Volga River

Volga River

Overview
The Volga is the largest river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 in terms of length, discharge
Discharge (hydrology)
In hydrology, discharge is the volume rate of water flow, including any suspended solids , dissolved chemical species and/or biologic material , which is transported through a given cross-sectional area...

, and watershed
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

. It flows through central Russia
European Russia
European Russia refers to the western areas of Russia that lie within Europe, comprising roughly 3,960,000 square kilometres , larger in area than India, and spanning across 40% of Europe. Its eastern border is defined by the Ural Mountains and in the south it is defined by the border with...

, and is widely viewed as the national river of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Out of the twenty largest cities of Russia, eleven, including the capital Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, are situated in the Volga's drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

. Some of the largest reservoir
Reservoir
A reservoir , artificial lake or dam is used to store water.Reservoirs may be created in river valleys by the construction of a dam or may be built by excavation in the ground or by conventional construction techniques such as brickwork or cast concrete.The term reservoir may also be used to...

s in the world can be found along the Volga.
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Encyclopedia
The Volga is the largest river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

 in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 in terms of length, discharge
Discharge (hydrology)
In hydrology, discharge is the volume rate of water flow, including any suspended solids , dissolved chemical species and/or biologic material , which is transported through a given cross-sectional area...

, and watershed
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

. It flows through central Russia
European Russia
European Russia refers to the western areas of Russia that lie within Europe, comprising roughly 3,960,000 square kilometres , larger in area than India, and spanning across 40% of Europe. Its eastern border is defined by the Ural Mountains and in the south it is defined by the border with...

, and is widely viewed as the national river of Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. Out of the twenty largest cities of Russia, eleven, including the capital Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, are situated in the Volga's drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

. Some of the largest reservoir
Reservoir
A reservoir , artificial lake or dam is used to store water.Reservoirs may be created in river valleys by the construction of a dam or may be built by excavation in the ground or by conventional construction techniques such as brickwork or cast concrete.The term reservoir may also be used to...

s in the world can be found along the Volga. The river has a symbolic meaning in Russian culture
Russian culture
Russian culture is associated with the country of Russia and, sometimes, specifically with ethnic Russians. It has a rich history and can boast a long tradition of excellence in every aspect of the arts, especially when it comes to literature and philosophy, classical music and ballet, architecture...

 and is often referred to as Volga-Matushka (Volga-mother) in Russian literature
Russian literature
Russian literature refers to the literature of Russia or its émigrés, and to the Russian-language literature of several independent nations once a part of what was historically Russia or the Soviet Union...

 and folklore.

Nomenclature


The Russian hydronym
Hydronym
A hydronym is a proper name of a body of water. Hydronymy is the study of hydronyms and of how bodies of water receive their names and how they are transmitted through history...

 Volga () derives from Proto-Slavic *vòlga "wetness, moisture", which is preserved in many Slavic languages, including Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

 dialect vológa (воло́га) "moisture; liquid food", Czech vláha "dampness", and Serbo-Croatian vlȁga "moisture", among others.

The Slavic name is a loan translation of earlier Scythian  () "Volga", literally "wetness", seen also in Avestan
Avestan language
Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

 Raŋhā "mythical stream" and Sogdian
Sogdian language
The Sogdian language is a Middle Iranian language that was spoken in Sogdiana , located in modern day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan ....

 r’k "vein, blood vessel" (< *raha-ka), and cognate with Sanskrit rasā́h "liquid, juice; mythical river". The Scythian name survives in modern Mordvin Rav (Рав) "Volga".

The Turkic peoples living along the river formerly referred to it as Itil
Itil
Itil may mean:*Atil or Itil, the ancient capital of Khazaria*Itil , also Idel, Atil, Atal, the ancient and modern Turkic name of the river Volga.ITIL can stand for:*Information Technology Infrastructure Library...

or Atil
Atil
Atil , literally meaning "Big River", was the capital of Khazaria from the middle of the 8th century until the end of the 10th century. The word is also a Turkic name for the Volga River.-History:...

"big river". In modern Turkic languages
Turkic languages
The Turkic languages constitute a language family of at least thirty five languages, spoken by Turkic peoples across a vast area from Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean to Siberia and Western China, and are considered to be part of the proposed Altaic language family.Turkic languages are spoken...

, the Volga is known as İdel (Идел) in Tatar
Tatar language
The Tatar language , or more specifically Kazan Tatar, is a Turkic language spoken by the Tatars of historical Kazan Khanate, including modern Tatarstan and Bashkiria...

, Idyll in ancient Bulgar, Атăл (Atăl) in Chuvash
Chuvash language
Chuvash is a Turkic language spoken in central Russia, primarily in the Chuvash Republic and adjacent areas. It is the only surviving member of the Oghur branch of Turkic languages....

, Idhel in Bashkir
Bashkir language
The Bashkir language is a Turkic language, and is the language of the Bashkirs. It is co-official with Russian in the Republic of Bashkortostan.-Speakers:...

, Edil in Kazakh
Kazakh language
Kazakh is a Turkic language which belongs to the Kipchak branch of the Turkic languages, closely related to Nogai and Karakalpak....

, and İdil in Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

. The Turkic peoples associated the Itil's origin with the Kama River
Kama River
Kama is a major river in Russia, the longest left tributary of the Volga and the largest one in discharge; in fact, it is larger than the Volga before junction....

