Irkutsk Region

Irkutsk region was formed on September 26, 1937 with the center in Irkutsk (594,5 thousand inhabitants) founded in 1686.
The distance between Moscow and Irkutsk is 5042 km. Total area of Irkutsk region is 767,9 thousand square km (4,5% of the total Russian territory).

Geographic location. Irkutsk region is situated in East Siberia to the west of the lake Baikal. It borders: in the south and south-east — on Republic of Buryatiya, in the south-west – on Tyva Republic, in the west — on Krasnoyarsk territory, in the north-west — on Evenk autonomous okrug (part of Krasnoyarsk territory), in the north-east — on Sakha Republic (Yakutiya), in the east — on Chita region. Irkutsk region has inner borders with Ust-Ordyn Buryat autonomous okrug.

Natural conditions. Irkutsk region is situated in the south-east of Middle Siberain plateau, edged by East Sayan and Baikal mountain ridges (up to 3000 m height); southeastern and northeastern districts are highly seismic. Main rivers are rivers of the Yenisei (Angara, Nizhnaya Tunguska) and Lena (Vitim, Kirenga) basins. A great part of the Baikal water area is within the territory of Irkutsk region. The climate is continental; January average temperature varies from от -15 degrees centigrade in the south to -33 - in the north, July average temperature varies from +17 to +19 degrees centigrade; annual precipitation is about 400 mm (in the north and mountainous regions). Taiga soils are predominant. Vegitation: about 3/4 of the territory is coniferous forests (larch, pine, cedar, spruce, silver fur-tree); steppe vegetation districts have preserved somewhere; in the mountains it’s mountain pine and tundra. The whole territory is in permafrost zone.

Population is 2712,9 thousand people (1,9% of the total population of Russia). Irkutsk region is a highly urbanized territory. Only 16% of the population is rural. Overwhelming majority is Russians (93%). Death rate surpasses birth rate, natality is negative. Insignificant migration inflow registered in 1994—1995, is again replaced by outflow. The total number of the population is constantly decreasing.

Economic advantages and disadvantages. Irkutsk region has great stores of forestry, hydro-electric resources, coal, ferrous and non-ferrous metals, gold. Oil and gas fields have been prospected here. Biggest hydro-electric power stations function on the territory of Irkutsk region: Bratsk, Ust-Ilim, Irkutsk power stations on the Angara; Mamakan power station – on the Mamakan river. At the same time natural conditions are scarcely favourable for grain farming. Economic and geographic position of the region is also extremely unfavourable: it’s equally spaced far from the nearest centers in the west (Urals) and in the south-east (Asian-Pacific region) consuming raw materials and products manufactured here.

Specialty: mineral resource industry (coal, iron ore, gold, mica, gypsum, talc, salt) and transport.

Main industries: timber and woodworking industry, pulp and paper and resin industries, power engineering; chemistry and petrochemistry. One can single out aluminum industry. Irkutsk region is a monopolist in Russia in production of calcium carbide, sulfate pulp and PVC resin.

Baikal provides good opportunities for developing recreation industry in the region. Here there is the world biggest Angara-Lena mineral water artesian basin.

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