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    Khabarovsk Territory

    Encyclopedia Arctica 10: Soviet North, Geography and General

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            2,350 woods

            KHABAROVSK TERRITORY (Krai), with 1,430,875 inhabitants in 1939 (the 1947 electoral apportionment indicates 1,700,000 and ) 1,026,000 square miles in area, or approximately one-third

    the size of the United States, constitutes the Pacific seaboard of the Soviet Union[?] north of

    [Dec ?] except for th [ ?] the portion [ ?] abutting on the Sea of Japan . and It

    includes the eastern coast of the Soviet Arctic, from Bering Strait (q.v.) west to the eastern

    shore of Kolyma Bay. (q.v.) In latitude it extends from 70° N. - and includes Wrangel Island (q.v.)

    lying above that parallel - [ ?] down to 48°. The vast bulk of its territory lies in the

    permafrost zone, i.e., the entire area down to 51° . It [ ?] is thus comparable to the

    eastern coast of the American continent, where permafrost in Labrador reaches the

    same parallel. Likewise, the timberline is roughly at the same latitude in both cases: 59° in northern

    Quebec and 61° in Khabarovsk Territory. Finally, There is also the similarity that the

    artery for settlement and transport in both eastern Canada and the easternmost U.S.S.R.

    is a great river at the southern boundary: the St. Lawrence and the Amur . Each is paralleled

    by railroads completely lacking further north . Each river flows through all area free of permafrost, agriculturally well

    developed and having large cities along its banks. However, the Amur, its farms and

    cities lie several degrees farther north than the St. Lawrence, bringing certain prob–

    lems of a sub-Arctic character, such as the virtual impossibility, until very recently,

    of growing any fruits whatever. This, and the briefer history of uninterrupted Russian rule

    on the Amur (1958-60) account for the population being only about half that of Quebec.

            Whereas, in all the foregoing respects and also in the matter of being indented

    by a very large body of water of Arctic temperature and ice conditions - the Okhotsk

    Sea, corresponding to Hudson Bay - the Soviet north Pacific coast resembles Canada's

    coast on the Atlantic, that comparison does not hold geologically. In this respect

    the eastern and western shores of the Pacific are very much alike. Except for the

    valley of the Amur, flat country is almost entirely lacking in all this million-square–

    mile expanse. On the peninsula of Kamchatka, an active volcanic range reaches to almost [ ?]

    16,000 ft., while on the mainland numerous ranges rise to 4,000 ft. and more.

            Kamchatka Region (Oblast) (qv)

            Because of its great size, Khabarovsk Territory is subdivided into four main

    Regions (Oblasts). The largest by far in area, occupying almost half the Krai, is also

    the the least densely populated. smallest in population. It is Kamchatka Oblast, 202,700 sq mi. embracing all of the Arctic coast from

    163° to 170°E , within the torritery all the Soviet coast of the Bering Sea, and the eastern coast of

    the Sea of Okhotsk. In other words, it includes the Kamchatka and Chukot Peninsulas and

    the mainland east of the valley of the headwaters of the Kolyma. Administratively, it

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    includes the Chukchi [ ?] and the Koriak National Okrugs , (q.v.), very large areas in

    which these small native peoples are probably still in the majority, despite the rapid

    expansion of Northern Sea Route way-ports in the first in stance, case and fisheries in the second.

    It also includes and an Aleut Raion (County) comprising the two Komandor Islands east of

    Kamchatka, inhabited by members of that nationality. Kamchatka Oblast has its capital at

    [ ?] the year–

    round port of Petropavlovsk founded 1822, in 1740 , with a population risen from 1,200 in 19 [ ?] 6 to 45,000 in 1947, judging by the

    electoral apportionment of that year. (A decade earlier, there had been 20,000.) In the entire Region there is no other locality

    meriting the designation of town in Soviet administrative parlance. but s Six have risen

    from being mere "inhabited points", with perhaps a radio and weather station, trading post and native

    school , to the status of "workers' settlement", engaged in commeric ci al shipping, mining,

    fishing, canning or and administrative responsibility for the surrounding countryside,

    or a combination of two or more of these. Their dates of incorporation as workers' settle–

    ments indicates how recent is the opening of the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Three of them,

    Anadyr (1934), Providenie (1946) and Ugolnyi (1946), all on Anadyr Bay of the Bering

    Sea, are in the truly Arctic Chukot National Okrug, of which Anadyr is the administrative

    center . , a truly Arctic area. The Koriak National Okrug 151,700 sq. mi. in area (about the size of California) has no workers' settlement as yet, being administered

    from the village of Palana. The other three workers' settlements are on the sub [ ?] -Arctic

    southern half of Kamchatka, which corresponds to the Panhandle of Alaska. They are

    Industrialnyi, a manufacturing suburb of Petropavlovsk itself, and Kikhchik and Mikoian,

    centers of the fishing and canning industry on the non-freezing portion of the coast.

