Vologda Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Vologda Oblast


part of the RSFSR. Established on Sept. 23, 1937. Area, 145,700 sq km. Population, 1,296,000 (1970). Vologda Oblast is divided into 26 raions and has 15 cities and 11 urban-type settlements. Its center is the city of Vologda.

Natural features. Vologda Oblast lies in the northern part of the East European Plain at an elevation of 150-200 m. The western part of the oblast has morainic-lacustrine relief. The Onega and Mologa-Sheksna lowlands, the Belozersk plain, the Andoga, Belozersk, and Kirillov ridges, and the Andoma and Vepsy uplands (where the highest point in the oblast—304 m—is found) are located here. The Vologda, Galich, and Verkhnevaga uplands, the Kharovsk Ridge, and the Sukhona and Charozero lowlands are located in the central portion of the oblast. There is a rolling plain in the east; a portion of the Severnye Uvaly Upland extends into the oblast here.

Vologda Oblast has a temperate continental climate, with a prolonged, moderately cold winter and a relatively short, warm summer. The average temperature of the warmest month (July) is 17°-18° C and of the coldest month (January), between -11° C (in the west) and -14° C (in the east). The average annual precipitation is 560-580 mm in the west and 480-500 mm in the east (the maximum in the summer months accounts for two-fifths of the annual quantity). The snow cover lasts 160-170 days. The frostless period is 95-100 days in the east and 115-125 days in the west and south.

The rivers and lakes of the oblast belong to the basins of the Baltic, White, and Caspian seas. Lakes Vozhe and Kubena belong to the basin of the White Sea. The largest river of Vologda Oblast is the Sukhona, with its tributary the lug; the Severnaia Dvina is formed from their confluence. Lake Onega belongs to the Baltic Sea basin. Lake Beloe empties into the Volga (basin of the Caspian Sea) through the Sheksna River, which has been turned into a system of reservoirs (the Cherepovets and Rybinsk reservoirs). The Mologa River, which empties into the Rybinsk Reservoir, also belongs to the Volga Basin. The rivers and lakes are fed by both snow and rain and to some extent, by groundwater. Approximately half of the annual flow rate of the rivers occurs from April to June. The rivers and lakes are icebound for 160-170 days. On the main rivers are found navigation, timber floating, fishing (as well as in the lakes and Rybinsk Reservoir) and hydroelectric power plants. The rivers and lakes are very important sources of the industrial and domestic water supply.

The northern half of the oblast has podzolic soils and the south, soddy-podzolic soils. Podzolic-gley, soddy-calcareous, boggy, and alluvial soils are frequently encountered. Forests cover about two-thirds of the area, with the density reaching as much as 70-80 percent in the northwest and southeast. More than 60 percent of the forests are coniferous, primarily spruce. Meadows are very important (about 10 percent of the oblast’s territory). Swamps account for about 12 percent of the land area.

Blue hares, squirrels, European brown bears, wolverines, pine martens, badgers, wolves, and foxes inhabit the oblast. The partridge, black grouse, and hazel hen are of economic value. Such fish as the salmon, nelma, bream, pike perch, perch, and pike are found in the lakes and rivers. The Darwin Preserve is located in the oblast near Rybinsk Reservoir. There are beaver preserves in Tot’ma, Kirillov, and Kharovsk raions.

Population. Russians make up 98 percent of the oblast’s population and Ukrainians about 1 percent. The average population density is nine persons per sq km. The south of the central portion of the oblast is the most densely populated. The urban population totals 48 percent. The major cities are Vologda and Cherepovets.

Economy. By 1969 the gross industrial output had increased by a factor of 9 in comparison with 1940. Of the branches of industry, ferrous metallurgy accounted for 42 percent of gross output (1969), forestry, woodworking, and the pulp and paper industry for 18 percent, the food industry for 15 percent, light industry for 14.3 percent, machine building and metalworking for 7 percent, production of construction materials for 2 percent, the glass industry for 1 percent, and the fuel industry for less than 1 percent. The fuel-energy balance is dominated by the coal, petroleum products, and natural gas that are brought into the oblast. Fuel peat is extracted (about 500,000 tons). In heavy industry, ferrous metallurgy is developed. There is a metallurgical plant in Cherepovets that uses primarily the ore from the Olenegorsk and Kovdor deposits in Murmansk Oblast and the coal from the Pechora coal basin. The oblast has a steel rolling mill. Machine building plays a significant role (the production of equipment for the woodworking industry, the meat and dairy industry, automotive repairs, shipbuilding and ship repairs, repairs of railroad rolling stock, and the like). A bearing plant is under construction (1971). The main centers for machine building are Vologda and Cherepovets.

Vologda Oblast is one of the USSR’s leading oblasts in logging. In 1969 it exported 16.5 million compact cu m (in 1940, 8.8 million). A substantial portion of the timber is processed within the oblast in Sokol, Kharovsk, Cherepovets, Velikii Ustiug, Suda, and other cities. The pulp and paper industry is concentrated in the city of Sokol. In 1969 lumber output totaled 1.9 million cu m (in 1940, 400,000 cu m); paper output amounted to 119,800 tons (in 1940, 47,000 tons).

