Amur Oblast (Russian: Аму́рская о́бласть, tr. Amurskaya oblast, IPA: [ɐˈmurskəjə ˈobləsʲtʲ]) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast), located on the banks of the Amur and Zeya Rivers in the Russian Far East. The administrative center of the oblast, the city of Blagoveshchensk, is one of the oldest settlements in the Russian Far East, founded in 1856. It is a traditional center of trade and gold mining. The territory is accessed by two railways: the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Baikal–Amur Mainline. As of the 2010 Census, the oblast's population was 830,103.
|Federal district||Far Eastern|
|Economic region||Far Eastern|
|Established||October 20, 1932|
|• Body||Legislative Assembly|
|• Governor||Vasily Orlov|
|• Total||363,700 km2 (140,400 sq mi)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||2.3/km2 (5.9/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (MSK+6 )|
|ISO 3166 code||RU-AMU|
Amur Krai (Аму́рский край) or Priamurye (Приаму́рье) were unofficial names for the Russian territories by the Amur River used in the late Russian Empire that approximately correspond to modern Amur Oblast.
Amur Oblast is located in the southeast of Russia, between Stanovoy Range in the north and the Amur River in the south, and borders with the Sakha Republic in the north, Khabarovsk Krai and the Jewish Autonomous Oblast in the east, the Heilongjiang of China in the south, and with Zabaykalsky Krai in the west. The Stanovoy Range forms the dividing line between the Sakha Republic and Amur Oblast and spreads across the oblast's entire northern border. The Amur–Zeya and Zeya–Bureya Plains cover about 40% of the oblast's territory, but the rest is hilly. Several mountain ranges rise to the south of Stanovoy Range, including the Selemdzha Range parallel to it, as well as the Ezop, Jam-Alin and the Turan ranges stretching along the oblast's southeastern border with Khabarovsk Krai.
Many rivers flow through the oblast, especially in the north, accounting for 75% of the hydropower resources in the Russian Far East. Most of the oblast is in the Amur's drainage basin, although the rivers in the northwest drain into the Lena and the rivers in the northeast drain into the Uda. The longest rivers include the Amur, Bureya, Gilyuy, Nyukzha, Olyokma, Selemdzha, and Zeya. The Zeya begins in the mountains in the northeast, and its middle reaches are dammed to create the huge Zeya Reservoir, which sprawls over 2,400 square kilometers (930 sq mi).
Climate is temperate continental, with cold, dry winters and hot, rainy summers. Average January temperatures vary from −24 °C (−11 °F) in the south to −33 °C (−27 °F) in the north. Average July temperatures are +21 °C (70 °F) in the south and +18 °C (64 °F) in the north. Annual precipitation is about 850 millimeters (33 in).
Dwarf Siberian pine and alpine tundra grow at higher elevations and larch forests with small stands of flat-leaved birch and pine forests grow alongside the river plains. These larch and fir-spruce forests form the watershed of the Selemdzha River. The Bureya and Arkhara Rivers, southeast of the Selemdza, have the richest remaining forests in the oblast with Korean pine, Schisandra chinensis, Mongolian Oak, and other Manchurian flora. The Zeya–Bureya Plain, located between the Zeya, Amur, and Bureya Rivers, has the highest biodiversity in Amur Oblast. Much of this plain has been burned for agriculture, but large patches still remain. Japanese Daurian and Far Eastern western cranes nest here, as well as a host of other rare birds.
Amur Oblast has considerable reserves of many types of mineral resources; proven reserves are estimated to be worth US$400 billion. Among the most important are gold (the largest reserves in Russia), silver, titanium, molybdenum, tungsten, copper, and tin. Black coal and lignite reserves are estimated to be seventy billion tons. Probable iron deposits are estimated to be 3.8 billion tons. The Garin deposit is fully explored and known to contain 389 million tons of iron ore. Estimated reserves of the deposit are 1,293 million tons. The deposit's ore contains a low concentration of detrimental impurities; the ore contains 69.9% iron. Amur Oblast is also a promising source of titanium, with the Bolshoy Seyim deposit being the most important.