. Thus, a left tributary to the Kama River was named the Aq Itil "White Itil" which unites with the Kara Itil "Black Itil" at the modern city of Ufa
Ufa
-Demographics:Nationally, dominated by Russian , Bashkirs and Tatars . In addition, numerous are Ukrainians , Chuvash , Mari , Belarusians , Mordovians , Armenian , Germans , Jews , Azeris .-Government and administration:Local...

.

Under the Asians, the river was known by its other Turkic name Sarı-su "yellow water", but Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

 also used their own name: Ijil mörön "adaptation river". Presently the Mari, another Ugric
Ugric languages
Ugric or Ugrian languages are a branch of the Uralic language family. The term derives from Yugra, a region in north-central Asia.They include three languages: Hungarian , Khanty , and Mansi language...

 group, call the river Юл (Jul), meaning "way" in Tatar
Tatar language
The Tatar language , or more specifically Kazan Tatar, is a Turkic language spoken by the Tatars of historical Kazan Khanate, including modern Tatarstan and Bashkiria...

. Formerly, they called the river Volgydo, a borrowing from Old Russian.

Description


The Volga is the longest river in Europe. It belongs to the closed basin of the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

. Rising in the Valdai Hills
Valdai Hills
The Valdai Hills are an upland region in north-west of central Russia running north-south, about midway between Saint Petersburg and Moscow, spanning the Novgorod, Tver, Pskov, and Smolensk Oblasts....

 225 metres (738.2 ft) above sea level
Above mean sea level
The term above mean sea level refers to the elevation or altitude of any object, relative to the average sea level datum. AMSL is used extensively in radio by engineers to determine the coverage area a station will be able to reach...

 northwest of Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

 and about 320 kilometres (198.8 mi) southeast of Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, the Volga heads east past Lake Sterzh
Lake Sterzh
Sterzh Lake is, at 18 km², the third largest among the Valdai Lakes in the Tver Oblast of Russia. It is the first lake through which the Volga flows. The lake's length is 12 km, its width is up to 1,500 metres, the average depth is 5 metres. The lake gives its name to the Sterzh Cross....

, Tver
Tver
Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

, Dubna
Dubna
Dubna is a town in Moscow Oblast, Russia. It has a status of naukograd , being home to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, an international nuclear physics research centre and one of the largest scientific foundations in the country. It is also home to MKB Raduga, a defence aerospace company...

, Rybinsk
Rybinsk
Rybinsk is the second largest city of Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, which lies at the confluence of the Volga and Sheksna Rivers. Population: It is served by Rybinsk Staroselye airport.-Early history:...

, Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl
Yaroslavl is a city and the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, located northeast of Moscow. The historical part of the city, a World Heritage Site, is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. It is one of the Golden Ring cities, a group of historic cities...

, Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod
Nizhny Novgorod , colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is, with the population of 1,250,615, the fifth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg...

, and Kazan
Kazan
Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

. From there it turns south, flows past Ulyanovsk
Ulyanovsk
Ulyanovsk The city is the birthplace of Vladimir Lenin , for whom it is named.-History:Simbirsk was founded in 1648 by the boyar Bogdan Khitrovo. The fort of "Simbirsk" was strategically placed on a hill on the Western bank of the Volga River...

, Tolyatti
Tolyatti
Tolyatti , also known as Togliatti, is a city in Samara Oblast, Russia. It serves as the administrative center of Stavropolsky District, although it is administratively separate from it...

, Samara
Samara, Russia
Samara , is the sixth largest city in Russia. It is situated in the southeastern part of European Russia at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers. Samara is the administrative center of Samara Oblast. Population: . The metropolitan area of Samara-Tolyatti-Syzran within Samara Oblast...

, Saratov
Saratov
-Modern Saratov:The Saratov region is highly industrialized, due in part to the rich in natural and industrial resources of the area. The region is also one of the more important and largest cultural and scientific centres in Russia...

 and Volgograd
Volgograd
Volgograd , formerly called Tsaritsyn and Stalingrad is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast, Russia. It is long, north to south, situated on the western bank of the Volga River...

, and discharges into the Caspian Sea below Astrakhan
Astrakhan
Astrakhan is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on the left bank of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of below the sea level. Population:...

 at 28 metres (91.9 ft) below sea level. At its most strategic point, it bends toward the Don ("the big bend"). Volgograd
Volgograd
Volgograd , formerly called Tsaritsyn and Stalingrad is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast, Russia. It is long, north to south, situated on the western bank of the Volga River...

, formerly Stalingrad, is located there.

The Volga has many tributaries, most importantly the Kama
Kama River
Kama is a major river in Russia, the longest left tributary of the Volga and the largest one in discharge; in fact, it is larger than the Volga before junction....

, the Oka
Oka River
Oka is a river in central Russia, the largest right tributary of the Volga. It flows through the regions of Oryol, Tula, Kaluga, Moscow, Ryazan, Vladimir, and Nizhny Novgorod and is navigable over a large part of its total length, as far upstream as to the town of Kaluga. Its length exceeds...

, the Vetluga
Vetluga River
Vetluga is a river in the Kirov Oblast, Kostroma Oblast, Mari El Republic and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast of Russia. It is a left tributary of Volga, confluence near Kozmodemyansk. The river is navigable....

