Moscow Oblast (Russian: Моско́вская о́бласть, tr. Moskovskaya oblast; IPA: [mɐˈskofskəjə ˈobləsʲtʲ]), or Podmoskovye (Russian: Подмоско́вье; IPA: [pədmɐˈskovʲjə]), is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast). Its area, at 45,900 km2 (17,700 sq mi), is relatively small compared to other federal subjects, but it is one of the most densely populated regions in the country and, with the population of 7,231,068 (2015), is the second most populous federal subject. There is no official administrative center of Moscow Oblast; its public authorities are located in Moscow and across other locations in the oblast.
The oblast was founded in 1929. It borders Tver Oblast in the northwest, Yaroslavl Oblast in the north, Vladimir Oblast in the northeast and east, Ryazan Oblast in the southeast, Tula Oblast in the south, Kaluga Oblast in the southwest and Smolensk Oblast in the west. In the center stands the federal city of Moscow, which is a separate federal subject in its own right. The oblast is highly industrialized, with its main industrial branches being metallurgy, oil refining, and mechanical engineering, food, energy, and chemical industries.
The oblast is mostly flat, with some hills with the height of about 160 m (520 ft) in the western and extensive lowlands in the eastern part. From the southwest to northeast, the oblast is crossed by the border of the Moscow glacier to the north of the common ice-erosion form with moraine ridges, and to the south – only erosional landforms. The western and northern parts of the oblast contain the Moscow Uplands. Their average height peaks at about 300 meters (980 ft) near Dmitrov and the upper point of 310 meters (1,020 ft) lies near the village of Shapkino in Mozhaysky District. The northern part of the Moscow Uplands is steeper than the southern part. The uplands contain lakes of glacial origin, such as Lakes Nerskoye and Krugloye. To the north of the Moscow Uplands lies the alluvial Verhnevolzhsk Depression; It is marshy and flat with the height varying between about 120 meters (390 ft) and 150 meters (490 ft).
To the south stretches a hilly area of the Moskvoretsko-Oksk plain. Its greatest height of 254 meters (833 ft) lies in the area of Tyoply Stan, within the Moscow city limits. The plain has clearly defined river valleys, especially in the south parts, and occasional karst relief, mostly in Serpukhovsky District. In the extreme south, after the Oka River, lies the Central Russian Upland. It contains numerous gullies and ravines and has average height above 200 m with the maximum of 236 m near Pushchino.
Most of the eastern part of Moscow Oblast is taken by the vast Meshchera Lowlands with much wetland in their eastern part. Their highest hill peaks at 214 meters (702 ft) but the average heights are 120–150 meters (390–490 ft). Most lakes of the lowlands, such as Lakes Chyornoye and Svyatoye, are of glacial origin. Here lies the lowest natural elevation of the region, the water level of Oka River at 97 meters (318 ft).
Geology and minerals
Moscow Oblast is located in the central part of the East European craton. Like all cratons, the latter is composed of the crystalline basement and sedimentary cover. The basement consists of Archaean and Proterozoic rocks and the cover is deposited in the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. The lowest depth of the basement (1,000 meters (3,300 ft)) is to the south of Serebryanye Prudy, in the very south area of the oblast, and the largest (4,200 meters (13,800 ft)) is to the east of Sergiyev Posad, in the northeast region.
Tertiary deposits are almost absent within the oblast. Significantly more abundant are deposits of the Carboniferous and Jurassic periods. In the Cretaceous period, a sea was covering Moscow Oblast, as evidenced by phosphate deposits and a variety of sands. Cretaceous sediments are most common in the north of the oblast. The sea was wider in Jurassic than in Cretaceous period. Typical Jurassic deposits, in the form of black clay, are found within and around the city of Moscow and in the valley of the Moscow River. Carboniferous deposits in Moscow Oblast are represented by dolomite, limestone, and marl. Coal deposits rich in organic remains occur in the south, especially in Serpukhovsky District, and in the western regions. Devonian deposits were also found within the region.
Quaternary deposits are widely distributed in Moscow Oblast; their thickness decreases from the northwest to southeast. It is believed that there were four glaciations in the area. The first occurred in the Lower Pleistocene and spread to the east-west part of the Oka River valley, it left almost no trace in the region. In the Middle Pleistocene, there were two powerful glaciations. The Dnieper glacier covered a large part of the Russian Plain), whereas the Moscow glaciation stopped just south of the present Moscow city. The last glaciation, Valdai glaciation, occurred in the Late Pleistocene; it did not directly affect the territory of Moscow Oblast, but left traces in the form of fluvioglacial deposits, mainly in the north area. The glaciers left behind a moraine loam with pebbles and boulders of various rocks, such as granite, gneiss, quartzite, dolomite, limestone and sandstone. Its thickness varies between a few meters at watersheds and 100 m at moraine ridges.
