Kalinin Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kalinin Oblast


part of the RSFSR. Formed on Jan. 29, 1935. Area, 84, 100 sq km. Population, 1, 705, 000 (1972). The oblast is divided into 34 raions and has 22 cities and 25 urban-type settlements. The administrative center is the city of Kalinin. In 1966 the oblast was awarded the Order of Lenin.

Natural features. Kalinin Oblast is situated in the basin of the upper Volga River and at the watershed of the basins of the Baltic and Caspian seas.

The Valdai Hills, with elevations of 200–300 m and more, occupy the western part of the oblast. High morainic plains (Belyi Upland), with elevations of 250–340 m, border on the Valdai Hills in the south. The Zapadnaia Dvina Depression is located in the southwest of the oblast, with small rolling ridges alternating with frontal aprons. The eastern part of the oblast has a flatter relief. There is a belt of morainic plains in this area. Depressions (the Vyshnii Volochek, Middle Mologa, and Upper Mologa depressions) alternate with elevated ridges up to 200–250 m in elevation; (the Il’iny Hills; the Torzhok, Vyshnii Volochek, and Likhoslavl’ ridges; the Bezhetsk Verkh; and the Ovinishche Upland) and the valleys of the Volga, Tvertsa, and Mologa rivers. The Upper Volga Depression (100–150 m) is located in the southeast, on both banks of the Volga, and in the lower reaches of the Tvertsa, Shosha, and Medveditsa rivers.

Kalinin Oblast has a temperate continental climate. The average January temperature ranges from 8.5° to 10.5°C; the average July temperature is 17°–18°C. Annual precipitation totals 550–750 mm. The western part of the oblast is distinguished by somewhat warmer winters and higher humidity. The growing period totals 120–133 days, and the sum of temperatures for the growing period totals 1700°–2000°C.

A major part of Kalinin Oblast lies in the basin of the Caspian Sea, with only the western and northwestern regions in the basin of the Baltic Sea. The sources and the upper reaches of the Volga River and of its tributaries the Selizharovka, T’ma, Tvertsa, Medveditsa, Kashinka, and Mologa rivers on the left and the Vazuza, Shosha, and Nerl’ rivers on the right are located within the oblast. The upper course of the Zapadnaia Dvina River is in the western part of the oblast, and the Msta River is in the north. There are more than 500 lakes in the oblast, the largest being Lakes Seliger, Sterzh, Vselug, Peno, Volgo, Sig, Kaftino, and Velikoe. Lake Seliger is particularly picturesque. There are reservoirs on many of the rivers, including the Ivan’kovo, Uglich, and Rybinsk reservoirs on the Volga and the Vyshnii Volochek Reservoir on the Tsna River.

Soddy-podzolic, podzolic, and podzolic-gleyey soils predominate. The soil in the morainic deposits is mainly loamy and sandy. In the Valdai Hills and frontal aprons there is much sand and sandy loam as well as peat-podzolic-gleyey soil; some parts are marshy.

More than 3 million hectares (ha; 36 percent of the oblast’s area) are covered by forests. The southwestern and northwestern regions are the most densely forested (50–70 percent of the area). Timber reserves total more than 300 million cu m. Coniferous forests (pine, spruce) make up more than half of the forests. Small-leaved trees (birch, aspen) are also widespread, and oak and linden are found in places.

Meadows, mainly of the dry-valley type, occupy approximately 2 million ha; floodplain meadows are found in the river valleys. Swamps and large peat bogs constitute approximately 9 percent of the oblast’s area. The fauna of the oblast is typical of the forest zone and includes the elk, roe, brown bear, wolf, and fox. Game birds include the black grouse, capercaillie, hazel hen, willow ptarmigan, and partridge; there are also wild ducks. The oblast’s lakes and rivers are rich in fish, including the whitefish, cisco, bream, pike, pike-perch, and carp.

Population. Most of the population is Russian, although Karelians and other national groups also live in the oblast. The average population density is 20.3 persons per sq km. The central and eastern regions of the oblast, where the large cities are located, are more densely settled, and the density of the rural population reaches 15–20 persons per sq km. The urban population constitutes 59.5 percent of the total population. The largest cities are Kalinin, Vyshnii Volochek, Rzhev, Kimry, Torzhok, and Bologoe.

