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(tŏmsk, Rus. tômsk), city (1989 pop. 502,000), capital of Tomsk region, W central Siberian Russia, on the Tom River. It is a major river port and freight transit point, and is a regional headquarters for oil exploration and production companies. Machine tools, electric motors, ball bearings, instruments, and chemicals are made there. Founded in 1604 around a fort built by Boris Godunov, Tomsk was a major Siberian trade center until bypassed by the construction of the Trans-Siberian RR in the 1890s. It is a major educational center of Siberia, with a university (founded 1880) and a medical school (founded 1888).
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city and administrative center of Tomsk Oblast, RSFSR. River port on the right bank of the Tom’ River 60 km from its confluence with the Ob’. Linked by the Belyi Iar–Asino–Taiga railroad line with the Trans-Siberian Railroad. An important transfer point for river and railroad traffic; site of an airport. Population, 400,000 (1975; 52,000 in 1897, 145,000 in 1939, 249,000 in 1959, and 338,000 in 1970). Tomsk has three city raions.

Founded in 1604, Tomsk was a provincial administrative center from 1804 to 1925. With the increase in gold production in Tomsk and Eniseisk provinces that began in the late 1830’s, Tomsk grew into an important trade and transit center. In 1896, during construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad, a branch line was extended to Tomsk, and the city became an important economic and cultural center of Siberia. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, 1,600 workers were employed in Tomsk, mainly in railroad workshops and printing establishments. The first university in Asiatic Russia was organized in Tomsk in 1880, opening officially in 1888. In 1896 the first Siberian higher technical educational institution—an institute of technology—was organized; the institute opened in 1900.

In the 1880’s, Tomsk became a place of exile. The influence of the political exiles was felt in the revolutionary movement in the city. In 1894 the first Marxist student circle was formed at the university, and in 1896 a Social Democratic group appeared among the printers. On the initiative of the Tomsk Social Democrats, the Siberian Union of the RSDLP was created in 1901, and in 1903 a city RSDLP organization was formed in Tomsk. With the firing on workers in St. Petersburg on Jan. 9, 1905, a demonstration was organized in Tomsk on January 18; troops were used to disperse the demonstrators. Among those active in the revolutionary movement in Tomsk were S. M. Kirov (1904–08) and V. V. Kuibyshev (1907–10). Soviet power was proclaimed on Dec. 6 (19), 1917. The Tomsk soviet dissolved the counterrevolutionary Siberian Regional Duma on Jan. 26 (Feb. 8), 1918. White Guards and Socialist Revolutionaries then formed the illegal Provisional Siberian Government. On May 31, 1918, Tomsk fell to White Guards as a consequence of the counterrevolutionary mutiny of the Czechoslovak Corps. It was liberated by the Red Army on Dec. 22, 1919. Tomsk has been an oblast administrative center since 1944.

During the years of socialist construction, Tomsk has been transformed into one of the most important industrial centers of Western Siberia. The city’s enterprises account for approximately three-fourths of the total industrial output of Tomsk Oblast. The leading sectors of industry are machine building and metalworking, producing electrical equipment, bearings, instruments, office equipment, calculating machines, and mining equipment. In addition to the Sibkabel’ Production Association and the Sibelektromotor Plant, there are plants producing bearings, electric lamps, electromechanical devices, cutting apparatus, and manometers. There are also factories for rubber footwear, chemical and pharmaceutical products, clothing, pencils, matches, and furniture. Tomsk has construction enterprises and plants producing construction materials. The food-processing industry is represented by enterprises producing meat, flour, dairy products, yeast, and confectionery.

Tomsk has a regular, fan-shaped layout dating from the 1830 plans of architect V. I. Geste. In the mid-19th century, administrative, public, and residential buildings in the classical style were built in Tomsk after the model designs of architects P. V. Raevskii, A. P. Deev, and A. A. Aref’ev. Examples can be seen in the magistrat (body for urban administration based on a social-estate principle) building (1802–12), the provincial administration building (1830–42, architect A. P. Deev; today the Siberian Institute of Physics and Technology), and the residential buildings on Lenin Prospect and Karl Marx Street. Also of architectural interest is the Voskresenskaia Church (baroque, 1789–1807). During the Soviet period, new construction has been combined with the reconstruction of streets and squares. In 1968 a general plan for Tomsk was approved (Moscow institute of Giprogor [State Institute of Urban Planning]; plan for the city center by architect V. B. Minkevich). Public buildings constructed during the Soviet period include the classroom building of the Polytechnic Institute (1952–54, architect N. F. Khranenko) and the House of Culture (1957, architect la. A. Kornfel’d). Housing construction is under way in the Kashtak area. Tomsk has several scientific research institutes. Its six institutions of higher learning are the University of Tomsk (the oldest university in Siberia), the Tomsk Polytechnic Institute, the Tomsk Medical Institute, and a civil engineering institute, a pedagogical institute, and an institute of automated control systems and radio electronics. The city has 17 specialized secondary schools, 15 public libraries, two theaters, and a museum of local lore. The Siberian Botanical Garden is located in Tomsk.

In 1913, Tomsk had 18 hospitals, with a total of 1,434 beds; there were 63 doctors, or one for every 40,000 inhabitants. In 1975 there were 29 hospitals, with 6,600 beds, or 16.5 beds per 1,000 inhabitants; doctors numbered 2,100, or one for every 194 inhabitants. (In 1940 there had been 252 doctors, or one for every 574 inhabitants.) Tomsk has 109 preschool facilities, with 13,600 spaces, as compared with 27 facilities and 1,500 spaces in 1940. There are three children’s Sanatoriums, with 375 beds.


Ocherki istoriigoroda Tomska (1604–1954). Tomsk, 1954.
Siniaev, V. S. Pamiatnye mesta g. Tomska. Tomsk, 1957.
Drevniaia arkhitektura Tomska. (Photo album.) Tomsk, 1975.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a city in central Russia: formerly an important gold-mining town and administrative centre for a large area of Siberia; university (1888); engineering industries. Pop.: 486 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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