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Rzhev(ərzhĕf`), city (1989 est. pop. 70,000), NW European Russia, on the Volga River and on a major rail line to Moscow. It has textile plants and repair shops for railroad equipment. Rzhev, an ancient trade center, was controlled by the Smolensk principality in the 12th cent. and taken by Novgorod in 1216. During World War II it was fortified by the Germans as a major bastion on their northern defense line.
a city under oblast jurisdiction and administrative center of Rzhev Raion, Kalinin Oblast, RSFSR. Located on the Volga River, 123 km southwest of the city of Kalinin. Junction of the Moscow-Riga and Leningrad-Briansk railroad lines. Population, 68,000 (1975; 54,000 in 1939).
Known since the early 11th century, Rzhev was part of the Smolensk Principality. From 1225 it was the seat of an appanage principality. In the 14th century it was annexed by the Muscovite state. From the early 18th century it was part of St. Petersburg Province, becoming a district capital in 1775. From 1796 it was part of Tver’ Province. A railroad was built in 1870. Soviet power was established in Rzhev in October 1917. Rzhev was an okrug center of Zapadnaia Oblast from 1929 and has been a raion center of Kalinin Oblast since 1935. On Oct. 14, 1941, Rzhev was captured by the fascist German aggressors, and in early 1942 the approaches to the city were the scenes of bitter fighting. On Mar. 3, 1943, the Soviet Army liberated Rzhev in the course of the Rzhev-Viaz’ma Operation.
Rzhev has a plant for the production of automotive electrical equipment, a plant for the production of cranes, a repair and machine shop, a flax-combing factory, a furniture combine, and enterprises of the building-materials and food industries. Rzhev also has a machine-building technicum, a sovkhoz-tech-nicum, medical and music schools, and a museum of local lore.
REFERENCESVishniakov, M. M. Rzhev: K istorii goroda i raiona. Moscow, 1969.
Vboiakh za Rzhev. Moscow, 1973.