Astrakhan Oblast, Russia

Astrakhan Oblast (Russian: Astrakhan Oblast Astrakhanskaya oblast) is an oblast in Russia with about one million inhabitants. The region, located on the Caspian Sea, forms the eastern edge of the South Russia Federal District of the Russian Federation.

The oblast is located in the Caspian depression and occupies a narrow strip on the lower reaches of the Volga. South of the city of Astrakhan is the Volga Delta, the largest river delta in Europe, where the Volga flows into the Caspian Sea. The oblast is bordered by Kalmykia to the west, Volgograd Oblast to the north, and Kazakhstan to the east. Despite the proximity to the Caspian Sea, the climate is strictly continental with low rainfall.

In addition to the Russians, the indigenous population also includes the Kazakhs, Tatars, Nogai Tatars (Nogais) and Kalmyks. Other, smaller minorities of the region are Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Chechens and Ukrainians. About 25% of the inhabitants are Muslims. The oblast is sparsely populated, without the capital, the population density is less than 10 people per square kilometer.

Traditionally, fishing has been economically important, until a few years ago, mainly for caviar in the Volga. More recently, oil and natural gas fields have been discovered, which are being exploited.



Astrakhan - the historical capital of the Astrakhan Khanate, an outpost of Russia in the Lower Volga region
Akhtubinsk - a city at the flight test center named after V.P. Chkalov
Kharаbali is the center of Astrakhan melon growing
Znamensk - ZATO at the test site and the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome
Narimanov - a city attached to a shipyard; Astrakhan water divider is located on the outskirts of Narimanov
Kamyzyak is the center of Astrakhan fishing in the Volga delta


Other destinations

Baskunchak Lake and Bogdinsky-Baskunchaksky Nature Reserve with Bolshoe Bogdo Mountain
Lotus fields in the Volga Delta
Astrakhan water divider is a unique hydraulic engineering structure in Narimanov, designed to regulate the flow of the Volga River without dam formation
Khosheutovsky khurul in the village. Rechnoye is a Buddhist temple-monument in honor of the victory in the Patriotic War of 1812.
The Sarai-Batu settlement is the capital of the Golden Horde in the village of Selitrenny in the Kharabala district.
Sandy deserts on the left bank of the Volga
The villages of Atal, Funtovo-1 and Funtovo-2, where the absolute majority are Astrakhan Turkmens, who began to move here since the 1650s and have not lost their identity.



The Astrakhan region has the largest Kazakh diaspora in Russia. In many places, the traveler will be able to understand Kazakh.


How to get here

By plane
The only airport in the region is located in Astrakhan. There are several daily flights from all Moscow airports, as well as regular connections to Aktau, Yerevan and Baku.

By train
Astrakhan region is connected by rail with Volgograd region, Dagestan and Atyrau region of Kazakhstan. There are two Moscow-Astrakhan trains from Moscow, as well as trains to Makhachkala and Baku. There is a train from St. Petersburg to Astrakhan, going through Saratov.

By bus
Astrakhan is connected by bus with Moscow, Western Kazakhstan, as well as most of the regional centers of Southern Russia.

By car
The main highway passing through the region from north to south is the R22 Kaspiy, the distance from Moscow is 1040 km. It should be noted that the highway runs along the semi-deserted right bank of the Volga, while the main attractions are on the left. To get to Nizhny Baskunchak, Kharabali, etc. from the Volgograd region, you should leave the R22 in the direction of Volzhsky before Volgograd and continue along local roads.
In addition to P22, it should be noted the A154 highway of good quality connecting Astrakhan with Elista, and the European route E40 "Astrakhan-Atyrau-border with Turkmenistan".


Physical and geographical characteristics


Astrakhan region is located in the south-east of the East European Plain within the Caspian lowland, in temperate latitudes, in a zone of deserts and semi-deserts, which are mainly used as pastures. The region stretches in a narrow strip on both sides of the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain at a distance of more than 400 km. The delta spaces flooded with hollow waters for a long period serve as a spawning ground for important commercial fish — Russian sturgeon, sevryuga, beluga and others.

The northernmost point is located on the border with the Volgograd region at 48°52' s. w., the south — on the shore of the Caspian Sea — 45 °31' s. w. The westernmost point is located in the Chernoyarsk district on the border with the Volgograd region — 44 °58' v. d., the east — on one of the small islands of the delta The Volga River in the Volodarsky district at 49°15' VD. The length of the region from north to south is more than 400 km, and from east to west is maximum 120 km. The main landscape of the region is represented by a young-undulating desert plain, complicated by huge arrays of hills, sands, dry hollows, lakes, karst landforms, etc.

The current absolute mark of the Caspian Sea is located at 27 m below the level of the World Ocean. To the north, the absolute surface marks increase and in the northernmost part of the region reach plus 15-20 m. The highest point is Mount Bolshoe Bogdo — 161.9 m, located in the northeast of the region.

The region is assigned to the fourth time zone UTC+4, like Samara, local time in Astrakhan is 1 hour ahead of Moscow time.

The region belongs to the Volga Economic Region, the Southern Federal District. The geographical position of the Astrakhan region is peculiar. It is located on the border of Europe and Asia, the Volga gives access to 5 seas.

Astrakhan region borders:
In the north — with Kazakhstan (with the West Kazakhstan region)
In the north-west — with the Volgograd region
In the east and northeast - with Kazakhstan (with Atyrau region)
In the west and south — with Kalmykia



The landscape structure of the region is represented by 8 landscapes. The Volga-Sarpinsky and Baskunchak landscapes were formed in the semi-desert zone. The desert zone is represented by the Volga-Ural, Volga-Priergeninsky, Western and Eastern Ilmen-hill landscapes. The intrazonal landscapes include the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain and the Volga River delta. In each landscape, several localities are distinguished with a characteristic set of tracts


Soil cover

According to the data of the soil and geographical zoning of Russia, the territory of the Astrakhan region is classified as the Caspian province of light chestnut and brown semi-desert soils, salt marsh complexes, sand massifs and patches of salt marshes. Light chestnut soils are zonally represented in the northern regions, in the more southern regions — brown semi-desert, in the Volga—Akhtuba floodplain, delta and subtidal Ilmen - floodplain. Intrazonal — salt marshes and salt marshes — are found everywhere among all types of soils. Zonal light chestnut and brown soils belong to the group of arid gypsum-calcareous soils. They are formed under the influence of the same soil formation process, which caused the appearance of similar external features. The main factors of soil formation for light chestnut and brown semi-desert soils are the arid climate (especially high temperatures of the growing season) and the xerophytic, sparse nature of vegetation.


