The Tomsk Region is situated in the middle flow of the Ob River in the south-western part of the Western Siberian Plain and borders the Tyumen, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Kemerovo and Krasnojarsk Regions and the Altai Territory. The Region occupies an area of 314.4 thousand sq. km. The administrative center is the city of Tomsk located in the southern part of the Region on the bank of the Tom River - the right tributary of the Ob.
The Tomsk Regions landscape is a flat country. The Ob River crosses the Region in its middle flow from the south-east to the north-west, thus dividing the Region into two almost equal parts. The lofty right bank is less waterlogged and more populated. The left bank of the river includes a huge Vasyugan Bog covering the area of 53 thousand sq. km. Altogether there are 573 rivers with a length more than 20 km. and 35 lakes with an area larger than 5 sq. km. in the Region. 1/5 of the Regions territory is a spot of river valleys.
A considerable portion of the Region contains woodlands, the main zones of which are the middle, the southern taiga, and forest-steppe. Valuable wood species of the Siberian taiga are Siberian pine, spruce, fir, pine, and larch.
The continental cyclical climate has considerable daily and yearly temperate amplitudes along with a longer winter period. The average annual temperature equals 0.6°C, the average temperature in July is +18.1°C, in January it is 19.2°C.
The resource basis of the Tomsk region is mining, exporting, and refining of the hydrocarbon fuels, as well as chemical industry, machinery building, and non-ferrous metallurgy. During the recent years, the amount of high-tech industry and the contribution of the scientific and educational complex to the economy has increased, thus predetermining the strategy of the Regions innovative development.
The Regions intellectual potential is increasingly viewed as one of the major factors of economic growth.
Tomsk bears the status of the Siberian Athens in many respects owing to the 6 universities, including the oldest Tomsk State University, founded in 1888, 2 research institutes and 15 branch offices of other universities, which have more than 80 thousand students and offer over 200 majors.
More than 60 organizations are involved in research and development activities in the Tomsk Region. The Tomsk Scientific Center of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences unites five institutes and two research affiliates. The Russian Academy of Medical Sciences is represented by 6 research institutes. 50 enterprises are engaged in innovative entrepreneurship.
According to the May 1, 2000 report, the total population of the Tomsk Region was 1.068.000 prs. The number of economically active residents was 545.800. The unit weight of the Region in the Western Siberian Plain and in the Russian Federation is 13% and 2% correspondingly, the population number 7% and 0.7%, and the population density, being on the whole 3.4 persons per 1 sq. km., is 1.8 and 2.5 times less.
The Tomsk Region's Governor is Viktor M. Kress
Tomsk was founded on the right bank of the Tom River by the order of the Russian tsar Boris Godunov in 1604. In 1804, by the decree of the emperor Alexander, Tomsk was chosen to be the administrative center of a new gubernia (province) which included the areas of the present Altai Territory, Novosibirsk, Kemerovo, Eastern Kazakhstan, Tomsk Regions, and a part of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Since the end of the 19 century Tomsk became a large scientific and enlightenment center in Siberia: the first University in Siberia was opened in 1888, the Technological Institute in 1900, the Pedagogical Institute in 1902. On the basis of the Tomsk University the medical clinic and the only bacteriological institute in Siberia were founded. After the 1917 Revolution Tomsk was a part of the Siberian, and later of the Western Siberian Territory. In 1937 Tomsk, and its surrounding territories became a part of the Novosibirsk Region. In the years of the II World War, 30 factories were evacuated to Tomsk. They built up a basis for the citys industrial development. During the war years, the amount of industrial production in Tomsk increased three times. New disciplines appeared electrical engineering, optics and mechanics, mechanical rubber technology; machinery building and metal processing, as well as light industry and food industry, considerably expanded. In August 1944 a decree on formation of the Tomsk Region was signed. Again Tomsk became one of the most remarkable economic and administrative centers in Siberia.
Soon after the II World War Tomsk grew to be a famous center of nuclear research and production. In 1953 the Uranium Isotopes Division Factory of the Siberian Chemical Plant, situated close to the Regions capital, first produced enriched uranium. In 1958 the first industrial nuclear station in Siberia started functioning at the Siberian Chemical Plant. A new town, Seversk, now having about 120 thousand people appeared.
Since the beginning of the 1960s the Tomsk Regions growth was largely determined by the development of oil and gas fields. The Strezhevoy Settlement was chosen as the basis for industrial oil mining development. In 1966 the Tomskneft oil field administration was formed. In the course of the following decades the Aleksandrovskoe-Anzhero-Sudzhensk pipeline, the Nizhnevartovsk-Parabel-Kuzbass gas pipeline, and bridges over the Ob and the Tom were built.
Tomsk has consolidated its position of one of Russias leading scientific and educational centers. In the early 1930s the Medical and Pedagogical Institutes were opened, in the 1950-60s the Engineering and Construction Institute, Radio Electronics and Electronic Engineering Institute, a range of research institutes; Tomsk Academgorodok - a campus with a number of research institutes located in close proximity was built. The Tomsk Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences has gained a good reputation. The center consists of the Atmosphere Optics Institute, Institutes of High-Current Electronics, Solidity and Materials Science Physics, Petroleum Chemisorption and other authoritative in scientific world research centers.