    No population figure for Kamchatka Oblast is available, but the number of inhabitants

    [higher? ?] may be estimated at 100,000 between 75,000 and 105,000 of which a majority is undoubtedly in

    the sub- [ ?] -Arctic southern portion of the Kamchatka Peninsula.

            The electoral apportionment of 1947 indicates a population of 30,000 for the

    Chukot National Okrug which has an area of 274,500 sq. mi, slightly larger than Texas . Whereas that is twice the last previously reported (50% more than the 1933 population) population figure for

    that area, there is considerable evidence to indicate that the population might well

    have grown by 10 ,000 during World War II, and that further rapid growth has taken place

    since then. Thus, the Chaun Bay area on the Arctic coast, centered at Pevek, has become

    the largest tin-mining area in the U.S.S.R. The promotion of Providenie and Ugolnaia, with

    its coal-mining, to the status of workers' settlements, is believed to indicate a popu-

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    lation of a couple of thousand at each of these places. During the war, Velkal was

    developed as a way airport on the Lend-Lease Route, and had a population of several

    hundred. A large factory to process whale and other blubber was built at Providenie

    in 1947, and a whaling station and five sealing bases established along the coast.

    Uelen (Wellen) had, in 1946, a schoolhouse, community center, post office, general

    store and warehouses, newspaper office and county government building. The following

    year an elaborate native handicrafts center was erected [ ?] there, with equipment for

    bone-carving, an art school, dormitories, power station and warehouses. But the population

    density is still only one person in ten square miles, on the average.

            As for Kamchatka, population increase is indicated by the decision, in 1947,

    to change over from seasonal to year-round fishing, thus necessitating a permanent

    population where previously [ ?] cannery workers had been brought from [ ?]

    Vladivostok for a three-to-five month period. As a result, the catch for all of Khab–

    arovsk Territory (most of which is off Kamchatka) was [ ?] 164,720,000 lbs. greater

    in 1947 than in the previous year. 9,200,000 920,000 lbs. of caviar and 33,000,000 cans of fish

    and crab preserves were prepared during the year.

            [ ?]

    [ ?]

    [ ?]

    [ ?]

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            Kolyma-Magadan Mining Counties

            Most impressive as an indication of rapid current development in Kamchatka Oblast [ ?]

    [ ?] and the Kolyma [ ?] goldfields region, [ ?]

    also in Khabarovsk Territory, adjoining it immediately to the Southwest, are advertise–

    ments such as the following, which appeared in Trud , the national newspaper of the

    Soviet trade unions, on June 17, 1947. (Dalstroi is the Far Eastern Construction Company,

    allocated the development of [ ?] Kamchatka, Chukotka and the Kolyma

    country. It is a bureau of the Dept. of the Interior, or Ministry of Internal Affairs):





            1. Mining engineers and technicians, mine-surveyors, ore concentration men, shaft-drillers,

    electrical mechanics; 2. Geological engineers and technicians: prospectors and surveyors,

    drillers, geophysicists, mineralogists and petrographers; 3. Geodetic engineers and carto–

    graphers (graduates in geodetics); 4. Topographical technicians; 5. Physicians: medical

    assistants, surgeons, X-ray specialists, doctors of sanitation and food preparation, lab

    workers, [ ?] pharmacists and phermaceutists, dentists and dental technicians. For in–

    formation and applications apply at: Dept. of Employment, 14 Gogol Blvd., Moscow;

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    Bureau of Labor and Recruitment for Dalstroi in Leningrad, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Sverdlovsk,

    Cheliabinsk, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, Kirov, Molotov, Kuibyshev, Chkalov, Saratov, Rostov-on-Don,

    Kiev, Kemerovo, Barnaul, Alma-Ata and Ufa.

            This advertisement has been quoted in full because it illustrates, by the nature

    of the personnel sought, the all-sidedness, completeness and apparent permanence of the

    developments envisaged. Similarly, the fact that Dalstroi maintains employment offices

    in every important city of European and Siberian Russia, the Ukraine and Central Asia,

    indicates that its operations must be on a very large scale indeed. Third, the fact

    that advertising of this type takes place at all sheds light on the moot question [ ?] of

    [ ?] forced labor. [ ?] An advertisement of the same type, placed

    by the same organization, had appeared in Trud four months earlier. It specified that

    the work would be along the Kolyma and on the Chukot Peninsula, and, included, in addi–

    tion to a much more detailed list of skills in the fields mentioned above, [ ?] teachers

    for elementary and high schools, [ ?] (indicating that people had already been or were now being

    urged to bring out their families and settle in the mining areas), truck drivers of at

    least five years' experience, telegraph operators, bookkeepers, veterinaries and zoo–

    technicians for cattle, hogs and reindeer, foresters, warehouse workers, storekeepers

    and men 20 to 30 years of age, with at least seven years of schooling, to be trained

    as mine foremen. The June 17 ad, appearing just before the opening of navigation, was

    apparently a follow-up on that of Feb. 6.