, and the Sura
Sura River
Sura is a river in Russia, a right tributary of the Volga River. It flows through Penza Oblast, Mordovia, Ulyanovsk Oblast, Chuvashia and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. Its length is 841 km, it is navigable for 394 km from the mouth....

 rivers. The Volga and its tributaries form the Volga river system, which drains an area of about 1.35 million square kilometres in the most heavily populated part of Russia. The Volga Delta
Volga Delta
The Volga Delta 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...

 has a length of about 160 kilometres and includes as many as 500 channels and smaller rivers. The largest estuary in Europe, it is the only place in Russia where pelican
Pelican
A pelican, derived from the Greek word πελεκυς pelekys is a large water bird with a large throat pouch, belonging to the bird family Pelecanidae....

s, flamingo
Flamingo
Flamingos or flamingoes are gregarious wading birds in the genus Phoenicopterus , the only genus in the family Phoenicopteridae...

s, and lotus
Nelumbo nucifera
Nelumbo nucifera, known by a number of names including Indian Lotus, Sacred Lotus, Bean of India, or simply Lotus, is a plant in the monogeneric family Nelumbonaceae...

es may be found. The Volga freezes for most of its length for three months each year.

The Volga drains most of Western Russia. Its many large reservoirs provide irrigation
Irrigation
Irrigation may be defined as the science of artificial application of water to the land or soil. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall...

 and hydroelectric power. The Moscow Canal
Moscow Canal
The Moscow Canal , named the Moscow-Volga Canal until the year 1947, is a canal that connects the Moskva River with the main transportation artery of European Russia, the Volga River. It is located in Moscow itself and in the Moscow Oblast...

, the Volga–Don Canal, and the Volga–Baltic Waterway form navigable waterway
Waterway
A waterway is any navigable body of water. Waterways can include rivers, lakes, seas, oceans, and canals. In order for a waterway to be navigable, it must meet several criteria:...

s connecting Moscow to the White Sea
White Sea
The White Sea is a southern inlet of the Barents Sea located on the northwest coast of Russia. It is surrounded by Karelia to the west, the Kola Peninsula to the north, and the Kanin Peninsula to the northeast. The whole of the White Sea is under Russian sovereignty and considered to be part of...

, the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

, the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

, the Sea of Azov
Sea of Azov
The Sea of Azov , known in Classical Antiquity as Lake Maeotis, is a sea on the south of Eastern Europe. It is linked by the narrow Strait of Kerch to the Black Sea to the south and is bounded on the north by Ukraine mainland, on the east by Russia, and on the west by the Ukraine's Crimean...

 and the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

. High levels of chemical pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 have adversely affected the river and its habitats.

The fertile river valley provides large quantities of wheat
Wheat
Wheat is a cereal grain, originally from the Levant region of the Near East, but now cultivated worldwide. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize and rice...

, and also has many mineral riches. A substantial petroleum industry centres on the Volga valley. Other resources include natural gas
Natural gas
Natural gas is a naturally occurring gas mixture consisting primarily of methane, typically with 0–20% higher hydrocarbons . It is found associated with other hydrocarbon fuel, in coal beds, as methane clathrates, and is an important fuel source and a major feedstock for fertilizers.Most natural...

, salt
Salt
In chemistry, salts are ionic compounds that result from the neutralization reaction of an acid and a base. They are composed of cations and anions so that the product is electrically neutral...

, and potash
Potash
Potash is the common name for various mined and manufactured salts that contain potassium in water-soluble form. In some rare cases, potash can be formed with traces of organic materials such as plant remains, and this was the major historical source for it before the industrial era...

. The Volga Delta and the nearby Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 offer superb fishing grounds. Astrakhan, at the delta, is the centre of the caviar
Caviar
Caviar, sometimes called black caviar, is a luxury delicacy, consisting of processed, salted, non-fertilized sturgeon roe. The roe can be "fresh" or pasteurized, the latter having much less culinary and economic value....

 industry.

Confluents (downstream to upstream)




  • Akhtuba
    Akhtuba River
    The Akhtuba River ; also transliterated Achtuba on some maps)is a left distributary of the Volga River.The Akhtuba splits off the Volga above the city Volgograd , and flows towardthe Volga Delta and Caspian Sea....

     (near Volzhsky
    Volzhsky, Volgograd Oblast
    Volzhsky is an industrial city in Volgograd Oblast, Russia, located on the east bank of the Volga River and its distributary the Akhtuba, northeast of Volgograd. Population:...

    ), a distributary
    Distributary
    A distributary, or a distributary channel, is a stream that branches off and flows away from a main stream channel. They are a common feature of river deltas. The phenomenon is known as river bifurcation. The opposite of a distributary is a tributary...

  • Samara
    Samara River
    The Samara is a river in Russia, left tributary of Volga. The city of Samara is located at the confluence of Volga and Samara. It rises southwest of the southern end of the Ural Mountains close to the middle Ural River near the town of Orenburg. It then flows west or west northwest to meet the...

     (in Samara
    Samara, Russia
    Samara , is the sixth largest city in Russia. It is situated in the southeastern part of European Russia at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers. Samara is the administrative center of Samara Oblast. Population: . The metropolitan area of Samara-Tolyatti-Syzran within Samara Oblast...

    )
  • Kama
    Kama River
    Kama is a major river in Russia, the longest left tributary of the Volga and the largest one in discharge; in fact, it is larger than the Volga before junction....

