The Kuban river is one of the largest rivers in southern Russia. It originates in the northern Caucasus on Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, flows north towards Stavropol, and then turns west through Krasnodar before flowing into the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea 870 kilometers later. Over the course of the 20th century, the river’s waters were gradually tamed in order to make the Kuban region usable for agriculture. At the behest of Soviet leadership, the area around Krasnodar was intensively developed for rice production starting around 1930. Hydraulic engineers flooded tens of thousands of hectares of farmland, dug hundreds of canals, and built dozens of water barriers. The greatest achievement was the completion of the Krasnodar reservoir in 1975 which, with a volume of over three billion cubic meters, is larger than Lake Starnberg in Bavaria.