Udmurt Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Udmurt Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic


(Udmurt ASSR), also Udmurtia, part of the RSFSR. Formed on Nov. 4, 1920, as the Votsk Autonomous Oblast; renamed Udmurt Autonomous Oblast in 1932; converted to an autonomous republic on Dec. 28, 1934. Situated in the Cis-Ural Region, between the Kama and Viatka rivers. Area, 42,100 sq km. Population, 1,463,000 (as of Jan. 1,1976).

Udmurtia is divided into 25 raions and has six cities and 15 urban-type settlements. Its capital is the city of Izhevsk.

Constitution and government. The Udmurt ASSR is a socialist state of all people, expressing the aspirations of all workers, peasants, and the intelligentsia irrespective of their nationality; an autonomous soviet socialist republic. Its present constitution was adopted on May 31,1978, by the Extraordinary Ninth Session of the Ninth Convocation of the Supreme Soviet of the Udmurt ASSR. The highest state bodies are the unicameral Supreme Soviet of the Udmurt ASSR and its presidium. The Supreme Soviet of 200 deputies, elected for a term of five years by equally populated precincts, forms the republic’s government—the Council of Ministers of Udmurtia. The Udmurt ASSR is represented by 11 deputies in the Soviet of Nationalities of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. Local bodies of state power include city, raion, urban-settlement, and village soviets of working people’s deputies, elected by the population for 2½ year terms.

The Supreme Soviet of the Udmurt ASSR elects the republic’s Supreme Court for a five-year term. The court consists of two divisions (for criminal and civil cases) and a presidium. The procurator of the Udmurt ASSR is appointed by the procurator-general of the USSR for a five-year term.

Natural features. The republic occupies a hilly plain, which gradually decreases in elevation from north to south and from east to west. The terrain is broken up by river valleys and ravines. The Upper Kama Upland, with elevations to 330 m, is located in the north. The west is dominated by a poorly drained and somewhat swampy lowland, located in the Kil’mez’ River basin. The small Mozhga and Sarapul uplands, separated by the Izh River and its tributaries, are located in the south. Natural resources include petroleum (the Arkhangel’sk, Chutyrs’-Kiengop, and Mishkino deposits), peat, and building materials, such as quartz sands, clays, and limestones. Udmurtia has numerous mineral springs, including Varzi-Iatchi, Kizner, and Novoizhevskii.

The climate is moderately continental. Winters are cold, and summers are relatively warm. The average January temperature ranges from –15.5°C in the north to –14.2°C in the south. The average July temperature ranges from 17.5°C in the north to 19°C in the south. Precipitation, which varies between 400 and 600 mm annually, is not evenly distributed throughout the year; about three-fifths falls during the growing season, which lasts from late April to late September (with temperature totals of 1700°-2100°C).

The largest river is the Kama, which originates in the northeastern part of the republic. The remaining rivers—the Siva, Izh, Cheptsa, Kil’mez’, and others—belong to the Kama River basin. In the east and southeast the Kama is an important shipping artery, linking Udmurtia with the Western Urals, the Volga Region, and the Central Zone.

Soddy-podzolic soils, podzolized in moderate and extreme degrees, account for three-fourths of the total soil cover. Gray forest soils are found in the south and southeast, and pockets of soddy-carbonate soils are encountered in the east, south, and north. Weakly podzolized bog soils are located primarily in the west and north. The river valleys have alluvial soils.

Forests cover 43.9 percent of the republic’s land area. Southern taiga is widespread in the northern and central sections, while dark evergreen and broad-leaved forests grow in the south. Excessive logging has resulted in a reduction in the reserves of coniferous species. Thirty-eight percent of the forest cover is occupied by spruce forests, 18.2 by pine forests, 27.4 by birch forests, 8.1 by aspen forests, 5.8 by linden forests, and 2.5 by other forests. Extensive forest plantings, particularly of conifers, have been carried out. The most heavily forested parts of Udmurtia are the central section and the extreme north. There are floodplain meadows in the river valleys.

