Omsk Oblast

   An administrative region of the Russian Federation. Bisected by the Arctic-bound Irtysh River, this Siberian oblast is situated at the frontier with Kazakhstan and borders Tyumen, Tomsk, and Novosibirsk oblasts. The oblast is part of the West Siberian Economic Region and the Siberian Federal District and covers an area of 139,700 square kilometers. The region has a population of 2 million, more than half of whom live in the administrative capital Omsk (pop. 1.1 million).
   As a site for relocation of the defense industry during World War II, much of the region was closed to foreigners; the recent decrease in defense production has negatively impacted the regional economy, though Omsk remains a leading city in terms of industrial production. Major regional industries include electricity generation, mechanical engineering, glass, and petrochemicals. Oil refineries built during the 1950s and now owned by Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Gazprom formerly known as Sibneft, are an important source of employment for the region; a large number of pipelines carry petroleum across the region.
   In 2008, Gazprom Neft announced support for a number of social projects including aid to orphanages and local schools. Nearly 20 percent of the population is engaged in agriculture, owing to the rich chernozem found in the region. The region was a dependable supporter of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) during the 1990s; however, Leonid Polezhayev, a Yeltsin appointee, was able to maintain the post of governor despite challenges from the KPRF. Polezhayev won reelection in 1995, 1999, and 2003 before being reappointed by Vladimir Putin in 2007. During his tenure, he has developed a robust level of foreign trade with Slovakia amounting to nearly $100 million per year by 2005. The region’s relationship with Kazakhstan has also greatly expanded through the development of more than 30 new joint enterprises.
   See also Abramovich, Roman.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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