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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city and the administrative center of Cheliabinsk Oblast, RSFSR; an important economic, cultural, and scientific center of the Soviet Union and a major transportation junction. Situated on the eastern slopes of the Southern Urals, on the banks of the Miass River of the Ob’ River basin. Area, 486 sq km. Population, 1,007,000 (1977; 20,000 in 1897, 59,000 in 1926, 273,000 in 1939, 689,000 in 1959, 875,000 in 1970). The city is divided into six urban districts.

Cheliabinsk was founded in 1736 as a Russian fortress on the site of the Bashkir settlement of Seliaba (Cheliaba). In 1743 it was designated a city and the capital of the subprovince of Iset’. In early 1774 it was occupied by detachments of E. I. Pugachev. In 1781, Cheliabinsk became a district capital of Ekaterinburg Subprovince, in Perm’ (later Ufa) Namestnichestvo (Vicegerency); in 1796 it became the capital of Orenburg Province.

In the 1890’s, with the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad and a rail line to Ekaterinburg, Cheliabinsk became a major transportation and commercial center, through which grain from Western Siberia was shipped. Industry underwent rapid development. At the beginning of the 20th century the city had several metallurgical plants, 15 tanneries, and three railroad depots; these establishments employed a total of 1,500 workers. In 1896 the Ural Labor Union was organized in Cheliabinsk, and in 1903 a group of the Ural Union of the RSDLP was formed. Soviet power was established in the city on Oct. 26 (Nov. 8), 1917. In May 1918, Cheliabinsk was captured by White Czechs (seeCZECHOSLOVAK CORPS MUTINY OF 1918). The city was liberated during the Cheliabinsk Operation of 1919.

In the Soviet period Cheliabinsk has become a major industrial and cultural center of the Urals. In 1933 the Cheliabinsk Tractor Works went into operation. The city became the administrative center of Cheliabinsk Oblast in 1934. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45 approximately 60 industrial enterprises were evacuated to the city, whose industries produced a wide variety of war matériel.

Cheliabinsk is one of the country’s major industrial centers, with ferrous metallurgy, machine building, and food processing constituting the leading industries. The largest plants include the fully integrated Cheliabinsk Metallurgical Plant, the Teplopribor Plant, the Cheliabzhivmash Plant, a zinc refinery, a machine shop, and a watch factory. Other major plants produce steel pipes and pressings, road-construction machinery, machine tools, truck trailers, electric machines, and abrasives. The city’s production association for the manufacture of tractors includes a tractor factory and a plant for the production of tractor parts; both turn out tractors for industry and for construction work.

The chemical industry is represented by a paint and varnish plant and a chemical and pharmaceuticals plant. Light industry is represented by a tannery and by spinning and weaving, footwear, and knitwear factories. Enterprises of the food-processing industry include a meat-packing combine, a flour mill, a milk combine, and pasta and confectionary factories. The highly developed building-materials industry includes brickyards and plants for the manufacture of metal structural members, houses assembled from precast panels, and gypsum-plaster products; there are also wood-products combines. The city has several district heat and power plants, and electricity is provided by the Ural Power Grid.

Cheliabinsk is situated at the junction of two railroad trunk lines: the Moscow-Kuibyshev-Ufa-Cheliabinsk-Kurgan-Omsk-Novosibirsk line, which runs from east to west, and the Polunochnoe-Serov-Nizhnii Tagil-Sverdlovsk-Cheliabinsk-Orsk-Kandagach line, which runs from north to south. An additional line to the Northern Urals passes through Kamensk-Ural’-skii. Cheliabinsk is a junction for highways that serve the oblast and republic, and it has an airport. Two pipelines that pass through the city, the Middle Asia-Urals and the Northern Tiumen’ Oblast-Urals, supply the city with natural gas.