Forest fauna includes the fox, marten, ermine, badger, wolf, and various rodents, such as the squirrel, blue hare, European hares, and voles. Mink and otters live in the rivers. The muskrat has been acclimatized, and beaver preserves have been created. Among the commercially important birds are the hazel hen, capercaillie, grouse, and partridge. The rivers are inhabited by European bream, roach, Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis), tench, ide, burbot, and other fishes.


Population. The indigenous population consists of Udmurts, numbering 484,200 persons (here and below the figures given are from the 1970 census). Also living in Udmurtia are Russians (809,600), Tatars (87,200), Ukrainians (10,300), and other nationalities.

In 1926 the population of Udmurtia totaled 1,025,000, rising to 1,223,000 in 1939, 138,000 in 1959, and 1,418,000 in 1970. The average density is 34.3 persons per sq km (1975). The most densely populated areas are the south and east (45 persons per sq km). The forested and swampy western parts of the republic have significantly lower population densities (ten-12 persons per sq km). The urban population increased from 12.5 percent in 1926 to 65 percent by the beginning of 1976. The most important cities are Izhevsk (population in 1976,522,000), Sarapul (107,000), and Votkinsk (86,000).

Historical survey. The area now occupied by Udmurtia has been settled since remote antiquity, attested to by the Neolithic remains found near the village of Novyi Multan. Surviving from the Bronze Age are remains of the Turbinsk culture (second millennium B.C.), whose people were the ancestors of the Permian Finno-Ugrians. The early Iron Age was represented by the Anan’-ino culture, and the Middle Iron Age, by the P’iany i Bor culture.

Sometime between the third and ninth centuries A.D., in the region between the Viatka and Kama rivers, various tribal unions of Udmurts formed; these Udmurts were the direct forebears of the present-day Udmurts. In the period between the ninth and 14th centuries the population engaged in land cultivation, hunting, and stock raising. Feudalization gradually took place, a large number of Udmurts lived in fortified cities, known as kary.

From the tenth to 12th centuries the Udmurt tribes of the Lower Kama and Viatka regions were under the jurisdiction of Bulgaria on the Volga, and after its decline they were under the yoke of the Golden Horde and Kazan khans, from 1236 to 1552. In 1489 the lands of the Udmurts living along the Middle and Upper Viatka became part of the Russian state as part of Viatka Land. In 1552 the Kama Udmurts voluntarily became Russian subjects. By 1558, all of Udmurtia was incorporated into Russia.

Inclusion within the Russian centralized state facilitated the formation of a single Udmurt nationality. By the end of the 17th century, the lands of the northern Udmurts, which were part of the Karinsk Stan of Khlynov District, were divided into five doli (tax-administrative units). The southern Udmurts lived in the Arsk and Ziuri dorogi (districts) of Kazan Province, which were divided into sotni (“hundreds”). The elective offices in the doli and sotni were in the hands of the wealthy upper stratum of Udmurts and Tatars. In 1780, with the establishment of the Viatka Namestnichestvo in Udmurtia, the Sarapul, Malmyzh, Elabuga, Glazov, and part of the Kai districts were formed.

A system of state feudalism developed: the iasak (tribute) and a duty for maintenance of the strel’tsy (semiprofessional musketeers) combined feudal rent and the state tax. In 1724, with the introduction of the poll tax, most of the peasants became state peasants. Increased feudal exploitation provoked peasant uprisings. Udmurts took part in the Bashkir Uprising of 1662–64 and the Peasant War of 1670–71, under S. T. Razin.

In the mid-18th century the metallurgical industry emerged with the founding of the Bemyzh Copper-smelting Plant and the Pudern, Kambar, and Kama (Izhevsk and Votkinsk) iron works. Thousands of state peasants were conscripted for the Kama plants, and huge tracts of forest were set aside. The plant settlements became centers of trade and industry. The influx of Russians, begun as early as the 13th century, increased. A writing system, based on the Russian alphabet, was devised in the second half of the 18th century. Udmurts took part in the Peasant War of 1773–75, under E. I. Pugachev.