Moscow Oblast is rich in minerals. Sands from the sediments of different periods (mainly Quaternary and Cretaceous) are of high quality and are widely used in construction. Quartz sand (milled quartz) is used in the glass industry, their production is conducted from the end of 17th century near Lyubertsy. Much of the production is currently halted due to environmental concerns, and only the Yeganovskoye field is being exploited; its silica sand reserves are 33 million tonnes and annual production reaches 675,000 tonnes. Sand and gravel deposits are abundant within the Smolensk-Moscow Upland. Sandstone deposits are developed in Klinsky and Dmitrovsky Districts.
There are numerous clay deposits within the oblast; fusible clay is excavated in Sergiyev Posad. The Yeldiginskoye field near the village of Sofrino has reserves estimated at 30 million cubic meters; its annual production reaches 600,000 cubic meters (21,000,000 cu ft). Refractory white clay occurs in the eastern region, in the Carboniferous and Jurassic sediments, and is extracted from the 14th century near Gzhel. The largest (Kudinovskoye) deposit is near the town of Elektrougli with the reserves of 3 billion tonnes. Also widespread are loams which are used in brick manufacture and limestones ("white stone"). The famous Myachkovo deposit of carboniferous limestone provided material which went for cladding of such buildings in Moscow as Bolshoi Theater. The mining in Myachkovo had been stopped and currently, limestone is provided by the quarries of Podolsky, Voskresensky, and Kolomensky Districts. The latter district also provides marble-like limestone.
Other industrial mineral of Moscow Oblast is dolomite, limestone tuff, and marl; mostly in the southern and eastern parts. Dolomite is used in the cement industry. Its mining is concentrated mainly near Schelkovo, the reserves exceed 20 million tonnes and the annual production is about 650 tonnes.
Phosphates are produced in the Yegorevskoye and Severskoye fields. Meshchera and Verkhnevolzhsk Lowlands are rich in peat. The largest mines are "Ryazanovskoe" (840,000 tonnes per year) and "Radovitsky moss" (760,000 tonnes per year), both around Yegoryevsk. There are deposits of brown coal beyond the Oka River, but they have no commercial value. There are also minor deposits of titanium and iron ore in Serpukhovsky and Serebryano-Prudsky Districts.
Salts of potassium salt are being developed around Serpukhov and Yegoryevsk. There are also numerous mineral springs near Zvenigorod, Klin, and Serpukhov. They include surface springs and reservoirs at the depth of 300–500 meters (980–1,640 ft). Deeper, at 1–1.5 kilometers (0.62–0.93 mi) there is a large sea of salt extending beyond Moscow Oblast. Waters with the salt concentration up to 300 g/L are used in the local food industry and spas.
Rivers and lakes
There are more than three hundred rivers with the length above 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) in Moscow Oblast. All rivers are calm and have well-developed valleys and floodplains. They are mostly fed by melting snow and the flood falls on April–May. The water level is low in summer and increases only with heavy rain. The rivers freeze over from late November until mid-April. The only navigable rivers are the Volga, the Oka, and the Moskva River.
Most rivers belong to the basin of the Volga, which itself only crosses a small part in the north of Moscow Oblast, near the border with Tver Oblast. The second largest river of the region is the Oka. The northern part of Moscow Oblast includes such Volga tributaries as the Shosha, the Lama, the Dubna, the Sestra, and the Yakhroma. On the south flow the tributaries of the Oka, including the Nara, the Protva, and the Lopasnya Rivers. The Moskva River, which almost entirely flows within the oblast, also belongs to the Oka basin. The eastern and northeastern regions, including much of Meschersk Depression, are irrigated by the tributaries of the Klyazma River, which itself is a main tributary of the Oka.
The Moscow Canal crosses the northern part of Moscow Oblast through the Ikshinskyoe, Klyazminskoye, Pyalovskoye, and Pestovskoye Reservoirs. In the basin of the Moskva River, there are also Ozerninskoye, Mozhayskoye, Istrinskoye, and Ruza Reservoirs, providing Moscow with drinking water.
There are about 350 lakes in the oblast, almost all are shallow (5–10 m) and many are of glacial origin. The largest are Senezh (15.4 square kilometers (5.9 sq mi)) and Svyatoe (12.6 square kilometers (4.9 sq mi)) whereas the deepest (32 meters (105 ft)) is Lake Glubokoye in Ruzsky District. There are also many marshes, especially within the Meshchersk and Verkhnevolzhsk lowlands.
