Kemerovo Oblast, Russia

Kemerovo region - Kuzbass - a subject of the Russian Federation, located in the south of Western Siberia, part of the Siberian Federal District, is part of the West Siberian economic region.

The Kuznetsk coal basin (Kuzbass) is located on the territory of the region.

The Kemerovo region was formed on January 26, 1943 by the Decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR by separating it from the Novosibirsk region[10]. The area of the region is 95,725 km²; According to this indicator, the region ranks 34th in the country.

The region's population is 2,568,238 people (2023), population density is 26.83 people/km² (2023). The majority of the population lives in cities, and there are large areas with low population density. Proportion of urban population: 87.33% (2022).

The Kemerovo region is the most densely populated part of Siberia and the Asian part of Russia. Russians make up more than 90% of the population. Among the small peoples living in the region are the Shors, Teleuts and Siberian Tatars, who have preserved their cultural traditions.

The administrative center and largest city is Kemerovo, which has a population of 549,362 people. Together with nearby municipalities of the region, it forms the Kemerovo agglomeration with a population of more than 1.3 million people.

The second largest city in the region is Novokuznetsk. Population - 537,480 people (2021). It is the center of the Novokuznetsk agglomeration with a population of more than 1.1 million people.

The region is located in the southeast of Western Siberia, occupying the spurs of the Altai and Sayan Mountains.

The length of the region from north to south is almost 500 km, from west to east - 300 km. It borders in the northeast and north with the Tomsk region, in the northeast - with the Krasnoyarsk Territory, in the east - with the Republic of Khakassia, in the south - with the Altai Republic, in the southwest - with the Altai Territory, in the northwest - with Novosibirsk region.

Administratively it consists of 20 cities and 18 districts.



Kemerovo is the capital of Kuzbass. It would be strange to say that this is an industrial city, since industry is everywhere in Kuzbass, but in the case of Kemerovo the industrial character is especially tangible and visible. Dotted with factory chimneys and shrouded in smoke, the city is cozier than it seems from the outside: there is even room for pine trees and rocks, and it’s worth coming here to visit Krasnaya Gorka - a small and very interesting museum-reserve dedicated to the formation of Kuzbass industry. In the center of Kemerovo there is a nice Soviet-era building, the only road connecting Western Siberia with Eastern Siberia passes through the city, and on top of that it has its own airport.

Novokuznetsk is the antipode of Kemerovo, a city not of miners, but of metallurgists. Novokuznetsk has preserved monuments from different eras and will easily enter the top ten most interesting cities in Western Siberia. Old Kuznetsk contains an 18th-century fortress and fragments of a district town, while new Kuznetsk, the “garden city” praised by Mayakovsky, contains one of the best ensembles of Soviet architecture in the country. Add to this the presence of an airport, good railway connections, and the proximity of the Kuznetsk Alatau - and Novokuznetsk becomes the best base for traveling in the south of the Kemerovo region.

Anzhero-Sudzhensk is the only city in Kuzbass located on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Passengers of trains passing here would hardly think of making a stop in the city, and not all Trans-Siberian trains have the Anzherskaya station on their schedule, but those travelers who still decide to stop by here will be rewarded with curious monuments of provincial constructivism, including Anzhero -Sudzhensk even bypasses Leninsk-Kuznetsky.

Leninsk-Kuznetsky, formerly Kolchugino, is the city of the first Kuzbass mine. Located 80 km south of Kemerovo, it looks like one of the many “tentacles” of the huge Kuzbass agglomeration. Leninsk is interesting for a couple of pre-revolutionary monuments, buildings in the constructivist style, a good mining museum and large memorials of the Kolchugin uprising against Kolchak’s army that happened here in 1919. The city stands at the fork in the Kemerovo-Novokuznetsk highway and one of the roads leading to Novosibirsk. If you travel around Kuzbass, you will almost certainly find yourself nearby.

Mariinsk is the pearl of the Kemerovo region. It is far from neighboring Tomsk, but in its region it is the only truly historical city, where the number of merchant mansions and carved wooden houses is in the dozens, and the pre-revolutionary building is not something unique. Mariinsk is conveniently located on the Trans-Siberian Railway and will also be an inevitable transit point for everyone traveling east by road. Its infrastructure leaves much to be desired, but the overall flavor and attractions are worth staying in the city for at least a couple of hours.

Mezhdurechensk is a mining town in the mountains. Architecturally, it is not very remarkable, unless you are interested in the huge ensemble of the center, built in the 1950s. at the end of Stalinist architecture, but in terms of landscape the city has practically no equal: it is truly located between two rivers and is surrounded on all sides by mountains. In the vicinity of Mezhdurechensk there is a ski resort and dozens of viewpoints, this is the base for visiting the Kuznetsk Alatau massif, which is crossed by the railway leading east to Khakassia.

