Stories of Krasnodar Krai

Kuban Cossaks by Yuri Ivaschenko

The revival of the Kuban Cossack Host and the reanimation of a legend.

Krasnodar Krai


Krasnodar Krai (Russian: Краснода́рский край, Krasnodarsky kray) is a federal subject of Russia (a krai), located in the Southern Federal District.

The oblast occupies an area of around 33,300 square kilometres (12,850 square miles). It is characterised by largely flat steppes divided by the estuary of the Dniester river. Its Black Sea coast comprises numerous sandy beaches, estuaries and lagoons. The region’s soils are renowned for their fertility, and intensive agriculture is the mainstay of the local economy. The southwest possesses many orchards and vineyards, while arable crops are grown throughout the region.

Geographically, the area is split by the Kuban River into two distinct parts. The southern, seaward third (Circassia) is the western extremity of the Caucasus range, lying within the Crimean Submediterranean forest complex ecoregion; the climate is Mediterranean or, in the south-east, subtropical. The northern two-thirds lies on the Pontic Steppe and shares continental climate patterns. The largest lake is Abrau in the wine-making region of Abrau-Dyurso.

Population: 5,125,221 (2002 Census); 5,113,148 (1989 Census). The population of Krasnodar Krai is concentrated in the Kuban River drainage basin, which used to be traditional Cossack land (see History of Cossacks). The Kuban Cossacks are now generally considered to be ethnic Russians[citation needed], even though they are still an important minority in their own right in this area. Other notable ethnic groups include the Armenians (mostly Christian Hamsheni) who have lived in the region since at least the 18th century. The Ukrainians are also an important group; they actually formed a majority of the population in the early 20th century but were subject to heavy Russification.

Ethnic groups: The 2002 Census counted thirty-three ethnic groups of more than two thousand persons each, making this federal subject one of the most multicultural in Russia. The inhabitants identified themselves as belonging to more than 140 different ethnic groups.