|Иркутская область (Russian)|
|— Oblast —|
|Economic region||East Siberian|
|Established||September 26, 1937|
|Government (as of September 2010)|
|- Governor||Dmitry Mezentsev|
|- Legislature||Legislative Assembly|
|Area (as of the 2002 Census)|
|- Total||767,900 km2 (296,487.8 sq mi)|
|Population (2010 Census)|
|- Density||3.16 /km2 (8.2 /sq mi)|
|Time zone(s)||IRKT (UTC+09:00)|
Irkutsk Oblast (Russian: Ирку́тская о́бласть, Irkutskaya oblast) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast), located in southeastern Siberia in the basins of Angara River, Lena, and Nizhnyaya Tunguska Rivers. The administrative center is the city of Irkutsk. Population: 2,428,750 (2010 Census).
In the 13th century, the Lake Baikal area came under Mongol influence. Genghis Khan conquered the Merkits and Tatars who were settling in the area by 1227, before going on to expand into wider Central Asia, establishing the Mongol Empire. The Mongols were succeeded by the Northern Yuan in the 14th century.
Russian presence in the area dates to the 17th century, as the Russian Tsardom expanded eastward following the conquest of the Khanate of Sibir in 1582. By the end of the 17th century, Irkutsk was a small town, monasteries were being built, and the suburbs and agricultural settlements were being formed.
Since the 18th century in Irkutsk, trades and crafts began to develop, the gold and silver craftsmen and smiths appeared. In relation with the expansion of Russian state to the East from Irkutsk, the city became a capital of enormous territories from the Yenisey River to the Pacific Ocean, and it played an important role in the exploration and securing of vast Eastern-Siberian and Far-Eastern territories to Russia. Gradually, Irkutsk gained more meaning as the main transportation and trade center of Eastern Siberia, it became a center of trade routes from Kamchatka, Chukotka, Yakutia to Mongolia, and China. The administrative meaning of the city increased: it became a center of one fifth of the provinces of Siberia; in 1764 it became a center of an independent province.
The 18th century in the history of Irkutsk was a century of research expeditions. In Irkutsk the first and second expeditions of Vitus Bering to the shores of Kamchatka were organized.
A merchant class was formed in the city of Irkutsk. In the second half of the eighteenth century, Irkutsk industrial and merchant companies of Golikov, Trapeznikov, Bechevin, Milinikov, Sibirakov began to explore the Aleutian Islands and later Alaska. In 1799, the merchant companies were united in a Russian-American Company “for the trades on the territory of the Aleutian and Kuril islands and the rest of the North-Eastern sea, belonging to Russia by the right of discovery.” Grigorii Ivanovich Shelikhov, an outstanding seafarer, played an important role in controlling enormous spaces of the northern part of the Pacific ocean. He founded the first colonies of Russian America. In 1727, the Irkutsk Eparchy was founded.
During the 18th century, educational schools, professional-technical education, science museums, libraries, theaters, book-printers were developed in Irkutsk. Educational and cultural organizations were opened. In 1725, the first school in Eastern Siberia, attached to the Voznesensky monastery, was opened, and in 1754 – sea (navigation) schools and secondary schools were opened throughout Irkutsk Oblast. The 1780s were marked by the opening of the second public library among province towns in Russia, as well as a regional museum and an amateur theater. In Irkutsk outstanding representatives appeared, still remembered today. These were an architect, geographer, historian A.I.Losev, a writer I.T. Kalashnikov, and a teacher S.S.Schukin. Siberian science buildings were first opened. A.G.Laxman, Lomonosov's apprentice, one of the first Siberian mineralogists, worked in Irkutsk.
The city landscape of Irkutsk was changing. The Spassky church, the oldest stone building in Eastern Siberia, the unique Krestovozdvizhenskaya church, the “Prikaznaya izba” (order house), the first stone construction, and the Triumph gate were built.
In the late eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century, Irkutsk Oblast was gradually increasing its meaning as a trade, craft, cultural city. It became the center of trade with China and since the 1830s – a gold-manufacturing center of Eastern Siberia and. In 1803, Irkutsk became a center of Siberian general-governor unit, and in 1822 it became a center of Eastern Siberian general – governor unit. General- governors of Eastern Siberia influenced on the city fate greatly.
