1902 Encyclopedia > Perm, Russia


PERM, a government of Russia, on both slopes of the Ural Mountains, with an area of 128,250 square miles. Though Perm administratively belongs entirely to Russia in Europe, its eastern part (about 57,000 square miles) is situated in Siberia, in the basin of the Obi. It is traversed from north to south by the Ural range, a low ridge, from 30 to 45 miles in width, thickly covered with forests, and deeply excavated by rivers. The highest summits do not rise above 3600 feet in the northern section of the range (the Vogulian Ural); in the central portion, between 59° and 60° 30' N. lat., they once or twice exceed 5000 feet (Denezhkin, 5027 feet, and Konzhakovskii Kamen, 5135 feet); but the chain soon sinks towards the south, where it barely attains an elevation of 3000 feet. Where the great Siberian road crosses the ridge the highest point is 1400 feet. Westward the plain of the river Kama is still 500 feet above sea-level at a distance of 120 miles from the main watershed, but to the east the secondary ridges and spurs of the central chain fall away somewhat more rapidly,—Kamyshloff, 100 miles distant, being situated amidst the lowlands of the Obi at an altitude of less than 200 feet.

The geology of Perm has been the subject of very many investigations since the journeys of Humboldt and Mur-chison; but several parts of the government still remain unexplored. Granites, diorites, porphyries, serpentines, and Laurentian gneisses and limestones, containing iron, copper, and zinc ores, constitute the main axis of the Ural chain; their western slope is covered by a narrow strip of Huronian crystalline slates, which disappear in the east under the Post-Tertiary deposits of the Siberian lowlands, while on the west narrow strips of Silurian limestones, quartzites, and slates, and separate islands of Devonian deposits appear on the surface. These in their turn are covered with Carboniferous clays and sandstones, containing Coal-measures in several isolated basins. The Permian deposits extend as a regular strip, parallel to the main ridge, over these last, and are covered with the so-called "variegated marls," which are now considered as Triassic, and which appear only in the western corner of the territory. Perm is the chief mining region of Russia, owing to its wealth in iron, silver, platinum, copper, nickel, lead, chrome ore, and auriferous alluvial deposits. Many rare metals, besides, such as iridium, osmium, rhodium, and ruthenium, are found along with the above, as also a great variety of precious stones, such as sapphires, jacinths, beryls, phenacites, chrysoberyls, emeralds, aquamarines, topazes, amethysts, jades, malachite. Salt-springs appear in the west; and the mineral waters, though still little known, are also worthy of mention.

The government is very well watered by rivers belonging to the. Petchora, Tobol (affluent of the Obi), and Kama systems. The Petchora itself rises in the northern corner of the government, and its tributary the Volosnitsa is sepa-rated by a distance of only 4900 yards from the navi-gable Vogulka, a tributary of the Kama,—a circumstance of some commercial importance. The tributaries of the Tobol (Sosva, Tura, Isset, and Ui) are far more important. Their sources, which approach those of the tributaries of the Kama very closely, early became a link between Russia and Siberia, and the first section of the Siberian railway (completed for 312 miles from Perm to Ekaterinburg) has been planned to connect the Kama at Perm with the Tura at Tumen, whence there is a navigable route by the Siberian rivers to the very heart of western Siberia at Tomsk. The chief river of Perm is, however, the Kama, whose great navigable tributaries the Tchusovaya, Sylva, and Kolva are important channels for the export of the heavy iron goods to Russia,—5,000,000 cwts., valued at upwards of =£2,000,000, being annually shipped on these rivers to the Volga. Timber also is floated down many of the smaller streams. Altogether, the rivers supply to some extent the want of roads or the defects of those which exist, the great Siberian highway even (via Kazan, Okhansk, Perm, Ekaterinburg, and Tumen) being usually in a bad state.