Water resources

The surface waters of the Astrakhan region are represented by the Volga River with numerous watercourses (about 900 units), fresh and salty reservoirs (about 1000 units) and the largest closed reservoir on the planet — the Caspian Sea. Groundwater is divided into groundwater and interplastic.

The Volga River, the longest river in Europe, is the national pride of Russia. The Volga runs a long way — 3530 km from its source to its confluence with the Caspian Sea, accepting more and more new tributaries. The catchment area is 1360000 km2. The Volga, along with the Caspian Sea and other rivers flowing into it, belongs to the waste-free basin. Navigable channels have been built in the upper reaches of the Volga, near Volgograd, which determined the Volga's outlet to the World Ocean. Near the city of Volzhsky, Volgograd region, a large arm separates from it to the east — the Akhtuba River, which flows parallel throughout. To the north of Astrakhan, where the Buzan arm separates from the Volga, the delta begins. Downstream, the Buzan River joins the Akhtuba. The largest watercourses of the delta from west to east are the Bakhtemir, Staraya Volga, Kizan, Bolda, Buzan and Kigach branches.

The lakes of the Astrakhan region occupy a special place. By origin, they are divided into tectonic, dammed, and mixed. By chemical composition, it is divided into fresh and salty. Lake Baskunchak belongs to the tectonic type. The lakes-staritsa and kultuki belong to the dam type. The Ilmen lakes are mainly concentrated to the west of the delta. They have a mixed origin, as wind, sea and Volga waters took part in their formation.

The Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the world, named the sea for its large size. The Astrakhan region is washed by the northern part of the Caspian Sea. The relief of the bottom of the Northern Caspian Sea is a shallow, slightly undulating accumulative plain, complicated by the delta, avandelta and a number of islands. The low, sloping banks are covered with impenetrable thickets of reeds up to 3-4 m high.



The geological structure of the Astrakhan region has led to the formation of various minerals on its territory, mainly natural gas, salt and building materials.

In 1836, an artesian well was drilled in Astrakhan to obtain water, but only bitter water and combustible gas went from there.

Until the 1930s, individual researchers were engaged in substantiating the oil content of the region to a depth of 300-350 m. In the post-war years, geological exploration began, which led to the development of the gas field in the 1950s, which marked the beginning of the gasification of Astrakhan and a number of settlements. In the 1960s, a small Beshkul oil field was explored. In the early 1970s, the Bugrinsky gas field was discovered.

In August 1976, the Astrakhan sulfur gas condensate field was discovered. It is located 70 km northeast of Astrakhan. Industrial reserves of hydrocarbons in the left-bank part of the field alone amount to 2,588 billion m3 and 412 million tons of condensate. The composition of the gas includes the following components: methane gas — 54%, hydrogen sulfide — 22-24%, carbon dioxide — 19-22%; one cubic meter of gas contains an average of 250 g of condensate. One of the most important components is sulfur.

In 1990-1991, the Camel oil and Severo-Shajinskoye gas fields were discovered.

In 2000, the Y. Korchagin oil and gas condensate field was discovered on the territory of the Northern Caspian Sea. Reserves in 3P categories amount to 500 million barrels of oil equivalent. In 2005, the Filanovsky oil and gas condensate field was discovered on the shelf. Oil reserves amount to 220 million tons, and gas reserves amount to 40 billion m3.

There are more than 1000 salt lakes in the region. Lake Baskunchak is one of the world's largest deposits of table salt. It contains 98% halite.

Not far from the village of Korduan, located on the left bank of the Kigach River, there is a Small Korduan salt lake. A mineral called astrakhanite was discovered here for the first time.

A special role among the deposits of building materials belongs to Russia's largest Baskunchak gypsum deposit. The operation has been carried out since 1933 by the Baskunchak Gypsum Plant, which produces gypsum stone and raw ground gypsum. Gypsum is extracted from a quarry with a depth of up to 40 — 42 m. The gypsum is overlain from above by sandy-clay deposits of an average thickness of 56 m. Gypsum extraction takes place with the help of blasting operations.

5.5 km east of Lake Baskunchak is the Kubatau limestone deposit, which is recommended as a raw material for the production of construction lime.

In recent years, tremolite has been widely used — a light porous concrete filler obtained by firing flake rocks. Three opok deposits have been explored in our region: Kamennoyarskoye (Chernoyarsky district), Ak-Jarskoye and Baskunchakskoye (Akhtuba district).

The region has large reserves of mineral waters and therapeutic mud, which are waiting for their detailed study and development.

Specially protected territories of the Astrakhan region
The modern network of protected areas in the region, including state reserves, hunting farms and state natural monuments, was formed in the 70s-80s of the XX century. There are two federal state nature reserves on the territory of the Astrakhan region (Astrakhan Biosphere Reserve and Bogdinsky-Baskunchaksky Reserve). There are 49 protected areas of regional importance in the Astrakhan region. The total area of the protected areas of the Astrakhan region is 428,694,208 thousand hectares. They are categorized as follows:

2 natural parks: "Volga-Akhtuba interfluve", "Baskunchak";
4 state nature reserves: "Bogdinsky-Baskunchaksky", "Vyazovskaya Dubrava", "Ilmenno-Bugrovoy", "Steppe" and "Berli Sands";
8 state biological reserves: Teplushki, Ikryaninsky, Mininsky, Krestovy, Zhirotopka, Bukhovsky, Kabaniy, Enotaevsky;
35 natural monuments of regional importance


