Tomsk Oblast

Tomsk Oblast
   An administrative region of the Russian Federation. Tomsk is located within the Western Siberian Economic Region and the Siberian Federal District. Occupying an area of 316,900 square kilometers, the region’s population is slightly more than 1 million. Ethnic Russians are the dominant group (88 percent), but there are also minorities of Ukrainians (2.6 percent) and Tatars (2.1 percent). The oblast is bounded by Khantiya-Mansiya (a constituency of Tyumen), Krasnoyarsk Krai, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, and Omsk. The region is crossed by a number of rivers, including the Ob, Chulym, Ket, and Vasyugan.
   Tomsk’s topography is defined by the taiga, but also includes boggy areas and forest steppe. The regional capital is Tomsk (pop. 487,000), a city known for its strong scholastic traditions; it was a closed city during Soviet times. The region possesses significant amounts of natural resources, including oil, coal, and natural gas, which are key drivers of the regional economy; various deposits of metal such as titanium, gold, copper, zirconium, and quartz are also found in the area. Engineering, metalworking, and generation of nuclear energy further contribute to the region’s economic output. Forestry, woodworking, hunting, and fishing are significant sources of employment. In terms of agriculture, the region is known for its mushrooms, berries, and wild herbs; cattle and dairy farms are also important.
   The oblast has been governed by the Yeltsin appointee Viktor Kress since 1991, despite the Communist Party of the Russian Federation being the most powerful political party in the local Duma during the early 1990s. Kress, an ethnic German, won reelection in 1995, 1999, and 2003 before being reappointed for another five-year term by Vladimir Putin in 2007. He is the chairman of the Siberian Accord Interregional Association and a member of the Our HomeRussia movement. An avid writer, he has penned a number of books on improving the situation in Russia through advancing the education system. He has established educational exchanges with Great Britain, France, Kazakhstan, and other countries, while building technological and foreign trade links with China and Japan. In 1993, an accident at the Tomsk-7 plutonium separation factory in the Seversk suburb of Tomsk led to the release of uranium and plutonium into the atmosphere, contaminating an area of about 75 square kilometers.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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