During the first half of the 19th century, the role of industry and trade grew in the economy of Udmurtia. Taxes and obligations were increased, an intensified policy of national oppression was instituted, and harsh working conditions prevailed at the industrial enterprises. Because of these and other factors, the peasants refused to work at the factories or pay the taxes and organized potato riots. During the years 1861–66, serfdom was abolished in Udmurtia, thus creating conditions for the development of capitalism; cottage-type and factory-plant industries increased, steamship navigation developed, and the Perm’-Kotlas Railroad was built. At the end of the 19th century, there were 30 factories and plants, with a total of 12,000 workers, some 50,000 artisans, and tens of thousands of seasonal workers. The peasantry underwent economic and class differentiation. The economic and cultural development of the Udmurt people was hampered both by existing patriarchal and feudal relations and the tsarist policy of social and national oppression.

Udmurts took part in the Revolution of 1905–07. Under the leadership of local Social Democratic organizations, which sprang up in 1902–03, political demonstrations were held in 1905 in the cities and in some villages of Udmurtia; in November a soviet of workers’ deputies was organized in Izhevsk. In 1906 a peasant uprising erupted in the Novyi Multan Volost (small rural district), but it was suppressed by troops. Extensive political work was carried out in the countryside by Udmurt Bolsheviks, including I. A. Nagovitsyn and M. P. Prokop’ev. Although the Stolypin agrarian reform did not eliminate communal land ownership, it did strengthen kulak farms and exacerbate the peasants’ struggle for land.

During World War I (1914–18), the Izhevsk and Votkinsk plants were producing for the front. After the February Revolution of 1917, soviets of workers’ and soldiers’ deputies were organized in Udmurtia.

As a result of the Great October Socialist Revolution of Oct. 27 (Nov. 9), 1917, Soviet power was established in Izhevsk, and by March 1918, soviets were organized throughout Udmurtia. In June 1918 the First All-Russian Congress of Udmurts adopted a resolution providing for the voluntary inclusion of Udmurtia into the RSFSR. On July 31,1918, the People’s Commissariat for Nationalities established within its own jurisdiction an Udmurt (Votyak) section, which prepared the way for the Udmurt people’s autonomy. In April 1919 Udmurtia was seized by Kolchak’s troops, which were driven out in June 1919 by the Red Army with the support of the toiling masses. On Nov. 4,1920, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People’s Commissars of the RSFSR issued a decree providing for the formation of the Votsk Autonomous Oblast (the name “Votyak” was used in tsarist Russia and until the early 1930’s for the Udmurts); in 1932 the oblast was renamed Udmurt Autonomous Oblast, after the Udmurt people’s own name for themselves. Owing to the aid of the Russians and other peoples of the USSR, the Udmurts were able to overcome the difficulties in the aftermath of the drought and famine of the 1920’s.

On Dec. 28, 1934, the Udmurt Autonomous Oblast became the Udmurt ASSR.

Under the prewar five-year plans (1929–40), the Udmurts built a socialist nation. Udmurtia became an industrial and agrarian republic. Between 1913 and 1940 the gross industrial output increased by a factor of 21. The kolkhoz system triumphed in the countryside. The cultural revolution was carried out successfully, and by 1940, illiteracy was virtually eliminated, literature developed, professional art came into being, national cadres of the working class and the intelligentsia developed, and higher educational and scientific institutions were created. In March 1937 the Extraordinary Second Congress of Soviets of the Udmurt ASSR ratified the republic’s constitution.

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–15), the workers of Udmurtia produced weapons for the Soviet Army. More than 60,000 indigenous Udmurts were given various state awards, and about 100 persons were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

During the postwar decades, the republic’s economy and culture were developed further. More than 30 industrial enterprises were built, including the giant Izhtiazhbummash plant and a giant automotive plant. By 1970, all the cities and towns were electrified. The standard of living and cultural level of the people had risen considerably. Fifty-two workers in Udmurtia have been awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labor.