The animal world

The modern fauna of the Astrakhan region has over 9,000 species. It is home to aquatic and terrestrial animals — inhabitants of steppe, desert, semi-desert landscapes. There are about 150 species of protozoa in the reservoirs of the delta. There is also a badyaga, belonging to the class of sponges. There are 5 species of coelenterates in the Caspian Sea basin: hydra, American blackfordia, Black Sea merizia, Baltic butenvillia, polypodium, and another variety of hydra: craspedacusta. About 10 species of earthworms, or earthworms, are found in the soils of the region. The delta is also home to about 80 species of mollusks, 260 species of crustaceans, 140 species of butterflies and 6 species of venomous spiders. About 450 species of vertebrates have been recorded from chordate animals: 1 species of round-mouthed, 64 species of fish, 4 species of amphibians, 18 species of reptiles, about 300 species of birds and 60 species of mammals. A typical representative of modern jawless is the Caspian lamprey. If we consider the fish that live not only in the Volga, but also in the Caspian Sea, then there are 76 species and 47 subspecies in total. Among them are six species of fish of the Sturgeon family — Russian and Persian sturgeon, beluga, sevryuga, thorn and sterlet, representatives of the Herring family — blackback, etc., Salmon family — whitefish, Caspian trout, Perch family — walleye, bersh, common perch, etc., Carp family — roach, bream, carp, rudd and others . The species composition of fish in commercial catches is represented by about twenty species: bream, bluefish, gustera, chehon, bersh, walleye, perch, pike, catfish, rudd, roach, carp, serushka, tench, asp, ide, common podust, white amur, silver carp, white-eyed. Small, short-lived fish of the lower reaches of the delta and avandelta include bleak, minnow, small southern stickleback, loach, plucker, Caspian needle fish, Caspian aterine, ruff, goby, candied goby, Caspian sand goby, Caspian round goby, golovach goby, bubyr goby, granular and stellate buttons. Representatives of the order of tailless amphibians live in the Astrakhan region — the lake frog, the green toad and the common garlic beetle. Of the order of turtles, only one species is found in the region — the marsh turtle. The group of snakes has 10 species.

About 260 species of birds can be found within the Astrakhan region: yellow-headed kinglet, house sparrow, field sparrow, great tit, azure, remez, thrush, black grouse, songbird, coastal swallow, rustic swallow, broad-tailed finch, gray shrike, black-fronted shrike, oak-nosed, field lark, gray crow, rook, jackdaw, magpie, grey heron, great white heron, Egyptian heron, spoonbill, loaf, big and small booze, croaker, thrush-like reed warbler, gray goose, swans hissing and whooping, mallard, gray duck, ogar, teal, silver and lake gulls, terns, cormorant, pink pelican, curly pelican, gray owl, swamp owl, house owl, owl, flat-tailed and eared owl, white-tailed eagle, steppe eagle, grouse hawk, reed harrier, steppe harrier, field and marsh harrier, black kite, winter falcon, saker falcon, cheglok, kobchik, common kestrel, osprey, etc. From the order of rodents, there are small gopher and yellow gopher, midday gerbil, shaggy-legged jerboa, field and house mice, baby mouse, gray rat (pasyuk), common and water voles, muskrat and some other species. From the group of predators, the wolf, the common fox, the korsak fox, the raccoon dog, the steppe ferret, the bandage, the ermine, the weasel, the badger, the otter, the Caspian seal and others live in the region. In recent years, another predatory species, the American mink, has begun to occur in the lower reaches of the Volga. The order of (Quito-) artiodactyls is represented in the territory of the region by wild boar, saiga, roe deer. Muskrat, big-eared hedgehog, small and white-bellied whitethroats, which belong to the order of insectivores, also live.



The Astrakhan region is floristically included in the Afro-Asian desert region and in the Caspian Region of the Aral-Caspian (Turan) province of the Iranian-Turan region of the Holarctic. The Caspian-Turanian Circumcaspian species and endemics of the Northern Caspian region are characteristic of the district. The species composition of the flora of the region is not rich. The modern vegetation of the Caspian Sea has developed approximately in the last 15-16 thousand years. During this time, only 756-850 species of higher plants out of 240 thousand species of the world flora were able to gain a foothold here in harsh stressful conditions of existence (lack of moisture, salinization of the soil). But the combination of these species, the interpenetration of the northern Boreal and desert Iranian-Turanian create unique plant communities. There is no other place within Russia where, with a height difference relative to the 1.5 — 2.0 m range, associations from coastal-aquatic to desert plants are represented. On the territory of the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain and the delta of the river. As a result of research conducted by the ASU Geobotany Laboratory, about 500 plant species belonging to 82 families have been identified. The ten most species-rich families include 262 species, or more than 50% of the total number of species. Downstream, the representation of families is changing. In the European part of Russia, desert vegetation as a zonal type is noted only in the southeast within the Caspian lowland. In desert habitats, the leading place belongs to complex-colored, cereal and haze, which indicates the connection and interpenetration of species of desert and forest habitats.

The North Turanian (Caspian) deserts are a kingdom of semi—shrubby (khamefit) wormwood, among which white wormwood, poor-flowered or black wormwood, and sandy wormwood dominate. In total, the genus wormwood is represented by 10 species. As a result of evolution, desert plants have developed a number of morphological and anatomical features that allow them to tolerate lack of moisture and soil salinity.

Meadows predominate everywhere in the floodplain and delta, which can be divided into meadows of high, medium and low levels, with varying degrees of moisture during the growing season. In high—level meadows, plants of xerophytic orientation are common - ground vane, sour sorrel, blueberry, pontic wormwood, Russian bedstraw, horned lyadvenets, etc. kinds. The meadows of the middle level are occupied by mesophytic plants — boneless stalk, narrow-leaved bluegrass, madder bedstraw (in the floodplain) and sea corm, medicinal marshmallow and other species (in the delta). Due to the widely developed hydrographic network (rivers, channels, yeriki, Ilmen), the flora of submerged and semi-submerged species is widely represented in the floodplain and especially in the delta of the Volga River. In the underwater part of the delta, you can find spiral wallisneria, hornfels, urut, rdests, the underwater form of the umbrella susak. These peculiar "underwater meadows" are a great place for the growth and development of many semi—aquatic fish. Green algae live in the estuaries of rivers and in the Northern Caspian Sea. They can be both planktonic and benthic.
A sharp change in moisture in the floodplain and delta prevents the spread of forests. They can exist only in narrow strips (ribbon or gallery forests) along riverbeds and channels - the main spaces are occupied by meadows. Only in the northernmost segment of the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain have small oak forests of pedunculate oak been preserved. Here, black poplar, ash, elm and willows are typical, tending to the banks of rivers and channels. Downstream, the species composition of tree species is becoming poorer, the forests are only ribbon, with the dominance of three-stamen willow and white willow.
There are 20 species of plants listed in the Red Book of Russia in the Astrakhan region.