     (south of Kazan
    Kazan
    Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

    )
  • Kazanka
    Kazanka River
    Kazanka or Qazansu is a river in the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia, a left tributary of the Volga. Kazanka begins near the village of Bimeri in Arsk District and flows into the Samara Reservoir in Kazan, near the Kazan Kremlin. Another towns on the Kazanka are Arsk and historical Iske Kazan. The...

     (in Kazan
    Kazan
    Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

    )
  • Sviyaga
    Sviyaga River
    The Sviyaga is a river in the Ulyanovsk Oblast and Tatarstan, a right tributary of the Volga River. It has a length of 375 km. The area of the basin is 16,700 km². The Sviyaga River flows into the Sviyaga Cove of the Kuybyshev Reservoir, west of Kazan. It freezes up in November-December and stays...

     (west of Kazan
    Kazan
    Kazan is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. With a population of 1,143,546 , it is the eighth most populous city in Russia. Kazan lies at the confluence of the Volga and Kazanka Rivers in European Russia. In April 2009, the Russian Patent Office granted Kazan the...

    )
  • Vetluga
    Vetluga River
    Vetluga is a river in the Kirov Oblast, Kostroma Oblast, Mari El Republic and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast of Russia. It is a left tributary of Volga, confluence near Kozmodemyansk. The river is navigable....

     (near Kozmodemyansk
    Kozmodemyansk
    Kozmodemyansk is a town in the Mari El Republic, Russia, located at the confluence of the Vetluga and the Volga Rivers. It serves as the administrative center of Gornomariysky District, although it is not administratively a part of it...

    )
  • Sura
    Sura River
    Sura is a river in Russia, a right tributary of the Volga River. It flows through Penza Oblast, Mordovia, Ulyanovsk Oblast, Chuvashia and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. Its length is 841 km, it is navigable for 394 km from the mouth....

     (in Vasilsursk
    Vasilsursk
    Vasilsursk is an urban locality in Vorotynsky District of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located on the Sura River, not far from its fall into the Volga. Population:...

    )
  • Kerzhenets
    Kerzhenets River
    Kerzhenets River is a river in the Nizhny Novgorod Oblast in Russia. It is a left tributary of the Volga, joining the Volga near Lyskovo, about 70 km east of Nizhny Novgorod.-History:...

     (near Lyskovo
    Lyskovo
    Lyskovo is a town and the administrative center of Lyskovsky District of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located on the southern side of the Volga River , opposite the mouth of the Kerzhenets River, southeast of Nizhny Novgorod.. Population: It was first mentioned in 1410...

    )
  • Oka
    Oka River
    Oka is a river in central Russia, the largest right tributary of the Volga. It flows through the regions of Oryol, Tula, Kaluga, Moscow, Ryazan, Vladimir, and Nizhny Novgorod and is navigable over a large part of its total length, as far upstream as to the town of Kaluga. Its length exceeds...

     (in Nizhny Novgorod
    Nizhny Novgorod
    Nizhny Novgorod , colloquially shortened to Nizhny, is, with the population of 1,250,615, the fifth largest city in Russia, ranking after Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg...

    )
  • Uzola
    Uzola River
    Uzola River, also spelled as Usola River is a river in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast in Russia. It is a left tributary of the Volga. The length of the river is . The area of its basin is . The Uzola River freezes up in November and stays under the ice until April....

     (near Balakhna
    Balakhna
    Balakhna is a town and the administrative center of Balakhninsky District of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located on the right bank of the Volga River, north of Nizhny Novgorod. Population: 33,500 .-Overview:...

    )
  • Unzha
    Unzha River
    Unzha River , a river in the Vologda Oblast and Kostroma Oblast in Russia, a tributary of the Volga River. Its length is 426 km. The area of the basin is 28,900 km². The Unzha River begins at the confluence of the Kema River and the Lundonga River. It flows into the Unzhensky Cove of the Gorkovsky...

     (near Yuryevets
    Yuryevets, Ivanovo Oblast
    Yuryevets is a town and the administrative center of Yuryevetsky District of Ivanovo Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Unzha and the Volga Rivers. Population:...

    )
  • Kostroma
    Kostroma River
    The Kostroma is a river in the European part of Russia. It flows through the Kostroma and Yaroslavl Oblasts, and is a left tributary of the Volga, which it enters at the Gorky Reservoir, at the city of Kostroma, at ....

     (in Kostroma
    Kostroma
    Kostroma is a historic city and the administrative center of Kostroma Oblast, Russia. A part of the Golden Ring of Russian towns, it is located at the confluence of the Volga and Kostroma Rivers...

    )

  • Kotorosl
    Kotorosl
    The Kotorosl River is a right tributary of the Volga in the Yaroslavl Oblast of Russia. The river flows from Lake Nero near Rostov past Karabikha and enters the Volga in Yaroslavl. In the medieval ages, the river was highly important strategically, for it connected Rostov with major waterways of...

     (in Yaroslavl
    Yaroslavl
    Yaroslavl is a city and the administrative center of Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, located northeast of Moscow. The historical part of the city, a World Heritage Site, is located at the confluence of the Volga and the Kotorosl Rivers. It is one of the Golden Ring cities, a group of historic cities...

    )
  • Sheksna
    Sheksna River
    The Sheksna is a river in Belozersky, Kirillovsky, Sheksninsky, and Cherepovetsky Districts of Vologda Oblast in Russia. It is a left tributary of the Volga River. It is long, and the area of its basin...