In 1958 the republic was awarded the Order of Lenin for its achievements in developing the USSR economy and culture and in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of its voluntary inclusion into Russia. In 1970, on the occasion of the republic’s 50th anniversary, it was awarded the Order of the October Revolution, and in 1972, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the formation of the USSR, it was given the Order of the Friendship of Peoples.


Economy. Udmurtia is a republic with a developed industry and diversified agriculture. The leading branches of industry are machine building and metalworking, along with a conversion ferrous metallurgy industry.

INDUSTRY Udmurtia’s industrial complex was formed, for the most part, from branches of the manufacturing industry. Between 1940 and 1975 the total industrial output increased by a factor of 37. Industry employs (1975) about 50 percent of the working population. Machine building and metalworking ac-

Table 1. Industrial output
*While the production of electric power has gone down in recent years, consumption has increased; electric power is supplied by other parts of the country
Petroleum (million torts). . . . . . . . . .0.53.7
Electric power (million kW-hr). . . . . . . . . .204.21,099.2929.5543*
Motorcycles (thousand units). . . . . . . . . .2.4161229268
Metal-cutting machine tools (thousand units). . . . . . . . . .
Export of commercial lumber (million cum). . . . . . . . . .
Sawed lumber (thousand eu m). . . . . . . . . .3291,2731,3251,021
Leather footwear (thousand pairs). . . . . . . . . .
Meat, Including by-products of the first category (thousand tons). . . . . . . . . .4.521.033.447.8

count for 58.9 percent of the total industrial production, ferrous metallurgy for 11.9 percent, logging, wood processing, and the production of pulp and paper for 6.1 percent, and light industry and food processing for 18.9 percent. (See Table 1.)

Power engineering is based primarily on fuel brought in from other parts of the USSR, namely, on coal, petroleum products, and natural gas. Local fuel—peat—is also used. The use of petroleum and natural gas rather than other forms of fuel is increasing. Electric power is supplied by the Votkinsk Hydroelectric Power Plant, located in Perm’ Oblast, and by local heat and power plants, located in Izhevsk, Sarapul, Votkinsk, and Glazov.

Ferrous metallurgy utilizes pig iron and scrap metal brought in from other parts of the USSR. Metallurgical production is concentrated in Izhevsk (a converted plant), which is engaged primarily in the smelting of high-grade steel and the production of rolled steel; there are iron foundries in Izhevsk and Votkinsk. Plants have been built in Izhevsk for the production of automobiles and truck cabs, motorcycles, bearings, paper-making machinery, petroleum-extraction equipment, reduction gears for construction and road machines, metal-cutting machine tools, radio receivers and phonographs, and hunting and sports rifles. Votkinsk has a plant for the production of metal-cutting machine tools, and Sarapul has plants for the production of oil-well drilling equipment, household electrical appliances, and radio receivers and phonographs. Chemical equipment is produced in Glazov, and logging equipment, in Kambarka.

Lumber enterprises make use of local raw materials, as well as raw materials from other parts of the country. Logging is done primarily in the republic’s northern and western regions. Wood is shipped out primarily in the form of ready-to-use lumber. A major furniture industry has been created, centered in Izhevsk, Sarapul, Glazov, and Mozhga, as well as a home-building industry (the settlements of Igra, Uva, and Balezino). The P. I. Tchaikovsky Izhevsk Factory produces pianos. Building materials, utilizing local raw materials, are produced in the cities. The glass industry is centered in the city of Mozhga and the settlements of Fakel and Valamaz.

Light industry is represented by a leather combine and factories for the production of footwear, knitted goods, textiles, and garments. The chief branches of the food industry are meat processing, the milling of flour and groats, and the production of confectioneries, butter, cheese, and milk. There is a plant for the production of yeast and beer in Sarapul.

AGRICULTURE Stock raising and grain production are well developed. Udmurtia is the leading flax-growing region in the Urals. About one-half of Udmurtia’s land area is suitable for agriculture, of which three-fourths is located in the south and east. In 1975 arable land totaled 1,587,300 hectares (ha), hayfields 126,600 ha, and pastures 213,400 ha; there are 266 kolkhozes and 89 sovkhozes. Between 1940 and 1975 the number of tractors increased from 3,400 to 13,300, while the number of grain-harvesting combines increased from 800 to 4,100.

