Quiz: Remember the definition of mal de mer?
oblast (province), western Russia. It occupies an area in the upper Oka River basin southwest of Moscow oblast. Broad, often swampy valleys alternate with rolling hills of the Central Russian Upland. The natural vegetation-mixed forest of oak, spruce, pine, and birch-survives over only one-third of the surface; elsewhere the soils have been cleared for agriculture. The climate is continental, with about 24 inches (600 mm) of precipitation a year. Cultivation of grain, flax, hemp, and fodder crops and livestock raising are well developed. The small towns of the oblast are engaged in processing agricultural produce, light engineering, timber working, and, in the northeast, textiles; some lignite (brown coal) is mined. The first Soviet atomic-power plant was built in 1955 in Obninsk. Kaluga city is the administrative centre. Area 11,500 square miles (29,900 square km). Pop. (1991 est.) 1,080,000.