Prokopyevsk is the northern satellite of Novokuznetsk, the geographic center of the Kuzbass agglomeration. Here is the best ensemble of Stalinist architecture among the regional centers of the Kemerovo region, supplemented by several older monuments and quite decent infrastructure. Along with Leninsk-Kuznetsky and Anzhero-Sudzhensk, this is one of those places that in the context of Kuzbass can be called historical.

Yurga is the northern gate of the Kemerovo region, a city on the Trans-Siberian Railway, where the roads leading to Novosibirsk, Kemerovo and Tomsk converge. Yurga itself is of little interest, and you will find yourself here only because of a transfer, during which you can explore several original newly built temples. More interesting places begin outside the city - these are the Tutal rocks on Tom and the old village at the station of the same name.




Other sights

Kuznetsky Alatau Nature Reserve

Shorsky National Park


How to get there

By plane
There are two airports in the Kemerovo region - in Kemerovo itself and in Novokuznetsk. Both of them will not offer you anything other than a couple of Moscow flights, and at fairly high prices, since demand on these routes greatly exceeds supply. You can also get to the Kemerovo region through Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Barnaul. Krasnoyarsk airport is located a little further, and even to Mariinsk it will take you a whole day to get from there.

By train
The Trans-Siberian Railway runs through the Kemerovo region. The main stations of the region: Yurga, Taiga, Anzherskaya (Anzhero-Sudzhensk), Mariinsk.

By car
The federal highway M53 “Baikal” passes through the territory of the region, which connects the settlements of the Kemerovo region with Novosibirsk in the west and Krasnoyarsk in the east.



Ancient period

The Mokhovo 2 site in the Kuznetsk Basin belongs to the Upper and Middle Paleolithic. The Late Paleolithic includes the Shumikha-I workshop, the Bedarevo I, II, II, Shorokhovo-I, Ilyinka-II, Sarbala, Voronino-Yaya sites, and a stationary settlement on the Kiya River, near the village of Shestakovo. The Mesolithic includes the sites Bolshoy Berchikul-1, Bychka-1, Pechergol-1, the Neolithic includes the sites Bolshoi Berchikul-4, Smirnovsky Ruchey-1, Pechergol-2, Bychka-1, the late layer. The Bronze Age includes settlements and burial grounds of the Samus, Andronovo, Korchazhkino, “Andronoid” Elov, Irmen cultures, most of the images of the Pritomye pisanitsa, including the most famous archaeological monument of Kuzbass - the Tomsk pisanitsa. The Iron Age is represented by the Bolsherechensk, Tagar, Kulai, and Tashtyk cultures.


Middle Ages

During the early Middle Ages (VI-XI centuries), the historical development of ancient societies was closely connected with events in the steppes of Central Asia. During the existence of the First (552-630) and Second (679-742) Turkic Khaganates, the traditional culture created by the Kulai continued to develop on the territory of the Kuznetsk region. Changes within it were associated with an increase in the share of cattle breeding in the economic activity of the population, with further social stratification of society. The history of this people is reconstructed based on materials from excavations of burial grounds near the villages of Saratovka, Shabanovo, Vaganovo, and treasures found in the vicinity of Elykaev, Terekhin, Egozov, Lebedey. Among the archaeological finds of that era, a number of items appear, especially in weapons and horse equipment, which are characteristic of the Central Asian Turks. Through the Turks, the Kuznetsk population maintained contacts with China and the states of Western Asia. In particular, Chinese coins were found in the burials. One of the features of historical development at this time was that the local population was constantly influenced by the nomads of the Central Asian steppes. Ultimately, this will lead to the complete borrowing of their culture and language. In the 9th–10th centuries, the situation on the territory of the Kuznetsk-Salair region changed significantly. In 840, the Kirghiz created a huge power. This was preceded by long wars with the Uyghurs, who were finally defeated. Around the same time, the early Kimak state arose in the upper reaches of the Irtysh River. The border between them and the Kyrgyz ran along the ridges of the Kuznetsk Alatau.

According to experts, tribes lived on the territory of the Kuznetsk region, which in written sources are known as Kipchaks. At the beginning of the 11th century, a significant part of the Kipchaks were forced to leave their lands and go far west to the Eastern European steppes. A little later in the Russian chronicle they are first mentioned as Polovtsian tribes. The Mongolian period (XIII-XIV centuries) in the Kuznetsk-Salair landscape region has been studied very poorly. The main historical events of this time took place in the steppe and were associated with the formation of the Chingizid empire. The rule of the Mongols over the population of the region was formal, so it was unlikely to cause any significant changes in material and spiritual culture. This is evidenced by archaeological sources of monuments near the villages of Ur-Bedari, Musokhranovo, Toropovo. According to anthropologists, the population of the Mongol era combined Caucasoid and Mongoloid racial features in appearance. This once again allows us to assert that the local line of historical development and the external one, associated with the Turkic world, were in interaction for a long time. There was no cardinal withdrawal. But ultimately, the process of Turkization of the local population was completed. When the Kuznetsk land was included in the Russian state, the Russians were met here by indigenous peoples who spoke the Turkic language.