The government is dotted with a great number of lakes of comparatively trifling size, and marshes also are extensive in the hilly tracts of the north. No less than 45,750,000 acres are forest; of this large area only 2,175,600 acres are under proper forest administration. The forests are distributed very unequally, covering 95 per cent, of the area in the north, and only 25 per cent, in the south-east. Fir (Abies sibirica, Picea obovata), pine (Pinus sylvestris), cedar (Pinns Cembra), larch (L. sibirica), birch, alder (Alnus), and lime are the most common woods; the oak appears only in the south-west. The flora of Perm (956 Phanero-gams) presents a mixture of Siberian and Eussian species, several of which have their north-eastern or south-western limits within the government. The climate is severe, the average temperature at different places being as follows :—

Lat. N. Altitude. Yearly average. January average. July average.
Usolie (Kama)... Nijne-Taghilsk Ekaterinburg ... 59° 45' 59° 25' 57° 55' 56° 48' Feet. 630 300 590 890 Fahr.
29°-3 34°-0 33°1 32°'9 Fahr. 3°'0 4°'5 2°'0 2°-5 Fahr. 62°'6 63°-8 64°-9 63°-5

The population in 1881 amounted to 2,520,100, of which number 106,500 lived in towns. It consisted chiefly of Great Russians, Bashkirs (about 100,000, including Mescheryaks and Teptyars), about 65,000 Perm yaks or Permians, 25,000 Tatars, 8000 Tchere-misses, and some 2500 Voguls. More than a million of the Great Russians are Nonconformists, their number having rapidly increased within the last twenty years. Except in the northern districts, which are covered with marshes and tundras, and in a zone 70 miles wide, which includes the higher and stony parts of the Ural Mountains to the north of the 58th parallel, agriculture is the general occupation of the inhabitants, who are favoured with a very fertile soil in the southern districts. Nevertheless, only 8,000,000 acres are under crops, the proportion of arable land ranging from 2 to 34 per cent, of the area in different districts. Rye, oats, barley, and hemp are raised in all parts, and wheat, millet, buckwheat, and flax in the south. The average crops in recent years have been 4,198,000 quarters of grain and 1,866,400 bushels of potatoes.

Cattle-breeding is specially developed in the south-east among the Bashkirs, who have large numbers of horses, but is at present decreasing. In 1881 there were 837,000 horses, 820,000 homed cattle, 1,055,000 sheep, and 267,000 pigs. These figures vary, however, from year to year, in consequence of the murrains that periodically destroy great numbers of horses and cattle. Agriculture is widely spread among the Bashkirs, Teptyars, and Teheremisses, and the chase is still a source of wealth, especially among the Voguls. Shipbuilding is developed on the Kama, Vishera (a tribut-ary of the Kama), Sylva, and Tctmsovaya ; and large amounts of timber, pitch, and tar, as also wooden implements, are exported to the Volga. Some 100,000 hands find occupation in connexion with the mining industry, and a number are engaged in the transport trade to and from Siberia, or in shipping. Mining increases every year, especially since private enterprise has been allowed to develop freely. In 1879 the total production of metals on the mining-works of the crown and of private individuals was (in cwts.):—gold, 102-7; copper, 12,913; pig-iron, 4,457,000; iron, 2,704,000; steel, 599,600; salt, 3,750,000. The working of coal, although recent, promises to be most valuable. In 1865 the aggregate of all manu-factures connected with mining hardly exceeded 15,000,000 roubles (£1,500,000) in value. In 1879 it was :—copper, 879,800 roubles ; pig-iron, 14,076,000 ; iron, 9,077,900 ; and steel, 2,218,000. The aggregate of other manufactures, employing 7400 hands, in the same year reached 20,962,000 roubles, against 5,802,000 in 1865. The first place is taken by flour-mills (£973,500), followed by distil-leries (£566,500) and tanneries (£212,300) ; next in order come the manufactures of spirits, saddlery, woollen cloth, ropes, oils, cakes, paper, chemicals, candles, tallow, soap, matches, wax-candles, glass, pottery, &c. The cutting of precious stones is extensively carried on throughout the villages on the eastern slope of the Ural Moun-tains, the chief market for them being at Ekaterinburg. Besides, a variety of petty trades are carried on, the manufacture of carpets in the south-east (Tumen carpets), as also that of boots at Kungur, being especially worthy of mention.

