settlements. The administrative center is the city of Tambov. Tambov Oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin on June 22, 1967.
Natural features. Tambov Oblast is in the center of the East European Plain and occupies the central part of the Oka-Don Plain. Flat interfluves alternate with broad river valleys; average elevations range between 110 and 115 m. Spurs of the Volga Upland, with elevations to 214 m, extend into the eastern part of the oblast, in the interfluve of the Tsna and Vorona rivers. Ravines and gorges are well developed in the basins of the Tsna and Vorona rivers.
The climate is moderately continental. The average January temperature is –10.5°C in the southwest and –11.5°C in the east, and the average July temperature is 19.5°C in the north and 20.5°C in the south. Annual precipitation is up to 450 mm in the south and southeast and about 500 mm in the north; up to 70 percent of it falls between April and October. The growing season is 178 days in the north and 185 days in the south. The oblast’s rivers belong to the basins of the Volga (the Tsna with its tributaries, the Chelnovaia, Kersha, and Kashma) and the Don (the Voronezh River with its distributaries—the Pol’noi Voronezh and the Lesnoi Voronezh—and the Vorona, Savala, Bitiug, and Ma-tyra rivers).
Chernozems cover more than 85 percent of the oblast’s area: in the south are rich chernozems, whereas in the central and northern areas they are leached. The right banks of the Tsna, Chelnovaia, and Voronezh rivers have gray forest soils, and the river valleys have alluvial meadow soils.
Tambov Oblast is situated in the forest-steppe zone; about 70 percent of the land is farmed. Approximately 10 percent is covered by forests of pine, oak, birch, European aspen, alder, linden, ash, and maple, with most of the wooded area on the right bank of the Tsna River and in the valleys of the Chelnovaia, Voronezh, and Vorona rivers.
Among the animals inhabiting the forests near the Tsna are the bear, elk, wolf, boar, fox, ermine, European hare, squirrel, beaver, and various microtines. There are many birds, including grouse, woodpeckers, thrushes, tits, larks, and quail. The rivers and lakes contain cyprinids, perches, and other fishes.
Population. Russians make up 98.4 percent of the population (1970 census). The average population density is 41.4 persons per sq km (as of Jan. 1, 1975). The highest density—more than 45 persons per sq km—is in the central and western parts of the oblast; in the northeast and southeast it drops to 20–30 persons per sq km. The urban population increased from 408,000 in 1959 to 655,000 as of Jan. 1, 1975, when it constituted 46 percent of the total. The oblast’s cities include Tambov, Michurinsk, Morshansk, Rasskazovo, Kotovsk, Kirsanov, Uvarovo, and Zherdevka.
Economy. In prerevolutionary Russia, the guberniia (province) of Tambov was among the “impoverished” agrarian regions. Industry was developed poorly and was oriented toward the processing of agricultural raw materials. During the years of Soviet power, Tambov Oblast has become an industrial-agrarian area of the Central Chernozem Zone. Gross industrial output in 1974 was 13 times greater than in 1940. Branches of heavy industry, such as machine building and metalworking (45 percent of the gross output), occupy a leading position in the economy, followed by branches of light industry (29 percent) and the food industry (26 percent).
Power engineering relies mainly on fuel shipped in from other regions. District heat and power plants in Tambov, Kotovsk, Michurinsk, Uvarovo, and other cities are connected by high-voltage power lines and belong to the Integrated Electric Grid of the European part of the USSR.
Machine building and metalworking account for 25 percent of the gross industrial output. Chemical equipment is produced in Tambov, Morshansk, and Pervomaiskii, and standard and spare parts for motor vehicles and tractors are manufactured in Tambov and Michurinsk. Kirsanov produces equipment for the textile industry. There are repair plants for locomotives in Michurinsk, insulated railroad cars in Tambov, and motor vehicles in Morshansk and Kirsanov. Tambov also has instrument-making enterprises and a plant for the production of forging and press machinery. Household refrigerators are also produced.
Raw materials and semifinished products shipped in from other areas have formed the basis for the chemical industry. Dyes, industrial rubber goods, and asbestos-rubber items are produced in Tambov, lacquers, enamels, plastics, and plastic articles in Kotovsk, and phosphorus fertilizers and sulfuric acid in Uvarovo.
The oldest branch of light industry is the wool industry. The Arzhenka Cloth Combine in Rasskazovo and a worsted-cloth and felt combine in Morshansk produce more than 20 million sq m of high-quality fabrics annually. There are knitwear, leather, and fur enterprises in Rasskazovo, garment factories in Tambov, Michurinsk, Morshansk, and Kirsanov, and footwear enterprises in Tambov.
The food industry relies on local raw materials. There are sugar refineries in Zherdevka, Novopokrovka, Uvarovo, Kirsanov, Dmitrievka, and Znamenka. Various cities and settlements have meat-packing plants, hulling and milling enterprises, and creameries. Vegetable-oil extraction plants are located in Zherdevka, Uvarovo, and Inzhavino, and there are canneries in Michurinsk and Zherdevka. Building-materials enterprises in the oblast produce bricks, precast reinforced concrete, and various other materials.
