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Chkalov(chkä`ləf), city (1989 pop. 547,000), capital of Orenburg region, Central Asian Russia, on the Ural River. It is a major rail junction where the Trans-Caspian RR, the Central Asian RR, and the Samara-Orenburg line meet. Other industries produce agricultural machines and machine tools, elevator equipment, leather goods, clothing, foods, and silk. Founded in 1735 as a fortress, Orenburg resisted (1773–74) a siege by Pugachev. It became a center for Russian trade with Kazakhstan and central Asia. It was called Chkalov from 1938 to 1957.
(from 1938 through 1957, Chkalov), a city and administrative center of Orenburg Oblast, RSFSR. Located on the Ural River, near the Ural’s confluence with the Sakmara River. Junction of railroad lines to Kuibyshev, Aktiubinsk, and Orsk. Has grown rapidly during Soviet years. Population, 400,000 (1974; 123,000 in 1926, 172,000 in 1939, and 267,000 in 1959).
Orenburg was founded as a fortress in 1735 on the site of the present-day city of Orsk (hence the name “Orenburg,” or “the city at the mouth of the Or’ River”). In 1740 it was moved to a new site lower on the Ural River, and in 1743 it was transferred to its present location. In the 18th and the first half of the 19th century, Orenburg was the principal fortress on the Orenburg Military Frontier Line (abolished in 1862). On Mar. 15, 1744, it became the capital of Orenburg Province, and in 1748 the military headquarters and administrative center of the Orenburg Cossack Host. From 1850 through 1881 it was the center of a governor-generalship, and from 1868 the residence of the governor of Turgai Oblast. Orenburg was a major center of Russian trade with Kazakhstan and Middle Asia. In 1734 the Orenburg Expedition was formed in the city for the purpose of organizing trade with the peoples of Middle Asia. From Oct. 5, 1773, through Mar. 23, 1774, the city was besieged by the troops of E. I. Pugachev. Under tsarism it was a place of exile. At the end of the 18th century the Decembrist-like Orenburg Circle was formed.
Industry in Orenburg—flour milling, fat rendering, leather processing, and vegetable-oil extraction—began developing upon the completion of the Samara-Orenburg Railroad (1877) and the Orenburg-Tashkent Railroad (1905). In 1912 the city had 37 factories and plants, with 1,794 workers, as well as 7,135 artisans. The principal railroad workshops of the Tashkent Railroad employed about 2,000 workers.
The first group of the RSDLP in Orenburg was formed in March 1905. The city’s workers took an active part in the October All-Russian Political Strike of 1905. At the beginning of March 1917, soviets of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies were formed. On the night of Nov. 15 (28), 1917, power in Orenburg was seized by the ataman A. I. Dutov. On Jan. 18 (31), 1918, the White Cossacks were driven out of the city, but on July 3, Dutov again took control of the city. On Jan. 22, 1919, Orenburg was liberated by the Red Army. Orenburg workers waged a heroic defense against units of Kolchak and Dutov from April to June 1919. By a decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee, in 1920 the workers of Orenburg were awarded the Honorary Revolutionary Banner for their defense of the city. The Constituent Congress of Soviets of Kirghiz Krai, which established the Kirghiz ASSR (now the Kazakh SSR), was convoked in Orenburg on Oct. 4, 1920. Orenburg was the capital of the Kirghiz ASSR from 1920 to 1925 and has been the administrative center of Orenburg Oblast, RSFSR, since 1934.
Orenburg’s major industries—machine building and metalworking—produce machine tools and instruments (the Metallist and Gidropress plants, among others), drilling equipment, parts for tractors and combines, machinery for the food-processing industry, and electromechanical and refrigeration equipment. There is a large plant for servicing rolling stock. Other enterprises include a technical rubber-goods plant, a petroleum lubricants plant, and building-materials enterprises. The exploitation of a major gas deposit near Orenburg has stimulated the city’s growth. Major branches of the food-processing industry include flour milling; the production of groats, mixed feed, and vegetable oils; and meat packing. Other industries produce leather footwear, felt boots, and knitwear and other garments. There is a large combine producing silk fabrics and a combine for the famous Orenburg shawls. Orenburg carries out important commercial distributory and procurement functions, particularly in the storage and reshipment of grain products.
The center of Orenburg historically was within the fortress (1743); remains of the city gate have been preserved. Among the architectural landmarks are a shopping arcade (1749–54) and an eclectic caravansary (1836–42, architect A. P. Briullov). Since the 1930’s, Orenburg has been undergoing rebuilding—intensive housing, industrial, and park construction has been carried on, primarily in the northern and eastern sections. The latest general plan for Orenburg was adopted in 1969 (architects M. V. Komarov and F. I. Ianson). There is a monument to V. I. Lenin near the House of Soviets (bronze and granite, raised in 1963; sculptor V. B. Pinchuk, architect A. I. Lapirov). Orenburg has polytechnic, agricultural, medical, and pedagogical institutes, as well as 15 specialized secondary schools, including technicums specializing in machine-tool building, railroad transport, automotive transport, mechanized calculation, and cooperatives. Orenburg also has a dramatic theater, a musical comedy theater, a puppet theater, a philharmonic society, and museums of local lore and fine arts.
REFERENCESRaiskii, P. D. Putevoditel’ po g. Orenburgu s ocherkom ego proshlogo i nastoiashchego. Orenburg, 1915.
Borisov, A. Ia. Orenburg, 2nd ed. Cheliabinsk, 1968.
I. V. KOMAR and S. A. POPOV