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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the largest all-Union voluntary sports society of trade unions in the USSR. Spartak includes industrial and nonindustrial workers in state trade, light industry, the food-processing industry, civil aviation, automotive transportation, education, culture, public health, and other fields, as well as members of producers’ cooperatives. Based on physical-culture groups that had been formed in 1925 and 1926 at artels of producers’ cooperatives, it was established as an all-Union physical-culture and sports society of producers’ cooperatives on Apr. 19, 1935, and was reorganized in 1960 as a voluntary sports society of trade unions.

Important figures in the development of Soviet sports from the 1930’s to the 1950’s included such Spartak athletes as Ia. Iu. Spar-re, G. I. Popov, and S. A. Ambartsumian (weight lifting), N. F. Korolev, N. V. Shtein, and I. I. Ganykin (boxing), I. Ia. Anika-nov (speed skating), S. P. Boichenko (swimming), S. I. Znamen-skii and G. I. Znamenskii (track and field), Al. P. Starostin, An. P. Starostin, and N. P. Starostin (soccer), V. M. Abalakov (mountaineering), and N. N. Ozerov (tennis).

Spartak athletes contributed to Soviet victories at major international competitions from the 1950’s through the early 1970’s. Champions and prizewinners at the Olympics and world and European championships have included P. G. Bolotnikov, V. S. Golubnichii, and N. V. Chizhova (track and field), A. V. Aza-rian and G. A. Shaginian (gymnastics), T. V. Petrosian (chess), A. A. Seredina (rowing), B. N. Lagutin (boxing), V. M. Igume-nov and Sh. Sh. Khisamutdinov (wrestling), N. P. Simonian, I. A. Netto, and S. S. Sal’nikov (soccer), B. A. Maiorov, V. I. Starshinov, V. Shadrin, and A. S. Iakushev (ice hockey), A. A. Belov (basketball), L. V. Burda (gymnastics), V. A. Vasin (diving) and M. I. Gusakov and N. I. Gusakov (skiing).

In 1975, Spartak comprised more than 23,000 physical-culture groups, including approximately 100 sports clubs, with a total of more than 6.2 million members. The work of the society is done primarily by unpaid volunteers, including more than 750,000 coaches and instructors and more than 500,000 referees in different sports. Between 1972 and 1974, 2,500 masters of sport and international class masters of sport were trained. Gold medals won by Spartak athletes included 13 at the Olympics, 40 at world championships, 98 at European championships, and 309 at USSR championships. The title of Honored Master of Sport has been awarded to 212 Spartak members, and that of Honored Coach of the USSR to 105.

The Moscow Spartak soccer team has won nine championships and has held the USSR cup nine times. The Spartak women’s handball team from Kiev has won six USSR championships and three play-offs for the European Champion Clubs. The Spartak ice hockey team of Moscow has won the USSR championship four times and the USSR Cup two times. The women’s basketball team of Leningrad won the USSR championship in 1974 and the play-offs for the European championship cup in competitions of national cup-holders from 1972 to 1975. The men’s Leningrad Spartak basketball team has won prizes at the USSR championships, as well as the national championship in 1975.

Spartak athletes participated in more than 40 sports in 1975. As of that year, Spartak had 238 stadiums, 89 swimming pools, approximately 1,800 gymnasiums, and more than 1,300 soccer fields. It had 2,600 health and sports schools for children (with more than 75,000 children) and 73 specialized sports schools for young people (with 22,000 students).

Spartak was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1937. More than 250 of the society’s members have been given government awards for their sports achievements.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.