The oblast is dominated by relatively infertile podsol soils which require fertilizers for commercial agriculture. On the hills there is more loam and the low-lying areas have more of bog, sandy loam and sand. Chernozem is scarce and occurs only south of the Oka River. Gray forest soils are spread between the Oka, Moskva, and Klyazma Rivers, mostly in Ramensky and Voskresensky Districts. Marshy soils are common in Meshchersk and Verkhnevolzhsk lowlands. Valleys of large rivers are rich in alluvial soils. In general, soils are heavily polluted with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and household and industrial waste, especially around Moscow, Orekhovo-Zuyevo, Noginsk, and Voskresensk.
Moscow Oblast lies within the zone of forests and steppes with forests covering over 40% of the region. Coniferous (mainly fir) trees dominate the northern (Verkhnevolzhsk lowlands) and western parts (Mozhaysky, Lotoshinsky, and Shakhovsky Districts). Forests of Meshchora consist primarily of pine; in waterlogged lowlands, there are individual alder forests. Central and eastern regions have coniferous-deciduous forests with the main tree species of spruce, pine, birch, and aspen often mixed with bushes of hazel. To the south lies the subzone of broad-leaved forests of oak, lime, maple and elm. Moscow-Oka Upland is the transition zone which is dominated by spruce, for example, in the upper reaches of the Lopasnya River. Valleys of the Oka are covered in pine forests of the steppe type and the far south regions (Serebryano-Prudsky and partially Serpukhovsky Districts) are cultivated steppes with occasional lime and oak groves.
The intensive cutting of Moscow region forests in the 18–19th centuries reduced them and changed their species: conifers were replaced by birch and aspen. There is almost no logging nowadays and the forests are being restored, especially around Moscow.
Swamps are prevalent in the eastern areas, such as Shatursky and Lukhovitsy Districts. The natural floodplain meadows are almost gone. The number of native plant species is reduced, but some foreign species flourish, such as Canadian maple. Endemic species include water caltrop and lady's slipper.
The mammals of Moscow Oblast include badger, squirrel, beaver, otter, muskrat, stoat, Russian desman, raccoon dog, hedgehog, hare (mountain and European), shrews (common shrew, Eurasian pygmy shrew, lesser white-toothed shrew, Eurasian water shrew, etc.), weasel, fox, moose, wild boar, European mole, brown and black rats, marten, mice and voles (wood mouse, yellow-necked mouse, house mouse, Eurasian harvest mouse, northern birch mouse, bank vole, field vole, tundra vole, European water vole), European mink, deer (roe, red, spotted), hazel and fat dormouse, and European polecat. At the borders there are occasional bears, lynxes and wolves. In the southern areas there are also speckled ground squirrel, dwarf hamster, great jerboa and beech marten. Some areas contain stable populations of imported animals, such as flying squirrel, American mink and Siberian roe deer. In the oblast, there are more than a dozen kinds of bat and moth.
There are more than 170 species of birds in the area with large numbers of crows, sparrows, ducks, magpies, woodpeckers, thrushes, grouses, bullfinches, nightingales, corncrakes, northern lapwings, white storks, grey herons, seagulls and grebes. Over forty species are being hunted.
Rivers and lakes of Moscow Oblast are rich in fish, such as ruff, carp, bream, bass, roaches, Chinese sleeper, perch and pike. There are six species of reptiles: three lizards (slow worm, viviparous lizard and sand lizard) and three snakes (European adder, grass snake and smooth snake). There is evidence for bog turtles in some areas. Amphibians are represented by 11 species including smooth newt, great crested newt, common toad, European green toad, common frog, moor frog, marsh frog, common spadefoot and European fire-bellied toad. Insects are numerous, with bees alone accounting for more than 300 species.
In Serpukhovsky District, there is the Prioksko-Terrasny Nature Reserve which contains protected wisents. Near Moscow lies Losiny Ostrov National Park of federal significance.
Lesser white-toothed shrew
Roe deer fawn
Eurasian harvest mouse
Great crested grebe
The territory of what is now Moscow Oblast had been inhabited for more than twenty thousand years. Numerous mounds and settlements from Iron Age were discovered there. Up to the 9–10th centuries, the Moskva River basin and adjacent lands were inhabited by Finno-Ugric peoples. Slavs populated the area only in the 10th century. In mid-12th century, the lands became part of Vladimir-Suzdal Principality. Several important cities were founded around that time, including Volokolamsk (1135), Moscow (1147), Zvenigorod (1152), and Dmitrov (1154). In the first half of the 13th century, the entire Vladimir-Suzdal Principality, including the Moscow area, was conquered by the Mongols.