An active trade, greatly favoured by the easy communication of the chief centres of the mining industry with the great market of Nijni Novgorod on the one side and with the great network of Siberian rivers on the other, is carried on in metals and metal wares, minerals, timber and wooden wares, tallow, skins, cattle, furs, corn, and linseed. Large caravans descend the affluents of the Kama every spring, and reach the great fairs of Laisheff and Nijni Novgorod, or descend the Volga to Samara and Astrakhan ; while Ekaterinburg is an important centre for the trade with Siberia. The fair at libit, second in importance only to that of Nij ni Novgorod, is a great centre for supplying Siberia with grocery and manufactured wares, as also for the purchase of tea, of furs for Russia, and of corn and cattle for the mining districts. About 180 other fairs are held every year within the government. The chief commercial centres are Ekaterinburg, Irbit, Perm, Kaniyshlolf, Shadrinsk, Tcherdyn, and several iron-works (savody).

Perm is more largely provided with educational institutions and primary schools than most of the governments of central Russia. Besides the usual lyceum and ecclesiastical seminary at Perm, there are a mining school at Ekaterinburg and lower mining schools at Bogoslovsk and Kushva, and two lyceums for women at Perm and Ekaterinburg. The number of primary schools in 1881 was 621 (39,773 scholars, including about 8000 girls). The Nonconformists are very diligent in teaching reading (in Old Slavonian) to theii girls. The Ural Society of Naturalists, at Ekaterinburg, issues valuable scientific serials, and there are within the government two first-rate meteorological and magnetic observatories, at Ekater-inburg and Bogoslovsk.

Perm is divided into twelve districts having for their chief towns (with populations in 1879)—Perm (32,350), Kungur (14,000), Krasnoufimsk (3700), Okhansk (1650), Osa (2850), Solikamsk (16,900), and Tcherdyn (3260) in Europe ; Ekaterinburg (25,150), libit (4250), Kamyshloff (2160), Shadrinsk (11,550), and Ver-khoturie (8900) in Asia. Alapaevsk (5450), Dalmatoff (4350), and Dedyukhin (3900, with important salt-works) have also municipal institutions. The iron-works form the following important towns : —Nijne-Taghilsk (30,000 in 1881), Neviansk (14,000), Kyshtym (12,350), Revdinsk (9950), Upper and Lower Turinsk (9750), Nyazepetrovsk (9000), Verkh - Issetskii (7000), Nijne-Issetskii, Sysertskii (5900), Bogoslovsk (4500), Verkhne-Taghils'k (3850), and Suksunsk (3150). The salt-works of Usolie (7700) and Lenva (3250) may also be mentioned.

History.—Remains of Palaeolithic man, everywhere very scarce in Russia, have not yet been discovered in the upper basins of the Kama and Obi, with the exception, perhaps, of a single human skull found in a cavern on the Tchanva (basin of Kama), together with a skull of Ursus spelwus. Neolithic remains, on the other hand, are met with in immense quantities on both Ural slopes throughout the territory of Perm. Still larger quantities of imple-ments belonging to an early Finnish, or rather Ugrian, civiliza-tion are found everywhere in the basin of the Kama, even in its northern parts, the present district of Tcherdyn. Even Herodotus speaks of the richness of this country inhabited by the Ugrians, who kept up a brisk traffic with the Greek colony of Olbia, and with the Bosphorus by way of the Sea of Azoff and the Volga. The precise period at which the Ugrians left the district for the southern steppes of Russia (the " Lebedia " of Constantine Porphyro-genitus) is not known. In the 9th century the Scandinavians were acquainted with the country as Biarmia, and Byzantine annalists knew it as Permia. Nestor describes it as a territory of the Perm, a Finnish people, some 50,000 of whom still remain, and whose name seems to have been derived from parma, a Finnish word denoting hilly tracts thickly covered with forests.