            As has been mentioned, the skilled and professional personnel sought was both

    for the Kamchatka Oblast, which we have been discussing, and for the Kolyma mining [ ?]

    region, lying at the head of a 350-mile graveled highway from the port of Magadan, one of the two long–

    distance truck roads in the permafrost zone of the U.S.S.R. The Magadan-Kolyma area oc–

    cupies a peculiar administrative status, being listed as "counties directly subordinated

    to the Territorial" government. The most complete report, and the only non Russian

    eyewitness account available on the vast developments here, is that of Henry Wallace

    and his party, made on the basis of an official tour in 1944, when Mr. Wallace was

    Vice-President of the United States. The area, which had been almost entirely [ ?] uninhabited

    in 1930, when the first three log cabins were built on the site where Magadan now stands,

    had , he reported, 300,000 people in 1944. Magadan itself had 40,000, including 8,000

    engineers and technicians, indicating the results of [ ?] the efforts of

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    Dalstroi's vast network of employment offices. A considerable inducement for labor to

    come here is the fact that the minimum wage for goldminers was almost four times as high

    as elsewhere in the U.S.S.R. [ ?] (3,000 rubles as against 800). It is a

    logical assumption that similar ratios prevailed in the professional fields. A fleet of

    1,800 trucks carried the yield of the thousand mines - evidently averaging a couple of

    hundred men each - to Magadan, and the town's largest enterprise was a factory-size

    repair garage for the maintenance of these vehicles. Originally equipped with a foundry

    and a variety of machinery for the purpose of manufacturing spare parts, it later built

    the first electric steel furnace in the Soviet Far East, and then expanded to manufacture

    excavators, bulldozers, and miners' power drills, in conjunction with the machine shops of

    the other major enterprise, a ship repair dockyard. Other factories make dishware, glass

    and electric light bulbs. The town has a large library, a professional theater company

    of its own, a well laid out park, schools, a children's community center, a stadium, and

    an evening political school for political subjects. The ballet company of the Ukrainian

    town of Poltava was evacuated here during the war, and a permanent local opera and ballet

    troupe has resulted [ ?] therefrom. The women of the town have developed consid–

    erable skill in copying landscape paintings in embroidery, and 90% of its high school

    students go on to higher education. The town has five and six-story buildings, including

    the first multi-story structure ever built on permafrost.

            Other than the highway, [ ?] a fleet of twin-engined transport planes serve this

    region, which has telephone communications between Magadan and all the mine workings.

            The reason for all this activity lies in its resources of gold, lead, coal, tin,

    molybdenum and radioactive rare elements.

            The [ ?] population is chiefly fed chiefly on the basis of long-haul

    transport, but vegetable growing has progressed sufficiently for the 1945 crop alone to

    have been 12,000 tons greater than in the previous year. No overall crop figure is avail–

    able. The effort to make this truly Arctic area fully habitable has taken such forms as

    the opening, in 1940, of a sanatorium at Hot Springs, just off the highway, in wooded

    hills at an altitude of 2,100 ft.

            Lower Amur Region (Oblast) (qv)

            In many respects the least-developed portion of Khabarovsk Territory is the sub-

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    Arctic western and southern coast of the Okhotsk Sea, including the mouth of the Amur.

    In latitude it extends from 64°40′ 62° down to 51° . , and in longitude from 130°30′ to 147°10′ E. Permafrost predominates everywhere except

    along the lower Amur, where it is widespread, but not dominant. This [ ?] Region,

    202,700 sq. mi. in area - larger than any of our States but Texas - with 100,000 people, is almost as thinly

    inhabited as the Chukot and Koriak areas of the Arctic tundra. There is little reason to [ ?]

    believe that the population has increased much over the figure of 70,000 for 1938. This is

    because but Except for the lowland between the mouth of the Amur and the Shantar Islands northwestward

    at 55° N. , and for a small flat area around Okhotsk, just below 60° N. , it is fairly pre–

    cipitous mountain country, roadless, lacking in important mineral wealth, unsuited to

    agriculture, and not yet needed for its lumber resources, so long as more accessible

    areas as available. There is only one town, Nikolaevsk at the mouth of the Amur, dating

    from 1852, and one workers' settlement, Didbiran, nearby, promoted to that status in

    1939. The "ports" of Okhotsk, Aian and Chumikan, county seats strung up the coast,

    are actually no more than villages with tracks leading inland.

            [ ?] The most densely-populated portions of the Territory, including

    [Rovesomolsk ?] and the other [Arno ?] River cities, and the farmlands

    along that river are non-Arctic for all practical purposes, and

    therefore beyond the scope of this Encyclopedia, as are is that Quebec City

    Montreals portion of the Province of Quebec which lies along

    the St. Lawrence between Quebec City and Montreal.

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