Economy. Manufacturing is highly developed in Kalinin Oblast. The oblast’s geographic position between the largest industrial centers, Moscow and Leningrad, has promoted industrialization. The fascist German occupation of the western part of the oblast from 1941 to 1943 caused great damage to the economy. Between 1940 and 1971 industrial output increased by a factor of 8 and between 1965 and 1971, by a factor of 1 V2. Most of the industrial production is concentrated in the central part of the oblast, in Kalinin, Vyshnii Volochek, Kimry, and Torzhok.

The power industry is based on local fuel and fuel brought in from other regions. Both peat and lignite are extracted (2.4 million tons of fuel peat and 0.7 million tons of lignite in 1971). Natural gas is supplied to the oblast through gas pipelines from the Northern Caucasus and the Komi ASSR. Coal and fuel oil are brought from the outside. Kalinin Oblast is part of the Central Power System, and there are large heat and electric power plants in Kalinin, Vyshnii Volochek, and other cities; there is also the Konakovo State Regional Power Plant.

The leading branches of industry are light industry (42.8 percent of the 1971 gross output), machine-building and metalworking (16.3 percent), food (14.6 percent), and lumber, wood products, and pulp and paper (7.2 percent). Of prime importance in the machine-building and metalworking industries is the production of railroad cars and excavators (Kalinin), agricultural machines (Bezhetsk), electrical engineering articles (Kalinin, Kashin), garage equipment (Bezhetsk), fire-extinguishing equipment (Torzhok), and instruments and lighting equipment (Li-khoslavl’ Rzhev). The chemical and petrochemical industries have developed during the Soviet period and produce artificial leather, rubber soles, synthetic fibers (Kalinin), tanning extracts, fiberglass, and glass-fiber-reinforced plastics. Light industry includes the following branches: cotton (Kalinin, Vyshnii Volo-chek), wool (Kalinin, Zavidovo), silk (Kalinin), linen (plants for the primary processing of flax fiber in flax-growing regions), leather (Ostashkov, Torzhok, Kalinin), footwear (Kimry, Torzhok, Kaliazin), and knitted goods and clothing. There are two large printing enterprises in Kalinin. Logging is conducted on a considerable scale (5.3 million cu m in 1971). The wood-products industry is highly developed, including sawmilling and the production of plywood and construction components (Vyshnii Volochek, Nelidovo, Zemtsy, Zapadnaia Dvina, Peno), furniture (Kalinin, Rzhev, Torzhok), and pulp and paper (Kuvshinovo). The production of glass (Vyshnii Volochek Raion, Spirovo) and of china and faience (Konakovo) are old branches of industry. The building-materials industry comprises the quarrying of building stones and gravel and the production of reinforced-concrete structures, brick, and lime. The food industry is connected with the processing of local agricultural raw materials, including meat, milk, potatoes, and vegetables.

Agriculture is based on flax growing and stock raising; there is also widespread cultivation of potatoes, cereals, and vegetables. Agricultural land totals 3.8 million ha, with natural forage land predominating (2.1 million ha). Arable land totals 1.65 million ha, and its proportion is significantly higher in the southern and eastern regions of the oblast. The areas of the Valdai Hills and the Upper Volga Depression are the least cultivated. There are 441 kolkhozes and 271 sovkhozes in Kalinin Oblast (1971). The sown area in 1971 totaled 1, 513, 000 ha. Of this, 705, 000 ha were under cereals (rye, oats, wheat, and legumes), 159, 000 ha under fiber flax, 128, 000 ha under potatoes, and 512, 000 ha under fodder crops. Cereals are cultivated throughout the oblast. Flax growing is highly developed and is concentrated in the eastern, central, and southern regions. In 1971, 585, 000 quintals of flax fiber were gathered, which constituted 24 percent of the total collected in the RSFSR.

Stock raising is mainly of the meat and dairy type. In 1972 there were 956, 000 head of cattle (including 462, 000 cows), 421, -000 pigs, and 677, 000 sheep and goats.