Agriculture is concerned mainly with grain cultivation and livestock raising; some industrial crops are also grown. Farmland occupies 2,756,400 hectares (ha), of which 2,351,600 ha are plow-lands, 265,500 ha are pastures, 97,600 ha are hayfields, and 38,000 ha are orchards (1974). The oblast has 292 kolkhozes and 131 sovkhozes (1974). The total sown area is 2,325,000 ha (1974). Grain crops—wheat, rye, barley, oats, millet, buckwheat, and legumes—cover 1,377,800 ha, sugar beets 120,400 ha, sunflowers 111,800 ha, and potatoes 86,200 ha. Grain crops are grown throughout the oblast. Sugar beets are cultivated in all regions except the north. Sunflowers are grown in the south and southeast, and potatoes in the north and west. There are large tracts of orchards in the western part of the oblast.
Livestock are raised for milk and meat. As of early 1975, there were 857,000 head of cattle (including 365,300 cows), 1,015,900 hogs, 781,400 sheep and goats, and 6.9 million fowl. Specialized interfarm livestock raising complexes for the fattening of cattle and hogs, the maturing of young stock, and the production of feed are operating on an industrial basis in various raions of the oblast.
The total length of railroads is 789 km (1974). The electrified trunk line that passes through Moscow, Riazan’, Michurinsk, Voronezh, and Rostov-on-Don runs through the oblast. The Riazhsk-Morshansk-Penza, Michurinsk-Tambov-Kirsanov-Saratov, and Griazi-Zherdevka-Borisoglebsk-Volgograd lines extend eastward from the oblast; there is a line that runs southeast from Tambov to Kamyshin. The main railroad junctions are Michurinsk and Tambov. The oblast has 12,600 km of roads, including 1,264 km with a hard surface (1974). The most important highways are Moscow-Michurinsk-Tambov-Volgograd, Tam-bov-Morshansk-Riazan’, Tambov-Kirsanov-Penza, Tambov-Lipetsk, and Tambov-Rasskazovo-Uvarovo. There is local shipping along the Tsna River from Tambov to the border with Riazan’ Oblast (200 km). Air routes link Tambov with Moscow, Leningrad, Sochi, Mineral’nye Vody, Simferopol’, Sverdlovsk, and other cities in the USSR, as well as with local centers.
M. K. SNYTKO
Educational, scientific, and cultural institutions; public health. Before 1917, what is now Tambov Oblast had 1,923 general-education schools, with 164,200 pupils, and two secondary specialized educational institutions, with 247 students. There were no higher educational institutions. In the 1974–75 academic year, 271,100 pupils were attending 1,385 general-educational schools of all types, 14,900 students were attending 34 vocational-technical educational institutions of the State Vocational Education System of the USSR, and 29,900 students were attending 26 secondary specialized institutions. Together with the Tambov branch of the Moscow Institute of Culture, the oblast’s four higher educational institutions—a pedagogical institute and an institute of chemical-industry machine building in Tambov and a pedagogical institute and an institute of fruit and vegetable growing in Michurinsk—had a total enrollment of 15,300. In 1974, 37,800 children were attending the oblast’s 444 preschool institutions.
Among the main scientific institutions in Tambov Oblast are the Scientific Research Institute of Chemicals for Polymer Materials, the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Industrial Rubber Machinery, and the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Fruit-growing and the I. V. Michurin Central Genetic Laboratory, located in Michurinsk.
As of Jan. 1, 1975, the oblast had 780 public libraries, with 10,026,000 books and journals. There were seven museums—an oblast picture gallery and an oblast museum of local lore in Tambov, museums of local lore in Kirsanov, Michurinsk, and Morshansk, and the Museum of Achievements of the I. V. Michurin Central Genetic Laboratory and the I. V. Michurin House Museum (where Michurin lived and worked from 1899 until his death) in Michurinsk. Oblast drama and puppet theaters and the oblast philharmonic society are located in Tambov, and there is a drama theater in Michurinsk. The oblast has 949 clubs, 1,057 motion-picture projection units, and 23 extracurricular institutions, including a palace of Pioneers, 12 houses of Pioneers and schoolchildren, four young technicians’ stations, four young naturalists’ stations, and two children’s excursion tour stations.
The oblast newspapers are Tambovskaia pravda (since 1917) and Komsomol’skoe znamia (Banner of the Komsomol; since 1938). Programs are relayed from the Central Television Studio for 21 hours a day and from the All-Union Radio for 18.5 hours a day, and there are local radio broadcasts for 1.5 hours a day. As of Jan. 1, 1975, there were 166 hospitals, with 15,700 beds (11.1 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), and 2,900 physicians (1 physician per 495 inhabitants). The oblast has seven sanatoriums.
REFERENCESGeografiia Tambovskoi oblasti, Voronezh, 1973.
Zinenko, P. F., and M. K. Snytko. Tambovskaia oblast’: ocherki ekonomicheskoi geografii. Tambov, 1960.
Atlas Tambovskoi oblasti. Moscow, 1966.
Rossiiskaia Federatsiia: Tsentral’naia Rossiia. Moscow, 1970. (Sovetskii Souiz series.)