The Ulyanovsk region is located in the heart of the Middle Volga region, on both sides of the Volga. The geographical location makes the region an attractive center for logistics and transport schemes of federal and international level. In the west it borders on the Penza region and the Republic of Mordovia, in the north – on the Chuvash and Tatarstan Republics, in the east – on the Samara region and in the south – on the Saratov region.
The main rivers are the Volga, the Sviyaga, the Surah and the Cheremshan. In the territory of the region there is the Kuibyshev reservoir with the area of 1878 sq. km, maximum depth of 41 m, average depth of 9 m. The Largest lake is the Belolebyazhe – 217 hectares, the Beloye – 96 hectares, the Kryazh – 56 hectares.
The climate is moderately continental. The average January temperature is – 7. The average temperature in July is + 21, the average annual rainfall is 400 mm.
The area is rich in mineral resources and raw materials. The main natural resources are glass, cement, siliceous and carbonate materials, as well as raw material for coarse ceramics, mineral water.
At the territory of the Ulyanovsk region, there are 142 specially protected natural areas of regional significance, and two Federal Reserves.
Among the rare species of birds and animals living in the region there are: imperial eagle (also known as Solar Eagle; here is a large population, attracting interest of not only local ornithologists and neighboring Russian regions, but also from abroad countries), white-tailed eagle, oyster catcher, gray crane, harrier eagle, brown bear, ermine.
The economy is characterized by a high degree of industrial development, the structure of the GRP is 30%, 21% of them – is the production of the manufacturing sector. The main industry of the Ulyanovsk region is mechanical engineering (53.2% of the total production volume of manufacturing sector). The main industries – aircraft construction, car engineering, machine tools production, heavy power and transport engineering.
Russia’s largest manufacturer of aircraft – the company “Aviastar-SP” – produces passenger aircraft Tu-204 in different versions. Currently the company is preparing to resume production of the world’s largest cargo aircraft An-124-100 “Ruslan” and to begin the production of IL-476, which has great prospects in the development of Russian transport airlines.
JSC “UAZ” is the largest producer of off-road vehicles in Eastern Europe. OJSC “Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant” produces the world famous air defense system “Shilka”, “Tunguska-M”, “Quadrat” and “Buk-M1”. OJSC “Ulyanovsk motor plant” is one of the leading manufacturers of automotive engines.
The second-largest city of the region is Dimitrovgrad. Here they establish a nuclear-generated innovation cluster, which includes the JSC “RIIAR”, a pilot plant with a power unit MTBF-100, a federal hi-tech center for nuclear medicine. It is also planned to establish a radiopharmaceutical plant, a specialized industrial park, as well as to develop a personnel training system for the development of the cluster.
The peculiarity of the area is its relatively high share in the gross regional product of transport and communications – 14.2%. The Ulyanovsk region is a major transportation hub. Air, rail and road communications to all directions pass through the region, while the international airlines link the Volga region to Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and China. In Ulyanovsk, there are two river ports on both banks of the Volga. Ulyanovsk is the only city in the Volga Federal District, which has two airports of “A” class, which allows take-off for all types of aircraft without any weight restrictions.
The share of agriculture in the structure of the gross regional product is 6.3%. In 2011 the agriculture index of the Ulyanovsk region was the highest in Russia. The region specializes in diversified agriculture. Main areas of agriculture are grain farming (2/3 of acreage is occupied by cereals and legumes) and dairy and beef cattle. The scope of agriculture activities also includes feed production.
The level of development of small and medium-sized businesses in the Ulyanovsk region is relatively high. According to the rating compiled by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, Ulyanovsk provides the most favorable conditions for doing business (out of 30 Russian cities).
Since 2005, the region has been successfully applying a system of support for investors. As a result, the rates of investment activities in recent years (2005 – 2011) have increased by 7 times. Thus, in the last 7 years the region has received more than 276 billion rubles of investment (for comparison, in 1998-2004 it was – 38.6 billion rubles). As a result, in 2011 the Ulyanovsk region ranked first in terms of investment growth among the subjects of the VFD. The volume of investment in fixed assets for the full range of enterprises has increased in comparison with 2010 by 21% and has amounted to 61.7 billion rubles. The investment portfolio of the region has increased from 25 to 102 investment projects. Today, the investment projects are being implemented in the region by such companies as SABMiller, MARS, LLC “Henkel Bautechnik”, LLC “Alfa-Bank”, “BAW-Phoenix”. The region has recently launched several projects: a plant for the production of paints and varnishes by Danish company Hempel, a mining and processing plant by German company Quarzwerke, a plant for the production of automotive components by company “Takata-Petri Rus”, a plant “Gildemeister AG” to produce high-accuracy machines for metal working (this is the first experience in Russian when technology is transferred from abroad).
The demographic situation in the region tends to improve: it is characterized by an increase in fertility rate (by 1.9% in 2011 compared to 2010), and lower mortality (by 6.3%). The number of births is 10.8 ppm per 1,000 population, deaths make 14.8 ppm.
The subsistence rate per capita for the first quarter of 2012 amounts to 5530 rubles. For working-age population it is 5993 rubles, for pensioners – 4314 rubles, for children – 5337 rubles. The cost of a minimal set of the consumer basket is 2179.73 rubles.
The average wage for the region is growing. In January-May 2012 average monthly gross wages and salaries in the region for the full range of enterprises have amounted to 16,076 rubles. In comparison to the corresponding period of 2011 wages have increased by 115.8%. The highest rate of wages growth is registered in hotel and restaurant business, agriculture, hunting and forestry, financial activities.
The economically active population of the Ulyanovsk region in June 2012 has amounted to 687.5 thousand people. The level of officially registered unemployment is 0.8%.
Consolidated budget expenditures:
“Education” – 11.05 bln. rubles.
“Culture” – 1,08 bln. rubles.
“Health care” – 7.9 bln. rubles.
“Physical Culture and Sports” – 476.78 million rubles.
Historically, tourism in the Ulyanovsk region has been developing in two directions: health tourism and historical and cultural tourism.
First of all, Ulyanovsk is the birthplace of Vladimir Lenin; here is the Lenin memorial – the largest museum dedicated to the life of the outstanding leader. The historic center of the city includes 15 museums belonging to the State Historical and Memorial Reserve-Museum “Homeland of Vladimir Lenin”. They are currently working on project of the Museum of the Soviet era, which will reflect all sides of the Soviet times with the modern museum and interactive technologies.
The Ulyanovsk region is also famous with the Museum of Civil Aviation, ” Kolobok Manor”, “Craft Centre” and the Museum of Paleontology.
In the Ulyanovsk region there are sources of mineral water in the village of Undory. There are several health centers: “Dubki”, “Sanatorium named after Vladimir Lenin”, “Pribrezhniy”, “Beliy Yar”, where they have developed and now successfully apply specialized programs to treat various diseases by means of unique mineral water with high organic content.
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