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Oral (ôrälˈ), formerly Uralsk (yo͝orălskˈ, Rus. o͞orälskˈ), city (1989 pop. 199,835), NW Kazakhstan, on the Ural River. Among its industries are the repair of agricultural equipment, grain processing, and tanning. It was founded as Uralsk in 1622 by the Ural Cossacks, who fought with Stenka Razin in the uprising of 1667 and against the Bolsheviks in 1918–19. It was an important trade center on the border of European Russia and Kazakhstan.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(until 1775, Iaitskii Gorodok), a city and the administrative center of Ural’sk Oblast, Kazakh SSR. Located on the right bank of the Ural River, at the point where the Chagan River empties into the Ural. Railroad station on the Saratov-Iletsk line. Harbor on the Ural River. Airport. Population, 157,000 (1976; 67,000 in 1939, 99,000 in 1959, and 134,000 in 1970).

Ural’sk was founded in 1613 as the Cossack fortress Iaitskii Gorodok. S. T. Razin and his detachment spent the winter of 1667–68 in the fortress. Iaitskii Gorodok was also one of the centers of rebellion during the Peasant War of 1773–75, led by E. I. Pugachev. In 1775 it was renamed Ural’sk and was incorporated into Astrakhan Province. In 1868 the city became the administrative center of Ural’sk Oblast. Ural’sk was an important trade center. In 1895 the Riazan’-Urals railroad line was brought through the city.

Soviet power was proclaimed in Ural’sk in January 1918, but the counterrevolutionary cossack host government took control of the city in March. Ural’sk was liberated by the Red Army in January 1919, but White Cossacks laid siege to the city in April (see). The siege was lifted in July 1919 by the 25th Division, under the leadership of V. I. Chapaev. The city became the administrative center of Zapadnyi Kazakhstan Oblast in 1932 and of Ural’sk Oblast in 1962.

Ural’sk is an economic and cultural center of Kazakhstan. The food-processing industry is represented by a confectionery factory, a brewery, a distillery for the production of liqueurs and spirits, a butter factory, and meat-canning, fish-processing, flour-milling, hulling, and dairy combines. Light industry is represented by a fur combine, leather and footwear factories, a garment factory, and a fulling-and-felting mill. Other industrial plants include the Voroshilov Machine-building Plant, a machine shop, a hardware plant, a construction equipment plant, a repair plant, a furniture factory, and enterprises for the production of building materials (including a plant for the production of wall-building materials). A district heat and power plant is also located in the city.

Ural’sk has a pedagogical institute, an agricultural institute, a cooperative trade technicum, and technicums for studies in the areas of light industry (evening school), construction, and agriculture; there is also a medical school in the city, as well as a music school and a pedagogical school. Ural’sk has a museum of history and local lore and a drama theater.


Chesnokov, N. G. Ural’sku 350 let. Alma-Ata, 1963.
Gerasimova, E. I. Ural’sk: Istoricheskii ocherk, 1613–1917. Alma-Ata, 1969.


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