Ulianovsk Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ul’ianovsk Oblast


an oblast in the RSFSR, formed on Jan. 19, 1943. Located in the Middle Volga Region. Area, 37,300 sq km. Population, 1,234,000 (Jan. 1, 1976). Ul’ianovsk Oblast has 20 raions, six cities, and 30 urban-type settlements. Its administrative center is the city of Ul’ianovsk. The oblast has been awarded the Order of Lenin (Apr. 20, 1966).

Natural features. Approximately three-fourths of the oblast is located on the Volga Upland (elevations up to 353 m); the Undory, Kremenki, and Sengilei hills of the upland overlook the Volga. The terrain in the eastern part of the oblast (the Trans-Volga Region) is a relatively gently sloping plain.

The oblast has a moderate continental climate. The average temperature is –13°C in January and 19°C in July. Annual precipitation ranges from 300 mm in the Trans-Volga Region to 500 mm in the western part of the oblast. The growing season lasts 174 days.

The main river is the Volga. A number of its tributaries, including the Sura, the Sviiaga, and the Bol’shoi Cheremshan, are also important. The level of the Volga and its tributaries is raised by the backwater from the V. I. Lenin Volga Hydroelectric Power Plant (seeKUIBYSHEV RESERVOIR).

Ul’ianovsk Oblast is located in the forest-steppe zone. Chernozem soils predominate. One-fourth of the oblast is covered with forests. The largest tracts of mixed forest are concentrated in the northwestern part of the oblast. Pine forests have been preserved in the Trans-Volga Region. The oblast’s wildlife includes elk, marten, squirrels, and blue hares. There are many aquatic and marsh-dwelling birds. European bream, pike perch, carp, and other commercial fish inhabit the Kuibyshev Reservoir.

Population. According to the 1970 census, Russians constitute 76 percent of the population of Ul’ianovsk Oblast, Tatars 10 percent, Chuvashes 6.4 percent, and Mordovians 5.7 percent. As of Jan. 1, 1976, the average population density was 33.1 inhabitants per sq km. The western and northwestern raions are the most densely populated. As of Jan. 1, 1976, the urban population made up 61 percent of the total, as opposed to 36 percent in 1959. The oblast’s cities are Ul’ianovsk, Dimitrovgrad, Barysh, Inza, Novoul’ianovsk and Sengilei.

Economy. During the Soviet period, Ul’ianovsk Oblast has been transformed from an agrarian, economically backward area into a region with highly developed industry and intensive agriculture. Industrial output in 1974 was more than 2.5 times greater than in 1965. Machine building, metalworking, food processing, and the production of consumer goods are the main industries of the oblast.

Light industry has traditionally been an important part of the oblast’s economy. Even before the Great October Socialist Revolution woolen fabrics were produced in considerable quantities at, for example, Barysh, Dimitrovgrad, Isheevka, and Izmailovo. In 1974, 28.6 million m of woolen fabrics were produced in the oblast (16.2 million in 1965)—that is, 5.3 percent of the total output of woolen fabrics in the USSR. Light industry has been diversified as a result of the construction of enterprises for the production of such goods as knitted garments (Ul’ianovsk and Dimitrovgrad), industrial fabrics (Dimitrovgrad), chrome-tanned leather goods and footwear (Ul’ianovsk), tufted carpets and runners, and nonwoven materials.

The evacuation of a number of factories to Ul’ianovsk Oblast during the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) provided the basis for the development of the machine-building industry in the oblast. During the postwar period, machine building has been the most rapidly developing branch of industry. The machine-building enterprises, which are concentrated in the city of Ul’ianovsk, specialize in the manufacture of low-power engines, heavy and custom-made machine tools, several models of all-terrain vehicles, electrical products, chemical equipment, agricultural machinery, and other equipment.

The building-materials industry is also well developed. Among the most important branches of the industry are the production of cement (Novoul’ianovsk and Sengilei), the manufacture of heat-insulation materials and products (Inza and Ul’ianovsk), and the extraction of quartz sand (the Tashlinsk deposit). The food-processing industry is represented by a confectionery factory (Ul’ianovsk), a sugar refinery (Tsil’na), flour mills, groats mills, creameries, meat-packing plants, enterprises for the production of alcoholic beverages, and other enterprises. The lumber industry is represented by the felling and processing of timber and the manufacture of paperboard, paper, and furniture. The electric power stations of the oblast are part of the Integrated Electric Power Grid of the European USSR.