Irkutsk merchants explored the Yeniseysky and Leno-Vitimsky golden regions, and with that they substantially increased their capitals, which made them become the richest merchants in Siberia. The Irkutsk merchant class began to play a remarkable role in the cities development. Intensive city construction was being undertaken. Private residences, hospitals, orphanages, and educational schools were being built, while significant funds were spent on education and the development of science in the region.
The architectural look of the city of Irkutsk was being changed. The White House, done in Russian classic style, the Moscow Triumphal Gates – a monument of the nineteenth century, were built in the honor of the tenth anniversary since the day of the beginning of Alexander Is rule.
In the second half of the nineteenth century the book printing were released in Irkutsk, the first newspapers being, “Irkutsk province news” and “Amur”. The names of A.P.Schapov, M.B.Zagoskin, V.I.Vagin were connected with the newspaper “Siberia”. In 1851, the first scientific organization in Eastern Siberia – the Siberian branch of Russian geographical society, was opened. In 1877, it was called the Eastern-Siberian branch. V.I.Dybovskii, A.L.Chekanovskii, I.D.Cherskii, V.A.Obruchev, geologists, geographers and researchers of Siberia, worked in Irkutsk Oblast on exploring Lake Baikal and the Lena River.
The summer of 1879 could be considered to be a dramatic period in the city of Irkutsks history. During a July 22–24 fire almost all the central parts of the city were burnt, more than the two thirds of city constructions and 75 city districts were destroyed. The city began to revive, getting a new look. Stone and wooden constructions built after the fire, have been preserved up to present days. The arrival of the first train via the Trans-Siberian Railway to Irkutsk Oblast in 1898 could be marked as the most remarkable event in the late nineteenth century. The construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway contributed to further city development.
Several politically exiled were connected with Irkutsk city. Among the first exiled, who lived in Irkutsk for more than 3 months, was A.N. Radischev. Since the 1830s, the Decembrists lived in settlements and in the colonies in Irkutsk Oblast. The exiled houses ofVolkonsky and Trubetskoy became house-museums later on. N. A. Panov, I. V. Podzhio, A. Z. Muravyov, P. A. Mukhanov, A. P. Yushnevsky, V. A.Bechasnov, the wife of Trubetskoy and their children stayed in Irkutsk for the rest of their lives. In the late 1850s, the Petrashevtzy appeared in Irkutsk. The exiled historian-democrat, A.P.Schapov, lived here until his last days, and the Polish rebels and revolutionaries (including the narodnik) lived here as well.
A well-known Russian publicist of the nineteenth century, N. Shelgunov, wrote about Irkutsk: “Irkutsk is the only Siberian city, which has the city character. ...As England created London, France - Paris, Siberia – created Irkutsk. Siberia is proud of Irkutsk, “not to see this city” means “not to see Siberia”.
In the early nineteenth century the city was considerably changed, especially its center. Large buildings were being built, mason streets were being made, cab drivers and night lights appeared. The water-supply and first electrification stations began to work. The Irkutsk Regional museum was stamped with the last names of the famous researchers of Siberia on its walls (1883), the building of the first public community, city theater (1897), Kazan' cathedral, made in new Byzantine style (1893), and the Roman Catholic cathedral (1895) completed an architectural style of the city. In 1908 a monument to Alexander III was opened on a picturesque place of Angara embankment.
The city was damaged and influenced by the political events of the twentieth century – the Russian revolution, the 1917 October Revolution, the Civil war and the Great Patriotic War.
Since the 1930s the industrial construction of the city had begun. Mechanical engineering plants, the air plant, brick and concrete plants, tea fabric,and food industry plants were being built. Economic development of the city contributed to scientific, educational and cultural development. The first Higher education in Eastern Siberia, Irkutsk State University was founded in 1918. Its departments were developing as independent institutes: medical, pedagogical, finance-economical. In 1930 the metallurgic institute was opened, in 1934 the agricultural institute was organized.