     (in Cherepovets
    Cherepovets
    Cherepovets is the largest city in Vologda Oblast, Russia, located on the bank of the Rybinsk Reservoir of the Sheksna River, a tributary of the Volga River. Population: 311,869 ; It is served by Cherepovets Airport.-Location:...

    )
  • Mologa
    Mologa River
    Mologa River is a river in Tver, Novgorod and Vologda Oblasts of Russia. It is a left tributary of the Volga River, flowing into the Rybinsk Reservoir. The river freezes up in the late October - early December and stays under the ice until April - early May....

     (near Vesyegonsk
    Vesyegonsk
    Vesyegonsk is a town and the administrative center of Vesyegonsky District of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: The historical part of Vesyegonsk lies under the waters of the Rybinsk Reservoir....

    )
  • Kashinka
    Kashinka River
    Kashinka is a river in Tver Oblast, Russia, a left tributary of the Volga River . The town of Kashin is located along the Kashinka. The Kashinka River is one of the most popular swimming and fishing locations in Kashin during the summer. It mostly flows through rural areas and is not very well...

     (near Kalyazin
    Kalyazin
    Kalyazin is a town and the administrative center of Kalyazinsky District of Tver Oblast, Russia, located on the Volga River, southeast of Kashin, north of Sergiyev Posad, and southwest of Uglich . Population:...

    )
  • Nerl
    Nerl River (Volga)
    The Nerl River is a river in the Yaroslavl and Tver Oblasts in Russia, a right tributary of the Volga River. The length of the river is . The area of its basin is . It originates in the Lake Pleshcheyevo under the name of Veksa-Pleshcheyevskaya and enters the Volga in Sknyatino. Its main tributary...

     (near Kalyazin)
  • Medveditsa
    Medveditsa River (Volga basin)
    Medveditsa is a river in Tver Oblast, Russia, a left tributary of the Volga River .Medveditsa is a popular place for tourism and recreation....

     (near Kimry
    Kimry
    Kimry , formerly Kimra, is a town in the south of Tver Oblast, Russia, located on the Volga River, at its confluence with the Kimrka River, to the east of Tver...

    )
  • Dubna
    Dubna River (Volga basin)
    Dubna is a river in Vladimir Oblast and Moscow Oblast in Russia, a right tributary of the Volga. The length of the river is 167 kilometres. The area of its basin is 5,350 km². Its largest tributary is the Sestra River. The town of Dubna is located at the confluence of the Dubna and Volga...

     (in Dubna
    Dubna
    Dubna is a town in Moscow Oblast, Russia. It has a status of naukograd , being home to the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, an international nuclear physics research centre and one of the largest scientific foundations in the country. It is also home to MKB Raduga, a defence aerospace company...

    )
  • Shosha
    Shosha River
    Shosha River is a river in Tver and partially Moscow Oblasts in Russia, a right tributary of the Volga River. The length of the Shosha River is 163 kilometres. The area of its basin is 3,080 km². The river flows into the Ivankovo Reservoir. The Shosha freezes up in November – early...

     (near Konakovo
    Konakovo
    Konakovo is a town and the administrative center of Konakovsky District of Tver Oblast, Russia, located on the right bank of Ivankovo Reservoir . Population: It was founded in 1806 and was granted town status in 1937....

    )
  • Tvertsa
    Tvertsa River
    Tvertsa is a river in the Tver Oblast in Russia, a left tributary of the Volga River. The Starotveretsky Canal is considered Tvertsa's riverhead, which connects the river with the Vishnevolotskoye Reservoir. The latter drains up to 80% of its water from the Tsna River into the Tvertsa...

     (in Tver
    Tver
    Tver is a city and the administrative center of Tver Oblast, Russia. Population: 403,726 ; 408,903 ;...

    )
  • Vazuza
    Vazuza River
    Vazuza is a river in Smolensk Oblast and Tver Oblast, Russia, a right tributary of the Volga River. Length: 162 km, watershed area: 7120 km². The lower part of the river has been transformed into Vazuza Reservoir. The towns of Sychyovka and Zubtsov are located on the Vazuza ....

     (in Zubtsov
    Zubtsov
    Zubtsov is a town and the administrative center of Zubtsovsky District of Tver Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Volga and Vazuza Rivers, south of Tver, southeast of Rzhev, and southwest of Staritsa. Population: 8,100 ....

    )
  • Selizharovka
    Selizharovka River
    Selizharovka is a river in Tver Oblast, Russia, a left tributary of the Volga River. It is one of the uppermost substantial tributaries of the Volga. A settlement of Selizharovo is located at its mouth....

     (in Selizharovo
    Selizharovo
    Selizharovo is an urban locality and the administrative center of Selizharovsky District of Tver Oblast, Russia situated at the confluence of the Selizharovka and the Volga Rivers. Population:...

    )


Reservoirs (downstream to upstream)


A number of large hydroelectric reservoirs were constructed on the Volga during the Soviet rule
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. They are:
  • Ivankovo Reservoir
  • Uglich Reservoir
    Uglich Reservoir
    Uglich Reservoir or Uglichskoye Reservoir is an artificial lake in the upper part of the Volga River formed by a hydroelectric dam built in 1939 in the town of Uglich. It is located in Tver and Yaroslavl Oblasts in central Russia....

