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in the RSFSR. Created on Aug. 14, 1944. Area, 29,000 sq km; population, 1,512,000 (1970). Divided into 16 raions; includes 20 cities and 34 urban-type settlements. Administrative center, the city of Vladimir.
Natural features. Vladimir Oblast is located in the central part of the Eastern European Plain. Its surface is a slightly hilly plain. The northwestern part has a morainic-erosional hilly relief with altitudes over 200 m. In the south the upland merges with the Vladimirskoe Opol’e, an elevated plain (altitudes up to 170-200 m) formed by covering loams, dissected by a dense network of ravines and gullies, and of an undulating hilly character. In the south and in the east the Opol’e joins flat, greatly swamped lowlands formed of sand and of sandy loams (110-130 m)—the Meshchera and Nerl’ lowlands. In the east of Vladimir Oblast discharges of limestones of the Oka-Tsna Swell are related to the widespread occurrence of karst phenomena on the Oka-Kliaz’ma Karst Plateau. In the lower part of the Kliaz’ma valley and near the Oka valley are the Lower Oka Lowland and the Lukh Forest Area, which are flat, swampy plains composed of sand.
The climate is moderately continental. The average January temperature is between -11° and -12° C, and the July temperature is between 17° and 18.5° C. The precipitation is 480-580 mm a year. The length of the growing period is between 160 and 180 days.
Vladimir Oblast is located entirely in the Volga Basin. The lower reaches of the Oka flow through the western edge of Vladimir Oblast; the Kliaz’ma, with its tributaries the Sherna, the Peksha, the Nerl’, and others, flows from west to east. There are lakes and large swamps in the Meshchera Lowland.
Most of the soil is light loamy sand of varying composition. The Meshchera and other lowlands are characterized by peaty and weakly podzolized sandy and bog soils. The Vladimirskoe Opol’e has gray forest and dark-colored peaty soils lying on blanket loams. The valleys of the Oka and the Kliaz’ma have alluvial peaty soils.
Vladimir Oblast has many forests; more than 940,000 hectares of its territory are covered by them. Mixed deciduous and coniferous forests are typical in the oblast. The most wooded area is the Meshchera Lowland, where forests cover between 50 and 65 percent of the territory. The predominant trees are the pine (51 percent), the birch (31 percent), the aspen (11 percent), and the spruce (4 percent). At the floodplains of the rivers, especially of the Oka and the Kliaz’ma, there are flooded meadows, and at the watersheds there are dry valley and lowland meadows. The animals that still remain in the oblast include the elk, the boar, the wolf, the lynx, the pine marten, the squirrel, and the blue hare; the birds include the black grouse, the capercaillie, the hazel hen, and ducks.
Population. Russians make up the basic population. The average density is 52.1 inhabitants per sq km (1970). The population density is greatest in the northwestern and eastern industrial and agricultural raions that are bounded in the north by the Kliaz’ma and in the west by the Oka. The raions of the Meshchera and other lowlands are sparsely populated. The urban population is 1,024,000, or 68 percent. The major cities are Vladimir, Kovrov, Murom, Gus’-Khrustal’nyi, Aleksandrov, Viazniki, and Suzdal’. The cities of Strunino, Sobinka, Karabanovo, Kameshkovo, Kol’chugino, Lakinsk, Petushki, and Gus’-Khrustal’nyi were founded under Soviet power.
Economy. Vladimir Oblast has diversified industry and considerable agriculture. The gross output of big industry increased 50 times from 1913 to 1969. Industry has been developing at an accelerating pace in the postwar years—total gross industrial output rose 8.5 times from 1940 to 1969.
The electric power industry of Vladimir Oblast uses mainly fuel that has been brought in, such as Donets and Kuznetsk coal, mazut, and natural gas. The extraction of peat, which is an energy fuel, amounted to 1.5 million tons in 1969 (an increase from 1.1 million tons in 1940). There is a thermal electric power plant in Vladimir.
The leading industries are machine building and metalworking, which employ more than two-fifths of all industrial workers. The most important industries are the production of tractors and tractor engines, electric motors, and automatic instruments in Vladimir; of excavators and motorcycles in Kovrov; of industrial diesel locomotives and refrigerators in Murom; of radio apparatus and television sets in Aleksandrov; and of cable in Kol’chugino. In 1969 the oblast industry produced 207,000 motorcycles (29,000 in 1950), 540,000 television sets (143,000 in 1955), 370,000 radio receivers and radio-phonograph combinations (220,000 in 1950), and 142,000 refrigerators (about 46,000 in 1960).
The second largest number of workers (one-third) are employed in light industry—chiefly the textile industry—that arose primarily before the revolution. Cotton production is predominant (Karabanovo, Strunino, Sobinka, and elsewhere); there are enterprises producing fabrics from flax (Viazniki, Melenki, and elsewhere), silk (Kirzhach), and knitted fabrics (Vladimir). Vladimir Oblast holds third place in the USSR (after Ivanovo and Moscow oblasts) in the output of cotton fabrics and first place in the output of flaxen fabrics. Between 1940 and 1969 the output of cotton fabrics rose from 458 million to 826 million m, of flaxen fabrics from 104 million to 178 million m, of silk fabrics from 2 million to 25.9 million m, and of knitted underwear and outerwear from 1.5 million to 14.6 million items. There are enterprises of the chemical industry (plastics) in Vladimir.
