Kemerovo OblastKemerovo Oblast (1995 pop. 3,077,900 est.), often called Kuzbas after the Kuznetsk Coal Basin, is located in SW Siberia, Russia, where the West-Siberian Plain meets the South Siberian mountains. The oblast, 95,700 km2, shares a border with Tomsk Oblast in the north, Krasnoyarsk Krai and Khakasiya in the east, Altai Krai in the south, and Novosibirsk Oblast and Altai Republic in the west.
The oblast's oldest city, Kuznetsk (after 1961, Novokuznetsk) was founded in 1618, soon after Cossack Ataman Yermak's push into Siberia. It remains the largest city in the region, exceeding even the oblast capital, Kemerovo. The region is one of the country's most urbanized. Over seventy percent of the population lives in nine regional industrial centers.
The Kuznetsk Coal Basin is one of the biggest in the world. The oblast extracts over 30% of the Russia's total coal production. The Kuzbas is the main fuel and energy base for the eastern part of Russia and its significance has grown after the Soviet Union collapsed. The region's other industries, such as machine construction, chemicals and metallurgy, are based on coal mining.