Voronezh Oblast

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Voronezh Oblast


part of the RSFSR. Formed June 13, 1934. Area, 52,400 sq km; population, 2,527,000 (1970). Divided into 29 raions; has 14 cities and 21 urban-type settlements. Center: Voronezh.

Natural features. Voronezh Oblast is located in the central portion of the Eastern European Plain in the basin of the middle course of the Don River. The western part of the oblast (the right bank of the Don) lies on the Central Russian Upland, which is deeply cut by river valleys, ravines, and gorges (elevations, 220-260 m); the eastern part (the left bank) lies on the flat Oka-Don plain (elevations, 80-178 m) and the Kalach Upland (elevations 234 m) and has sharply defined erosional relief.

The climate is moderate continental. The average January temperature ranges from -10.5° C in the north to -8.5° C in the south; the average July temperatures in the north and south are 19.6° C and 21.8° C, respectively. The average annual precipitation is 550-560 mm in the northwest and 425—435 mm in the southeast. (The maximum occurs in the spring and summer.) The growing season (with temperatures above 5° C) varies from 190 days in the north to 200 days in the south. The frost-free period is 138-148 days.

All the rivers of the oblast belong to the Don basin (the density of the river system is 268 m per sq km). The major tributaries of the Don are the Veduga, Devitsa, Potudan’, Tikhaia Sosna, and Chernaia Kalitva on the right and the Voronezh, Bitiug, and Osered’ on the left. The Khoper River, which branches off from the Vorona River, flows through the northeast; it empties into the Don outside the oblast. With the exception of the Don, the oblast’s rivers are shallow and are used for local water supply. The Voronezh Reservoir was under construction on the Voronezh River in 1971.

The northern part of the oblast lies in the south of a foreststeppe zone; it has leached and typical chernozems. The southern part of the oblast is located in a steppe zone and has common and southern chernozems. Forests cover about 10 percent of the oblast; there are oak groves along the high right banks of the rivers and pine forests on left-bank terraces. Among the large forest tracts are the Shipov Woods along the Osered’, the Tellerman Forest along the Vorona, the Usman’ Pine Forest along the Usman’, and the Khrenov Pine Forest along the Bitiug; they have been declared preserves. Unplowed tracts of mixed-grass and meadow and feathergrass steppe—the Bogucharskaia and Kamennaia steppes—are also protected. The wolf, fox, raccoon dog (acclimatized), weasel, European hare, and spotted suslik are found throughout the oblast. Fish include pike, ide, tench, bream, crucian, and common carp. The Voronezh and Khoper preserves have been created for the protection and restoration of the most valuable species of animals.

Population. The population is predominantly Russian (93 percent in 1970); Ukrainians live in the southwest. The average population density is 48.2 persons per sq km (1970). The northwest is the most densely settled (more than 50 persons per sq km), and the south and southeast are the least (less than 20 persons per sq km). The urban population is 46 percent. The major cities are Voronezh, Borisoglebsk, Georgiu-Dezh, Rossosh’, Ostrogozhsk, and Povorino. The cities of Kalach, Povorino, Rossosh’, Georgiu-Dezh, Semiluki, and Ertil’ have been established in the period of Soviet power.

Economy. Voronezh Oblast is a region of highly developed large-scale industry and intensive agriculture. By 1969 the gross output of large-scale industry had grown by a factor of 233 in comparison with 1913, and the gross output of all industry had increased by a factor of 8 compared with 1940. Industrial power is based on The Voronezh State Regional Power Plant, the Novovoronezhskii Atomic Power Plant, and the thermal electric power plants of large enterprises (linked together in the Voronezhenergo system, which is tied in with the Unified Power System of the European USSR by the high-voltage Volgograd-Moscow transmission line).

The leading branch of industry is machine building (up to one-third of the gross industrial output). Among the products are mineral dressing equipment and engineering equipment for the chemical industry, light industry, the food industry, trade, catering, and water conservation; metal-cutting machine tools; forges and presses; mechanical shovels and multibucket excavators; grain-cleaners and other agricultural machines; bridge structures; and prefabricated assemblies. The production of domestic television and radio receivers is of nationwide importance. (In 1969, 812,000 televisions were produced, as against 123,000 in 1955; 450,000 radio receivers and radiograms were produced in 1969, as against 165,000 in 1950). Radio parts and electric motors are also produced. The major machine-building enterprises are in Voronezh. The chemical industry (production of synthetic rubber and tires and pharmaceutical compounds in Voronezh) is well developed, as is the production of building materials—fire-resistant articles in Semiluki, cement in Podgorenskii, ceramic tiles, prefabricated reinforced concrete, and building components in Voronezh, chalk and lime in Kopanishche, and mineral dyes in Zhuravka and Buturlinovka. There is quarrying of granite, sandstone, and molding and construction sand. In 1969 the production of fire-resistant articles was 709,000 tons (170,000 tons in 1940); of cement, 699,000 tons (116,000 tons in 1940); and of ceramic tiles, 1,689,000 sq m (378,000 sq m in 1955). The food industry is of great importance; it accounts for 36 percent of the indus-trial output of the oblast. The leading branches of the food industry are butter and fats (Georgiu-Dezh, Rossosh’, Kamenka, Anna, Bobrov, Voronezh, Buturlinovka, and Novokhopersk), sugar (Khokhol’skii, Ramon’, Elan’-Kolenovskii, Pervoe, Sadovoe, Gribanovskii, Ol’khovatka, Pereleshinskii, Nizhnii, Kisliai, Ertil’, Georgiu-Dezh, and Kalach), and meat (Voronezh, Borisoglebsk, Georgiu-Dezh, Rossosh’, Kalach, Novovoronezhskii, and Povorino). The flour-milling and groats industry is also well developed. In 1969, 168,700 tons of vegetable oil (41,000 tons in 1940), 360,300 tons of granulated sugar (64,800 tons in 1940), and 108,600 tons of meat (21,000 tons in 1940) were produced.

