Stories of Astrakhan Oblast

Astrakhan Oblast

Russia

Astrakhan Oblast (Russian: Астраха́нская о́бласть, Astrakhanskaya oblast) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast). Its administrative center is the city of Astrakhan. Population: 1,010,073 (2010 Census).

Astrakhan is traversed by the northeasterly line of equal latitude and longitude. Its southern border is the Caspian Sea, eastern is Kazakhstan, northern is Volgograd Oblast, and western is the Republic of Kalmykia.

It is within the Russian Southern Federal District.

The oblast was created on December 27, 1943 on parts of the territories of the abolished Kalmyk ASSR and Astrakhan Okrug of Stalingrad Oblast.

Governor and Government of Astrakhan Oblast Administration Building
During the Soviet period, the high authority in the oblast was shared between three persons: The first secretary of the Astrakhan 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 Astrakhan Oblast is the fundamental law of the region. The Legislative Assembly of Astrakhan 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 Administration, 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.

The Volga Delta is in Astrakhan Oblast. It is the largest river delta in Europe, and occurs where Europe’s largest river system, the Volga River, drains into the Caspian Sea in Russia’s Astrakhan Oblast, north-east of the republic of Kalmykia. The delta is located in the Caspian Depression—the far eastern part of the delta lies in Kazakhstan. The delta drains into the Caspian approximately 60 km downstream from the city of Astrakhan.

The Volga Delta has grown significantly in the past century because of changes in the level of the Caspian Sea. In 1880, the delta had an area of 3,222 km². Today the Volga Delta covers an area of 27,224 km² and is approximately 160 km across. It has a classical “delta pattern”. The delta lies in the arid climate zone, characterized by very little rainfall. The region receives less than one inch of rainfall in January and in July in normal years. Strong winds often sweep across the delta and form linear dunes. Along the front of the delta, one will find muddy sand shoals, mudflats, and coquina banks.

The delta has been protected since the early 1900s, with one of the first Russian nature preserves (Astrakhan Nature Reserve) having been set up there in 1919. Much of its local fauna is considered endangered. The delta is a major staging area for many species of water birds, raptors and passerines. Although the delta is best known for its sturgeons, catfish and carp are also found in large numbers in the delta region. The lotus has been adopted as the motif of the national flag of the neighbouring Kalmyks, since it is a venerated symbol in their Buddhist beliefs – they are the sole European people of Mongolian (Oirat) origin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrakhan_Oblast