The climate of the Astrakhan region is continental and dry. Winter is sparsely snowy, in most of the region there is a strong softening effect of the Caspian Sea, with frequent thaws and unstable snow cover, however, on some days there are quite intense frosts with the invasion of cold air masses from Kazakhstan or the Urals. The summer is hot. The climate is also characterized by large annual and daily air temperature amplitudes, low precipitation and high moisture evaporation.

The average annual air temperature varies from south to north from +10 °C to +8 °C. The coldest month is January, the average temperature is -10... -20 °C. The highest average temperature of +35...+45 °C is observed in July.

The annual precipitation ranges from 180-200 mm in the south to 280-290 mm in the north of the region. The greatest amount of precipitation falls between April and July. In summer, heavy rains are accompanied by thunderstorms, sometimes with hail.



Since ancient times, the steppes of the Lower Volga region and the Northern Caspian have served as gates for nomads breaking through from the East to Europe. Magnificent pasture lands, abundance of water and low-snow winters have always attracted nomadic pastoralists here, who settled in these places and, under certain historical conditions, began to conduct a comprehensive cattle breeding and agricultural economy here.

In the VIII—X centuries, the territories were part of the Khazar Khaganate. The center of the state was originally located in the coastal part of modern Dagestan, later moved to the lower reaches of the Volga. Part of the ruling elite adopted Judaism. A number of East Slavic tribal unions were politically dependent on the Khazars. There are suggestions that the capital of the Khazar khaganate Itil, destroyed by Prince Svyatoslav in 965, was located on the territory of the modern Astrakhan region. Later, the Polovtsians settled here.

After Batu's European campaign of 1236-1242, the Polovtsians ceased to exist as an independent political unit, but formed the bulk of the Turkic population of the Golden Horde. Actually, there were only 4 thousand Mongols in the Jochid troops, according to Genghis Khan's will. It was the Polovtsians who made a significant contribution to the formation of such ethnic groups as Tatars, Kirghiz, Gagauz, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Karakalpaks, Crimean Tatars, Siberian Tatars, Nogais, Kumyks, Bashkirs, Karachays, Balkars.

During the reign of Khan Uzbek (1313-1341) and his son Janibek (1342-1357), the Golden Horde reached its heyday. In the early 1320s, Uzbek Khan proclaimed Islam the state religion, threatening the "infidels" with physical violence. The rebellions of the emirs who did not want to convert to Islam were brutally suppressed. The time of his khanate was characterized by strict punishment. Russian princes, dependent on the khans, before leaving for the capital of the Golden Horde, wrote spiritual wills and paternal instructions to children in case of their death there. Since the sixties of the XIV century, since the time of the Great Zamyatna, important political changes have taken place in the life of the Golden Horde. The gradual disintegration of states began. After the death of Khan Kichi-Muhammad, the Golden Horde ceased to exist as a single state.

The Astrakhan Khanate was formed in 1459/60, when it was headed by the former khan of the Great Horde (this is how the central part of the Golden Horde with its capital in Novy Sarai became known) Mahmud, and since 1461 his son Kasim. The favorable location and lack of competition contributed to the restoration of Astrakhan's trade relations with Khorezm, Bukhara, and Kazan.During the reign of Kasim, trade relations were established between Astrakhan and the Moscow Principality. In particular, during the reign of Ivan III, ships were sent annually to Astrakhan from Moscow along the rivers Moscow, Oka and Volga to fetch salt.After the conquest of the Kazan Khanate and the storming of its capital, Tsar Ivan the Terrible decided to subordinate his southern neighbor to his influence.Yamgurchey's opponent and ally of the Moscow tsar, Khan Dervish Ali, reigned there, promising support to Moscow. However, in 1556, this khan sided with Moscow's long—time enemies, the Crimean Khanate and the Ottoman Empire, thus provoking a new Russian campaign against Astrakhan. It was headed by voivode N.Cheremisinov. First, the Don Cossacks of Ataman L. Filimonov's detachment defeated the Khan's army near Astrakhan, after which Astrakhan was retaken without a fight on July 2. As a result of this campaign, the Astrakhan Khanate was completely subordinated to the Muscovite Kingdom.

After the collapse of the Golden Horde, the Nogai were the main population of the Astrakhan Khanate.

In 1558, the Astrakhan Khanate was annexed to the Russian state. The instruction "Tsar of Astrakhan" was included in the official title of the Russian autocrat. Moved to a new location in 1558 around the fortress, Astrakhan became a reliable military and political outpost in the south of Russia, a transshipment base for its advance to the Caucasus and the Asian Caspian region, a center of active trade and interstate relations. This is how the Astrakhan voivodeship was formed. In 1569, the Turks unsuccessfully besieged the Astrakhan fortress. In 1597, the construction of the Spaso-Preobrazhensky Monastery, which began in 1578, was completed in Astrakhan.

In the XVII century, trade, fishing and salt industries were developing in the Astrakhan Region. In the middle of the century, the uprising of Stepan Razin was similar on the territory of the Astrakhan Region.

In 1715, Astrakhan was almost taken by the Nogai during the campaign of the Kuban Nogai against the Kalmyks.

