a city, the administrative center of El’nia Raion, Smolensk Oblast, RSFSR.
Situated on the upper reaches of the Desna River, 82 km southeast of Smolensk, El’nia is a highway junction and has a station on the Smolensk-Sukhinichi railroad line. The city has a flax-processing plant, a cheese factory, a brickworks, and a wagon and sledge plant. An agricultural technicum and a museum of history and local lore are located in El’nia. It came into existence in 1150 as a fortified point and has been a city since 1776.
In the battle of Smolensk in 1941, during the Great Patriotic War, stubborn fighting took place from July 19 to September 8 in the vicinity of El’nia between Soviet troops of the Twenty-fourth and Forty-third Reserve Front armies and the German Fourth Army. Having inflicted serious losses on two enemy tank divisions and one motorized division (which were withdrawn and replaced with five infantry divisions), Soviet troops on August 30 counterattacked strongly with six infantry, two motorized infantry, and two tank divisions. By September 9 the Soviet forces had advanced 24 km, eliminating the El’nia salient. El’nia was liberated the night of September 5. In the August and September fighting in the vicinity of El’nia, nine German divisions were defeated.