  • Rybinsk Reservoir
    Rybinsk Reservoir
    Rybinsk Reservoir , informally called the Rybinsk Sea, is a water reservoir on the Volga River and its tributaries Sheksna and Mologa, formed by Rybinsk Hydroelectric Station dam, located on the territories of Tver, Vologda, and Yaroslavl Oblasts. At the time of its construction, it was the largest...

  • Gorky Reservoir
    Gorky Reservoir
    Gorky Reservoir is an artificial lake in the central part of the Volga River formed by a hydroelectric dam of Gorky Hydroelectric Station built in 1955 between the towns of Gorodets and Zavolzhye and filled in 1955 – 1957...

  • Cheboksary Reservoir
    Cheboksary Reservoir
    Cheboksary Reservoir is an artificial lake in the central part of the Volga River and formed by the Cheboksary Dam in Novocheboksarsk....

  • Kuybyshev Reservoir the largest in Europe by surface
  • Saratov Reservoir
    Saratov Reservoir
    Saratov Reservoir is an artificial lake in the lower part of the Volga River in Russia formed by a the dam of the Saratov Hydroelectric Station situated in the city of Balakovo. Filling of the reservoir started in 1967. The uppermost point of the reservoir is situated in Tolyatti, it stretches...

  • Volgograd Reservoir
    Volgograd Reservoir
    The Volgograd Reservoir is a reservoir in Russia formed at the Volga River by the dam of the Volga Hydroelectric Station. It lies within the Volgograd Oblast and Saratov Oblast and named after the city of Volgograd. It was constructed during 1958-1961....


Human history



The downstream of the Volga, widely believed to have been a cradle of the Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-Europeans
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language , a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics...

 civilization, was settled by Huns and other Turkic peoples in the first millennium AD, replacing Scythians. The ancient scholar Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 of Alexandria mentions the lower Volga in his Geography (Book 5, Chapter 8, 2nd Map of Asia). He calls it the Rha, which was the Scythian name for the river. Ptolemy believed the Don and the Volga shared the same upper branch, which flowed from the Hyperborean Mountains.

Subsequently, the river basin played an important role in the movements of peoples from Asia to Europe. A powerful polity of Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria, or Volga–Kama Bolghar, is a historic Bulgar state that existed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now Russia.-Origin:...

 once flourished where the Kama river
Kama River
Kama is a major river in Russia, the longest left tributary of the Volga and the largest one in discharge; in fact, it is larger than the Volga before junction....

 joins the Volga, while Khazaria controlled the lower stretches of the river. Such Volga cities as Atil
Atil
Atil , literally meaning "Big River", was the capital of Khazaria from the middle of the 8th century until the end of the 10th century. The word is also a Turkic name for the Volga River.-History:...

, Saqsin
Saqsin
Saqsin was a medieval city that flourished from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries. It was situated in the Volga Delta , or in the Lower Volga, and was known in pre-Mongol times as Saksin-Bolgar, which in Mongol times became Sarai Batu.It was mentioned by the Arab geographer al-Gharnati and...

, or Sarai
Sarai (city)
Sarai was the name of two cities, which were successively capital cities of the Golden Horde, the Mongol kingdom which ruled Russia and much of central Asia in the 13th and 14th centuries...

 were among the largest in the medieval world. The river served as an important trade route
Volga trade route
In the Middle Ages, the Volga trade route connected Northern Europe and Northwestern Russia with the Caspian Sea, via the Volga River. The Rus used this route to trade with Muslim countries on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, sometimes penetrating as far as Baghdad...


connecting Scandinavia
Viking Age
Viking Age is the term for the period in European history, especially Northern European and Scandinavian history, spanning the late 8th to 11th centuries. Scandinavian Vikings explored Europe by its oceans and rivers through trade and warfare. The Vikings also reached Iceland, Greenland,...

, Rus'
Rus' (people)
The Rus' were a group of Varangians . According to the Primary Chronicle of Rus, compiled in about 1113 AD, the Rus had relocated from the Baltic region , first to Northeastern Europe, creating an early polity which finally came under the leadership of Rurik...

, and Volga Bulgaria with Khazaria and Persia
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

Khazars were replaced by Kipchaks
Kipchaks
Kipchaks were a Turkic tribal confederation...

, Kimeks and Mongols
Mongols
Mongols ) are a Central-East Asian ethnic group that lives mainly in the countries of Mongolia, China, and Russia. In China, ethnic Mongols can be found mainly in the central north region of China such as Inner Mongolia...

, who founded the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 in the lower reaches of the Volga. Later their empire broke into the Khanate of Kazan
Khanate of Kazan
The Khanate of Kazan was a medieval Tatar state which occupied the territory of former Volga Bulgaria between 1438 and 1552. Its khans were the patrilineal descendants of Toqa Temür, the thirteenth son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. The khanate covered contemporary Tatarstan, Mari El,...

 and Khanate of Astrakhan both of which were conquered by the Russians in the course of the 16th century Russo-Kazan Wars
Russo-Kazan Wars
thumb|300px|[[St. Basil's Cathedral]] is a monument to the Russian conquest of Kazan in 1552.The Russo-Kazan Wars was a series of wars fought between the Khanate of Kazan and Muscovite Russia from 1438, until Kazan was finally captured by Ivan the Terrible and absorbed into Russia in 1552.- Wars of...