In 1705-1706, local residents rebelled against the policy of Peter I. Considering the special and increasing role of Astrakhan as the most important city in Russia in trade and political relations, Peter I on November 22, 1717 signed a decree on the foundation of Astrakhan province and the annexation of a number of cities to it: Simbirsk, Samara, Syzransk, Kashkar, Saratov, Petrovsky, Dmitrovsky, Tsaritsyn, Cherny Yar, Krasny Yar, Guryev and Terek. Astrakhan province was determined to play an important role in Russia's relations with the East. In the Caspian Sea and the Volga, Peter I saw the main highway connecting all trade between Russia and Europe with India, Iran and Central Asia. The government was interested in directing the flow of eastern goods along the Caspian-Volga route.

In 1722, a shipyard was built near the mouth of the Kutum River, which was named the Astrakhan Admiralty. In 1730-1740, silk and cotton processing began in Astrakhan province.

The administrative term "Astrakhan region" first appeared in 1785, when (on May 5, old style) it was allocated along with the Caucasian region as part of the Caucasian viceroyalty. However, the Astrakhan province existed for a longer period — from 1717 to 1785 and then from 1802 to 1928. By decree of November 15, 1802, Astrakhan province was divided into Astrakhan and Caucasian provinces. Nevertheless, the separation of Astrakhan province from the Caucasus was completed only on January 6, 1832, when the corresponding decree was signed.

Until the revolutionary events of 1918-1920, it also included the Kalmyk steppe and the Kirghiz-Kaysak (that is, Kazakh) inner Bukeev Horde, which later caused certain difficulties in territorial demarcation and drawing new borders, which never passed full state codification.

In Soviet times, the territory of the modern Astrakhan region was included in the Astrakhan Province, the Lower Volga Region, the Lower Volga Region, the Stalingrad Region and the Stalingrad Region until December 27, 1943, when the Astrakhan Region was created by Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR (it included part of the districts of the abolished Kalmyk ASSR and the Astrakhan District of the Stalingrad Region).

At the end of 2010, a number of experts announced the real possibility of merging the Volgograd and Astrakhan regions into a single Lower Volga Region. At the same time, the emphasis is on the Astrakhan region, its potential and the regional elite.

Since March 27, 2016, the Astrakhan region has been located in the 4th time zone (UTC+4, MSK+1).




Kazakhs make up more than 14% of the population and live in almost all districts and cities of the Astrakhan region, this is the largest indicator in Russia as a whole. As well as in other regions of Russia where Kazakhs live, there is a Kazakh cultural center, and in areas where Kazakhs live compactly, the Kazakh language is taught in secondary schools. Zholdastyk is a major Kazakh cultural center in the Astrakhan region. The Kazakh language is taught in higher educational institutions of Astrakhan (ASTU). In 2016-19, one of the oldest inhabitants of the planet was the Astrakhan Kazakh Tanzila Bisembeeva, a resident of the village of Alcha in the Krasnoyarsk region, a native of the village of Islamgazy (Islamgazinsky village) of the same district of the Astrakhan region, abolished in 1969. In March 2016, she turned 120 years old.


Regional authorities

Legislative power

The representative body of the Astrakhan region is the Duma of the Astrakhan region, in the period 1994-2001, called the Astrakhan Regional Representative Assembly.

The Duma of the Astrakhan region has the following structure:
Chairman of the Duma of the Astrakhan region;
First Deputy Chairman of the Duma of the Astrakhan region;
Deputy Chairman of the Duma of the Astrakhan region;
The apparatus of the Duma of the Astrakhan region;
Committees and political factions.

Since 2006, the chairman of the regional legislative body has been the head of the regional branch of the United Russia Party, Alexander Borisovich Klykanov, whose candidacy in 2009 was considered for the post of governor of the region. In 2016, Martynov Igor Alexandrovich was elected Chairman of the Duma of the Astrakhan region of the sixth convocation.

Until 2006, the regional legislature was formed according to the majority electoral system. In 2006, due to changes in the electoral legislation, elections were held under the mixed electoral system.


The Executive Branch

The Governor is the highest official of the Astrakhan region, who heads the executive branch.

Governors of the Astrakhan region:
Guzhvin Anatoly Petrovich — Governor of the region in 1991-2004.
Zhilkin Alexander Alexandrovich — Governor of the region from 2004 to 2018.
Sergey Petrovich Morozov — Acting Governor of the region from September 26, 2018 to June 5, 2019.
Babushkin Igor Yuryevich — Governor of the region since September 17, 2019, acting governor of the region from June 5 to September 17, 2019.

From 1991 to 2004, Anatoly Petrovich Guzhvin was the governor of the region, who won elections in 1996 and 2000. After Guzhvin's death in August 2004, the acting head of the Astrakhan region, Alexander Aleksandrovich Zhilkin, won the early elections of the head of the Astrakhan region on December 5, 2004. The winner enjoyed the support of United Russia. The Governor directs the work of the executive authorities of the region and the Government of the Astrakhan region. From 2004 to 2017, Konstantin Alekseevich Markelov was the Chairman of the Government of the Astrakhan region. Since 2017, Sultanov Rasul Dzhanbekovich has been the Chairman of the Government of the Astrakhan region.



Specialization of economics

The industrial complex of the economic center of the region — Astrakhan — is represented by shipbuilding, pulp and paper production, fish processing industry. The leading industries are mechanical engineering, electric power industry, and food industry. The region has almost inexhaustible reserves of gas, oil, and sulfur. In general, the city's industry remains unprofitable. This is mainly the impact of the fuel industry, which accounts for a third of industrial losses, as well as shipbuilding, the radio industry and the electric power industry. At the same time, industrial losses decreased by 28.9% compared to 2002.

In the Astrakhan region, 40 km from the city of Astrakhan, the LOTUS SEZ is located, bordering the countries of the Caspian basin, at the intersection of the International Transit Transport Corridor North-South. The LOTUS SEZ was established in 2015 to accommodate industrial production related to shipbuilding, mechanical engineering, as well as other high-tech industries.

Akhtuba district (about 70.2 thousand people) is located in the northeastern part of the region. A military training ground and branches of defense industry enterprises are located on its territory. The main enterprises are JSC "Bassol" (food production), JSC "Mineral—Knauf" (production of building materials), JSC "Akhtubinsky SSRZ" (mechanical engineering), JSC "Cannery" and CJSC "Akhtubinsky meat Processing Plant".

