a branch of light industry that processes raw fur and sheepskin and manufactures various fur products. In prerevolutionary Russia the fur industry was, for the most part, a seasonal handicraft. The first Russian fur factories were founded in the late 19th century. Most of the pelts were sold in their natural state, but a limited number were colored with vegetable dyes.
The Soviet fur industry was established during the prewar five-year plans (1929–40). Large new fur enterprises were built and old ones were modernized in Moscow, Kazan, Leningrad, and Kharkov and in Kirov Oblast. The Central Research Laboratory, which was renamed the All-Union Scientific Research Institute for the Fur Industry (VNIIMP) in 1943, was organized. Processing technology was perfected, and enterprises were outfitted with new equipment. In 1940 the output of the fur industry was 11 times greater than in 1928.
During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) the fur industry provided the Soviet Army with warm clothing. In the postwar period a number of large enterprises and factories were built, including the Trud fur dressing and sewing factory of the Moscow industrial fur association, as well as dye factories for processing sheepskins in Bel’tsy (Moldavian SSR) and Kaunas (Lithuanian SSR). A number of enterprises were modernized. As a result of the upsurge in agriculture and the development of fur farming, there has been an increase in the processing of a number furs, especially mink, blue fox, silver fox, and rabbit, as well as Karakul and sheepskin. This has made possible a significant expansion in the manufacturing of fur goods. A recently developed and mastered technique for dressing sheepskins has improved the quality and external appearance of the goods and made it possible to offer a wider selection. In 1950, 33.5 percent of the total number of sheepskins were dressed, and in 1972, 59 percent.
The largest enterprises of the fur industry are located in the RSFSR, the Ukrainian SSR, the Lithuanian SSR, the Moldavian SSR, and the Kazakh SSR. Specialization, cooperation, and coordination in production have developed in the fur industry.
Between 1950 and 1972 the output of fur coats in the USSR increased from 196,700 to 339,000; the output of children’s coats, from 492,500 to 1,443,000; of collars, from 5,747,000 to 21,762,000; and of hats, from 7,772,000 to 30,672,000. Some raw furs, semifinished products, and fur goods are exported.
The plan for the development of the fur industry is aimed primarily at increasing the industry’s capacity and at producing collars and hats, the items that are in greatest demand. Enterprises of the fur industry will be modernized and technologically reequipped, production will be further mechanized, and the technology for processing raw fur and sheepskins with new dyes, detergents, auxiliary substances, and industrial enzymes will be improved. More items will be produced by the molding method with improved trimming materials. The production of fur fabrics will be expanded, and automated systems for controlling production will be developed and introduced.
The fur industry is also developing in foreign socialist countries—Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Rumania. Some of the fur products made in these countries are exported.
In the capitalist countries the fur industry is most highly developed in the USA, the Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Canada.
REFERENCESGosudarstvennyi piatiletnii plan razvitiia narodnogo khoziaistva SSSR na 1971–1975 gody. Moscow, 1972.
Razvitie mekhovoi promyshlennosti v SSSR. Moscow, 1958.
Kaplin, A. A. Sovetskaia pushnina. Moscow, 1962.
Novikov, E. M. Ekonomika, organizatsiia i planirovanie mekhovogo proizvodstva. Moscow, 1967.
S. A. KLOCHKOV and A. P. POTSELUEVA