PERM, a government of east Russia, bounded S. by the governments of Orenburg and Ufa, W. by Vyatka, N.W. by Vologda, and E. by Tobolsk (Siberia). It has an area of 128,173 sq. m. Though administratively it belongs entirely to Russia in Europe, its eastern part (about 57,000 sq. m.) is situated in Siberia, in the basin of the Ob. The government is traversed from north to south by the Ural Mountains, 30 to 45 m. in width, thickly clothed with forests, and deeply excavated by rivers. The highest summits do not rise above 3600 ft. in the northern section of the range (the Vogulian Ural); in the central portion, between 59° and 60° 30' N., they once or twice exceed 5000 ft. (Denezhkin, 5360 ft.); but the chain soon sinks towards the south, where it barely attains an elevation of 3000 ft. Where the great Siberian road crosses it the highest point is 1400 ft.
The government is very well drained by rivers belonging to the Pechora, Tobol (affluent of the Ob) and Kama systems. The Pechora itself rises in the northern corner of the government, and its tributary the Volosnitsa is separated by a distance of less than 3 m. from the navigable Vogulka, a tributary of the Kama, a circumstance of some commercial importance. The chief river of Perm, is however, the Kama, whose navigable tributaries the Chusovaya, Sylva and Kolva are important channels for the export of heavy iron goods to Russia. The government is dotted with a great number of lakes of comparatively trifling size, their total area being 730 sq. m., and with marshes, which are extensive in the hilly tracts of the north. Granites, diorites, porphyries, serpentine 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, quartzite's and slates, and separate islands of Devonian deposits, appear on the surface. These in their turn are overlain 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 considered as Triassic, and 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, manganese and auriferous alluvial deposits. Many rare metals, such as iridium, osmium, rhodium and ruthenium, are found along with the above, as also a great variety of precious stones, such as diamonds, sapphires, jaspers, tourmalines, beryls, phenacites, chrysoberyls, emeralds, aquamarines, topazes, amethysts, jades, malachite. Salt-springs occur in the west; and the mineral waters, though still little known, are worthy of mention. No less than 70% of the total area is occupied with forest, but the forests are distributed very unequally, covering 95% of the area in the north and only 25% in the south-east. Firs, the pine, cedar, larch, birch, alder and lime are the most common; the oak appears only in the south-west. The flora of Perm presents a mixture of Siberian and Russian 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:—
|Usolye (Kama)||59° 25'||300||34.0°||4.5°||63.8°|
The estimated population in 1906 was 3,487,100, and consists chiefly of Great Russians. besides Bashkirs (including Meshcheryaks and Teptyars), Permyaks or Permians, Tatars, Cheremisses, Syryenians, Votyaks and Voguls. Agriculture is the general occupation, rye, oats, barley and hemp are raised in all parts, and wheat, millet, buckwheat, potatoes and flax in the south. Cattle-breeding is specially developed in the south-east among the Bashkirs, who have large numbers of horses. Mining is developing steadily though slowly. The ironworks employ nearly 200,000 hands (12,000 being in the Imperial ironworks), and their aggregate output reaches an estimated value of £6,000,000 annually. The annual production of gold is valued at nearly half a million sterling, and of platinum at approximately a quarter of a million, the output of platinum being equal to 95% of the World's total output. Coal and coke to the extent of 300,000 to 500,000 tons, salt to 300,000 tons, asbestos and other minerals are also obtained. The first place among the manufacturing industries is taken by flour-mills. The cutting of precious stones is extensively carried on throughout the villages on the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains, the chief market for them being at Ekaterinburg. An active trade, greatly favoured by the easy communication of the chief centres of the mining industry with the market of Nizhniy Novgorod on the one side and with the 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 allluents of the Kama every spring, and reach the fairs of Laishev and Nizhniy Novgorod, or descend the Volga to Samara and Astrakhan; while Ekaterinburg is an important centre for the trade with Siberia. The fairs at Irbit, second in importance only to that of Nizhniy Novgorod, and Ivanov (in the district of Shadrinsk) are centres for supplying Siberia with groceries and manufactured wares, as also for the purchase of tea, of furs for Russia, and of corn and cattle for the mining districts. The chief commercial centres are Ekaterinburg, Irbit, Perm, Kamyshlov, Sliadrinsk and Cherdyn.
Perm is more largely provided with educational institutions and primary schools than most of the governments of central Russia. Besides the ecclesiastical seminary at Perm there is a mining school at Ekaterinburg. The Perm zemstvo or provincial council is one of the most active in Russia in promoting the spread of education and agricultural knowledge among the peasants The government is intersected by a railway from Perm eastwards across the Urals, and thence southwards along their eastern slope to Ekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk (main Siberian trunk line) and Tyumen, also by a railway from Perm to Kotlas, at the head of the Northern Dvina.
History.—Remains of palaeolithic man, everywhere very scarce in Russia, have not yet been discovered in the upper basins of the Kama and Ob, with the exception, perhaps, of a single human skull found in a cavern on the Chanva (basin of Kama), together with a skull of Ursus spelaeus. Neolithic remains are met with in immense quantities on both Ural slopes. Still larger quantities of implements belonging to an early Finnish, or rather Ugrian, civilization are found everywhere in the basin of the Kama Herodotus speaks of the richness of this country inhabited by the Ugrians, who kept up a brisk traffic with the Greek colony of Olbia near the mouth of the Dnieper, and with the Bosporus by way of the Sea of Azov and the Volga. The precise period at which the Ugrians left the district for the southern steppes of Russia (the Lebedia of Constantine Porphyrogenitus) is not known. In the 9th century, if not earlier, the Norsemen were acquainted with the country as Bjarmeland, and Byzantine annalists knew it as Permia Nestor describes it as a territory of the Perm or Permians, a Finnish people.
The Russians penetrated into this region at an early date. In the 11th century Novgorod levied tribute from the Finnish inhabitants, 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 the Novgorod colonies in Perm were annexed to Moscow, which in the following year erected a fort to protect the Russian settlers and tradesmen against the Voguls, Ostiaks and Samoyedes. The mineral wealth of the country attracted the attention of the Moscow princes, and in the end of the 15th century Ivan III. sent two Germans to search for ores, these they succeeded in Ending south of the upper Pechora. The Stroganovs in the 16th century founded the first salt- and ironworks, built forts, and colonized the Ural region. The rapidly-growing trade with Siberia gave a new impulse to the development of the country. This trade had its centres at Perm and Solikamsk, and later at Irbit. (P. A. K.; J. T. Be.)