Kamyzyaksky district (about 50.3 thousand people) occupies a leading position in the Astrakhan region in the production and processing of agricultural products. The main areas of agriculture are vegetable growing, melon farming, rice farming, meat and dairy cattle breeding. The industry of the district is represented by the following industries: shipbuilding (one of the oldest enterprises — JSC Volga-Caspian SRZ), light, printing, milling and cereal industries, production of building materials, etc.



The fuel industry is the main industry of the Astrakhan region, as the Astrakhan gas condensate field, the largest in the European part of Russia, is located here. The Astrakhan gas Complex, including gas fields and a gas processing plant, operates on the basis of this gas condensate field. The complex is specialized in the production of technical sulfur gas, automobile gasoline, diesel and boiler fuel, propanobutane fraction. The region has developed mechanical engineering (shipbuilding, production of forging equipment, compressors, etc.).
Compared with the 1990s, by 2003, the share of products from the fuel industry of the Astrakhan region in the Russian Federation had significantly increased (from 8% to 60%) and the electric power industry (from 2% to 11%), due to the critical state of commercial reserves of the Caspian basin, the share of food industry products had significantly decreased (from 36% to 9 %), and there was also a reduction in the share of light industry products (from 27% to 1%). The best average per capita coefficients for the production of metal—cutting machines are 4 (fourth place among all considered types of industrial products in the regions of the Russian Federation), natural gas, primary oil refining.


Energy industry

As of the beginning of 2020, 17 power plants with a total capacity of 1029.25 MW were in operation in the Astrakhan region, including 13 solar power plants and 4 thermal power plants. In 2019, they produced 4,106 million kWh of electricity.


Agricultural industry

The volume of agricultural production in the Astrakhan region in 2020 is 53.1 billion rubles, of which crop production is 30.8 billion rubles, animal husbandry is 22.3 billion rubles. The production index is 102.3%. The volume of production by agricultural organizations is 5.8 billion rubles.


Animal husbandry

The Astrakhan region is one of the few regions of the Russian Federation that has not only preserved, but also increased the number of livestock. The regional exhibition of breeding farm animals is held annually in the region.

Cattle are represented by the main dairy breeds: Simmental, red steppe and black-mottled.

The leading branch of animal husbandry in the Astrakhan region is sheep farming. The region has a unique genetic fund of sheep of fine-wooled, Karakul, meat-wool and Edilbaev breeds, providing great opportunities for wool production.

As of January 1, 2020, in farms of all categories (agricultural organizations), the number of cattle amounted to 294.1 thousand heads (10.0 thousand), including cows — 156.2 thousand heads (5.5 thousand), sheep and goats — 1408.8 thousand heads (45.9 thousand), pigs — 3.1 thousand heads (300), poultry 1993.6 thousand heads (1459.9 thousand).

The number of cattle in all categories of farms in the region as of 2016 amounted to 279.6 thousand heads, including cows — 142.7 thousand heads, sheep and goats — 1,545 thousand heads. The volume of livestock production in farms of all categories amounted to: livestock and poultry for slaughter in live weight 45.5 thousand tons (100%), milk 142.1 thousand tons (100.7%), eggs 254.4 million pieces (114%).


The fishing industry

The fisheries complex of the Astrakhan region covers all the main areas of activity: fishing of aquatic biological resources, reproduction, commercial fish farming (aquaculture) processing of raw materials, production of various types of fish products, scientific research, training of specialists. The fishing industry includes over 200 enterprises and organizations of various forms of ownership and activities, employing about 6 thousand people. The volume of withdrawal of aquatic biological resources in 2017 was set at 51.3 thousand tons, of which 29.4 thousand tons were quoted.

The natural and climatic conditions of the Astrakhan region are favorable for the development of aquaculture. Currently, there are 134 enterprises operating in the region, the area of used reservoirs is about 32 thousand hectares. The cultivation of cyprinid fish species (carp, white and mottled carp, white amur) is carried out in the Astrakhan region in ponds of engineering type and natural reservoirs (ilmeny). The cultivation of sturgeon species of fish (Russian sturgeon, beluga, sterlet, bester) is carried out in cage lines located on the watercourses of the Volga Delta. Currently, there are 36 industrial aquaculture enterprises, the total area of which is about 85 hectares. The annual production volume of commercial sturgeon is 400-450 tons, and food caviar is 8-10 tons. In total, there are 163 fish farming sites in the Astrakhan region with a total area of 10.5 thousand hectares, 71 of which were formed in 2016.


Crop production

Agricultural land is more than 3.4 million hectares. The areas occupied for vegetable crops are the largest among all subjects of the Russian Federation. 350 thousand tons of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, zucchini, cucumbers, carrots, beets, onions and cabbage are grown annually in the fields of the region. Traditional in the Astrakhan region is the production of rice, which is grown along the Volga River. The climatic conditions of the region allow for two potato crops per year. The introduction of high-quality seed material of domestic, Dutch and German varieties into production is a determining factor in obtaining high, stable yields.

Astrakhan region is the leader in growing tomatoes in the open ground, with a share of 75.5% (665.4 thousand tons) of the total harvest in Russia in 2021, and in growing melons, with a share of 48.1% (323.6 thousand tons) of the total harvest in Russia in 2021.

The Astrakhan region is the second region of Russia after the Volgograd region for growing onions. On an industrial basis, it is cultivated using drip irrigation. The gross harvest of onions in 2021 in the region amounted to 276.7 thousand tons (26.2% of the volume of collections in Russia).

In 2020, the gross harvest of cereals and legumes is 46.8 thousand tons (in weight after refinement), of which rice is 22.2 thousand tons, spring barley is 11.3 thousand tons, winter wheat is 10.4 thousand tons.

In 2020, gross harvests of fruits, berries and grapes in farms of all categories: pome 3484 thousand tons, yield 53.33 c /ha, stone 7418 thousand tons, yield 96.98 c / ha, nut-bearing 421 thousand tons, yield 59.5 c / ha, berry 3563 thousand tons, yield 105.47 c /ha. Total fruit and berry plantations (including citrus fruits) 15197 thousand tons, plantations in fruiting age 1706.11 hectares. Vineyards 2128 thousand tons, yield 145.86 kg / ha.