Russian Tsardom and Russian Empire

The territory of the modern Kemerovo region was inhabited several thousand years ago.

In 1618, in the Russian kingdom, during the reign of Mikhail Fedorovich, in the south of the future region, at the confluence of the Kondoma and Tom rivers, the Siberian Cossacks founded the Kuznetsk fort (now the city of Novokuznetsk) to protect Russian lands from the Khongorai, Mongolian and Dzungarian nomads. This is the oldest settlement in the Kemerovo region. Already at the beginning of the 17th century, the first Russian settlers appeared here: peasants, hunters, missionaries. In the language of the indigenous people, the Shors, the word “Cossack” often means “Russian”. Siberia did not know serfdom; Russian settlers were actively engaged in taiga crafts, traded, and founded villages. In 1620, the fort was moved to a high terrace on the right bank of the Tom River. Now the Kuznetsk Fortress is located there. Until the mid-19th century, it protected the Russian population of the Tom Valley from raids by nomadic Kirghiz and Dzungars, and potential threats from Qing China.

The second “oldest” city was Mariinsk, which arose as the Russian village of Kiyskoye on the Moscow highway in 1698. Gradually, the village was filled with people from Central Russia, Ukraine and Transbaikalia. In 1856, the village received the status of a city called “Kiiskoye”. In 1857, the city was renamed Mariinsk in honor of the namesake of Empress Maria Alexandrovna (1824-1880), wife of Alexander II. By the middle of the 19th century, the city's population was 3.6 thousand people. In the summer of 1891, Tsarevich Nikolai Alexandrovich visited Mariinsk.

In the Russian Empire in 1721, the Siberian ore explorer Mikhailo Volkov discovered a “burnt mountain” (burning coal seam) on the banks of the Tom River, thereby becoming the discoverer of Kuznetsk coals.

The toponym “Kemerovo”, according to Kuzbass scientists, goes back to the Turkic word “kemer”, meaning “belt”, “mountain slope”. Here, near the villages of Krasnaya and Kemerovo, coal deposits were found.

Noticeable industrial development of the region occurred at the end of the 18th century. The first to show interest in the development of Kuznetsk coal was the Ural industrialist A. N. Demidov. He built the Kolyvano-Voskresensky factories, which later, together with the adjacent mineral resources, became the property of the Romanov imperial house. From that time on, most of Kuzbass, which became part of the Altai mountain district, was under the jurisdiction of the Cabinet of His Imperial Majesty.

In the 18th century, industrial enterprises appeared: the Tomsk ironworks, the Gavrilovsky and Guryevsky silver smelting plants, the Sukharinsky and Salairsky mountain mines.

Large distances from the central regions of the Russian Empire remained a serious obstacle to the development of the region. The situation changed during the period of early Russian industrialization. Throughout the 19th century, the territory of the modern region was part of the Tomsk province - Kuznetsk and Mariinsky districts. In connection with the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway, Kuzbass industry experienced rapid development.



After the October Revolution, Kuzbass became part of the West Siberian Territory, then the Novosibirsk Region.

The post-revolutionary period is characterized by the transition to planned economic management, the creation of the Ural-Kuzbass industrial complex, the development of the coal, metallurgical and chemical industries of Kuzbass: the Kemerovo Coke Plant and the Kuznetsk Metallurgical Plant are being built, and many new mines are appearing. Near industrial enterprises, workers' settlements are built, which very quickly receive the status of cities: Prokopyevsk, Kiselevsk, Osinniki, Tashtagol, Kaltan, Mezhdurechensk and others.

Up to 62% of the builders of the Kuznetsk plant were dispossessed peasants and prisoners. In addition, Kuzbass became a place of mass expulsion of Kazakhs and Kyrgyz. In the 1930s, famine raged in the region, and cases of cannibalism were reported.

During the Great Patriotic War, the Kemerovo region became the main supplier of coal and metal. More than 50 thousand tanks and 45 thousand aircraft were made from Novokuznetsk steel. The equipment of 71 enterprises was evacuated to Kuzbass from the occupied areas, most of which remained in Kuzbass. The war doubled the capacity of Kuzbass.