Since the 1950s a fast development of the city of Irkutsk began after the Great Patriotic War, modern industrious look of a city was being built up. In 1947 streetcar routes were opened in the city and trolleybus routes were opened in 1972. In 1958 a TV center was established. The cities larger districts and micro regions construction period began. New districts such as Baykalsky, Solnechny, Yubileyny, Primorsky, Akademgorodok and others were created.
Irkutsk Oblast borders with the Republic of Buryatia and the Tuva Republic in the south and southwest, with Krasnoyarsk Krai in the west, with the Sakha Republic in the northeast, and with Zabaykalsky Krai in the east.
The unique and world-famous Lake Baikal is located in the southeast of the region. It is drained by the Angara, which flows north across the province; the outflow rate is controlled by the Irkutsk Dam. The two other major dams on the Irkutsk Oblast's section of the Angara are at Bratsk and Ust-Ilimsk; both forming large reservoirs. The Lena has its source in Irkutsk Oblast as well, and flows north-east into the neighboring Sakha Republic.
The climate varies from warm summer continental in the south to continental-subarctic in the northern part (Köppen climate classification: Dwc). For almost half the year, from mid-October until the beginning of April, the average temperature is below 0 °C (32 °F). Winters are very cold, with average high temperatures in Irkutsk of −14.9 °C (5.2 °F) and average lows of −25.3 °C (−13.5 °F) in January. Summers are warm but short: the average high in July is +24.5 °C (76.1 °F) and the average low is +11.2 °C (52.2 °F). However, by September, the weather cools down significantly to an average daily high of +15.3 °C (59.5 °F) and an average daily low of +2.5 °C (36.5 °F). More than half of all precipitation falls in the summer months, with the wettest month being July, with 96.2 millimeters (3.79 in) of rain. January is the driest month, with only 11 millimeters (0.43 in) of precipitation. Annual precipitation averages 419.8 millimeters (16.53 in).
During the Soviet period, the high authority in the oblast was shared between three persons: The first secretary of the Irkutsk CPSU Committee (who in reality had the biggest authority), the chairman of the oblast Soviet (legislative power), and the Chairman of the oblast Executive Committee (executive power). Since 1991, CPSU lost all the power, and the head of the Oblast administration, and eventually the governor was appointed/elected alongside elected regional parliament.
The Charter of Irkutsk Oblast is the fundamental law of the region. The Legislative Assembly of Irkutsk Oblast is the province's standing legislative (representative) body. The Legislative Assembly exercises its authority by passing laws, resolutions, and other legal acts and by supervising the implementation and observance of the laws and other legal acts passed by it. The highest executive body is the Oblast Government, which includes territorial executive bodies such as district administrations, committees, and commissions that facilitate development and run the day to day matters of the province. The Oblast administration supports the activities of the Governor who is the highest official and acts as guarantor of the observance of the oblast Charter in accordance with the Constitution of Russia.
Irkutsk Oblast is a major industrial area whose production is very important for the economy of Eastern Siberia; certain sectors are of great importance to the Russian economy. In the level of industrial and natural resource development and specialization and concentration of production, Irkutsk Region has surpassed many other regions of Siberia and the Far East. It plays an important role in the national economy as a producer of power, aluminum, various kinds of power and heating equipment, chemicals and petrochemicals, wood products, and engineering products.
Irkutsk Oblast is one of a number of unique natural areas in Russia in terms of mineral reserves. The most important mineral resources are hydrocarbons, gold, mica, iron, brown and hard coal, and table salt. There are also abundant subsurface deposits of nonmetallic raw materials for ferrous metallurgy. Coal reserves within the region include those of the Irkutsk basin, the extreme eastern part of the Kansk-Achinsk basin, and the southern part of the Tunguska basin. Most of these reserves are concentrated in Cheremkhovsky, Zalarinsky, Kuitunsky, and Tulunsky districts.
The region is one of the country's leaders in development-ready reserves and probable reserves of rare metals, especially niobium, tantalum, lithium, and rubidium. The Beloziminskoe and Vishnyakovskoe deposits of the Sayanskaya rare metal province are notable for their large probable reserves of metals like lithium, cesium, magnesium, and strontium, as well as other elements like bromine and potassium, contained in the highly mineralized brines of the Angaro-Lensky salt basin. The basin has no equal among subsurface platform water resources in the country.