As of 1997: the length of railways is 849 km, paved roads — 4031 km, river routes — 1443 km. There are many river marinas in the region, and water transport is developed, represented by river trams and ferry crossings. The main navigable rivers are the Volga, Bakhtemir, Buzan, Bolda, Akhtuba, Kizan, Tsarev. The freezing period is usually 2-3 months a year, sometimes up to 4 months, in especially warm winters the main navigable rivers do not freeze at all. There are seaports in the city of Astrakhan and in the village of Olya. The Volga-Caspian Canal (188 km long and 5 m deep) has been dug along the seabed, connecting Bakhtemir with the deep-water part of the Caspian Sea. There is a regular sea ferry service between the ports of Olya and Gilan (Iran). There is an international airport in Astrakhan.


Ecology of the Astrakhan region

The Volga is in hydrostatic equilibrium with the sea into which it flows. This makes the Volga related to other great rivers. The transgression of the Caspian Sea was extensive during the Pleistocene. Then it was replaced by regression, which probably took place at the beginning of the Holocene.

Currently, there is a new sea retreat. The level of the Caspian Sea has decreased by 2 — 2.5 m in 15 years since the early 1930s. The hydrostatic regime on the Caspian side has changed, many reservoirs have dried up or shallowed, and floods have decreased.

There are 7.4 days (Cherny Yar) and 8.2 days (Estuary) per year with a dust storm in the region. In 1960, the wind reached 25-30 m/s, and gusts up to 35 m/s. The dust spreads over hundreds of kilometers, in the amount of 30000-40000 m3. for 1 km. Back in the early 20th century, the wind carrying the sands carried the road from the north to the south of the region. The forest-belt barriers along the river were not completed. The shrub plantations, partially completed in 1920-1930, are noted.

In addition to geological reasons, a cascade of hydroelectric power plants has been built on the Volga. The change in the water regime in the lower reaches of the hydroelectric power plants has had a significant impact on fisheries. Most of the area of the spawning grounds of passing fish located in the upper reaches of the hydroelectric facilities was lost. The lifts built for the passage of passing fish at the Volgograd and Tsimlyansk hydroelectric power plants did not give the effect calculated in the projects. Also, the regime of floodplain lands with the redistribution of runoff worsened. These lands were salted. So, by 1970, the probability of flooding of the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain did not exceed once every three years, but it could not have been 5-7 years in a row.

However, even water releases were not made not only for spawning grounds, but also for floodplain meadows, since energy generation at hydroelectric power plants was considered both cheap and necessary at that time. Instead, they tried to solve the problem of flooding spawning grounds with the help of another hydroelectric unit, a water divider, which was built at the upper point of the delta.

By the time the water divider was built, it was reliably known that 90% of the sturgeon herd migrated through the western channels of the delta and these spawning grounds would be destroyed.

Due to the redistribution of runoff, as well as changes from the Caspian Sea, the dying off of the western subtidal ilmen will continue to increase, the area of land on which melons are grown will decrease, fish production conditions will worsen, and water supply will be disrupted. The reservoirs constructed are the shallowest in the RSFSR. At least 140 km3 of water was used to fill the volumes of reservoirs at the completion of the Volga-Kama cascade, their evaporation was 13.7 km3 per year.

Irrigated agriculture has been used in the steppe zone for more than 100 years and has not received significant development (by 1970 there was 0.6% of the sown area). The review shows that the Institute of Geography of the USSR Academy of Sciences was not able to form a meaningful idea on this topic. As a result, only sprinkling developed, which has less risks of salinization and erosion. The creation of snow-accumulating plantations, or the use of upper groundwater, was not widespread and was not taken into account in the calculations.

Kazan, Nizhnekamsk, Ufa, Kuibyshevsky, Saratov and Volgograd industrial hubs are located upstream of the Volga (the average flow rate in the oilfield area is 1.2 million m3. water per day for 1970 g). The regulation of the flow has reduced the flow rate of the Volga by 1.5 — 2 times, by 1 km3. polluted waters in the Volga region account for 2-3 times less fresh water than in Siberia, the Far East and other regions. This water also enters shallow reservoirs. Back in the 1960s, exploration in the Caspian Sea was carried out with the help of explosions. There were no sewage treatment plants at the enterprises above the river. Data on the sulfur gas condensate field are not published. The number of vehicles has increased tenfold. By the 1980s, the withdrawal of water from the Volga was calculated up to 50 km3, which led to a further decrease in the level of the Caspian Sea, the calculated data were up to 2 m.

Deadwood is regularly burned in large areas. The fires also affected nature reserves. Pyrolysis methods are also not available in the region.

By the time the review materials were compiled, the water supply of the region was considered the main problem of the country's water sector. Although decent fisheries have long been abandoned in the region, this does not change the ecology. The loss of ecological wealth indicates the absence of a future for the Astrakhan region.


Science and education

There are 6 universities in the region and more than 10 branches of universities in other regions of Russia.

There are several scientific organizations in the Astrakhan region
: the All-Russian Research Institute of Irrigated Vegetable Growing and Melon Production, address: Astrakhan region, Kamyzyaksky district, Kamyzyak, Lyubicha str., 16. Specializes in breeding and genetics of agricultural vegetable and melon crops, studies the problems of development of delta landscapes.
Astrakhan Experimental Station of the N. I. Vavilov All-Russian Institute of Plant Breeding, address: St. Petersburg, Bolshaya Morskaya str., 42-44 (administration), Astrakhan region, Privolzhsky district. Collections of rice, watermelon, melon, pumpkin, tomatoes, and some leguminous crops are maintained and studied at the station.
FGBNU Caspian Scientific Research Institute of Arid Agriculture, address: Astrakhan region, Chernoyarsky district, Saline Zaymishche village, Severny quarter, house 8. It is engaged in improving seed production of cereals, forage crops and the organization of technology for their cultivation in conditions of arid agriculture of the Caspian lowland.
GLITZ of the Ministry of Defense named after V. P. Chkalov, address: located in the city of Akhtubinsk, Astrakhan region. An aviation research and testing military institution.
Bogdinsky-Baskunchaksky State Nature Reserve, address: Astrakhan region, Akhtubinsk, Meliorator microdistrict, 19, sq. 1. The purpose of the reserve is to preserve the unique natural complexes of Mount Bolshoe Bogdo and the surroundings of Lake Baskunchak, study their composition and dynamics, environmental education of the population, organization of ecological tourism.
Astrakhan Order of the Red Banner of Labor State Natural Biosphere Reserve, address: Astrakhan, Embankment of the Tsarev River, 119. He studies the avifauna and ichthyofauna of the Volga Delta.



