Saratov Oblast (RussianСара́товская о́бластьSaratovskaya oblast) is a federal subject of Russia (an oblast), located in the Volga Federal District. Its administrative center is the city of Saratov. Population: 2,521,892 (2010 Census)


The name "Saratov" is encountered in the name of a people on the Lower Volga (Ptolemy, 2nd century) and in the titles of Russian epic poems (bylinas) of the Saratov Mountains, the Saratovka River, and the Saratov Steppe. It also survives in the names of the city of Saratov and Saratov Region. Legends and scientific evidence both say that two great turning points in human history-the revelation of monotheism and domestication of the horse-are associated with the Saratov Volga region. This territory was poetically called the "Land of Apple Trees" and the "Land of Licorice." The Volga, thesteppe, and oak forests were the main elements of nature in the region.[citation needed]
The Saratov Volga appears to be the location of one of the centers of the Old Russian state system (Volga Rus). From the 13th to the 15th centuries, these lands belonged to the Golden Horde and then to the Great Horde. The history of the Golden Horde city of Ukek (Uvek) is closely tied to the history of the new Russian city of Saratov, whose name is said to come from the Tatar words sary tau (Yellow Mountain). Thus, in a way, Saratov can be considered one of Russia's oldest cities.
Saratov's history began in the second half of the 16th century, when, after completing the formation of a centralized Russian state, Tsar Ivan the Terrible finally defeated the remnants of the Golden Horde on the Middle and Lower Volga. Following his plan, a series of fortified towns, including Saratov (1590), were built on the southeastern edge of the extended state boundaries.
Saratov first arose on the right bank of the Volga just above the city's present-day location, where the Guselka River flows into the Volga, forming a cape with a gently sloping plateau. The first town of Saratov was located in the center of this plateau; it was a fortress designed to protect Russian settlers and the Volga trade route from nomads. Two army commanders (voevody), Prince Grigory Osipovich Zasekin and strelets leader Fedor Mikhailovich Turov [the streltsy were members of special military corps set up by Ivan the Terrible], began construction of Saratov Fortress in July 1590.
Since ancient times, the main Old World trade routes from the Black Sea coast, the Caucasus, Persia, Khorezm, the Urals, and Rus had passed through the Saratov Volga. All of this had an impact on the overall cultural level of the resource-rich territory, on the extent of its development, and on its importance in the Russian state system.
In June 1965, the "Saratov" train set out on its first trip to Moscow. Construction of a highway bridge across the Volga was completed in July of the same year.


Saratov Region is part of the Volga economic district and is in third place within it in the scale of industrial development. Engineering and the chemical, oil refining, and food industries account for the largest share of production.
The electronics and instrument-making industries are characterized by a high concentration of original technologies and specialists skilled in high-end production. These enterprises have associated research institutes and experimental design offices that work on high-level scientific developments.
Saratov Oblast has a variety of subsurface resources, including gas, oil, salts, and building materials, which have been deposited according to the region's particular geological structure. The first natural gas source was discovered in Elshanka near Saratov in 1941; and a gas pipeline was later built between Saratov, Nizhny Novgorod, and Cherepovets. Today, the region delivers gas not only to large Russian cities, but also abroad. The gas consists of 94% methane. Oil was found soon after the gas discoveries.

Administrative divisions


Population: 2,521,892 (2010 Census);[6] 2,668,310 (2002 Census);[10] 2,686,483 (1989 Census).[11]
Ethnic groups: most of the ethnic Germans who used to live in the area have been repatriated. The German Consulate in Saratov closed in June 2004, stating that there were only 18,000 ethnic Germans left in the oblast (including 2,000 in the city of Saratov)
There were twenty recognized ethnic groups of more than two thousand persons each in Saratov Oblast at the time of the 2010 Census. The ethnic composition was reported to be:[6]
  • Births (2008): 27,492 (10.7 per 1000)
  • Deaths (2008): 39,291 (15.2 per 1000)[13]


According to a 2012 official survey[14] 30% of the population of Saratov Oblast adheres to the Russian Orthodox Church, 4% are unaffiliated generic Christians, 1% adheres to other Orthodox Churches. 2% are Muslims, 1% of the population adheres to Slavic Rodnovery (Slavic Neopaganism), and 0.5% to forms of Hinduism (Vedism,Krishnaism or Tantrism). In addition, 38% of the population deems itself to be "spiritual but not religious", 16% is atheist, and 7.5% follows other religions or did not give an answer to the question

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