In the 13th century, the land around Moscow was part of Grand Duchy of Moscow, which subsequently was the center of the unification of Russian lands, in particular the Mongol raids. In 1380, from Kolomna the prince Dmitry Donskoy led his troops to defeat the Mongols at the Battle of Kulikovo. The southern part of Moscow Oblast was then part of the Principality of Ryazan; it was attached to Moscow only in the 1520.
In 1708, Moscow Governorate was established by the decree of Peter the Great; the area included most of the present Moscow Oblast. The Battle of Borodino, which decided the outcome of the French invasion of Russia was fought in 1812 near Mozhaysk.
Industries developed in Moscow Oblast in the 17–19th centuries. They were centered in Bogorodsk, Pavlovsky Posad, and Orekhovo-Zuyevo and were dominated by textile production. The first railway in Russia was constructed in the Moscow Oblast in 1851, connecting Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and in 1862 the line to Nizhny Novgorod was opened.
Central Industrial Oblast was established by the All-Russian Central Executive Committee on 14 January 1929. It included the abolished Moscow, Ryazan, Tver, Tula, Vladimir, and Kaluga Governorates. The oblast was divided into ten okrugs and had the administrative center in Moscow. On 3 June 1929, the oblast was renamed Moscow Oblast and on 30 July 1930, the division into ten okrugs was abolished.
Parts of the then bulky Moscow Oblast were gradually transferred to other divisions. In particular, 26 districts became part of Kalinin Oblast in January 1935, and another 77 districts were separated in September 1937 as Tula and Ryazan Oblasts. Borovsky, Vysokinichsky, Maloyaroslavetsky, Ugodsko-Zavodsky, and Petushinsky Districts were transferred in 1944 to Kaluga and Vladimir Oblasts.
In 1941–1942, one of the most significant military operations of World War II – the Battle of Moscow was fought in the Moscow Oblast.
According to the Constitution of Russia, adopted in December 1993, Moscow Oblast is one of the 83 federal subjects of Russia.
Government and awards
Moscow Oblast was awarded three Orders of Lenin, on 3 January 1934, 17 December 1956 and 5 December 1966.
The highest executive organ is the Government of Moscow Oblast. Eighteen ministries act as the executive bodies of state authority. The powers, tasks, functions and competence of the Government are defined by the Charter of the Moscow Region. The Governor of the Moscow Oblast will be elected with the term of 5 years. The Regional Duma of Moscow Oblast was formed on 12 December 1993. It consists of 50 deputies also serving a 5-year term.
In May 11, 2012 Sergey Shoygu entered to his office as Governor of the Moscow Oblast, after he was elected in April 5, 2012 by Moscow Oblast Duma. Sergey Shoygu held his office only six months, when he was appointed Russia's new defense minister on November 6, 2012. Two days later on November 8, 2012 Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed the leader of the United Russia faction in the State Duma, Andrei Vorobyov, as the acting governor of the Moscow region, who will held office approximately one year until the next gubernatorial elections in September 2013.
Moscow Oblast has a high density of scientific research institutions, especially related to engineering and military technologies. The latter started developing in the region in 1930–1940s in Zhukovsky (aeronautical engineering), Klimovsk (development of small arms), Reutov (Missile Engineering), Fryazino (microwave electronics) and Korolyov (space technology). They were later joined by famous centers for basic sciences in Troitsk, Chernogolovka (physics and chemistry), Dubna and Protvino (nuclear physics) and Pushchino (biology). Moscow Oblast hosts Mission Control Centers for spacecraft (in Korolyov) and military satellites (Krasnoznamensk), as well as a number of test sites.
Culture and recreation
Moscow Oblast has numerous therapeutic and recreational facilities located mainly in western, northwestern and northern parts, and also near Moscow. Of great importance for recreation are forests, which occupy over 40% of the region, as well as horticultural activities. The region has the highest number (over 1 million) of dachas with associated individual gardens. Also numerous are manor complexes, such as those in Abramtzevo, Muranovo, Ostafievo, historical cities (Vereya, Volokolamsk, Dmitrov, Zaraysk, Zvenigorod, Istra, Kolomna, Sergiyev Posad, Serpukhov, etc.), monasteries (Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, Joseph-Volokolamsk Monastery, Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery, Nikolo-Ugresh monastery, etc.), and museums (Chekhov museum in Melikhovo, Tchaikovsky museum in Klin, Serpukhov Historical and Art Museum, etc.).
