// GENERAL INFORMATION
Ekaterinburg, the administrative center of Sverdlovsk Region, is located 1667 km east of Moscow on the border between Europe and Asia. It is one of Russia's largest cities, with a strong industrial base, great cultural and scientific potential, and considerable financial resources.
HERALDRY OF SVERDLOVSK REGION
The city was founded as a factory fortress on the Iset River in 1723.
Metropolitan Ekaterinburg occupies an area of 490 km2, includes 31 communities, and has a population of more than 1 320 000 people. More than 60% of the city's residents are of working age.
Sverdlovsk Region has a long-term raw material base for the ferrous and nonferrous metallurgy and power industries. Subsurface oil and gas exploration is in the initial stages; however, an oil- and gas-bearing structure has been identified in principle.
Raw materials for the construction industry are virtually unlimited. Production of alluvial gold and platinum, gold ore, and semiprecious stones is fairly high; there are also reserves of rare earth elements. Forests cover two-thirds of the region.
Economically and geographically, Sverdlovsk Region is part of the Ural economic district and is located at the intersection of major transportation routes between eastern and western Russia.
Ekaterinburg has a subway and two airports, one for local air traffic and the other for cargo and passenger service in Russia and the CIS (38 routes), as well as for international flights.
The predominant industries are engineering and metalworking, which manufacture metallurgical, mining, oil and gas, and chemical equipment; steam and gas turbines; compressors; excavators; diesel engines; hydroelectric generators; transformers; high-voltage equipment, and many other products.
Ekaterinburg is one of Russia's leading financial centers. Thirty-one independent commercial banks and 20 branches of intercity banks currently operate in the city, as well as the Ural Regional Currency Exchange, where more than 50 banks take part in trading.
An unusual combination of architectural and historical rarities distinguishes Ekaterinburg's cultural legacy and gives the city its own unique character. With more than 600 historical and cultural monuments, Ekaterinburg has earned the right to be included among Russia's historic cities. City residents are especially proud of the many museums and theaters.
Ekaterinburg is also a major scientific center. The Ural Division of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 16 higher state educational institutions, and more than 100 industrial research and development organizations are located here. About 1000 Doctors of Science and 5000 Candidates of Science are engaged in scientific activities. Given Ekaterinburg's large number of higher educational institutions, it is justifiably considered a student city.
Ekaterinburg's political life is extremely active, with more than 20 political parties and movements. Nearly 2000 public organizations are registered at the regional legal department; most of them operate in Ekaterinburg. The city celebrated its 275th anniversary in 1998.
Today, Ekaterinburg is one of Russia's most dynamic cities in the economic and political sense. Churches are being rebuilt, and the city is developing rapidly. New prospects are combined with respect for former city traditions.
Ekaterinburg was founded in 1723, when Lieutenant-General Georg Wilhelm (Villim Ivanovich) de Gennin commissioned a factory fortress built on the Iset River and named it Ekaterinburg.
Lieutenant Commander Vasily Nikitich Tatishchev chose the construction site for the new factory in early 1721. It was a secure, resource-rich location, with good land and abundant forests. It was in the midst of all other operating factories, at the intersection of all mining and metallurgical traffic, and only 25 versts [26.5 km] from Chusovaya, which connected the city to the Kama and Volga rivers. In addtion, its location on the Iset River, which at that time was still a deep river flowing to Siberia, was a place at once in both Europe and Asia.
The city was entirely built at imperial expense and had a regular layout. All buildings were carefully made of wood, with small mica windows and peaked German-style roofs.
In 1725, a mint was founded in Ekaterinburg, where square copper coins were minted. The Lapidary Factory (Granilnaya fabrika) and the Verkh-Isetsky Plant (Verkh-Isetsky zavod, or VIZ), which is still in operation, were built a year later.
By the end of the 18th century, the city had 1859 wooden and 13 stone houses and a population of 9000 people, half of whom were workers and artisans. Ekaterinburg received official city status in 1781; prior to that, it had been simply a district city of Perm Province.
For the first half of the 19th century, the city existed as a state within a state, with its own laws, army, and courts. It was also acknowledged as the territory's mining and metallurgical center.
An imperial decree issued in 1812 allowed all Russians to prospect for and mine gold, and Ekaterinburg became the gold center of the Urals and Siberia. The modern city of Berezovsky is located on the site where Erofei Markov, a peasant from Shartash, found the first gold in 1745. The Berezovsky gold mines are still operating today.
