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oblast (province), northwestern Russia. It occupies an area of 21,400 square miles (55,300 square km) in the lowland basins of the Lovat, Shelon, and Velikaya rivers, with intervening low, morainic uplands. Much of the surface is covered by peat bog, grass marsh, and lakes-notably Lake Peipus in the northwest-while most of the remainder has mixed forest of spruce, pine, oak, and birch on infertile soils. The average temperatures are 18 F (8 C) in January and 63 F (17 C) in July. Extensive natural pastures support dairying and cattle raising. Flax is the main crop and the basis for the local linen industry. Fodder crops, potatoes, rye, and oats are also grown. Apart from Pskov city, the oblast headquarters, the other cities are small and are concerned chiefly with processing local agricultural products. About two-thirds of the population is urban. Pop. (2002) 760,810; (2006 est.) 724,594.