In 1943, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR, by decree of January 26, decided to separate Kuzbass from the Novosibirsk region and create the Kemerovo region on its territory with the administrative center in the city of Kemerovo. The new region included 17.5% of the territory of the Novosibirsk region, 9 out of 12 cities of regional subordination, 17 out of 20 working villages, 23 out of 75 districts. The population of the Kemerovo region amounted to 42% of the total population of the Novosibirsk region.

The rapid growth of the region in the post-war and subsequent years led to the appearance of new cities on the map of Kuzbass: Polysayevo, Mezhdurechensk, Osinniki, Taiga and others. During the period of the late 1940s - early 1970s, a system of higher professional education in the region was formed: in the northern capital of Kuzbass the following were opened: a pedagogical institute (since 1974 - Kemerovo State University), a medical institute (since 1995 - Kemerovo State Medical Academy) , Kemerovo Mining Institute, later transformed into a polytechnic (now Kemerovo State Technical University), Kemerovo Technological Institute of Food Industry; Kemerovo Higher Military Command School of Communications; Kemerovo State Institute of Culture. Science developed, and as a result, in 1990, the Kemerovo Scientific Center was formed on the basis of scientific institutions in the region. In the 1950s, the Kemerovo Regional Philharmonic was formed, the Kemerovo Regional Children's Library was opened, branches of the Union of Journalists and the Union of Artists of the RSFSR were created, and the Kemerovo Television Center was put into operation (the first broadcast took place on April 22, 1958). The buildings of drama theaters were built in the cities of Prokopyevsk (1956), Kemerovo (1960), Novokuznetsk (1963) and an operetta theater in the city of Kemerovo. Since 1962, a puppet theater began operating in the regional center. In 1973, the buildings of two circuses were built (in the cities of Kemerovo and Novokuznetsk). By the end of the 1980s, there were six theaters, 954 club institutions, 24 museums, and more than 1,200 libraries in Kuzbass.

In 1989, the Kemerovo region was one of the centers of the strike movement.


Post-Soviet period

The events that took place in the 1990s completely changed the course of further development not only of Kuzbass, but of the entire country. The regional economy, like the economy of the entire country, has moved from a pre-crisis state to a state of deep systemic crisis. In conditions of a shortage of funds, major repairs were replaced by maintenance. This was accompanied by the closure of individual enterprises.

An important content of the transition to the market was the process of privatization of state property. By the beginning of 1997, only a part of enterprises remained outside the sphere of private property in the Kemerovo region. Enterprises of the defense complex, railway transport, gold mining, television, sanitary-epidemiological and veterinary institutions remained in federal ownership. The regional property included most of the pharmacies, printing industry enterprises, a number of motor transport enterprises, poultry farms, and so on. Schools, hospitals, clinics, basic public utilities, residential buildings and other social and cultural facilities remained in the municipality.

Along with the city, new forms of economic organization also appeared in the Kuzbass village. They were implemented according to the decree of the President of Russia of October 27, 1993 “On the regulation of land relations and the development of agrarian reform in Russia,” which allowed private ownership of land and recognized diverse forms of management on land.

In the 1990s, the region’s economy fell into decline, but by the end of the decade there were positive changes, primarily in the development of the coal industry; attention was paid to the development of open-pit coal mining as more efficient and safe. In 1999 alone, 15 coal mining enterprises were put into operation; in total, over the past 21 years, 11 new mines and 16 coal mines have been put into operation.

Since 2001, OJSC Gazprom has been implementing the pilot program “Pilot-industrial production of methane from coal seams in the Kuznetsk basin.”

Another new industry for the Kemerovo region is oil refining: in 2003, the creation of oil refineries began.

In February 2010, the coal gas mine was officially launched, and the production and use of methane from coal seams began.

In the field of agriculture in 2000-2007, the focus was on updating the fleet of agricultural machinery. In 2007, for the first time in the last 40 years, 1 million 680 thousand tons of grain were harvested.

From 1991 to 1997, the governor was Mikhail Kislyuk. Since 1997, with a break, the Kemerovo region has been headed by Aman Tuleyev.

On April 1, 2018, Sergei Tsivilev was appointed acting governor of the region. V.V. Putin accepted the resignation of Aman Tuleyev in connection with the tragedy in the Winter Cherry shopping center, which occurred on March 25, 2018. 60 people died in the tragedy.

On March 27, 2019, by Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, the subject of the Russian Federation received a new name as the Kemerovo region - Kuzbass, while the Kemerovo region and Kuzbass become equivalent names for the region.

On March 2, 2022, the current governor Sergei Tsivilev initiated an action to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “KuZbass - For the Motherland.” In the campaign, the name of the region in official materials of the regional government will now be written using the capital Latin letter “Z”, “KuZbass”. The use of the Latin letter "Z" in adjectives is optional.