As Udmurt agriculture developed, increasingly larger areas were sown to fodder crops and potatoes and other vegetables (see Table 2). The principal grain and groat crops are rye (316,000 ha in 1975), oats (252,000 ha), wheat (68,000 ha), buckwheat (37,000 ha), barley (162,000 ha), and legumes (55,000 ha), primarily peas. Large areas are occupied by perennial seed grasses, such as clover, and annual seed grasses. Corn and sunflowers are cultivated for silage. In 1975 orchards and berry plantings totaled 4,500 ha.

In 1975, 761,000 tons of grain were harvested, 732,000 tons of potatoes, 127,000 tons of various vegetables, and 3,200 tons of flax fiber.

Stock raising is dominated by beef and dairy cattle breeding. Hogs and poultry are also raised (see Table 3). In 1975, 92,000 tons (dressed weight) of meat were produced (31,000 tons in 1940), 582,000 tons of milk (155,000 tons in 1940), 314 million eggs (64 million in 1940).

State purchases of agricultural products in 1975 amounted to 157,000 tons of grain (263,000 in 1940), 91,000 tons of potatoes (31,000 in 1940), 92,000 tons (liveweight) of livestock and poultry (10,300 in 1940), 360,000 tons of milk (25,500 in 1940), and 202 million eggs (18 million in 1940).

In accordance with the decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR (1974) On Measures for the Further Development of Agriculture in the Nonchernozem Zone of the RSFSR, Udmurt agriculture is striving to increase production through the use of chemical fertilizers, mechanization of land cultivation and stock raising, and extensive land improvement. Five specialized stock-raising complexes have been built in the republic, and under construction in 1976 were 28 dairying complexes and seven hog-raising complexes.

TRANSPORTATION Transportation is well developed in the Udmurt ASSR. By the beginning of 1976, there were 852 km of railroads. The number of goods transported by rail into Udmurtia exceeds by 210 percent the goods transported out. Coal, mineral building materials, and petroleum products are brought into the republic by rail. Most of the goods are transported out of the republic by way of the Kazan-Viatskie Poliany-Kizner-Agryz-Kambarka-Sverdlovsk trunk line, which also accounts for three-fourths of all freight going out of the republic and four-fifths of the passenger traffic. The transit importance of the Kirov-Glazov-Perm’ railroad trunk line has risen in the 1970’s. Within the republic, freight is primarily transported on the Kil’mez’-Uva-Izhevsk-Votkinsk and the Agryz-Izhevsk-Igra-Piban’shur railroads.

Shipping within the republic is done on the Kama River, which

Table 2. Sown areas (hectares)
Grain crops. . . . . . . . . .922,800990,700819,600808,000890,200
Vegetables and potatoes. . . . . . . . . .8,70059,20087,60080,50081,300
Fodder crops. . . . . . . . . .3,000146,500391,400395,100424,400
Long-fiber flax. . . . . . . . . .29,00067,10037,00028,40026,300

is navigable for a length of 190 km; the shipping season lasts about 6½ months a year. The most important landings are Sarapul and Kambarka.

In 1975 there were 2,500 km of hard-surfaced highways. The principal roads for intrarepublic hauls are the highways linking Izhevsk with the cities of Glazov, Votkinsk, Sarapul, and Mozhga; the reconstructed main highway of Kazan-Izhevsk-Sverdlovsk is important for external hauls.

Passing through Udmurtia are the Minnibaevo-Izhevsk natural gas pipeline from the Tatar ASSR and the Siberia-Central Zone natural gas pipeline.

There is an extensive network of air routes in the republic.

Udmurtia supplies other regions of the USSR with machinery, industrial equipment, metal products, and rolled ferrous metals; it receives from other regions coal, petroleum products, natural gas, metals, and building materials.

