Altai Territory

Altai territory was formed on September 28, 1937 with the center in Barnaul (654,7 thousand inhabitants) set up in 1771.
The distance between Moscow and Barnaul is 3419 km.

Geographic location. Altai territory is situated in the south of West Siberia. The territory stretches from north to south for 360 km, from west to east – for 585 km. Neighboring countries and provinces: in the south and south-east — Kazakhstan, in the south-west — Altai Republic, in the west and north-west — Kemerovo province, in the north — Novosibirsk province. South-Sivberian (Pavlodar—Barnaul—Novokusnetsk—Abakan), Mid-Siberian (Kustanai—Kamen-on-the-Ob—Barnaul), Turkestan-Siberian railroads (Novosibirsk-Barnaul-Semipalatinsk) pass through Altai territory; Chuya high road leads from Biisk to Mongol Republic. The Ob allows shipping.

Natural conditions. Altai territory occupies part of East Siberian plain adjacent to Altai mountains. Main rivers: the Ob and its feeders. Lots of closed lakes, the largest being Kulundin lake. The climate is continental; January average temperature is -19 degrees centigrade, July average temperature is +19 degrees centigrade; annual precipitation varies from 150 to 200 mm in the valleys and from 1500 to 3000 mm – in the mountains. Altai territory refers to steppe and forest-steppe zones. The soil is chernozem.

Population. Altai territory is the most rural of all Russian regions. A bit more than half population lives in the countryside. The majority of the population is Russians (90%). The second ethnic group in number is Germans (5%). German national district is set up in Altai territory. Death rate surpasses birth rate, with natural growth being negative and not compensated by migration inflow. The total number of the population has been decreasing since 1994.

Economic advantages and disadvantages. The main riches of Altai territory are its fertile soils and numerous countrymen, who have preserved their work habits. Defense establishment enterprises constitute a big part of the regional industry. Among the drawbacks is the deficit of fuel and energy resources. Free economic zone regime is set up in Altai territory.

Specialty. Altai territory is noted by highly productive agriculture. Farming prevails in the agriculture of the region. There are three main agrarian districts. In the west and north-west grain farming, meat and dairy animal husbandry и fine-wooled sheep breeding are best developed. In the south-east and central districts they are engaged in pigstry and fine-wooled sheep breeding. In the north, north-east and east — beet growing, meat and dairy animal husbandry. The territory grows sugar beet, sunflower, flax, forage, potato, vegetables. Goat breeding, poultry keeping, bee farming, fur trade (squirrel, sable, fox, muskrat) are also quite developed.

Main industries: machine-building (tractors, agricultural machinery, carriages, engines, steam boilers production); chemistry and petrochemistry (tires, artificial fibres, chemical products etc.), food industry (meat, cheese-making and butter industry), light industry (cotton and knitted cloth manufacturing), mineral resource industry (complex ores, gold, mercury mining, common and Glauber's salts extraction from lakes). Altai territory is a monopolist in Russia in production of covered metal freight carriages, drilling rigs, sheet-bending machines and tractor ploughs.