Church of Peter and Paul (XVII—XVIII centuries, village of Cherny Yar);
Kalmyk stone monastery-khurul (early XIX century, Rechnoye village);
Nikolaevsk-Vysokogorsky monastery on Churkin Island (late XIX century);
Samosdelskoye settlement — remains of a medieval urban settlement (IX—X century);
Mausoleum of Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly — in the village of Altynzhar in the present Volodarsky district of the Astrakhan region of Russia (1896).;
Petrovsky Lighthouse — presumably built by Peter I for the organization of the Persian campaign (1722-1723);
Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Nikolskoye village 1884-1899);
Limansky Khurul is the only functioning Buddhist temple in the Astrakhan region, located in the village of Liman;
Kapustin Yar is a missile test site in the northwestern part of the Astrakhan region.


Famous people

Were born on the territory of the region:
Oleg Rudolfovich Airapetov (born January 6, 1963, Akhtubinsk) is a Russian historian. Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor.
Gaziza Samitova (1862-1928) was an original Tatar poet. The daughter of a merchant of the II guild. She spent most of her life in her native village of Kamenny Yar.
Dmitry Petrovich Dyuzhev (born July 9, 1978, Astrakhan) is a Russian theater and film actor, film director, Honored Artist of the Russian Federation. Among Dyuzhev's famous acting works are such films as "Blind Man's Buff", "Island", "It doesn't hurt Me", the TV series "Brigade" and others.
Elanskaya, Claudia Nikolaevna (1898-1972) was a Soviet Russian theater and film actress. People's Artist of the USSR (1948). Winner of the Stalin Prize of the first degree (1952).
Zavorotnyuk, Anastasia Yuryevna (April 3, 1971, Astrakhan) is a Russian theater and film actress, TV presenter. Honored Artist of the Russian Federation (2006).
Kudinov, Vasily Alexandrovich (February 17, 1969, village Ilyinka, Ikryaninsky district, Astrakhan region, RSFSR, USSR — February 11, 2017, Astrakhan, Russia) was a Soviet and Russian handball player. Honored Master of Sports of the USSR (1992). Honored Master of Sports of Russia (2004).
Kulichev, Ivan Andreevich (1920-1979) — Lieutenant General, Commander of the aviation of the Siberian Military District, Hero of the Soviet Union.
Kulteleev, Tair Muldagalievich (1911-1953) — the first Kazakh legal scholar, one of the organizers of legal science and legal education in Kazakhstan, a major researcher of Kazakh customary law.
Lidzhiev, Teltya (kalm. Tolt Liҗin; (born December 22, 1906, Enotaevka (today — Enotaevsky district, Astrakhan region), Astrakhan province, Russian Empire — November 1970, Kalmyk ASSR, RSFSR) was a Kalmyk rhapsodist, narrator of the Kalmyk epic "Dzhangar", dzhangarchi.
Vladimir Matveyevich Letuchy (1943-2015) is a Russian translator of poetry and prose from the German language.
Lisunov, Boris Pavlovich (August 19, 1898 — November 3, 1946) was a Soviet aircraft designer, colonel engineer, and organizer of the production of the Li-2 aircraft.
Malakhov, Ivan Pavlovich (born June 29, 1953, Pologoe Zaymishche village, in Akhtubinsky district, Astrakhan region) was the governor of the Sakhalin Region from August 2003 to August 7, 2007.
Musagaliev, Azamat Takhirovich; (October 25, 1984, Kamyzyak) is a Russian actor, comedian, TV presenter and musician. Captain of the KVN team "National team of the Kamyzyak region", participant of the show "Once upon a Time in Russia" and host of the show "Where is logic?" on the TNT TV channel.
Mustafayev, Chingiz Fuad oglu (Azerbaijani: Çingiz Fuad oğlu Mustafayev; August 29, 1960 — June 15, 1992) was an Azerbaijani civilian and military journalist who made a significant contribution to the development of national television. He collaborated with a number of foreign news agencies. He is the author of many reports from the war zone in Nagorno-Karabakh, including the famous report from the site of the Khojaly massacre. The national hero of Azerbaijan.
Pokusaev, Yevgraf Ivanovich (December 6 (19), 1909, Bolkhuny village, Enotaevsky district, Astrakhan Province. — August 11, 1977, Saratov) was a Soviet literary critic. The main works are devoted to the works of M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin, N. G. Chernyshevsky.
Redkin, Mark Stepanovich, famous Soviet photojournalist, correspondent of the TASS Photo Chronicle and the newspaper Frontline Illustration and other publications in the 1920s and 1930s, military photojournalist on the battlefields of the Great Patriotic War.
Olga Vladimirovna Tomashevich (born May 15, 1956, in Kapustin Yar) is a Soviet and Russian historian and Egyptologist, a specialist in the culture and religion of Ancient Egypt, the gender history of Egypt and the Ancient East, and the history of Egyptology. Candidate of Historical Sciences, Associate Professor, Deputy Head of the Department of Ancient World History of the Faculty of History of Moscow State University, member of the Methodological Commission of the Faculty. Member of the Russian Association of Antiquarians. Fellow of the A. von Humboldt Foundation.
Nikita Fedorovich Tseplyaev (born May 28 (June 9), 1891, Volnoye, Russian Empire — January 2, 1971, Astrakhan, USSR) was a Russian and Soviet military figure, major General.