The oblast has a developed glass industry, which in part uses local raw material (sand) and fuel (peat). Crystal, industrial glass, and dishes are produced in Gus’-Khrustal’nyi and other cities. Vladimir Oblast produces 25 percent of the total Union output of industrial glass and 24 percent of high-grade dishes. Timber procurement has been curtailed in view of the exhaustion of forest resources. Timber export dropped from 4.3 million cu m in 1940 to 2 million cu m in 1969. There is a developed woodworking industry, including sawmills, the production of plywood and cardboard, and the production of wood parts for textile enterprises. From 1940 to 1969 the output of lumber materials rose from 345,000 cu m to 725,000 cu m, of plywood from 24,900 cu m to 53,700 cu m, and of cardboard from 4,700 cu m to 20,800 cu m. The building-materials industry satisfies mainly local requirements. There are also art handicrafts, such as embroidery, jewelry, and miniatures (Mstera).
The chief branches of agriculture are dairy and meat output and potato farming. Agricultural fields cover 1.1 million hectares (ha), or 38 percent of the oblast territory, with a predominance of plowed land, which covers 0.7 million ha; the areas that have the highest percentage of land under cultivation are in the Vladimirskoe Opol’e (up to 60 percent) and on the elevated morainic plains. In the Meshchera Lowland plowed land covers not more than 10 to 20 percent of the area. Natural fodder fields cover 0.4 million ha. Vladimir Oblast has 105 kolkhozes and 124 sovkhozes. In 1969 the sown area amounted to 601,000 ha; of these 291,000 ha were planted with grain crops (rye, oat, wheat, buckwheat, and grain and leguminous crops), 74,000 ha with potatoes, and 224,000 ha with fodder crops (sown grasses and silo crops). There are 7,700 ha of vegetable crops in the suburban zones of Vladimir, Kovrov, and Murom. Horticulture is practiced in the Opol’e raions. Small crops of flax are planted in the southeast. In 1969 the total area of drained lands was 61,600 ha, compared to 10,700 ha in 1953.
The main branches of animal husbandry are dairy and meat livestock raising and pig raising. On Jan. 1, 1970, the oblast had 380,200 head of cattle (including 183,400 cows), 131,600 pigs, and 165,500 sheep and goats. The Vladimir breed of heavy draft horses is well known.
Vladimir Oblast has a dense railroad network, amounting to 965 km, of which 361 km were electrified by the end of 1968. The most important trunk lines are Moscow-Vladimir-Gorky, Moscow-Murom-Kazan, and Moscow-Aleksandrov-Ivanovo. The length of paved highways is 2,517 km. The Oka and the Kliaz’ma rivers (in the lower reaches) are navigable. The gas pipeline connecting the Central and Volga gas pipeline systems passes through Vladimir Oblast.
Economic geography. The northern part of Vladimir Oblast is the most densely populated and is distinguished by a developed industry. It contains the major centers of the machine-building, metalworking, and textile industry (including Vladimir, Kovrov, Aleksandrov, Viazniki, Kol’chugino, and Karabanovo). This is also the location of the Vladimirskoe Opol’e, which has the most developed agriculture. The southeastern part, bordering on the Oka, has a developed industry (machine building and textile output) and agriculture. Its centers are Murom and Melenki. The Meshchera is also located here. There is a developed glass industry in Gus’-Khrustal’nyi and a peat and forest industry. Agriculture is of secondary importance.
A. A. MINTS
Cultural affairs and public health. In the 1914-15 academic year the oblast had 1,154 schools with 84,100 students. In the 1969-70 academic year there were 1,213 general-education schools of all types with 288,700 students and 26 specialized secondary educational institutions with 27,500 students; there were also 11,600 students in polytechnical and pedagogical institutes in Vladimir and in the Murom branch of the Ail-Union Correspondence Institute of Machine Building. In 1970 the oblast had 591 preschool institutions with 61,600 children.
On Jan. 1, 1970, the oblast had 720 public libraries with 7,286,000 books and magazines, a drama theater in Vladimir, and nine museums, including the Vladimir-Suzdal’ Museum-Preserve of History, Art, and Architecture; museums of local lore in Aleksandrov, Viazniki, Kovrov, lur’ev-Pol’skii, and Murom; the Mstera Museum of Art; and the N. E. Zhukovskii and the Academician I. S. Kulikov Memorial Museum Houses in the village of Orekhovo and in Murom. There were also 920 club institutions and 1,130 motion picture installations.
The two oblast newspapers that are published are Prizyv (since 1917) and Komsomol’skaia iskra (since 1951). The ob-last radio and television systems broadcast one radio program and, in addition, relay radio and television programs from Moscow.
On Jan. 1, 1970, Vladimir Oblast had 3,200 doctors of all specialties (one doctor per 473 population) and 17,000 hospital beds (11.2 beds per thousand population).
REFERENCESTsentral’nyi raion. Moscow, 1962.
Vladimirskaia oblast’ za 50 let: Statisticheskii sb. Vladimir, 1967.