// GENERAL INFORMATION
Chelyabinsk Region is located at the boundary between Europe and Asia in the southern Ural Mountains and adjacent plain. It has an area of 87 900 km2 and has existed within its present borders since February 6, 1943.
The region includes 24 district, 27 villages, and about 300 other communities. The population is over 3 600 000 people or 2.5% of the total Russian population. Most of the population (81%) lives in cities. The city of Chelyabinsk is made up of 7 districts, more than 50 communities, and 1300 streets.
The Ural Mountains cut across the northwestern part of the region, where the highest point is 1640 m above sea level. Rolling hills alternate with valleys in the eastern part of the region. The central part is also hilly, with elevation drops averaging about 100-200 m.
Due to its location deep in the European continent, Chelyabinsk Region has a continental climate with long cold winters, and short warm summers.
Chelyabinsk Region ranks fifth in Russia in industrial output. Ferrous metallurgy and engineering are the leading economic sectors. Agricultural production makes up about 5% of the gross regional product.
The city of Chelyabinsk was founded on the Miass River in September 1736 as a fortress on the route from the Trans-Ural (Zauralye) region to Orenburg. In 1743, it became the center of the large province of Isetsk. Between February and April 1774, Chelyabinsk Fortress was in the hands of Emelyan Pugachev's forces [Pugachev was a Cossack rebel leader]. Chelyabinsk remained a Cossack military settlement until 1781.
For more than 100 years, right up to the Revolution of 1917, Chelyabinsk was a small and undistinguished district town of Orenburg Territory. The Cossacks left it and founded small villages nearby, some of which later became part of the city. Cossacks from the Chelyabinsk area fought in the Patriotic War of 1812 as part of the 3rd Orenburg regiment. They took part in battles near Leipzig, fought for Paris, and took part in other battles as well.
During this period, Chelyabinsk was known as a place of political exile. Convicts being transported to Siberia passed through it; and future famous Bolsheviks like Joseph Stalin, Andrei Bubnov, and Evgeny Preobrazhensky spent time in the Chelyabinsk transit prison. Completion of the Samara-Zlatoust railway and the start of service from Moscow to Chelyabinsk in 1892 put the city on the map, and within a few years, it had became one of Russia's largest trading centers, especially for grain, butter, meat, and tea.
Another railway line to Ekaterinburg began operating in 1896. The population of Chelyabinsk increased several times in only a few years. A large number of villages grew up around the station, and the city's area increased by a third.
At that time, a migrant village with its own church, hospital, residential barracks, and other necessary buildings sprang up around the railway station. Chelyabinsk became an important intermediate point for migrants, a kind of "gateway to Siberia." Industry and education expanded rapidly, and the first jointly owned factory, Stal and K (which now manufactures road-building machinery), began production.
A women's gymnasium and vocational, religious, and business schools opened, and a civic center and Railway Club were built.
During the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905), Chelyabinsk played a major role in servicing military units.
At the time of the First World War (1914-1918), Chelyabinsk was a training center for army reserves, with training and formation of military units going on at three military camps. During the Russian Civil War (1918-1921), a battle took place near the city between units of the 3rd Red Army commanded by Field Marshal Mikhail Tukhachevsky and the army of Admiral Aleksandr Kolchak [Supreme Leader of the anti-Bolshevik government in Omsk during the Russian Civil War], which ended in victory for the "Reds".
Chelyabinsk Province was formed in 1919 and then reorganized into Chelyabinsk District of Ural Region in 1924. The province was subsequently enlarged, resulting in the formation of Chelyabinsk Region on January 17, 1934. The region's present-day boundaries were formed on February 6, 1943, when Kurgan Region was split off from it.
During the period of the first five-year plans, Chelyabinsk was transformed into one of the country's largest industrial centers. Only two factories were operating in Chelyabinsk in 1919, but over the next few years, other factories started up, including a tractor plant, an abrasives plant, a ferroalloy plant, a machine tool plant, and a zinc smelter.
In the 1930s, the whole country knew Chelyabinsk as the builder of "industry giants," and many prominent people, such as Vyacheslav Molotov, Kliment Voroshilov, Lazar Kaganovich, and Bubnov, visited the city. By the 1940s, dozens of industries were operating in Chelyabinsk.
During the Second World War, Chelyabinsk was vitally important as a base city, at a time when the Urals were the buttress of the frontline forces. Many factories were evacuated here from the center of the country, and it was here that the world famous Katyusha rocket and T-34 tank were produced.
