Geographical location. Kurgan Region is located at the junction of the Urals and Siberia, in the south-western outskirts of the West Siberian Plain, in the basin of the Tobol and Iset rivers, in the black earth belt of the Trans-Urals forest-steppe zone. The area of the region is 71.5 thous. sq km., which is about 0.4% of the territory of Russia.
The region has a favorable economic and geographical as well as geopolitical position. In the north and north-east Kurgan region borders Sverdlovsk Region, in the west and south-west – Chelyabinsk Region, in the south and south-east - Kazakhstan, in the east and north-east – Tyumen Region.
Federal district: Ural
Administrative center: Kurgan, distance to Moscow – 1,973 km
Primary economic activities. The Trans-Urals’ economic structure is close to that of the developed countries oriented to work in market conditions. The production of services presents more than 60% in the gross regional product pattern, the production of goods makes about 40% of GRP. The regional economics has a diversified structure: the industry′s share is about 19%, agriculture - 15%, transport and communications - 16%, trade - 14%, construction - 8%.
Despite the difficulties connected with the overall macroeconomic situation, Kurgan Region is developing rapidly. Since 2000, all the socio-economic indicators have been showing the positive dynamics: the gross regional product during the period 2001 - 2011 had increased by 1.6 times at comparable prices, investment in the fixed assets has increased by 3 times, the industrial production (Index of Industrial Production) - by 1.5 times, the agricultural production - by 1.3 times, the retail trade – by 3.1 times, the volume of paid services to population - by 1.8 times, the volume of housing construction - by 2.5 times, real disposable income of the population – by 2.3 times. The share of the population with the income below the poverty line has declined by almost 3 times.
Major industries. Industry is the basis of the regional economy. The region has a developed diversified industrial complex, characterized by a large production scale, with a wide range of products, demanded both in Russia and abroad.
The largest share (about 75%) of the regional industrial structure belongs to manufacturing production. Kurgan enterprises produce over 5 thousand different types of products, many of them known far outside the region – these are buses, military vehicles, fixtures and equipment for oil production and processing, steel structures for construction of factory buildings, railway and road bridges, urban communal machines, fire engines, pumps, high-quality medicines. The processing industry is also developed.
The region’s share in the national production of middle class buses is 40%, the share in production of small communal and construction machines is 35%, 30% - in fire engines production, 25% - in bridge metal constructions, 34% - in uranium ore mining.
Agriculture. Kurgan Region is an agriculturally highly developed territory. More than 60% of the total area is engaged with the agricultural production, more than 30% - with the forestry. 2.4 ha of the arable land is the share of one inhabitant of the region. The natural and climatic conditions of the region allow developing of diversified agriculture, producing of food and raw materials for the processing industry. The main specialization of the regional agricultural complex is grain and meat-and-dairy production, which satisfy the region’s needs and is exported to other regions.
The agro-industrial complex of Kurgan Region is leading in the Urals Federal District and takes the leading positions in Russia in agricultural production per capita. In 2010, despite the adverse weather conditions, the Kurgan region took the 10th place in Russia in grain production per capita, the 9th place in vegetables production, the 11th place in dairy production, and the 22nd in potato production.
The investment in the agro-industrial complex during the past six years has exceeded 9 bln rub. Thanks to introduction into the agricultural complex of 389 thousand hectares of a previously unused arable land and introduction of new technologies, grain production has increased by 1.9 times, the share of food grains has increased up to 80%.
Natural and mineral resources. The region is rich in natural resources, including deposits of raw materials for building materials production, reserves of bentonite clay, iron, uranium, and wolfram-molybdenum ore, titanium-zirconium placers, peat, therapeutic muds, underground fresh and healing mineral waters. The prospects of gas and oil production are positively evaluated.
The twentieth part of the region’s total area is occupied by lakes, nearly 3000 in number, the quarter of them is mineralized. Their water and muds possess medicinal properties and their mineralogical composition doesn’t yield to that of the best water bodies of Russia.
The rivers and lakes of the Trans-Urals can provide 8-10 tons of crucian carp, carp, peled, perch, pike, pikeperch and other fish. The water basins of the region have a rich forage reserve which allows to obtain fishing forage (gammarus, brine shrimp, bloodworm, daphnia, corethra), used for valuable fish species cultivation.
The total area of forest resources is more than 1.5 million ha., which is one fifth of the Trans-Urals territory. The estimated timber reserves total 100 million cub.m., half of which are conifers.
The foreign trade turnover of Kurgan Region in 2011 increased by 35% in comparison with 2010 and amounted 463.5 mln dollars, including export - 327 mln dollars (increase by 48%), and import - 130.2 mln dollars (increase by 10%).
The increase of the foreign trade turnover was mainly due to the growth of foreign trade indicators regarding the far abroad countries (by 2 times). The Kurgan Region has foreign trade relations with 50 countries of the world. Among the major foreign trade partners there are Kuwait, Venezuela, Hungary, China, Nicaragua, Germany, Turkmenistan, Egypt, Uzbekistan, the Ukraine.
The competitive advantage of Kurgan Region, which is not a resource area, is a progressive export commodity structure. In the region’s export volume more than 90% is presented by the high value added products such as machinery, equipment, vehicles, metal products, pharmaceuticals products and food products.
Transport infrastructure. The electrified Trans-Siberian railway trunk, oil and gas pipelines run along the territory of Kurgan Region. The region is the transport junction of railways and highways in the direction of Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen, Omsk (Russia) and Petropavlovsk, Kostanay (Kazakhstan). It has 5 automobile checkpoints and 2 railway checkpoints on the border with the Republic of Kazakhstan. As a border area the Trans-Urals has all the prerequisites to become a basis for the transport corridors leading from the countries of Middle Asia and Central Asia to the industrialized areas of the Urals Federal District, as well as from the countries of the Asia-Pacific region to the European part of Russia.
Tourism. The level of tourism industry development ascribes Kurgan Region to the Russia’s regions possessing a significant potential for the future development.
These are of the special interest for tourists in the region:
monuments of history, culture and religion (there are more than 1.9 thous. objects of cultural heritage in Kurgan Region);
lake areas with salutary bottom sediments (the districts of Zverinogolovsk, Kurtamysh, Petuhov, Shchuchan);
One of the promising trends of domestic and inbound tourism in the region is the development of rural tourism in order to create a new integrated tourism product taking into account the natural, historical, cultural, and scenic resources of the countryside.
In Kurgan Region, there are 10 health resort institutions, and underground mineral water is widely used for thermal bath treatment.