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MURMANSK 2003-01-14
Murmansk oblast is situated on the Kola Peninsula, lies above the Polar Circle and covers the territory of 144.900 sq km. It is one of the largest and most economically developed regions of North Russia.
 
About 90% of a million population of the Murmansk oblast reside in 13 towns. Apart from Murmansk (nearly 375.000 inhabitants) the biggest of them are Severomorsk, Apatity, Kandalaksha, Monchegorsk and Kirovsk. There are also 20 rural settlements and 5 administrative areas. In Lovozero and Kola areas live the most of the Kola indigenous people - saami, which now number less than 2.000 people.

The Murmansk oblast is extremely rich in natural resources. In total over 700 minerals, more than a quarter of all known minerals in the world, are found there. The region provides 100% of all-Russian production of apatite concentrates, 43% of nickel, 14% of fish products.

Rich oil and gas reserves of the Barents Sea allow its production for many years to come and make up a great potential for future economic development.

The foundation of the city of Murmansk dates back to year 1916 when fighting Russia was in need of an ice-free port, which would provide safe maritime communications with Europe. The same year a railway to St-Petersburg and a commercial port were put into operation.

The Murmansk oblast is an active participant of international co-operation. Besides bilateral agreements with northern counties of Norway, Finland and Sweden, the oblast takes an active part in EU programmes (Interreg, Tacis etc.) and multinational environmental projects. The Murmansk oblast is one of the founders and most active members of co-operation in the Barents Region.