In the Soviet period Cheliabinsk has been rebuilt and modernized. The city center has grown up around the intersection of two main arteries—Kirov and Lenin streets—and Revolution Square, which has a monument to V. I. Lenin (bronze and granite, 1959, sculptors L. N. Golovnitskii and V. S. Zaikov, architect E. V. Aleksandrov). The downtown area includes the building of the oblast executive committee (1936–37, architects P. V. Kukhtenkov and A. P. Maksimov, engineer D. G. Vinogradov), the building of the oblast committee of the CPSU (1938, architect I. A. Golombek), the M. I. Glinka Theater of Opera and Ballet (1954, architect N. P. Kurennoi), and the Palace of Sports (1967, architects S. D. Filimonov, V. N. Malyshev, and T. M. Erval’d, engineer V. V. Korzhevskii). Of particular interest is the monument to the Komsomol heroes of the October Revolution and the Civil War in the Urals, entitled Young Eagle (bronze and granite, 1958, sculptor L. N. Golovnitskii, architect E. V. Aleksandrov).

Housing construction, which is being carried out on a large scale, has resulted in numerous mikroraions (basic units in city planning), including those along Gorky Street (1958–59, architects T. N. Druzhinina and others) and along Salute and Turist streets (1963–76, architects E. V. Aleksandrov and others). Large public buildings have been constructed, including a trade center (1975, architects F. Kh. Selitskii, V. I. Zhdanovskaia, and L. A. Ragozin), a complex of residential buildings and shops on Lenin Prospect (1975, architects B. V. Petrov, I. V. Talalai, and B. A. Baranov), and the complex that comprises the house of political education, the archives of the oblast committee of the CPSU, and a headquarters of the central district committee of the CPSU (1975, architect I. V. Talalai).

In addition to a university, Cheliabinsk has a polytechnic institute, an institute of the mechanization and electrification of agriculture, and institutes of medicine, physical culture, pedagogy, and culture. The city also has numerous scientific research and design institutes, the largest of which include Cheliabgiprotiazhmash and Cheliabgipromez, and 22 secondary specialized educational institutions.

In 1903 a theater, the People’s House, was built in Cheliabinsk; performances were staged primarily by amateur companies. In 1976 the city’s cultural institutions included the S. Tsvilling Cheliabinsk Drama Theater; the M. I. Glinka Cheliabinsk Theater of Opera and Ballet, which had moved from its old building; the Puppet Theater (founded 1935); the Young People’s Theater (founded 1965); and a philharmonic society, which has its own concert hall. The city has a museum of local lore and an art gallery.

As of Jan. 1,1977, Cheliabinsk had 50 hospitals, with a total of 14,600 beds (14.2 beds per 1,000 inhabitants). By contrast, in 1913 it had 4 hospitals, with a total of 175 beds (2.8 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), and in 1940 it had 15 hospitals, with a total of 2,700 beds (9.7 beds per 1,000 inhabitants). As of Jan. 1, 1977, there were 5,200 physicians, or one physician per 198 inhabitants, as opposed to 14 physicians (one per 4,400 inhabitants) in 1913 and 400 physicians (one per 686 inhabitants) in 1940. The city also had 11,700 secondary medical personnel in 1977, as opposed to 1,400 in 1940. Cheliabinsk has 487 preschool institutions, and eight childrens’ sanitoriums are located within the city limits.


Samsonov, V. F. Pamiatnoe: Po mestam revoliutsionnoi, boievoi i trudovoi slavy Cheliabinska. Cheliabinsk, 1968.
Cheliabinsk: Desiat’puteshestvii po gorodu. Cheliabinsk, 1971.
Cheliabinsk: Proshloe, nastoiashchee, budushchee. Cheliabinsk, 1971. (Contains a list of suggested reading.)
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
A Czech troop train at Cheliabinsk station, just east of the Urals, found itself alongside a train load of Hungarian prisoners being evacuated from Siberia for repatriation.
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Kambar Pusurov, Chair of Kyrgyz Diaspora in Cheliabinsk Oblast, Russia 34.