There are approximately 1, 800 km of railroad in the oblast. The most important main lines are Moscow-Leningrad, Moscow-Riga, Rybinsk-Bologoe-Pskov-Riga, and Moscow-Son-kovo-Leningrad. There is a considerable network of highways. There is navigation along the Volga River and on Lake Seliger. The main gas pipelines Serpukhov-Leningrad and Vuktyl-Tor-zhok pass through the oblast.

INTERNAL DIFFERENCES. The Central Part Of Kalinin Oblast, Which Adjoins The Moscow-Leningrad Railroad And Highway, Is Economically The Most Highly Developed Section. The Most Important Centers Of The Machine-Building, Chemical, Textile, China And Faience, And Glass Industries Are Concentrated In This Area, As Is The Extraction Of Peat And The Electrical Power Industry (Kalinin, Vyshnii Volochek, Torzhok, Konakovo, Likhoslavl’, Bologoe). The Agriculture In This Region Is Mainly Of The Suburban Type.

The eastern part of the oblast is characterized by well-developed agriculture, with flax growing and dairy stock raising occupying the leading positions. The most important industrial centers are Kimry, Bezhetsk, and Kashin.

The western part is characterized by the lumber industry and agriculture, the latter being most highly developed around Rzhev (flax growing and dairy stock raising). The principal industrial centers are Rzhev, Ostashkov, and Nelidovo. Lake Seliger, a large tourist area, is located in this region.


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1914–15 academic year, there were 2, 759 schools with 167, 000 pupils, two secondary specialized schools with 330 students, and no higher educational institutions in what is now Kalinin Oblast. In the 1971–72 academic year, 283, 000 pupils were studying in 2, 010 general education schools of all types, 18, 000 students in 49 vocational schools, 34, 500 students in 40 specialized secondary schools, and 17, 600 students in four higher educational institutions (a university, polytechnic institute, and medical institute in Kalinin and an agricultural institute in the settlement of Sa-kharovo). In 1969 there were 61, 700 children enrolled in 833 preschool institutions.

As of Jan. 1, 1972, Kalinin Oblast had the following cultural institutions: 1, 267 people’s libraries with 13, 385, 000 books and magazines; the oblast dramatic theater, young people’s theater, and puppet theater, all in Kalinin; the Kimry and Vyshnii Volochek dramatic theaters; the Kalinin Oblast Philarmonic Society; and the circus. Museums include the oblast museum of local lore, the museum of the everday life of Tver’, the Liza Chaikina Museum of Komsomol Glory, and the picture gallery in Kalinin; the museums of local lore in Vyshnii Volochek, Kashin, Kaliazin, Kimry, Ostashkov, Rzhev, Toropets, and Bezhetsk; the M. I. Kalinin House-Museum in the village of Verkhniaia Troitsa; the A. S. Pushkin literary memorial museums in the village of Bernovo and in the city of Torzhok; and the S. D. Drozhzhin literary memorial museum in the settlement of Zavidovo. There are also 1, 711 clubs and 2, 344 film projectors. Extracurricular institutions include the Kalinin Palace of Pioneers, 31 Houses of Pioneers, an oblast station of young naturalists and experimenters in agriculture, and an oblast station of young technicians.

Two oblast newspapers are published: Kalininskaia Pravda (since 1917) and the Komsomol paper Smena (since 1927). The oblast radio broadcasts one radio program. Radio and television broadcasts are relayed from Moscow.

As of Jan. 1, 1972, the oblast had 214 hospitals with 20, 400 beds (12 beds per 1,000 population); there were 4, 200 doctors (one doctor per 410 population) working in the oblast. Kalinin Oblast is also the site of the Kashin resort and the Mitino Sanatorium for the treatment of illnesses of the nervous system. There are a number of houses of rest.


Priroda i khoziaistvo Kalininskoi oblasti. Kalinin, 1960.
Tsentral’nyi raion. Moscow, 1962. Atlas Kalininskoi oblasti. Moscow, 1964.
Kalininskaia oblasf za 50 let v tsifrakh: Statistich. sbornik. Moscow, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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