The Russians penetrated into this region at an early date. In the 11th century Novgorod levied tribute from the Finnish in- habitants, and undertook the colonization of the country, which in the treaties of the 13th century is dealt with as a separate territory of Novgorod. In 1471, after the fall of Novgorod, Perm was annexed to Moscow, which in the following year erected a fort to protect Russian settlers and tradesmen from the Voguls, Ostyaks, and Samoyedes. Tcherdyn, the oldest town of Perm, was already in existence in the 15th century. The mineral wealth of the country soon attracted the attention of the Moscow princes, and Ivan III. sent two Germans to search for ores ; these they succeeded in finding south of the upper Petchora. A great impulse to colon- ization and mining was given by the Strogonoffs, when in the 16th century they received immense tracts of land on the Kama and Tchusovaya. They founded the first salt and iron works, built forts, and colonized the Ural region. Solikamsk, Osa, Okhansk, and Verkhoturie were founded during this century. By the latter part of the century the Russian colonies had spread beyond the Ural Mountains ; and in this direction the Strogonoffs continued to extend their mining operations. The rapidly-growing trade with Siberia gave a new impulse to the development of the coun- try. This trade had its centres at Perm and Solikamsk, where merchandise brought up the Kama was unshipped and transported by land to Verkhoturie, at that time the first Siberian town and custom-house on the great highway. Kungur, too, attained some commercial importance. The fair of Irbit in the 17th century became the chief seat of the trade in merchandise, brought both from Russia to Siberia and from Siberia and Bokhara to Russia. Communication with Siberia having taken a northern route, the southern parts of the territory were not colonized until the next century, when Ekaterinburg, Krasnoufimsk, and Alapaevsk were founded. In 1780 the provinces of Perm and Ekaterinburg were instituted, but were soon united into one. (P. A. K.)

PERM, capital of the above government, stands on the left bank of the Kama, on the great highway to Siberia, 930 miles north-east from Moscow. During summer it has regular steam communication with Kazan, 685 miles distant, and it is connected by rail with Ekaterinburg. The town is mostly built of wood, with broad streets and wide squares, and has a somewhat poor aspect, especially when compared with Ekaterinburg. It is the see of a bishop, and has an ecclesiastical seminary and a military school. The manufactures are few ; the Government manufactory of steel guns and munitions of war, in the immediate neigh-bourhood of the town, turns out about 1600 tons of guns annually. The aggregate production of the private manu-factories of all kinds did not exceed £165,000 in 1879; they included tanneries (¿£78,600), distilleries (¿£61,000), rope-works (£9500), brick-works, breweries, soap and candle works, iron-wire and copper-ware works. Numerous flour-mills and several oil-works occur within the district. The town derives its commercial importance as being the chief place of storage for merchandise to and from Siberia (tea, metals and metal-wares, skins, leather, butter, wool, bristles, tallow, cedar nuts, linseed, ifec), which is un-shipped here from the steamers coming up the Kama, and despatched by rail or on cars and sledges to Siberia, or vice versa. The trade is chiefly in the hands of Nijni Nov-gorod, Kazan, Ekaterinburg, and Siberian merchants. The population of Perm in 1879 was 32,350.
The present site of Perm was occupied, as early as the year 1568, by a settlement named Brukhanovo, founded by one of the Strogo-noffs ; this settlement seems to have received the name of Perm in the 17th century. The Yagozhikhinsky copper-work was founded in the immediate neighbourhood in 1723, and in 1781 it received officially the name of Perm, and became an administrative centre both for the country and for the mining region. The mining authorities left Perm for Ekaterinburg in 1830.

The above article was written by: P. A. Kropotkine.

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