Electrical Engineering Industry

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Electrical Engineering Industry


the branch of industry that manufactures electrical engineering products for the generation, transmission, and consumption of electric energy. The industry arose in the 1880’s and developed at a particularly rapid rate in Germany and the USA, where it was monopolized from its inception by the largest industrial corporations.

Subsidiaries of a number of foreign companies were established in prerevolutionary Russia in the last part of the 19th century. After the October Revolution of 1917 the establishment of a domestic industry was tied to the implementation of Lenin’s GOELRO plan. The country’s first scientific electrical engineering center, the State Experimental Electrical Engineering Institute (now the V. I. Lenin All-Union Electrical Engineering Institute), was founded in 1921. By 1924 the electrical engineering industry had restored its output to the 1913 level of production.

During the prewar five-year plans (1929–40), the electrical engineering industry developed in Leningrad, Moscow, and Kharkov. The industry’s output included all the basic types of power and low-current equipment. At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, a substantial percentage of the enterprises were relocated to the Volga Region, the Urals, Siberia, and Middle Asia, where electrical engineering equipment was manufactured for the defense of the country. After the war the industry was reconstructed and developed at a rapid pace. In 1948 the volume of electrical engineering products manufactured reached the 1940 level, and in 1955 it exceeded the 1940 level by a factor of 8. During the period large electrical engineering complexes were created in the Azerbaijan SSR, Armenian SSR, Byelorussian SSR, Georgian SSR, Moldavian SSR, Uzbek SSR, and Ukrainian SSR, as well as in the Baltic republics, the Volga Region, and Siberia, which made possible a continuous increase in the country’s production of electrical equipment (see Table 1).

Table 1. Production of the most important types of electrical engineering equipment in the USSR
Generators for turbines (million kW) ...............
Large electric machines (thousand units) ...............
AC electric motors rated in excess of 100kW (thousand units) ...............3.115.819.528.037.8
AC electric motors rated at 0.25–100 kW (thousand units) ...............2617872,8505,8378,513
Power transformers (million kVA) ...............3.510.249.4106144

The electrical engineering industry manufactures high-power electrical equipment to specifications that conform to the world level of scientific and technological development. The equipment includes two-pole turbine generators having a power of 800 megawatts (MW), hydroelectric generators with power ratings up to 500 MW, high-voltage equipment capable of handling 750 kilovolts (kV), semiconductor converters with power ratings up to 10 MW, ore heat-treating furnaces with ratings up to 72 megavolt amperes, and electric machines of all types.

With the rapid increase in production rates and the appearance of new technological developments, the production of radio engineering equipment, communications hardware, electrical measuring instruments, and automotive electrical equipment was made separate from the manufacturing operations of the electrical engineering industry.

The leading production associations of the electrical engineering industry are Elektrosila, Zaporozhtransformator, Dinamo, Uralelektrotiazhmash, Svetotekhnika, and Moskabel’. Major plants include the Vladimir Il’ich Moscow Electrical Machinery Plant, the Elektrotiazhmash Plant in Kharkov and the Kharkov Electrical Machinery Plant (KhEMZ), the Novocherkassk Electric Locomotive Plant (NEVZ), the Elektrik Plant in Leningrad, and the Sibelektrotiazhmash Plant in Novosibirsk.

Electrical engineering draws heavily on the advances of modern science. Its scientific base comprises various scientific research, design, and production technology organizations, including scientific research centers for high-voltage equipment (the V. I. Lenin All-Union Electrical Engineering Institute), large-scale electric machine building (the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Electric Machine Building VNH Elektromash), transformer manufacture (the All-Union Institute of Transformers, VIT), electrothermal equipment (the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Electrothermal Equipment,

Table 2. Production of electrical engineering equipment in the COMECON countries
Generators for steam and gas turbines (MW)
Bulgaria ...............
Czechoslovakia ...............1,0237761,1661,248
German Democratic Republic ...............551815142192
Hungary ...............347416473752
Poland ...............1774251,3901,290
Rumania ...............512681834
Power transformers (million kVA)
Bulgaria ...............1.172.673.263.29
Czechoslovakia ...............4.265.886.077.73
German Democratic Republic ...............5.507.169.0411.41
Hungary ...............2.252.833.56
Poland ...............3.045.468.7413.93
Rumania ...............1.584.138.7715.97

VNIIETO), electric welding equipment manufacture (the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Electric Welding Equipment, VNIIESO), lighting equipment manufacture (the All-Union Scientific Research, Design, and Technological Institute of Illuminating Engineering, VNISI), and the cable industry (the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of the Cable Industry, VNIIKP).

During the ninth five-year plan (1971–75) the output of products increased by a factor of 1.5 compared with figures for the eighth five-year plan (1966–70), labor productivity rose by 39 percent, more than 6,000 new items went into production, and one-third of the products carried the state seal of quality.

During the tenth five-year plan (1976–80) production was initiated for unique two-pole turbine generators with a power rating of 1.2 gigawatts, electrical equipment for very long DC transmission lines rated at 1,500 kV and AC transmission lines rated at 1,150 kV, electric locomotives with power ratings in excess of 8,000 kilowatts (kW), and explosion-proof electric equipment for voltages of 1,140 kV.

The USSR cooperates with other socialistic countries in the electrical engineering industry by means of socialist economic integration. Production of the principal types of electric equipment has increased over relatively short periods (see Table 2), and the requirements of the member countries of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) have been met. Since 1974 the electrical engineering industries of the COMECON countries and the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have been coordinated within the framework of Interelektro (International Electric), an international organization for economic, scientific, and technical collaboration, which has made it possible to solve important problems in the field.

The USSR provides technical assistance in the construction of electrical engineering enterprises in a number of developing countries (India, Iraq, and others), and it exports finished electrical engineering products to many countries.

In the leading capitalist countries the electrical engineering industry typically exhibits a high degree of monopolization and

Table 3. Production of the most important types of electrical engineering equipment in the USA and the Federal Republic of Germany (in millions of US dollars, 1973 rate of exchange)
Electric machines (including turbine generators)   
USA ...............1,8232,8374,820
FRG ...............3477711,341
USA ...............6659211,540
FRG ...............149315478
High-voltage equipment   
USA ...............7601,2992,205
FRG ...............84145303

concentration. For example, more than 50 percent of the electrical engineering output derives from the 11 largest electrical engineering companies in the world, namely, General Electric Company and Westinghouse Electric Corporation (USA), Siemens and AEG-Telefunken (Federal Republic of Germany), Matsushita Electric Industrial, Hitachi, and Toshiba (Japan), General Electric Company (Great Britain), Compagnie Générale d’Electricité (France), ASEA (Sweden), and WW SERVICES AG (Switzerland). The production of high-power electrical engineering equipment is growing at a rapid rate (see Table 3).


Malerialy XXV s”ezda KPSS. Moscow, 1977.
Razvitie elektrotekhniki v SSSR. Moscow, 1962.
Elektrotekhnicheskaia promyshlennost’ SSSR, [1917–1967 gg.]. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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