According to the Bei Shi (Dynastic History of Northern Dynasties) and the Sui Shu (Chronicles of the Sui Dynasty), both Chinese records, this area belonged originally to the territory one of the five semi-nomadic Shiwei, the Bo Shiwei tribes (Chinese: 钵室韋). Their settlements were located on the north of the Yilehuli Mountains in the upper reaches of the Nen River, south of the Stanovoy Range, west of the Bureya and the Malyi Khingan ranges and reaching the Okhotsk Sea on the northeast. They brought tributary presents to the Tang court and disappeared at the dawn of the tenth century with the foundation of the Liao empire.
Later, in the 13th century, the middle-Amur and the Zeya River basin area became the homeland of the Daurs and (further south) the Duchers. The ancestors of the Daurs are thought to be closely related to the Khitans and the Mongols, while the Duchers may have been a branch of the Jurchen people, later known as the Manchus.
The area was conquered by the Manchus in 1639–1640, after defeating the Evenk Federation led by Bombogor. It was returned to the Qing Dynasty in the Treaty of Nerchinsk and annexed by Russia in 1858 by the Treaty of Aigun between Russia and Qing Dynasty.
The region received its first influx of Russian settlers in the mid-seventeenth century. They were looking for a more temperate climate as an escape from the north. After the Opium War, when the Chinese Empire was exposed to the outside world, Russian explorers once again moved to the region (mostly Cossacks and peasant farmers). The last influx of people arrived upon the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railroad.
In April 1920, the Far Eastern Republic, with its capital in Chita, was formed from Amur, Transbaikal, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, and Primorye regions as a democratic "buffer" state in order to avoid war with Japan. It existed until November 1922, when it joined the RSFSR. In January 1926, Amur Region became part of the Far Eastern Territory, which was subsequently divided into Khabarovsk and Primorye territories in 1938. Amur Region itself was included in Khabarovsk Krai.
In 1948, Amur Oblast was finally separated from Khabarovsk Krai and became an independent region of the RSFSR. Rapid economic growth based on gold production began at that time, and living standards improved with the arrival of young specialists. As the Far Eastern District expanded, the demand for services such as electric power and housing also increased, which stimulated a new round of construction projects. New cities were built, along with the Zeya Hydroelectric Power Plant (Zeiskaya GES), which still supplies electricity to most of the Far Eastern District. On 21 May 1998 Amur alongside Ivanovo, Kostroma, Voronezh Oblast, and the Mari El Republic signed a power-sharing agreement with the federal government, granting it autonomy. This agreement would be abolished on 18 March 2002.
According to the 2010 Census, ethnic Russians, at 775,590, made up 94.3% of the population. Other prominent ethnic groups include Ukrainians at 16,636 (2%), Belarusians at 4,162 (0.5%), and Tatars at 3,406 (0.4%). The rest of the residents identified with over 120 different ethnic groups, with each ethnic group making up less than 0.5% of the population. Additionally, 7,879 people were registered from administrative databases, and could not declare an ethnicity. It is estimated that the proportion of ethnicities in this group is the same as that of the declared group.
- Vital Statistics for 2008
- Births: 11,290 (12.98 per 1000)
- Deaths: 13,117 (15.08 per 1000)
The economically active population amounts to 463,100 people (52.6% of total resident population.) Unemployment in 2006 was 5.5%.
- Vital statistics for 2012
- Births: 11 733 (14.3 per 1000)
- Deaths: 12 054 (14.7 per 1000) 
Total fertility rate:
2009 – 1.67 | 2010 – 1.69 | 2011 – 1.70 | 2012 – 1.83 | 2013 – 1.84 | 2014 – 1.85 | 2015 – 1.84 | 2016 – 1.83(e)
According to a 2012 survey 25.1% of the population of Amur Oblast adheres to the Russian Orthodox Church, 5% are unaffiliated generic Christians, 1% is an Orthodox believer without belonging to any church or adheres to other (non-Russian) Orthodox churches, and 1% is an adherent of Islam. In addition, 41% of the population declares to be "spiritual but not religious", 24% is atheist, and 2.9% follows other religions or did not give an answer to the question.
