Tyumen Oblast

Tyumen Oblast
   An administrative region of the Russian Federation. Tyumen stretches nearly 2,000 kilometers, from the Kara Sea in the north to the Kazakh steppe in the south. Existing as autonomous okrugs (AOks) within Tyumen, the federal subjects of Yamaliya and Khantiya-Mansiya are both constituent parts of the oblast. Including its AOks, Tyumen covers more than 1.4 million square kilometers, accounting for more than 8 percent of Russia’s land mass. Tyumen is Russia’s third-largest federal subject and its largest oblast. Located on the Western Siberian Plain, Tyumen proper borders Kazakhstan, Kurgan, Sverdlovsk, Omsk, and Tomsk; Khantiya-Mansiya also borders Komi and Krasnoyarsk Krai, while Yamaliya shares a border with Nenetsiya. Tyumen is part of the Urals Federal District and the West Siberian Economic Region. Its current population is 3.25 million, of which 71 percent are ethnic Russians. Minorities include Tatars (7 percent), Ukrainians (6.5 percent), Bashkirs (1.5 percent), and 30 other statistically significant groups including many indigenous peoples of the north. The regional capital, Tyumen (pop. 590,000), is the economic center of this vast region, as most exports pass through the city. Other main cities include Tobolsk, Surgut, and Nadym. Tyumen is crossed by many rivers including the Irtysh, Ishim, Tobol, Ob, Taz, Pur, and Nadym. Most of the oblast’s topography is taiga, with bands of tundra in the extreme north and forest steppe in the deep south. Agriculture is most productive in the southern areas of Tyumen proper, with the key crops being grains, potatoes, and vegetables; in the north, animal husbandry predominates. The regional per capita GDP is several times higher than that in the rest of Russia, owing principally to the exploitation of vast reserves of hydrocarbons in the region. Tyumen controls over half of Russia’s oil exports (originating in the Samotlor, Kholmogorsk, and Fedorovsk fields) and more than three-quarters of its natural gas shipments (centered in the Urengoy, Medvezhye, and Yamburg fields).
   Petrochemicals naturally rank as a secondary industry in the region, and mining of construction materials is likewise a key driver of the economy. The privately owned TNK-BP is one of Russia’s largest companies and a major employer in the region; Gazprom, Lukoil, and Surgutneftegaz are also vital players in the regional economy. Forestry is an important source of local employment, and there is some light manufacturing as well. In the north, traditional occupations such as hunting, reindeer herding, fishing, and fur farming predominate.
   Due to its economic dynamism, Tyumen enjoys population growth rates higher than nearly all other oblasts, though illegal immigration has emerged as a social problem with the influx of migrants from the near abroad seeking work in the energy industry. Nearly 100 foreign countries have investment in the region, with the most important trading partners being Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belarus, Ukraine, and Hungary. Tyumen accounts for roughly 7 percent of Russia’s foreign trade and is one of the leading regions in terms of fixed capital investments. Foreign trade turnover in the first six months of 2008 accounted for $482 billion.
   In the wake of the constitutional crisis of 1993, resentment of the federal government remained high. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation performed well in the poll to elect a new legislature in 1994. The first regional governor was Yury Shafranik, who held office from 1991 to 1993; he was quickly promoted to federal office, opening the way for the chairman of the Tyumen Oil Company (TNK), Leonid Roketsky, to take over governance of the region. However, Roketsky ultimately ran afoul of powerful corporate interests within Gazprom and Sibneft and elites in the autonomous oblasts. In 2001, Kremlin loyalist Sergey Sobyanin won election to the governor’s office and also subsequently replaced his predecessor Roketsky as chairman of TNK. In 2005, Sobyanin, formerly a presidential representative to the Urals Federal District, was reappointed by Vladimir Putin, who shortly thereafter tapped the governor to head up his presidential administration. He was replaced by the mayor of Tyumen, Vladimir Yakushev.
   See also Foreign investment.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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