In June 1941, the entire 85th Chelyabinsk Division perished in the first battles near Grodno. Several night-bomber regiments formed in Chelyabinsk flew to the front in the fall. In 1943, four breakthrough artillery divisions, six artillery brigades, and several artillery regiments, all made up of volunteers, were formed in Chelyabinsk and elsewhere in the region, along with four mobile heavy artillery regiments recruited from among graduates of the Chelyabinsk Higher Tank Command college.
Chelyabinsk Region was also of inestimable value to the country in the postwar years, for example, when it sent the first group of regional Young Communists (Komsomoltsy) to the virgin lands in February 1954.
Chelyabinsk continued to improve and expand in the following years. Industry developed rapidly; one notable year was 1984, when the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant (ChTZ) turned out its one-millionth tractor. The region's cultural life also changed, as new movie theaters and museums opened and a whole system of art and cultural schools grew up. Chelyabinsk was transformed from a provincial town into a dynamic industrial and cultural center of the Urals.
In 1987, archeologists made a historical discovery at digs in the southern part of the region, where they uncovered the fortress of Arkaim. This unique Bronze Age monument had been a fortress of the so-called Country of Proto-Cities consisting of 20 fortresses dating to the time of the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations.
Archeologist N.K. Minko was conducting digs in Chelyabinsk as early as the beginning of the 20th century. He discovered and partially explored hundreds of Sarmatian burial mounds (kurgans) dating from the Bronze Age. Minko and his students also discovered a large number of kurgans on the shores of Smolino, Isakovo, and Sineglazovo lakes. The archeological find of 1987, as well as other finds, prove that people inhabited the territory of modern-day Chelyabinsk even in the depths of antiquity.
The population of Chelyabinsk has grown more than 1080 times in just over 300 years. Whereas the first residents of Chelyabinsk fortress were Cossacks, at the beginning of the 21st century, Chelyabinsk is a multinational city populated by representatives of nearly 100 nationalities.
Chelyabinsk Region has nearly 3170 lakes, including many stunningly beautiful ones in the northeast. It also has a wide variety of therapeutic bathing resources, such as organic and mineral mud and alkaline water. The Ilmen Mineralogical Reserve located on the eastern slopes of the Urals is famous for more than 70 kinds of rocks and 260 minerals that have been discovered there.
The region has a variety of mineral resources, including iron, titanomagmetite, and copper-zinc ores, nickel, gold, bauxite, talc, graphite, quartz, and refractory materials. More than 300 commercial deposits have been explored
Chelyabinsk Region is situated in the watershed of the Volga, Ural, and Tobol river basins, which have an average annual flow of 6.22 km3 through the region. In addition, there are 378 reservoirs with a combined volume of 3.2 km3 (the net storage volume is 2.3 km3). Use of the region's numerous lakes is limited owing to their highly mineralized water and shallowness. Only the largest lakes, e.g., Turgoyak, Chebarkul, and Irtyash, have economic value.
Regional economic water intake is about 1.3 km3, 42% of which is used in industry, 43% in public utilities, and 10% in agriculture.
There are 55 explored freshwater sources in Chelyabinsk Region with total reserves of 650 000 m3 per day; 27 of these are in operation at a total withdrawal rate of 325 000 m3/day. Water is also being withdrawn from unofficial underground water reserves (up to 2.5 million m3 per day), some of which (0.5 million m3 per day) consist of associated water recovered during hard mineral mining operations. Of the five explored mineral water sources in Chelyabinsk Region (total reserves of 1600 m3 per day), three are in operation at a production rate of 70 m3 per day.
Chelyabinsk Region lies within the alpine forest, forest parkland, and steppe zones, each of which has its own special features. This unique geographical location accounts for the diversity of the region's natural landscapes, from the remnants of ancient taiga forests to pine forests and open expanses of steppe. Most of the forested area is covered with birch and poplar woods, along with some spruce, pine, and fir.
Scanty vegetation changing to a sparse growth of larch, spruce and birch on mountain slopes is characteristic of the alpine forest zone. A variety of herbaceous plants, berries (rose hips, currants, stone berries, bird cherries, and blackberries), and mushrooms grow in the forests. Coniferous forests cover an area of 778 000 hectares, while deciduous forests cover 1 376 000 hectares.
Chelyabinsk Region has total forest resources of 2 461 000 hectares, which are divided into two groups for economic purposes. Group 1 forests cover 1 903 000 hectares, and group II forests, 558 000 hectares. Forest lands used for logging occupy 636 000 hectares. The estimated timber yield is 1 000 000 m3. A large proportion of the total available timber consists of birch (55%), followed by aspen (23%), pine (15%), and spruce (5%). In recent years, felling volumes for intermediate use have been about 400 000 m3 of timber annually.