The industrial section contributes 18.3% to the total GRP. The most important industrial sector in 2007 was manufacturing, constituting 25.7% of the industrial output. The sector is dominated by food products and beverages, which constitute 13% of industrial output. Machine building includes shipbuilding machinery, lifting and transport vehicles, mining equipment, agricultural machinery, metal assemblies and goods, electrical appliances and electrical machines and tools. The largest engineering companies in the oblast include OAO Svobodny Railroad Car Repair Plant, OAO Blagoveshchensk October Revolution Ship Building Plant and OAO Bureya-Kran.
Mining and quarrying amounted to 19.9% of industrial output in 2007. Amur Oblast ranks sixth in Russia for gold mining, and has the largest gold reserves in the country. The largest gold mine in the region is Pioneer, part of Petropavlovsk PLC who also own the Albyn, Malomir and Pokrovskiy mines in the region. There is a large site of uranium mining and processing facilities in Oktyabrsky, near the Russia–China border. There are plans to develop other mineral deposits as well, such as titanium, iron, copper, nickel, apatite, etc. Total coal production amounts to 3,398 tons. As of 2007, four coal deposits are being operated by the company OOO Amur Coal, and two more have been explored. In total, the oblast is estimated to have over 90 deposits of lignite and black coal, with overall reserves of 70 billion tons. In addition, fuel extraction amounted to 2.9% of industrial output.
Amur Oblast enjoys an energy surplus: its energy consumption in 2007 was 6.9 TWh, while production was 9.3 TWh. Electricity output in 2007 was 9.9 TWh. The most important electricity producer is the Zeyskaya Hydroelectric Power Station with an installed capacity of 1,330 MW and a yearly output of 4.91 TWh. The station is owned by RusHydro. The company also owns the 2,010 MW Bureyskaya Hydroelectric Power Station, opened in 2009. Its annual output is 7.1 TWh.
Gross agricultural product in 2006 was $462.612 million. This includes crop output ($244.07 million) and livestock and farming products ($139.77). Amur Oblast produces 60% of Russia's national output of soybean with a yearly production of about 240,000 tons.
The oblast's main foreign exports are raw timber (1,172,900 cubic meters going to China, North Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine), metal goods (68,300 tons to China and Kazakhstan), and machinery, equipment and transport (12,300 tons to China, Japan, South Korea, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.) Main foreign imports are food and beverages from China, Kazakshtan, Uzbekistan and Philippines; textiles and footwear from China; and machinery and equipment from Ukraine and Japan.
In July 2010, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced that the area would be the site of a new Vostochny Cosmodrome ("Eastern Spaceport"), to reduce Russian dependence on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The first rocket launch from the site took place on 28 April 2016.
- Chungnam, South Korea
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Amur Oblast.|
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- Амурское областное Собрание. №40-ОЗ 13 декабря 1995 г. «Устав (Основной Закон) Амурской области», в ред. Закона №384-ОЗ от 7 июля 2014 г. «О внесении изменений в Устав (Основной Закон) Амурской области». Вступил в силу через десять дней после официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Амурская правда", №295–296, 20 декабря 1995 г. (Amur Oblast Assembly. #40-OZ December 13, 1995 Charter (Basic Law) of Amur Oblast, as amended by the Law #384-OZ of July 7, 2014 On Amending the Charter (Basic Law) of Amur Oblast. Effective as of the day which is ten days after the official publication.).
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- Information concerning the Shiwei tribes and their relationship with the Khitans
- (in Russian) History of Amur Oblast
Media related to Amur Oblast at Wikimedia Commons