In agriculture grain cultivation and livestock breeding predominate. The production of potatoes and industrial crops is well developed. The oblast is distinguished by a high percentage of cultivated land; as of 1974, arable land totaled 1,844,000 hectares (ha), or 83 percent of the agricultural land in Ul’ianovsk Oblast. As of 1975, the oblast had 202 kolkhozes and 108 sovkhozes. Of the 1,773,000 ha farmed in 1975, 1,131,000 ha were devoted to the cultivation of grains. Of this total, 457,000 ha were used for growing wheat. Rye, millet, buckwheat, barley, and oats are also sown. Sunflowers are grown on 48,000 ha; sugar beets on 16,000 ha; potatoes on 65,000 ha; and feed crops on 502,000 ha. As of 1974, irrigated land totaled 18,700 ha, and drained land 15,900 ha.

The mainstay of animal husbandry is meat and dairy production. As of 1975 there were 715,000 head of cattle (including 251,000 cows), a large percentage of which were Bestuzhev cattle; there were also 356,000 swine and 674,000 sheep and goats.

As of 1974, Ul’ianovsk Oblast had approximately 750 km of railroad tracks. The oblast is crossed from west to east by the Penza-Syzran’ and Riazan’-Inza-Ul’ianovsk-Dimitrovgrad lines, from northwest to southeast by the Inza-Syzran’ line, and from north to south by a section of the Kazan-Volgograd main line. The total length of navigation routes along the Volga exceeds 200 km. Motor vehicles are widely used for transporting goods within the oblast, the southern part of which is transected by the Moscow-Kuibyshev highway. Air transport connects Ul’ianovsk Oblast with many regions of the USSR. The Druzhba Pipeline and the Kuibyshev-Moscow power line run through the oblast.


Education, cultural affairs, and public health. In the 1914–15 academic year, Ul’ianovsk Oblast had 832 general-education schools, with a total of 62,300 students; one specialized secondary educational institution with approximately 200 students; and no institutions of higher learning. By contrast, in the 1975–76 academic year, 230,400 students were studying in 877 general-education schools of all types, 14,100 students in 30 vocational-technical educational institutions, 20,200 students in 20 specialized secondary educational institutions, and 17,600 students in three institutions of higher learning (polytechnic, agricultural and pedagogical institutes) and a branch of the Kuibyshev Planning Institute. In 1975, there were 46,100 children in 583 preschool institutions.

As of Jan. 1, 1976, Ul’ianovsk Oblast had 702 public libraries, with 8.499 million books and periodicals. The city of Ul’ianovsk has a branch of the Central Lenin Museum, the V. I. Lenin House-Museum, the I. A. Goncharov Oblast Museum of Local Lore, and the Ul’ianovsk Oblast Art Museum, which has a branch dedicated to the collection of works of art depicting V. I. Lenin. Theaters include the oblast drama theater and the oblast puppet theater in Ul’ianovsk and a drama theater in Dimitrovgrad. There are also 910 clubs, 887 motion-picture projection units, and 40 institutions for extracurricular activities.

The oblast newspapers are Ul’ianovskaia Pravda, which began publication in 1917, and Ul’ianovskii Komsomolets, which was first published in 1919. Local radio programs are broadcast 5.5 hours a day; All-Union Radio programs are also broadcast. Oblast television programs are transmitted three hours a day, and programs of Central Television are broadcast 12.9 hours a day.

By Jan. 1, 1975, Ul’ianovsk Oblast had 119 hospitals, with a total of 14,000 beds (11 beds for every 1,000 inhabitants) and 2,800 doctors (one for every 433 inhabitants). There are five sanatoriums in the oblast.


Rossiiskaia Federatsiia: Evropeiskii Iugo-Vostok, Povolzh’e, Severnyi Kavkaz. Moscow, 1968. (Sovetskii Soiuz series.)
Kal’ianov, K. S., G. Z. Vesnina, and V. I. Lebedev. Geografiia Ul’ianovskoi oblasti, 2nd ed. Saratov, 1971.
Priroda Ul’ianovskoi oblasti. Kazan, 1963.
Ul’ianovskaia ordena Lenina oblast’ za 50 let Sovetskoi vlasti: Statistich. sb. Ul’ianovsk, 1967.
Literatura ob Ul’ianovskoi oblasti. Ul’ianovsk, 1971.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.