Resources and Economy

The most important natural resources are oil and natural gas (in the Timan-Pechora province), timber, sodium and potassium salt, coal, bauxites, diamonds, and raw building materials. There are two health resorts at Sol'vychegodsk and Solonikha.

The population is about (2003) 1,335,700 including around 41,500 in Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Mean population density is 2.5 people per sq km. The overwhelming majority lives along the railroad (one-third of the total), in the lower reaches of the Severnaya Dvina (almost two-fifths), in the Vaga River basin, and in the middle course of the Severnaya Dvina (over one-tenth). The lowest population density is recorded in the Mezen' and Pinega basins and in Nenets Autonomous Okrug. The urban population accounts for 74% of the total. Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' has 11 cities and 37 urban settlements. The largest cities are Arkhangel'sk (population 362,700), Severodvinsk (234,500), Kotlas (66,000), Novodvinsk (48,600), and Koryazhma (44,300). In terms of ethnic composition, the population consists of Russians (92.1%), Ukrainians (3.4%), indigenous northern peoples (0.5%), and other groups (4.0%).

The economy is dominated by industry (54.9%). In 1998, it accounted for 33.2% of GDP whereas agriculture accounted for 5.3%, building for 4.8%, transport for 10.6%, and trade for 9.2%.

Main cities and rivers in Arkhangel'skaya Oblast'.

The most advanced industries in Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' are machine construction, metal processing, fuel and energy production, and fishery. The timber industry with wood and cellulose processing is of utmost importance. It accounts for 53% of the total industrial production in Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' and for a significant part of all lumber, saw-timber, cellulose, and paper produced in Russia.

Animal husbandry plays a leading role in the agriculture of Arkhangel'skaya Oblast'. Its most developed lines are dairy farming and reindeer herding. Major products of plant cultivation are vegetables, potato, cereals, and technical crops. Other economic activities are traditional hunting and fur farming.

Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' has a well-developed transport infrastructure. The total length of railroads is 18,000 km, that of hard-surfaced roads is 10,000 km, and inner navigable waterways is 3800 km. Arkhangel'sk sea port is the largest on the White Sea and one of the most important in the Russian Arctic. Other large ports are Onega, Mezen', Naryan-Mar, and Amderma.

A unique installation of national importance is the Plisetsk space center. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, it is the sole site of operation for the Russian space program equipped with complete facilities for launching space vehicles. Another unique object is the chief nuclear weapons testing ground on Novaya Zemlya, where nuclear tests have been conducted since the 1950s. In 1990, Russia announced and still observes the moratorium on nuclear testing. However, the Novaya Zemlya test site continues to be used for basic and applied research. Belushiya Guba, founded in the late 19 th century, is the administrative center of the testing ground and in fact the "capital" of Novaya Zemlya.

The high level of industrialization is responsible for a relatively heavy environmental pollution. Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' is the 16th region in Russia in terms of discharge of industrial wastes into the atmosphere and the 14 th one in terms of the amount of contaminated runoff into rivers and water bodies (1999). The major sources of environmental pollution are large paper and cellulose mills in Koryazhma, Novodvinsk, and Arkhangel'sk and power stations in Severodvinsk and Arkhangel'sk.

An extensive network of protected territories has been created to exercise nature conservation. The largest of them are Pinezhsky (51,100 ha) and Nenetsky (313,400 ha) nature reserves, Vodlozersky (469,900 ha, partly in Karelia) and Kenozersky (139,700 ha) national parks, and federal nature sanctuary Zemlya Frantsa Iosifa (Franz Josef Land, 445,000 ha). In addition, there are 34 nature sanctuaries of regional importance, two botanical gardens, and 70 natural monuments. It is proposed that two more areas in Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' be designated as national parks: "Onezhskoye Pomorye" (300,000 ha) and "Russkaya Arktika" (5,200,000 ha), the first national park in the Russian Arctic.

Arkhangel'skaya Oblast' has over 2500 historical and cultural monuments (without archaeological monuments) and two open-air museums (Solovetsky and Kargopol'sky). The museum of folk architecture Malye Karely near Arkhangel'sk is widely known both in Russia and abroad for its numerous 16th-20th-century buildings, which were brought from various regions of the Russian North (Kargopol'-Onega, the Severnaya Dvina, the Vaga, the Pinega, the Mezen', the White Sea). The Solovetsky museum is on UNESCO's List of World Cultural Heritage as featuring outstanding specimens of Russian monastic culture.

Yuri Mazourov

See also Arkhangel'sk; Franz Josef Land; Nenets Autonomous Okrug; Novaya Zemlya; Pechora River; Severnaya Dvina; Solovetski Islands

Further Reading

Ebbinge, B.S. et al. (editors), Heritage of the Russian Arctic: Research, Conservation and International Co-operation, Moscow: Ecopros Publishers, 2000 Economicheskaya I Sotsial'naya Geographiya Rossii: Uchebnik dlya Vuzov. Pod Red. Prof. A.T. Khruscheva (A.T. Khruschev (editor), Economic and Social Geography of Russia), Moscow: Drofa, 2001 Gosudarstvennyi Doklad "O Sostoyanii i ob Okhrane Okrushayuschei Prirodnoy Sredy Rossiiskoi Federatsii v 2002 godu" [State Report: State of Environment and Conservation in the Russian Federation in 2002], Moscow: MPR, 2003

Regiony Rossii: Statisticheskii Sbornik (Regions of Russia: Statistical Handbook, 2 volumes), Moscow: Goscomstat of Russia, 2000

The Demographic Yearbook of Russia: Statistical Handbook,

Moscow: Goscomstat of Russia, 2000 Yablokov, A.V. (editor), Rossiiskaya Arctika na Poroge katas-trofy (Russian Arctic: On the Edge of Catastrophe), Moscow: Tsentr Ecologitcheskoi Politiki Rossii, 1996

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