Ecological situation in the Moscow Oblast is serious. The areas adjacent to Moscow, and industrial zones in the east and south-east regions are heavily polluted. Most contamination originates from emissions from Kashira and Shatura Power Stations and disposal of household and industrial waste. For example, the Timohovskaya dump is one of the largest in Europe; other objects of concern are aging oil storage tanks, and nuclear waste in the Sergiyevo-Posadsky District. Contamination level is highest in Moscow, Voskresensk and Klin, high in Dzerzhinsky, Kolomna, Mytishchi, Podolsk, Serpukhov, Schelkovo and Elektrostal, and low in Prioksko-Terrasny Biosphere Reserve. The major contaminants are formaldehyde and phenol in Moscow; ammonia and hydrogen fluoride in Voskresensk; formaldehyde in Klin, Kolomna, Mytishchi and Podolsk, phenol in Serpukhov. The most polluted rivers are Moscow, Oka and Klyazma. In the Moscow area and in major cities (in particular, in Podolsk, Orekhovo-Zuyevo, Serpukhov, Lukhovitsy and Stupino) also heavily polluted are groundwaters.
After the population decline from 6,693,623 as of the 1989 Census to 6,618,538 in the 2002 Census the population of the oblast grew to 7,095,120 (2010 Census). The average population density, at 147.4 inhabitants/km2 (2010), is the largest in Russia, due to a high proportion of urban population (80.85% in 2010). The highest density occurs in and around Moscow (Lyubertsy, Balashikha, Khimki, Krasnogorsk, etc.) and the lowest – about 20 people/km2 – is in the outlying areas of Lotoshinsky, Shakhovskoy, Mozhaysk and Meshchersk lowlands.
|Nationalities represented by more than 1000 people in Moscow Oblast in 2010|
- Births: 83 382 (12.0 per 1000)
- Deaths: 99 773 (14.4 per 1000)
- Births: 85 386 (12.1 per 1000)
- Deaths: 98 942 (14.1 per 1000)
- Births: 90 041 (12.6 per 1000)
- Deaths: 99 389 (13.9 per 1000)
- Total fertility rate:
- 2009 – 1.35
- 2010 – 1.37
- 2011 – 1.38
- 2012 – 1.49
- 2013 – 1.52
- 2014 – 1.60(e)
Administrative and municipal divisions
Administratively, the oblast is divided into 38 cities/towns under oblast jurisdiction and 36 administrative districts, consisting of 46 towns of district significance, 72 urban-type settlements, and 6,119 rural localities.
As of 2011, Moscow Oblast is municipally subdivided into 38 urban okrugs and 36 municipal districts, which consist of 114 urban settlements and 193 rural settlements.
The three largest cities of the oblast are Balashikha (215,494), Khimki (207,425), and Podolsk (186,961). Most other towns have ten to fifty thousand people. The smallest town is Vereya in Naro-Fominsky District with the population of 4,957 (2002 Census). Among the urban-type settlements, the largest is Nakhabino (36,546) followed by Tomilino (30,605). The oldest populated place in the oblast is Volokolamsk, first mentioned in 1135; slightly younger towns are Zvenigorod (1152), Dmitrov (1154), and Kolomna (1177).
The most intensive formation of towns occurred in 1938–1940. The youngest towns are Golitsyno and Kubinka. They existed for quite some time, but were granted town status only in 2004. Some recent towns separated from the other towns, such as Yubileyny and Peresvet.
New projects have been announced at the beginning of the 21st century. One of them is Rublyovo-Arkhangelsk, which is designed for 30,000 inhabitants with high income and is called by the media the "city for millionaires". Another is "Great Domodedovo, 30 kilometers (19 mi) south of the Moscow Ring Road, which is designed for 450,000 residents. The new city A101 was designed for 300,000 residents in 2009 and the sale of its land in Leninsky District has already begun; the city's construction is planned to take thirty-five years.
A part of Moscow Oblast's former territory, mainly to the southwest of the city of Moscow, was merged with the federal city of Moscow on July 1, 2012.
The housing stock of the oblast is approximately 125 million square meters. Almost all the houses are equipped with water supply, sewerage, gas, central heating and hot water. However, the telephone network is underdeveloped in rural areas. In the competition for the most comfortable city of 2006 in the Moscow Oblast the winner was Kolomna followed by Balashikha (for cities with population over 100,000) and Vidnoye (<100,000) and then by Mytishchi and Noginsk.
According to a 2012 survey 45.5% of the population of Moscow Oblast adheres to the Russian Orthodox Church, 3% are unaffiliated generic Christians, 2% adheres to other Orthodox Churches, 1% to Rodnovery (Slavic Paganism) and 1% to Islam. In addition, 29% of the population declares to be "spiritual but not religious", 9% is atheist, and 9.5% follows other religions or did not give an answer to the question.
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