a city in Minsk Oblast, the Byelorussian SSR, located on the Usha River (a tributary of the Vilia), 72 km northwest of Minsk. Junction of railroads (lines to Vilnius, Polotsk, Minsk, and Grodno) and highways (routes to Minsk, Vilnius, Miadel’, and Volozhin). Population, 58,000 in 1973 (6,600 in 1939; 26,300 in 1959; 50,000 in 1970).
Molodechno was first mentioned in the chronicles in the late 14th century. From 1796 it was part of the vicegerency (later, the province) of Vilno. During the Patriotic War of 1812 the vanguard of General E. I. Chaplits’ Russian army defeated the French rear guard of Marshal C. Victor-Perrin near Molodechno on Nov. 22–23, 1812. The city was part of bourgeois Poland from 1919 to 1939. In September 1939, Molodechno, as part of the western Byelorussian territories, was reunited with the Byelorussian SSR. It was officially designated a city in 1940. From June 26, 1941, to July 5, 1944, the city was occupied by fascist German troops, who did a great deal of damage. Under the postwar five-year plan, the city was completely reconstructed.
Molodechno became an important industrial center during the postwar period. There are plants manufacturing metal structural components, semiconductor valves, machine tools, (drill presses), metal articles, and reinforced-concrete goods. Food-processing enterprises include a meat-packing plant, a fruit cannery, a food combine, and a milk plant. Light industry is represented by clothing and footwear factories, the furniture industry, and enterprises for railroad transport maintenance. Musical instruments and handicraft items are produced. A secondary specialized polytechnic, an accounting and planning technicum, and a music school are located in Molodechno. The city has a museum of local lore. There are three people’s theaters.