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(from 1825 to 1931 the stanitsa [large cossack village] of Batalpashinskaia; from 1931 to 1939 the city of Batal-pashinsk), a city and the administrative center of Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast, Stavropol’ Krai, RSFSR. Situated on the right bank of the Kuban’ River. Railroad station on the Nevinnomysskaia-Dzheguta line, a spur of the Armavir-Baku railroad line. Population, 85,000 (1977; 29,000 in 1939, 42,000 in 1959,67,000 in 1970).
Cherkessk was founded in 1804 as a military fortress on the Kuban’ fortifications line at the place where the Russian Army defeated the Turkish military leader Batal Pasha in 1790. It became a district capital of Kuban’ Oblast in 1860 and the capital of an otdel (military department) of the oblast in 1886. Cherkessk is the starting point of the Sukhumi Military Road, which was built between 1828 and 1878. In 1922 it became the administrative center of Karachai-Cherkess Autonomous Oblast.
In addition to light industry, Cherkessk has sizable machine-building, chemical, electrical-engineering, building-materials, and food-processing industries. The city has plants for the manufacture of refrigeration equipment, chemical products, industrial rubber goods, low-voltage equipment, and cement. Educational institutions include a branch of the Stavropol’ Polytechnic Institute, a road transportation technicum, and pedagogical, medical, and music schools. Cherkessk has scientific research institutes of economics, history, and language and literature, a museum of local lore, and a drama theater.