Chelyabinsk Oblast

   An administrative region of the Russian Federation. Part of the Ural Federal District and Economic Region, Chelyabinsk is situated in the southern Urals, predominantly within Asia. It borders Kurgan, Sverdlovsk, Bashkortostan, Orenburg, and northwestern Kazakhstan.
   The region is highly urban (82 percent) and heavily populated (3.6 million), and covers an area of 87,900 square kilometers. Ethnic Russians form a clear majority (82 percent); however, more than 10 percent of the population is either Tatar or Bashkir. As a major site for relocation of World War II–era factories, the region is one of Russia’s most industrialized, focusing on metallurgy, petrochemicals, and tractor manufacture; as such, it suffers from one of the country’s highest pollution rates. Due to the 1956 Kyshtym nuclear accident, certain areas of the region are still unsuitable for agriculture and water remains unsafe. The region houses a number of “closed cities,” including plutonium processing and storage sites, as well as weapons manufacturing plants. The regional capital, Chelyabinsk (pop. 1 million), was, during the Soviet era, also a closed city, though it is now open to tourists and investors. The famed Soviet industrial city of Magnitogorsk is also located in the oblast. First elected in 1996 on the ticket of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Pyotr Sumin is the regional governor of Chelyabinsk Oblast of Russia. He was reelected in 2000 and reappointed for a third term by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Once a laggard in terms of foreign investment, Chelyabinsk has signed a number of deals in recent years to attract capital from abroad, particularly from Germany.
   See also Foreign trade.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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