This is a city of significance. It is located 757 km away from Syktyvkar, 90 km to the south of the Arctic Circle on the right bank of the Usa (local Usva). It is named after the river. The etymology of the hydronym Usva is not clear. It is highly unlikely that it is of Komi origin, which is confirmed by the abundance of analogous hydronyms on the map of Russia.

The city was built outside the main area of Komi settlements, on the border of the mainland tundra. It is mostly populated by "newcomers" - with Russians, Ukrainians and Tatars outnumbering the native Komi.

The population of the city is 51,600, and when including residents of the territories under the jurisdiction of Usinsk (1 town, 1 town-type community, 5 communities, 5 large villages and 8 villages) it is 57,900.

The territory (area of 30.6 under the jurisdiction of Usinsk is located in the northeast of the Komi Republic, in the basin of the mid Pechora and its tributary, the Usa River. It borders on the Nenets Autonomous Region in the north, the territory under the jurisdiction of Inta in the east, the territory under the jurisdiction of Pechora in the south, the Izhma Region in the southwest and the Ust-Tsilma area of the Komi Republic in the west.

People have lived on the territory of today's Usinsk district as far back as Paleolithic Age, which is confirmed by the study of ancient sites in the basin of the Usa river.

The first drilling on the Usa was in 1960, and it showed the presence of oil. In 196 community construction began. The location of the future town was poorly selected. It was planned to channel part of the Pechora waters to the Volga. This requin construction of cyclopean waterworks, which would create a huge regional reservi raising the waters of the Usa, the Pechora, the Kolva and the Izhma by several dozens of meters. To avoid flooding the city, it was founded not on the bank of the river, but amidst the tundra swamps. Filling the swamps with sand resulted in huge costs. There were about 5,000 people in Usinsk by the early 1970s. In 1973, the Usinsk field was put into pilot operation, and the first oil flowed through the Usinsk - Ukhta pipeline which had been laid a bit earlier. The community of Usinsk has been the administrative center of the Usinsk Area since 1975, and it became a town in 1984. There were 53,100 people there as of 1989.

In the mid 1990s, the Usinsk economy was in complete decay, with many people leaving town. Everything changed with the arrival of Lukoil - its subsidiary, today's Lukoil-Komi Ltd., to be exact. The term "the second birth of Usinsk" became part of the local vocabulary, and the town became much prettier. An Orthodox stone cathedral, the Icon of the Mother of God, was first built, and then a second Orthodox cathedral - the Holy Spirit. A mosque was built for the Muslims (Tatars account for 8% of the town's population). A bus terminal, European-level hotels, and a children's play area with an airplane and a helicopter (the fuselages housing rooms with computer games) were built. A subsidiary of the Ukhta State Technical University was opened. Usinsk has a palace of culture, two musical schools, a youth palace, a two-screen cinema, a covered hockey field, and a municipal swimming pool (one of the best in the northwest of Russia).

Today, Usinsk is the center of the oil industry of the Komi Republic. The city literally lives on oil: local companies account for over three fourths of the total oil produced in the republic. And over three fourths of the people here are engaged in this and related spheres. Managerial, industrial, auxiliary and service enterprises of the oil industry are located in the city, including Komineft, KomiArcticOil, Nobel Oil, Northern Oil, Vozeysk Oil Company, SeverTEK, Nedra, Usinsk Industrial Company, Komikuest, Enisey, Kolvaneft and a subsidiary of the Investnafta Company. Usinsk is the youngest Komi town. And this is true for the average age of city residents as well. This is not only caused by a great number of incoming specialists; the birth rate in Usinsk is higher than in any other part of the republic. Usinsk is the republic's most modern town. There are no single-family homes and none of the barracks-type buildings typical of the north. The entire town is housed in five and nine-story apartment buildings. As a result, the town is more compact and can be crossed in 15-20 minutes.

One of Usinsk's places of interest is the town clock, which not only strikes the time, but also plays a song - the lyrical anthem of Usinsk: "Rose-bay bloomed on the Voyvozh". This pioneer song is based on a poem by Viktor Skutte, one of the first Usinsk builders and poets.


Усинск: от рассвета до расцвета: историко-краеведческое обозрение. – Сыктывкар, 2007. – С. 18.

Жеребцов И. Л. Где ты живешь: населенные пункты Республики Коми: историко-демографический справочник. – Сыктывкар, 1994. – С. 184.

Терр. Орган Фед. Службы гос. статистики по Республике Коми Демографический ежегодник Республики Коми: стат. сборник 2010. - Сыктывкар, 2010. - С.13.

Photo by Evgeny Voldaev