Administrative divisions 
The oblast is very thinly populated, with a population density of 3.5 people per square kilometer, compared to a national average of 8.7. Irkutsk is the administrative center and largest city, with 594,500 residents. Other large cities are Angarsk (267,000 people), Bratsk (253,600 people), Usolye-Sibirskoye (104,300 people), and Ust-Ilimsk (107,200 people).
Most of the population are ethnic Russians. A minority group, the Buryats, have a special Ust-Orda Buryat Okrug inside the oblast. Russians and other Slavic/Germanic groups make up 93.5% of the population, according to the 2010 Census, while Buryats are 3.3%. Tofalars number 837, an increase from 722 in 1989.
One small ethnic group, concentrated in three villages (Pikhtinsk, Sredne-Pikhtinsk, and Dagnik) in Zalarinsky District is the so-called "Bug Hollanders": descendants of Polish-speaking Lutheran farmers who had moved to Siberia from the then Russian Volhynia in 1911-1912 in search of affordable land. Although they had long lost German (or Dutch) language of their ancestors (even in the early twentieth century they spoke Ukrainian and read Polish), they were still considered ethnic Germans, and during World War II were usually drafted for work in labor camps, instead of front-line military service.
Irkutsk Oblast registered natural population growth in 2008, the first time after 1993. Still, the future prospects for population growth in Irkutsk seems bleak. In 2007, women in Irkutsk were having an average of 1.602 children each. Fertility rate was extremely low in urban areas, where women were having just 1.477 children each. In rural areas however, the fertility rate was slightly above replaceable levels. In rural areas of Irkutsk Oblast, women were having an average of 2.165 children each. (Figures are not available for 2008, although for Russia as a whole fertility rates for 2008 were approx. 6% higher than that in 2007, and for Irkutsk 9% higher).
- Vital statistics for 2012
- Births: 38 516 (15.9 per 1000)
- Deaths: 33 495 (13.8 per 1000) 
- Total fertility rate: 1.96(e)
Note: Data for Total fertility rate (2012) is estimate based on age and sex structure of Irkutsk Oblast at the beginning of 2012, number of births in 2012 and fertility structure in previous years.
Vital statistics 
- Population: 2,424,456 (2012)
- Urban Pop: 1,929,263 (2012)
- Rural Pop: 495,193 (2012)
- Births: 36,935(2010)
- Birth rate: 15.2 (2010)
- Urban Birth Rate: 14.2 (2010)
- Rural Birth Rate: 19.1 (2010)
- Deaths: 35,105 (2010)
- Death rate: 14.4 (2010)
- Urban Death Rate: 14.1 (2010)
- Rural Death Rate: 15.7 (2010)
- TFR: 1.768 children per women. (2009)
- Urban TFR: 1.611 children per women. (2009)
- Rural TFR: 2.421 children per women. (2009) 
- Natural Growth Rate: +0.11% per year (+0.01% in Urban areas & +0.34% in Rural areas).
|District in 2007||Type||Birth Rate||Death Rate||NGR|
According to a 2012 official survey 28.1% of the population of Irkutsk Oblast adheres to the Russian Orthodox Church, 7% are unaffiliated generic Christians, 6% adheres to other Orthodox Churches, 2% of the population adheres to Slavic Rodnovery (Slavic Neopaganism), and 1% to Islam. In addition, 37% of the population deems itself to be "spiritual but not religious", 17% is atheist, and 1.9% follows other religions or did not give an answer to the question.
Despite its remoteness, Irkutsk was reported in 2004 to have the highest HIV infection rate in Russia. Tens of thousands of drug addicts, mostly ethnic Russians in their mid to late teens are infected. The number of reported AIDS cases increased by more than 10,000% during the 1999-2000 period. Although the epidemic, which started in 1999, is reported to have slowed down, Irkutsk will lose tens of thousands of its working age population from 2010 onwards. This is one of the reasons Irkutsk's male life expectancy, at 53 years, is one of the lowest in all of Russia. Preventive measures are in place to prevent the spread of the epidemic to the generation which was born after the breakup of the USSR.