The chemical industry (Cherepovets) and the production of construction materials are developing. One of the country’s largest glass factories is located in Chagoda. Light industry (such enterprises as flax combines in Vologda and Krasavino, knitted goods and clothing factories in Vologda and Cherepovets, and a bristle and brush factory in Velikii Ustiug) and the food industry (production of butter, canned dairy products, and other foods) play important roles in the oblast’s economy. In 1969 the production of linen fabric was 35.1 million m (in 1940, 5.4 million m); of animal oil, 9,900 tons; and of preserves, 43.5 million standard jars.

Vologda Oblast had 303 kolkhozes and 103 sovkhozes in 1969. There is a total of 2,194,000 hectares (ha) of agricultural land. Of these, 857,000 ha are arable, 782,000 ha are used for hay, and 542,000 ha are in pastures. Dairy livestock raising occupies a leading role in agriculture. Plantings of feed crops account for 54.5 percent of the sown area. In addition to cattle, sheep and swine are raised in the oblast. The livestock population on Jan. 1, 1970, numbered 558,000 head of cattle, 81,000 swine, and 276,000 sheep and goats. The sown area totaled 747,000 ha (1969). In field cultivation, cereal crops are important (238,000 ha). The main crops are rye (98,400 ha), spring wheat (35,000 ha), and barley, oats, and peas; potatoes and vegetables occupy a substantial area (38,000 ha). Flax is the oblast’s major commodity crop (64,000 ha). The cultivation of perennial grasses (clover and timothy) is developed.

The oblast has age-old folkcrafts, among them lace weaving (primarily in Vologda and adjoining regions) and niello work (Velikii Ustiug).

There are 739 km of railroad. Vologda is the most important junction; the main lines are Moscow-Arkhangelsk and Kirov-Leningrad. There are more than 10,000 km of highway. The total length of waterways is about 11,000 km; about 2,000 km is used for navigation, including the V. I. Lenin Volga-Baltic Waterway, the Severnaia Dvina system, and the Sukhona, Vologda, and Severnaia Dvina rivers. A gas pipeline was built from the Volga Region to Cherepovets in 1961. The Siianie Severagas pipeline passes through Vologda Oblast (Vuktyl-Rybinsk-Torzhok).


Cultural institutions and public health. In the 1914-15 academic year there were 104,000 students in 2,096 schools (primarily elementary schools). During the 1969-70 academic year there were 279,100 students in 1,816 general-education schools of all types, 10,500 students in 34 vocational and technical schools, 25,300 students in 29 specialized secondary schools, and 12,600 students in higher educational institutions—the dairy and pedagogical institutes in Vologda, the pedagogical institute in Cherepovets, and branches of the Northwestern Polytechnic Institute in Vologda and Cherepovets. In 1969 there were about 60,000 children in the pre-school institutions of the oblast.

On Jan. 1, 1970, Vologda Oblast had 988 general libraries with 9,611,000 copies of books and journals; the oblast drama theater and puppet theater in Vologda; museums of local lore in Vologda (an oblast museum with branches), Velikii Ustiug, Vytegra, Tot’ma, Ustiuzhna, and Cherepovets; the oblast picture gallery in Vologda; the Kirillov-Belozersk historical-architectural and art museum-preserve in Kirillov; the museum-house of V. V. Vereshchagin in Cherepovets; 1,341 clubs; and 1,795 stationary motion picture projectors. The oblast newspapers are Krasnyi Sever (since 1917) and Vologodskii komsomolets (since 1938). Oblast radio broadcasts one program and oblast television, two. Broadcasts are also relayed from Moscow. The television center is in Cherepovets.

On Jan. 1, 1970, there were 2,300 doctors in Vologda Oblast (one doctor per 558 persons) and 15,500 hospital beds (12.0 hospital beds per 1,000 population).


Agroklimaticheskii spravochnik po Vologodskoi oblasti. [Vologda] 1959.
Atlas Vologodskoi oblasti. Moscow, 1965.
Dmitrevskii, Iu. D., and P. A. Zimin. Geografiia Vologodskoi oblasti, 4th ed. [Vologda] 1968.
Preobrazhennyi Sever, Arkhangel’sk-Vologda. 1967.
Priroda Vologodskoi oblasti. Vologda, 1957. (Collection of articles.)
Minee v, V. A., and V. M. Malkov. Vologodskaia oblast’. [Vologda] 1958.
Karaseva, G. M. Chto chitat’ o Vologodskoi oblasti: Rekomendatel’nyi ukazatel’ literatury. [Vologda, 1968.]
Khaikin, I. M. Geografiia promyshlennosti Vologodskoi oblasti. Vologda, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Summary: The Vologda Oblast is situated in the North European part of Russia