Agriculture is oriented toward grain and livestock raising. The oblast has 487 kolkhozes and 102 sovkhozes (1969). Agricultural land amounts to 4,154,000 hectares (ha), of which 3,290,000 ha are arable land, 157,000 ha are hayfields, and 652,000 ha are pastureland. The sown area of all agricultural crops (1969) is 3,234,000 ha, of which grains account for 50.6 percent; industrial crops, 16.2 percent; potatoes, vegetable, and melon crops, 3.8 percent; and feed crops, 29.4 percent. The main crops are barley (858,000 ha), sunflowers (312,000 ha), sugar beets (179,000 ha), silage corn and green feeds (559,000 ha), and annual grasses (295,000 ha). Wheat, millet, leguminous plants, winter rye, and seed corn are also planted.

The branches of livestock raising are dairy and meat cattle raising (cattle population 1,216,300 head as of the beginning of 1970, 46 percent of which were cows), meat and lard swine raising (1,264,600 head), meat and wool sheep raising (987,000 head), and poultry farming (8.1 million head). Horses, including the Voronezh draft horse, are raised.

In 1969 there were 1,097 km of railroads. The main lines (Moscow-Voronezh-Rostov-on-Don and Penza-Georgiu-Dezh-Kharkov) are electrified. There are 14,100 km of automobile roads; the major highway is Moscow-VoronezhRostov-on-Don. The Stavropol’-Moscow and ShebelinkaOstrogozhsk gas pipelines cross the oblast. Air routes link Voronezh to many points in the oblast, as well as to other raions of the country.

INTERNAL DIFFERENCES. The northern region is industrially the most highly developed. The leading branches of industry are machine building, power engineering, electrical engineering, chemicals, food, and the production of building materials. Grains, sugar beets, and sunflowers are raised; there is dairy and meat livestock raising, swine raising, and meat and wool sheep raising. The centers are Voronezh, Semiluki, Novovoronezhskii, Georgiu-Dezh, Ostrogozhsk, Borisoglebsk, Ertil’, Anna, and Bobrov. The southern region is primarily agricultural. Grains, sunflowers, sugar beets, and essential-oil plants are sown. Horticulture is well developed. There is meat and dairy cattle raising, swine raising, and poultry farming. There is also a food industry; production of building materials; repair of tractors, automobiles, and agricultural machinery; and production of spare parts. Centers include Rossosh’, Podgorenskii, Buturlinovka, Kalach, and Pavlosk.


Cultural construction and public health. Prior to the October Revolution, there were 1,859 schools (150,000 students), six specialized secondary educational institutions (600 students), and two institutions of higher learning (300 students) in Voronezh Oblast. During the 1969-70 academic year there were 485,800 students in 2,129 general educational schools of all types, 42,100 students in 39 specialized secondary educational institutions, and 56,400 students in nine institutions of higher learning (the university and seven higher educational institutions in Voronezh, and a pedagogical institute in Borisoglebsk). In 1970 there were 67,300 children in pre-school institutions. As of Jan. 1, 1970, there were 1,126 people’s libraries (12,376,000 copies of books and journals), five theaters (theaters of opera and ballet, a drama theater, a young people’s theater, and a puppet theater in Voronezh and a drama theater in Borisoglebsk), five museums (oblast museums of local lore and fine arts and the house-museum of the poet I. S. Nikitin in Voronezh and museums of local lore in Borisoglebsk and Ostrogozhsk), 1,442 club institutions, and 1,790 film projection units in operation in the oblast.

The oblast newspapers are Kommuna (since 1919) and Molodoi kommunar (The Young Commune Member, a Komsomol paper; since 1922). Oblast radio and television transmit on two channels each and also relay transmissions from Moscow. There is a television station in Voronezh.

As of Jan. 1, 1970, there were 6,500 doctors working in Voronezh Oblast (1 doctor for 388 persons) and there were 21,700 hospital beds in service (8.6 per thousand of population).


Dolgopolov, K. V. Tsentral’no-Chernozemnyiraion. Moscow, 1961.
Grishin, G. T. Voronezhskaia oblast’. Voronezh, 1967.
Narodnoe khoziaistvo Voronezhskoi oblasti za 50 let Sovetskoi vlasti: Statisticheskii sb. Voronezh, 1967.
Atlas Voronezhskoi oblasti. Moscow, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.