See also 
- Music of Irkutsk
- Irkutsk Botanic Garden
- Irkutsk State University
- Lake Baikal
- List of Chairmen of the Legislative Assembly of Irkutsk Oblast
- Президент Российской Федерации. Указ №849 от 13 мая 2000 г. «О полномочном представителе Президента Российской Федерации в федеральном округе». Вступил в силу 13 мая 2000 г. Опубликован: "Собрание законодательства РФ", №20, ст. 2112, 15 мая 2000 г. (President of the Russian Federation. Decree #849 of May 13, 2000 On the Plenipotentiary Representative of the President of the Russian Federation in a Federal District. Effective as of May 13, 2000.).
- Госстандарт Российской Федерации. №ОК 024-95 27 декабря 1995 г. «Общероссийский классификатор экономических регионов. 2. Экономические районы», в ред. Изменения №5/2001 ОКЭР. (Gosstandart of the Russian Federation. #OK 024-95 December 27, 1995 Russian Classification of Economic Regions. 2. Economic Regions, as amended by the Amendment #5/2001 OKER. ).
- Charter, Article 9.2
- Official website of the Government of Irkutsk Oblast. Dmitry Fyodorovich Mezentsev, Governor of Irkutsk Oblast (Russian)
- Charter, Article 9.1
- Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21). "Территория, число районов, населённых пунктов и сельских администраций по субъектам Российской Федерации (Territory, Number of Districts, Inhabited Localities, and Rural Administration by Federal Subjects of the Russian Federation)". Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
- "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. 2011. Retrieved June 29, 2012.
- The density value was calculated by dividing the population reported by the 2010 Census by the area shown in the "Area" field. Please note that this value may not be accurate as the area specified in the infobox is not necessarily reported for the same year as the population.
- Правительство Российской Федерации. Постановление №725 от 31 августа 2011 г. «О составе территорий, образующих каждую часовую зону, и порядке исчисления времени в часовых зонах, а также о признании утратившими силу отдельных Постановлений Правительства Российской Федерации». Вступил в силу по истечении 7 дней после дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Российская Газета", №197, 6 сентября 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Resolution #725 of August 31, 2011 On the Composition of the Territories Included into Each Time Zone and on the Procedures of Timekeeping in the Time Zones, as Well as on Abrogation of Several Resolutions of the Government of the Russian Federation. Effective as of after 7 days following the day of the official publication.).
- Official the whole territory of Russia according to Article 68.1 of the Constitution of Russia.
- Irkutsk Region
- "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек" [Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. May 21, 2004. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
- Demoscope Weekly (1989). "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров." [All Union Population Census of 1989. Present population of union and autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts and okrugs, krais, oblasts, districts, urban settlements, and villages serving as district administrative centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года (All-Union Population Census of 1989) (in Russian). Institute of Demographics of the State University—Higher School of Economics. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
- Olga Solovyova (Ольга Соловьева) "Bug 'Hollanders'" (БУЖСКИЕ ГОЛЕНДРЫ) (Russian)
- Arena - Atlas of Religions and Nationalities in Russia. Sreda.org
- 2012 Survey Maps. "Ogonek", № 34 (5243), 27/08/2012. Retrieved 24-09-2012.
- "Russia Sees an AIDS 'Explosion'" Washington Post, June 13, 2004
- "[The HIV infection epidemic in the city of Irkutsk under the conditions of drug abuse prevalence]". Zh. Mikrobiol. Epidemiol. Immunobiol. (4): 38–9. 2000. PMID 10994102.
- 17 апреля 2009 г. «Устав Иркутской области». Вступил в силу по истечении десяти дней после дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Областная", №45, 24 апреля 2009 г. (April 17, 2009 Charter of Irkutsk Oblast. Effective as of the date which is ten days after the official publication date.).
Further reading 
- Brumfield, William. Irkutsk: Architectural Heritage in Photographs (Moscow: Tri Kvadrata Publishing, 2006) ISBN 978-5-94607-061-4
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Irkutsk Oblast|
- Kommersant.com. Information about Irkutsk Oblast.