by Galina Zhdan

Tyumen Oblast is 1435.2 thousand square kilometers (554 square ml) in area and occupies the largest part of Western Siberia. It consists of two autonomous districts, the northern one is located alongside the arctic circle and rich in gas resources, while the southern area is rich in oil deposits. Siberia's largest river, the Ob and its tributary the Irtysh, flow south to north through the Oblast. Most of Tyumen Oblast is scarcely populated and poorly developed. The largest city is Tyumen (491,000). The traditional occupations of the native people are reindeer breeding, hunting, and fishing. In recent decades, a series of gas fields and oil deposits was discovered on this territory. So its economy is now heavily influenced by natural oil and gas extraction. While oil extraction is decreasing, gas extraction is almost at its former level. The index of industrial production volume fell in the first five months of 1996 to 1% below former levels. Nevertheless, in 1995, monthly per capita income in Tyumen Oblast was one of the highest in Russia. Total investment for 1994 stood at $ 5,4 billion, and for 1995 at $7,05 billions. Foreign investment accounted for $102.6 million (about 3.7% of total foreign investment in Russia). As a result, by the end of 1995, more than a hundred of joint ventures and foreign enterprises had registered in Tyumen Oblast, currently employing approximately 15,000 locals. Industrially developed countries lead in the volume of export and import operations with Tyumen Oblast enterprises and this Oblast has a developed bank net.