In the last quarter of the 19th century, the city also became a gem-cutting center. Huge quantities of precious stones mined in the Urals were brought to Ekaterinburg, bought up, cut, sold, and sent from there to far-off capitals.
The abolition of serfdom and the series of reforms implemented during the reign of Tsar Alexander II accelerated the development of capitalism in Ekaterinburg. Distilleries, breweries, flour mills, sawmills, and tallow-melting businesses flourished; railway lines extended to all parts of the country; and banking began to expand.
By the end of the 19th century, the city had two gymnasia and the Ural Mining School, two newspapers were publishing, and a local historical society and an engineering society had formed.
Just prior to the First World War, Ekaterinburg was one of Russia's main commercial and industrial centers with good prospects for future expansion. As of 1913, 64 industrial and 699 commercial enterprises with an annual trade turnover of 6.9 million rubles were operating in the city. Another 117 industrial and 1597 commercial companies with an annual turnover of 10.7 million rubles were located nearby. This commercial and industrial potential grew steadily right up to the outbreak of the Civil War in 1918.
After the Civil War ended, Ekaterinburg was a sorry sight: the city's electric power plant was destroyed, factories had come to a standstill, there was no transportation, and there were shortages of grain and fuel. Reconstruction work went on round the clock.
In 1923, Ekaterinburg became the administrative center of Ural Region, which included the former Ekaterinburg, Perm, Chelyabinsk, and Tyumen provinces. In 1924, the city was renamed Sverdlovsk in honor of the famous Bolshevik leader, Yakov Mikhailovich Sverdlov, and then in 1934, became the capital of Sverdlovsk Region.
The city was transformed into an enormous construction site, where giant factories like Uralmash, Elmash, and Khimmash were built. Reconstruction of VIZ, Uraltransmash, and other old factories went on at the same time. Large-scale housing construction also began.
By early 1929, Ekaterinburg had a population of 150 000. There were 2 higher educational institutions, 6 scientific research institutions, 5 technical schools, 57 regular schools, 6 movie theaters, 3 museums, 29 libraries, 11 hospitals, and 89 stores.
Ural University was founded in 1920, followed by two others. By the 1930s, Sverdlovsk had become the largest scientific, cultural, and student center in the eastern part of the country. The Ural branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences opened here in 1932; and a whole city of scientific institutions grew up in the east end of Sverdlovsk, the so-called "Technical College Town" (Vtuzgorodok).
By the eve of the Second World War, the city's population had grown to 423 000. It had 330 km of streets, 130 km of water pipe, a 50-km sewer system, and 330 hectares of parks and other green areas. The number of educational and cultural institutions had also increased; there were now 30 technical schools, 12 higher educational institutions, 25 academic and industrial research institutes, 100 regular schools, 166 libraries, 7 museums, 5 theaters, a philharmonic, a conservatory, and a radio station (RV-5)
During the war years, Sverdlovsk was transformed into a huge arsenal for the country. The city's leading industries were converted to defense production; and in fall 1941 alone, 212 factories were evacuated to Sverdlovsk Region from western parts of the country. "All for the front, all for victory!" was the motto of giant factories and small cooperatives alike. Forty military hospitals operated in the city, along with the People's Commissariat of Ferrous Metallurgy, the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Sciences, the Zhukovsky Air Force Engineering Academy, the Soviet Army Central Academic Theater, and the Moscow Arts Theater. The priceless collections of the Hermitage were also moved here temporarily.
Living conditions were unbelievably cramped: living space per person was a mere 1.5-2 m2. Hospitals occupied the buildings of schools and institutes; and squares, parks, and undeveloped areas were turned into life-saving potato fields.
More than 100 000 city residents were awarded decorations and medals, and 55 people became Heroes of the Soviet Union.
In the postwar years, industrial Sverdlovsk contributed a lot to the revival and subsequent development of the country's economy, while at the same time, the city's enterprises broadened their foreign connections.
In 1959, the city's population stood at 777 000, and there were even more research institutes, schools, libraries, and cultural and other facilities than before. Municipal services had expanded as well.
Sverdlovsk's population reached the momentous one million mark in 1967. A large-scale residential construction program began at the end of the 1960s. The city grew, wreathed itself in glass and concrete, and embellished itself according to the ideals of "advanced socialism".
