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Soviet Union Table of Contents

Soviet Union

Geographic Location Factors

Historically, Soviet industry has been concentrated in the European sector, where intensive development has depleted critical resources. Examples of severely reduced resources in the older industrial regions are the Krivoy Rog and Magnitogorsk iron deposits and the Donbass coal area, upon which major industrial complexes were built. Long before the German invasion of 1941, Soviet industrial policy looked eastward into Siberia and Soviet Central Asia to expand the country's material base. According to a 1977 Soviet study, 90 percent of remaining energy resources (fuels and water power) are east of the Urals; however, 80 percent of industry and nearly 80 percent of all energy requirements are in the European part of the Soviet Union. Since 1917 an official policy goal has been to bring all Soviet regions to a similar level of economic development. Periodically, leaders have proclaimed the full achievement of this goal. But in a country of extremely diverse climates, nationalities, and natural resources, such equality remains only a theoretical concept. Industrial expansion has meant finding ways to join raw materials, power, labor, and transportation at the same place and in suitable proportions. For example, many eastern regions have abundant resources, but the labor supply either is too small or is culturally disinclined to work in modern industry (see Distribution and Density , ch. 3).

Data as of May 1989