. The Russian people's deep feeling for the Volga finds echoes in their culture and literature, starting from the 12th-century Lay of Igor's Campaign. The Volga Boatmen's Song
The Volga Boatmen's Song
The "Song of the Volga Boatmen" is a well-known traditional Russian song collected by Mily Balakirev, and published in his book of folk songs in 1866. It is a genuine shanty sung by burlaks, or barge-haulers, on the Volga River. Balakirev published it with only one verse . The other two verses...

 is one of many songs devoted to the national river of Russia.

Construction of Soviet dams often involved enforced resettlement of huge numbers of people, as well as destruction of their historical heritage. For instance, the town of Mologa
Mologa
Mologa was a town in Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia, formerly situated at the confluence of Mologa and Volga Rivers, but now submerged under the waters of the Rybinsk Reservoir....

 was flooded for the purpose of constructing the Rybinsk Reservoir
Rybinsk Reservoir
Rybinsk Reservoir , informally called the Rybinsk Sea, is a water reservoir on the Volga River and its tributaries Sheksna and Mologa, formed by Rybinsk Hydroelectric Station dam, located on the territories of Tver, Vologda, and Yaroslavl Oblasts. At the time of its construction, it was the largest...

 (then the largest artificial lake in the world), and the construction of the Uglich Reservoir
Uglich Reservoir
Uglich Reservoir or Uglichskoye Reservoir is an artificial lake in the upper part of the Volga River formed by a hydroelectric dam built in 1939 in the town of Uglich. It is located in Tver and Yaroslavl Oblasts in central Russia....

 entailed the flooding of several monasteries with buildings dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. In such cases the ecological and cultural damage often outbalanced any economical advantage.

20th-century conflicts



During the Russian Civil War
Russian Civil War
The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

, both sides fielded warships on the Volga. In 1918, the Red Volga Flotilla participated in driving the Whites eastward, from the Middle Volga at Kazan
Kazan Operation
Kazan Operation was the Red Army's offensive against the Czechoslovak Legion and the People Army of Komuch during the Russian Civil War.- Background :...

 to the Kama and eventually to Ufa
Ufa
-Demographics:Nationally, dominated by Russian , Bashkirs and Tatars . In addition, numerous are Ukrainians , Chuvash , Mari , Belarusians , Mordovians , Armenian , Germans , Jews , Azeris .-Government and administration:Local...

 on the Belaya River.

In modern times, the city on the big bend of the Volga, currently known as Volgograd
Volgograd
Volgograd , formerly called Tsaritsyn and Stalingrad is an important industrial city and the administrative center of Volgograd Oblast, Russia. It is long, north to south, situated on the western bank of the Volga River...

, witnessed the Battle of Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

, possibly the bloodiest battle in human history, in which the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and the German forces were deadlocked in a stalemate
Stalemate
Stalemate is a situation in chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check but has no legal moves. A stalemate ends the game in a draw. Stalemate is covered in the rules of chess....

 battle for access to the river. The Volga was (and still is) a vital transport route between central Russia and the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

, which provides access to the oil fields of Apsheron.
Hitler planned to use access to the oil fields of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 to fuel future German conquests. Apart from that, whoever held both sides of the river could move valuable troops
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 and war machines
Tank
A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

, across the river, to defeat the enemy's fortification
Fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

s beyond the river. By taking the river, Hitler's
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 would have been able to move supplies
Cargo
Cargo is goods or produce transported, generally for commercial gain, by ship, aircraft, train, van or truck. In modern times, containers are used in most intermodal long-haul cargo transport.-Marine:...

, gun
Gun
A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

s, and men into the northern part of Russia.

For this reason, many amphibious
Amphibious warfare
Amphibious warfare is the use of naval firepower, logistics and strategy to project military power ashore. In previous eras it stood as the primary method of delivering troops to non-contiguous enemy-held terrain...

 assaults were brought about in an attempt to remove the other side from the banks of the river. In these battles, The Soviet Union was the main offensive
Offensive (military)
An offensive is a military operation that seeks through aggressive projection of armed force to occupy territory, gain an objective or achieve some larger strategic, operational or tactical goal...

 side, while the German troops
Wehrmacht
The Wehrmacht – from , to defend and , the might/power) were the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945. It consisted of the Heer , the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe .-Origin and use of the term:...

 used a more defensive
Defense (military)
Defense has several uses in the sphere of military application.Personal defense implies measures taken by individual soldiers in protecting themselves whether by use of protective materials such as armor, or field construction of trenches or a bunker, or by using weapons that prevent the enemy...

 stance, though most of the fighting was close quarters combat
Close combat
*Close combat is a generic term for both Close Quarters Battle and Hand to hand combat.*Mêlée generally refers to disorganized close combat.*CQB is an acronym for Close Quarters Battle, such as that which occurs in urban warfare....

, with no clear offensive or defensive side.

Ethnic groups



The first people along the upper Volga were the Mari (Мари) and their west ethnic group named Merya (Мäрӹ) that came to the area around 1–3rd century. In the 8th and 9th centuries Slavic colonization began from Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

. The Slavs brought Christianity, and a part of local people took Christianity and gradually became East Slavs
East Slavs
The East Slavs are Slavic peoples speaking East Slavic languages. Formerly the main population of the medieval state of Kievan Rus, by the seventeenth century they evolved into the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian peoples.-Sources:...

; the remainder of Mari people migrated to the west far inland. In the course of several centuries they assimilated the indigenous Finnic population which included Merya and Meshchera peoples. The surviving peoples of Volga Finnic
Volga Finns
The Volga Finns are a historical group of indigenous peoples of Russia whose descendants include the Mari people, the Erzya and the Moksha Mordvins, as well as extinct Merya, Muromian and Meshchera people...

 ethnicity include the Maris and Mordvins of the middle Volga.