On September 23, 1991, a Decree of the Supreme Soviet Presidium of the RSFSR restored the city's historic name of Ekaterinburg, following the decision of an extraordinary session of the city Soviet of People's Deputies (21st sitting) held on September 4.
Sverdlovsk Region has long-term reserves of iron, copper, nickel, and manganese ores, bauxite, fluxing agents, coal, and peat used in the metallurgical and power industries.
The region produces 71% of the bauxite, 61% of the chrysotile and anthophyllite asbestos, 23% of the iron ore, 97% of the vanadium, 6% of the copper, 2% of the nickel, and 20% of the refractory clay of Russia's total raw material balance. Raw material resources for the construction industry, e.g., asbestos, kaolin and brick clays, building sand, marble, and talc, completely satisfy the region's requirements and are supplied to neighboring regions.
There are 24 explored iron ore deposits in Sverdlovsk Region with proven reserves of 7.9 billion tons; ten of these deposits, with total reserves of 4.9 billion tons, are being worked. Annual production is approximately 48 million tons.
The region's oil and gas fields are located in the southwest and northeast. They were explored nearly 30 years ago. Specialists estimate their reserves at 240 million tons of oil and 390 billion m3 of gas.
Sverdlovsk Region has 18 414 rivers with a total length of more than 68 000 km. Reservoirs with a total water volume of 2482 million m3 and 1200 artificial lakes with volumes from 50 000 to 700 000 m3 have been constructed on them. There are also 2500 lakes with a surface area of 1100 km2, as well as 146 slurry and ash gathering ponds and toxic water settling ponds with a total volume of 990 million m3 and a surface area of 141.2 km2.
The region's surface water resources are unevenly distributed territorially and seasonally. For example, the Iset and Pyshma river basins, where much of the population and industry is concentrated, account for only 5% of the river discharge, whereas the Tavda River basin, where 3% of the population lives, accounts for 55%.
Groundwater reserves are located primarily in sparsely populated districts; useful natural resources amount to about 2.5 km3 per year.
Forests cover 12.6 million hectares, or 65.6% of the region's territory; coniferous forests make up 63.5% of the forested area. Logging has been going on here for more than 300 years, and the southern and central districts are into their fourth cutting cycle. The forests of Sverdlovsk Region comprise 1.5% of Russia's total forested area, 1.4% of the mature timber reserves, and 5% of the logged volume. Therefore, mature timber reserves have decreased from 877 to 600 million m3 over the past 20 years. Actual reserves suitable for industrial use are estimated at 290-310 million m3.
Forty species of mammals, not counting mice and other similar species, inhabit the region. Squirrels, varying hares, and moose are often encountered in the forests. There are also 210 species of birds, including 30 species of waterfowl and 57 species of game birds. As a result of continuous logging, and for other reasons, the populations of many fur-bearing animals have decreased significantly, especially marten, muskrat, mink, sable, and beaver.
The region's fishing reserves comprise lakes (65 090 hectares), reservoirs and artificial lakes (34 980 hectares), and rivers. Commercial fish in these reserves include pike, various species of carp, tench, pike perch, bream, and perch.
The region ranks 2nd and 3rd among other Russian republics and regions in industrial output, availability of fixed capital assets, and number of industrial production personnel. In recent years, its share in Russia's total GDP has been 2.6-2.7%. Transportation, communications, trade, and catering have the largest market share in the service sector. Industry has the largest share in the GDP in the area of commodity production and also generates more than 60% of the region's national income, while agriculture and construction generate about 7% and 8%, respectively.
The leading economic sectors are heavy, power, and transport engineering. More than 70% of all facilities in the heavy and electrical engineering sectors are concentrated in Ekaterinburg. The fuel and energy complex plays a crucial role in ensuring stable operation of the region's businesses. Power producers include large and small electric power plants, thermal power plants, and the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant (Beloyarskaya AES).
Foreign economic ties are strengthening. During the time of the economic crisis and production slumps, foreign trade was the one sector that showed significant growth. Exports surpass imports, and foreign trade turnover is steadily increasing. The primary export items are ferrous and nonferrous metals and petrochemical products. Sverdlovsk Region has high investment potential and substantial financial resources consisting of company funds and budgetary and extrabudgetary funds. The region ranks 7th in Russia in the number of banks and branches.
Sverdlovsk Region's mining and metallurgical complex is made up of 50 integrated plants, factories, repair companies, and more than ten research and design institutes. Mining and metallurgy account for nearly half of all industrial output. Companies in the ferrous metallurgy sector produce metal for railway transport and the transport engineering industry (rails, coach wheels, axles, wheel rims, and locomotives) and structural bars, including H-girders and other shaped products made of carbon and alloy steels.
Three large plants in the region manufacture hot- and cold-rolled welded metal pipe, oxygen cylinders, and cast iron pipe.
Unique precision alloys in the form of strips and wire are produced for the electronics industry, and cold-rolled magnetic sheets are manufactured for the power industry.
The nonferrous metallurgy industry produces blister and refined copper. Six large aluminum companies produce 53% of all Russian alumina, 15% of all rolled aluminum, about 10% of all primary aluminum, and a major portion of the aluminum foil and fluoride salts.
There is also large-scale production of rolled titanium, which is used in aircraft construction.
The mining and metallurgical complex exports more than 30% of its production.
The construction industry complex in Sverdlovsk Region has facilities to produce 1.25 million tons of asbestos, 5.8 million tons of cement, 3.0 million m3 of precast reinforced concrete structures, and about 750 building bricks. The product range also includes crushed rock, roofing slate, asbestos cement pipes and unions, window glass, linoleum, construction lime, and other building materials.
The largest construction and building material companies are mainly located in major industrial centers, such as Ekaterinburg, Nizhny Tagil, Pervouralsk, and Kamensk-Uralsky.
The forest and chemical industry complex of the Central Urals is one of the region's leaders in industrial potential. The forest utilization rate is 22.2 million m3 per year out of useful mature and overmature timber reserves of 657.5 million m3. The Central Urals produce 5.7% of the commercial timber in Russia, 6.2% of the lumber, 6.7% of the plywood, 4.8% of the chipboard and fiberboard, and 0.9% of the paper.
The region's wood processing industry consists of a number of sectors, including timber sawing and processing and plywood, board, furniture, pulp and paper, match, hydrolytic, and wood chemical production.
Production of synthetic resins, plastics, general rubber and asbestos goods, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals is also well developed in the region.
Engineering is one of Sverdlovsk Region's leading diversified industrial sectors, and in many respects determines the technical level of other industries. The engineering industry accounts for more than 20% of the region's industrial output.
The industry manufactures a wide range of engineering products, such as equipment for the chemical, oil, metallurgical, and electrical industries; excavators with various bucket capacities; steam and gas turbines; farm machinery; railway freight cars; diesel engines and generators; trucks; press-forging machines; metal-cutting and woodworking machine tools; continuous billet casting machines; blast furnace, steel smelting, and rolling equipment; motorcycles; and electronics.
The regional Administration is the highest executive body. The head of the executive branch and highest official is the governor, who is elected for a four-year term. The Government of Sverdlovsk Region is the region's executive and administrative body.
CULTURE AND ART
Ekaterinburg is a city of theaters, museums, and talented writers, artists, film makers, architects, musicians, and jewelers.
The city enjoys a rich cultural life, which is only natural, since the history of Ekaterinburg's cultural life goes back to the first years of its existence. A mining and metallurgical school opened here in the 18th century; and the first library and printing press opened in the early 19th century. A mining engineering society was organized in 1825; and on its initiative, a mining museum was opened in 1834. Over time, the museum became one of Russia's largest repositories of mineral specimens. A meteorological observatory, whose activities were of great practical importance, was established in Ekaterinburg around the same time.
In 1843, P.A. Sokolov arrived in the city with his theater company, and a few years later a special building was constructed for it on Glavny Prospekt (now the Oktyabr movie theater). Arts such as cast iron sculpture, graphic arts, and stone cutting flourished.
The Ural Natural History Society, the country's largest local history society, was founded in Ekaterinburg in 1870; and the Ural Society of Engineers and Ural Society of Chemists were formed in the early 20th century. Some of the leading representatives of the city's intelligentsia were members of these associations, whose objectives included making a comprehensive study of the territory, spreading knowledge among the population, and conducting scientific expeditions. The large collections assembled by the Natural History Society became the foundation for the resources of the regional local history museum, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in 1996.
Hundreds of architectural monuments are evidence of Ekaterinburg's complex history. Many of these monuments are considered masterpieces of world architecture and town planning. The outstanding architectural solutions of the 19th and 20th centuries are also worth noting.