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a city and administrative center of Semi-palatinsk Oblast, Kazakh SSR. Situated on both banks of the Irtysh River. Landing on the right bank; railroad station. Population, 271,000 (1975; 57,000 in the 1926 census, 110,000 in 1939, and 156,000 in 1959).
Semipalatinsk was founded in 1718 as a fortress at a site 18 km farther downstream on the Irtysh and was moved to its present site in 1776. Prior to 1782, it was named Semipalatka, after the number of buildings located near the fortress. In the 18th century the city was a center of transit trade. In 1745 it became part of Siberian Province, and in 1782, a district capital. In 1796 it became part of Tomsk Province, and in 1854 an oblast administrative center. At the end of the 19th century, Semipalatinsk was a place of political exile. Soviet power was established in the city on Feb. 16, 1918. In 1918 and 1919 the city was held by White Guards. From 1920 to 1928 it was the administrative center of a province, and from 1928 to 1932, center of a district. In 1932 it became the administrative center of Vostochnyi Kazakhstan Oblast, and in 1939, administrative center of Semipalatinsk Oblast. In 1930 the Turkestan-Siberian Railroad reached Semipalatinsk.
During the years of Soviet power, Semipalatinsk has grown into one of the republic’s important industrial centers. Light industry and the food-processing industry are the principal economic activities. Semipalatinsk’s share in the production of consumer goods in the republic is 35 percent. The city is the site of Kazakhstan’s largest factories, which produce footwear, worsted fabric, and knitwear. In addition to the Bol’shevichka Clothing Firm, there is a factory for processing raw wool and a leather and fur combine. Among the city’s food-processing enterprises is one of the largest meat-packing combines in the Soviet Union. There are plants producing fittings, cables, concrete, and building materials, and there is a facility for ship repair.
Educational institutions in Semipalatinsk include zootechni-cal-veterinary, medical, and pedagogical institutes, a branch of the Dzhambul Technological Institute of Light Industry and Food Processing, a department of the Ust’-Kamenogorsk Institute of Road Construction, and 14 specialized secondary schools. There are Russian and Kazakh drama theaters and a museum of local lore.
During the 1850’s, Ch. Ch. Valikhanov was in military service in Semipalatinsk, and F. M. Dostoevsky was forced to serve as a soldier in the city. Abai Kunanbaev at different times studied and lived in the city. There are literary memorial museums in honor of F. M. Dostoevsky and Abai Kunanbaev.
REFERENCESSemipalatinsku—250 let. Alma-Ata, 1968.
Cherepanov, D. F. Imena na obeliskakh. Alma-Ata, 1970.