Apart from the Huns
Huns
The Huns were a group of nomadic people who, appearing from east of the Volga River, migrated into Europe c. AD 370 and established the vast Hunnic Empire there. Since de Guignes linked them with the Xiongnu, who had been northern neighbours of China 300 years prior to the emergence of the Huns,...

, the earliest Turkic tribes arrived in the 7th century and assimilated some Finnic and Indo-European population on the middle and lower Volga. The Christian Chuvash
Chuvash people
The Chuvash people are a Turkic ethnic group, native to an area stretching from the Volga Region to Siberia. Most of them live in Republic of Chuvashia and surrounding areas, although Chuvash communities may be found throughout all Russia.- Etymology :...

 and Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 Tatars
Tatars
Tatars are a Turkic speaking ethnic group , numbering roughly 7 million.The majority of Tatars live in the Russian Federation, with a population of around 5.5 million, about 2 million of which in the republic of Tatarstan.Significant minority populations are found in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan,...

 are descendants of the population of medieval Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria
Volga Bulgaria, or Volga–Kama Bolghar, is a historic Bulgar state that existed between the seventh and thirteenth centuries around the confluence of the Volga and Kama rivers in what is now Russia.-Origin:...

. Another Turkic group, the Nogais
Nogais
The Nogai people are a Turkic ethnic group in Southern Russia: northern Dagestan and Stavropol Krai, as well as in Karachay-Cherkessia and the Astrakhan Oblast; undefined number live in Chechnya...

, formerly inhabited the lower Volga steppes.

The Volga region is home to a German minority group, the Volga Germans. Catherine the Great had issued a Manifesto in 1763 inviting all foreigners to come and populate the region, offering them numerous incentives to do so. This was partly to develop the region but also to provide a buffer zone between the Russians and the Mongol hordes to the east. Because of conditions in German territories, the Germans responded in the largest numbers. Under the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 a slice of the region was turned into the Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic
The Volga German Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic was an autonomous republic established in Soviet Russia, with its capital at the Volga port of Engels .-History:...

 to house many of the Volga Germans. Others were executed or dispersed throughout the Soviet Union prior to and after World War II.

Navigation



The Volga, widened for navigation purposes with construction of huge dams during the years of Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's industrialization, is of great importance to inland shipping and transport in Russia: all the dams in the river have been equipped with large (double) ship locks, so that vessels of considerable dimensions can actually travel from the Caspian Sea
Caspian Sea
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. The sea has a surface area of and a volume of...

 almost to the upstream end of the river.

Connections with the Don River and the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 are possible through the Volga–Don Canal. Connections with the lakes of the north (Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga
Lake Ladoga is a freshwater lake located in the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia, not far from Saint Petersburg. It is the largest lake in Europe, and the 14th largest lake by area in the world.-Geography:...

, Lake Onega
Lake Onega
Lake Onega is a lake in the north-west European part of Russia, located on the territory of Republic of Karelia, Leningrad Oblast and Vologda Oblast. It belongs to the basin of Baltic Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and is the second largest lake in Europe after Lake Ladoga...

), Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

 and the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 are possible through the Volga–Baltic Waterway; and a liaison with Moscow has been realised by the Moscow Canal
Moscow Canal
The Moscow Canal , named the Moscow-Volga Canal until the year 1947, is a canal that connects the Moskva River with the main transportation artery of European Russia, the Volga River. It is located in Moscow itself and in the Moscow Oblast...

 connecting the Volga and the Moskva
Moskva River
The Moskva River is a river that flows through the Moscow and Smolensk Oblasts in Russia, and is a tributary of the Oka River.-Etymology:...

 rivers.

This infrastructure has been designed for vessels of a relatively large scale (lock dimensions of 290 x 30 meters on the Volga, slightly smaller on some of the other rivers and canals) and it spans many thousands of kilometers. A number of formerly state-run, now mostly privatized, companies operate passenger and cargo vessels on the river; Volgotanker
Volgotanker
Volgotanker is a Russian company engaged in the business of transporting oil and oil products by tanker ship along the inland waterways and coastal seas of European Russia. It is headquartered in Samara.- History :- Soviet period :...

, with over 200 petroleum tankers, is one of them.

In the later Soviet era
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, up to the modern times, grain
GRAIN
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. Our support takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and...

 and oil have been among the largest cargo exports transported on the Volga. Until recently access to the Russian waterways was granted to foreign vessels on a only very limited scale. The increasing contacts between the European Union and Russia have led to new policies with regard to the access to the Russian inland waterways. It is expected that vessels of other nations will be allowed on the Russian rivers soon.

See also


  • The Song of the Volga Boatmen
  • List of rivers of Russia
  • Volga River Steamers
    Volga River Steamers
    The Volga River is Europe's longest river, and a major trade artery in that continent. The technological arrival of the steam engine allowed cargoes to be more easily moved upstream...

  • Caspian Depression
    Caspian Depression
    Caspian Depression or Pricaspian/Peri-Caspian Depression/Lowland is a low-lying flatland region encompassing the northern part of the Caspian Sea, the largest enclosed body of water on Earth. It is the larger northern part of the wider Aral-Caspian Depression around the Aral and Caspian seas.The...


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