A large number of the more than 300 explored commercial mineral deposits are promising but still undeveloped, forming a large raw material base for industry, building materials, facing stone, and combined ore processing. More than 20 deposits contain iron ore; one of the largest of these is the Magnitogorskoe deposit, which has nearly 200 million tons of ore reserves with a 50-54% iron content.
Limonite deposits lying close to the surface in the Bakalsky iron ore district contain about 48% iron. Total reserves in this district are as much as 600 million tons. Seven large and medium-sized copper-zinc deposits are located in the Verkhneuralsky ore district (total area - 90 km2).
A magnesite deposit that is not only the largest in the country, but also the largest in the world, is located near the city of Satka. The Koelginskoe deposit is one of Europe's largest white marble deposits. A large nickel-cobalt deposit is located near Verkhny Ufalei. The Zhuravlinolozhskoe deposit is Russia's only deposit of kaolin clay used in making fine ceramics, porcelain, glazed pottery, and paper. The Kusinskoe deposit contains titanomagnetite ores. There is a bauxite deposit near Sulei station.
Other minerals produced in the region include talc, phosphate, sulfur pyrites, and salts.
Brown coal deposits of the Chelyabinsk basin extend for 170 km from north to south, with a maximum width of 14 km. The basin has more than 700 million tons of reserves.
Chelyabinsk Region has a monopoly in Russia on the production and processing of graphite (95%), magnesite (95%), furnace dolomite (71%), and talc (70%); and in the Urals, on kaolin (93%), foundry sand (80%), refractory clay (64%), and some other raw materials.
The discovery of mineral deposits at various times has resulted in the construction of a large number of processing facilities. More than 150 companies in the region are involved in working mineral deposits and processing the raw materials. The best known of these are the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MMK), Chelyabinsk Iron and Steel Works (Mechel), Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant (Chelyabinsky elektrolitno-tsinkovy zavod), OAO Ufaleinikel, the Magnezit Industrial Complex (kombinat Magnezit), and the Koelga marble quarry.
Iron ore is concentrated in 24 explored deposits with total reserves of 1300 million tons. The deposits already in production have total reserves of 700 million tons. Other raw materials for the ferrous metallurgy industry include deposits of titanium, manganese, and chromium; these are not in operation at present. Titanomagnetite ore deposits with total reserves of about 12 000 million tons are being readied for development.
There are nine explored copper-zinc deposits in the region, four of which are in operation (total reserves - about 150 million tons). Cadmium, selenium, gold, silver, tellurium, barium, and other rare metals are associated with the ores in these deposits. Copper-porphyry ores with total reserves of 790 million tons are being readied for development. Copper-zinc ores, and to a lesser extent nickel and bauxite, are the most important raw materials for nonferrous metallurgy.
Chelyabinsk Region has considerable subsurface gold reserves, which are concentrated in ore and placer deposits. The gold deposits are associated with both basement rock and fluvial deposits. Probable reserves are estimated at 500 tons of ore gold and 40 tons of placer gold.
The most important nonmetallic minerals in the region in terms of reserves are deposits of graphite, talc, kaolin, and vermiculite (rock raw materials); barite, phosphorite, and glauconite (chemical raw materials); magnesite, quartzite, fluxing limestone, and furnace dolomite (metallurgical raw materials).
Chelyabinsk Region also has large reserves of refractory clay, marble, limestone, building and industrial stone, sand, and facing stone with a wide range of colors and patterns. There are numerous shows of semiprecious and precious raw materials used in industry and jewelry.
Industrial mineral resources are not being fully utilized. A large part of the total produced mineral resources is dumped in the environment in the form of tailings. These tailings constitute secondary mineral resources suitable for further processing, since they often have metal contents equal to natural ores.
City, district, and regional administrations exercise executive authority in the region. The Administration of Chelyabinsk Region is the highest executive body.
The highest legislative and representative body in the city of Chelyabinsk is the City Duma, whose organization and activities are regulated by the City Charter and the Rules of the City Duma.
CULTURE AND ART
Chelyabinsk Region has 15 theaters and 3 concert organizations. Nine of these theaters (five state and four municipal theaters), an art gallery, a philharmonic and organ hall, a circus, several museums, 19 movie theaters, a municipal jazz center, and a contemporary art center are located in the capital.
Tours by Russian and foreign artistic companies add variety to the region's cultural life. The Kamerata chamber theater festival and an international organ music festival are held annually in Chelyabinsk.
The region has an extensive system of art and cultural schools, including three higher educational institutions: the Chelyabinsk State Institute of Art and Culture, the Chelyabinsk Higher Music School, and the Magnitogorsk State Conservatory. There are more than 20 artistic unions, associations, and groups, most of which have formed in the last few years.
Official site of the Administration of Chelyabinsk Region: