Chelyabinsk оblast is a part of the Ural Federal District of the Russian Federation. Its administrative center is the city of Chelyabinsk, 1,919 km away from Moscow.
The Oblast is in the middle of Eurasia in the southern part of the Urals, on the border of Europe and Asia. Some of its settlements are located in Europe, while others are in Asia.
The south-eastern portion of Chelyabinsk Oblast borders the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The land area of the Oblast is 88.5 thousand square kilometers, and it sprawls 490 km north to south and 400 km east to west. This corresponds to 0.5% of the total land area of Russia and can be compared to the total land area of Hungary, Portugal, and Austria. The Oblast is 2 times larger than Denmark or Switzerland and 3 times larger than Belgium or the Netherlands.
Over 3.4 million people live in the Southern Urals. This number includes the representatives of various ethnic groups. About 80% are Russians, Tatars hold the second place, and Bashkirs take the third. The rest includes Ukrainians, Kazakhs, Germans, Belorussians, Mordvins, etc.
Over 1 million people live in Chelyabinsk
The Oblast is highly urbanized: 82% of its population live in cities.
It is a large transport hub with connections to all parts of Eurasia. Chelyabinsk Oblast is crossed by M5, M36, and M51 federal highways, as well as the South Ural Railroads, which is a part of the Trans-Siberian Railway. There is also an international airport operating in Chelyabinsk.
The industries in the region started active development since the eighteenth century. This growth was accelerated during the Soviet era. During the first five-year plan periods, old factories were renovated and new, enormous plants were constructed.
During the Soviet era, many industrial giants were built including Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant, Verkhniy Ufaley Nickel Plant, etc. During the Great Patriotic War, over 200 enterprises were evacuated to Chelyabinsk Oblast.
Over 90 thousand companies and organizations of all ownership forms are registered in the region. The metal industry is the leading sector in the regional economy producing over 60% of all industrial goods.
A lot of attention is paid to small business development. Every third person employed works in this sphere.
The proportion of small businesses in the gross regional product amounted to 25%
Chelyabinsk Oblast provides itself with agricultural products to a significant degree.
There are unique companies operating in the Oblast that have a big role not only in the regional but also in the Russian economy.
The Oblast has rich and varied natural resources. There are over 300 proven mineral deposits.
Southern Urals is the Russian monopolist for mining and processing graphite (95%), magnesite (95%), furnace dolomite (71%), and talcum (70%)
Another advantage is the availability of skilled labor resources. Various sectors of the Oblast economy employ 1,674,000 people or 47.3% of the entire population.
The Southern Urals have always had high academic and educational capacities. There are 34 higher education institutions operating in the region. Forty organizations perform research and academic work, as well as design and engineering projects.
The proportion of exports in foreign trade turnover was 57.3%, and imports 42.7%. The balance of visible trade is positive: $844.5 million
The foreign trade of the region largely relies on the export of goods.
The largest exporters and importers in the Oblast include Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, Mechel, Chelyabinsk Electrometallurgical Plant, Chelyabinsk Zinc Plant, Chelyabinsk Pipe Rolling Plant, Kyshtym Copper Electrolitic Plant, Iveco AMT, Magnezit Plant. The list of countries of major export and import transactions include Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Turkey, China, Uzbekistan, and Germany.
Chelyabinsk Oblast has a unique nature and climate: it has got picturesque landscapes, lakes, forests, caves, and natural mineral springs. All of these are a good development basis for tourism and recreation. Almost everyone can find interesting places to their liking.
Winters in the region are cold and long, and summers are relatively hot with periodic droughts.
The northwestern part of the Oblast is mountainous and covered in forests, while the rest is steppes or wooded steppes. The highest point is Bolshoi Nurgush mountain (1406.6 meters).
A lot of rivers egress in the region. The larges ones are the Ural and the Miass. The greatest water treasure of the region is its lakes.
Chelyabinsk Oblast is sometimes nicknamed “the lake region” because there are 3,170 lakes
Chelyabinsk Oblast is sometimes nicknamed “the lake region” because there are 3,170 lakes, 98 of which have an area of over 5 square km. The largest one (lake Uvildy) has an area of 68 square kilometers.
Water in many of the lakes is saturated with minerals, and in some of them, therapeutic muds can be found that attract people from all over the country. The Oblast holds one of the first places in the country in terms of therapeutic mud diversity. Some resorts including Uvildy, Ural, Yelovoye, etc are famous all over Russia.
Mountain skiing is developing fast in the region. There are about 20 ski resorts in the Oblast including Abzakovo, Adzhigardak, Zavyalikha, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, and Solnechnaya Dolina that comply with the highest European standards and are extremely popular.
Forests occupy 24% of the Oblast (over 2300 thousand hectares) and are mostly located in the mountain area.
The unique climate and natural conditions bring about varied animal life in the region. The fauna of three biomes can be found in Chelyabinsk Oblast: mountain forest, wooded steppe, and steppe. Over 60 mammal, about 300 bird, and around 20 reptile and amphibia species can be found here. The common representatives include elks, foxes, wolves, mountain hares, and squirrels. The most widely spread birds include ducks, geese, black, white, and hazed grouse, etc. Some of the animals are included in the Red Book of Russia, such as the muskrat and 20 bird species.
Rapid mountain streams and calm steppe rivers, as well as deep and cold or shallow and silted lakes, are home to 60 fish species.
There are over 200 designated conservation areas
Today, there are over 200 designated conservation areas including two reserves, the Ilmenskiy State Nature Reserve and the Arkaim History and Archaeology Reserve and Museum, and two national parks, Taganay and Zyuratkul, as well as 150 other nature sanctuaries. The total land area of designated conservation territories is 1,034 thousand hectares or 11% of the Oblast area, and the total land area of reserves and national parks is 220.8 thousand hectares or 2.5% of the overall Oblast area.