ECONOMIC REGIONS Central Udmurtia, with Izhevsk as its principal industrial center, is the republic’s economic nucleus. More than one-half of Udmurtia’s population lives here. The region accounts for about two-thirds of the republic’s industrial output, more than one-third of the total sown area, and about two-fifths of all the livestock. The leading branches of industry are machine building, metalworking, woodworking, and food processing. Petroleum is also extracted.

The Kama region of Udmurtia has well-developed industry, accounting for one-fifth of the republic’s total industrial output. The leading branches are machine building, metalworking, light industry, and food processing. Agriculture specializes in grain production and stock raising.

Table 3. Livestock and poultry (beginning of year)
Cattle. . . . . . . . . .333,000303,000385,000621,000
Cows. . . . . . . . . .194,000171,000186,000242,000
Hogs. . . . . . . . . .224,000191,000388,000378,000
Poultry. . . . . . . . . .2,676,1003,023,700

Southwestern Udmurtia is an agricultural region, where rye, spring legumes, fodder crops, long-fiber flax, and potatoes are grown and livestock are raised. There is also woodworking and the production of building materials.

Northern Udmurtia is the logging and peat-extraction center of the republic. Meat and dairy livestock are also raised, and flax is grown. Machine building is developing.

The standard of living in Udmurtia is constantly rising. Between 1960 and 1975 the average monthly wages of industrial workers and office employees rose from 74.6 rubles to 152 rubles. Benefits are expanding because of social consumption funds. Between 1960 and 1975 the retail-goods turnover showed a per capita increase of 260 percent (in fixed prices). In 1975 state and cooperative enterprises and organizations, excluding kolkhozes, financed the construction of 536,100 sq m of housing.


Public health. In 1913 there were 20 hospitals, with 800 beds, in what is now Udmurtia, and 46 physicians. Epidemic diseases, such as typhus, cholera, and smallpox, were widespread, as well as trachoma, especially in the villages. During the years of Soviet power, trachoma, smallpox, and typhus epidemics have been eradicated, and the incidence of many infectious diseases has been sharply reduced. By 1976, there were 138 hospitals in Udmurtia, with 15,600 beds (10.6 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), compared with 79 hospitals, with 4,600 beds (3.7 beds per 1,000 inhabitants), in 1940. In 1976 there were 4,500 practicing physicians (one physician per 328 inhabitants) and 14,400 secondary medical personnel, compared with 600 physicians (one physician per 2,300 inhabitants) and 3,200 secondary medical personnel in 1940.

Physicians are trained at the Izhevsk Medical Institute, while secondary medical personnel are trained at five medical schools. Located in the republic is the balneotherapeutic and pelothera-peutic resort of Varzi-Iatchi. There are also 19 Sanatoriums, ten houses of rest and boardinghouses, a tourist center, and three hiking clubs.

Education and cultural affairs. Before 1917 there were 883 general-education schools in Udmurtia, with an enrollment of 58,600 pupils, and three specialized secondary educational institutions, with about 350 students. Higher educational institutions were nonexistent.

During the 1975–76 academic year, Udmurtia had 1,065 general-education schools of all types, with 297,100 pupils, 33 vocational-technical educational institutions within the system of the State Committee for Vocational Training, with about 14,400 students, 25 specialized secondary institutions, with 22,400 students, and five higher educational institutions, with about 23,400 students. The last include the Udmurt University and the medical, agricultural, and mechanical-engineering institutes in Izhevsk and a pedagogical institute in Glazov. In 1975 about 84,500 children were enrolled at 814 preschool institutions.

As of Jan. 1, 1976, Udmurtia had 699 public libraries, with 9,463,000 books and journals. Museums include the Republic Museum of Local Lore in Izhevsk, with branches in Glazov and Votkinsk, the Sarapul Museum of Local Lore, and the P. I. Tchaikovsky Memorial House Museum in Votkinsk, at the composer’s birthplace. There are also 35 houses of Pioneers and schoolchildren, two young naturalists’ stations, 992 clubs, and 1,099 motion-picture projection units. (See also Music and Theater.)

Scientific institutions. All the scientific institutions in the Udmurt ASSR have been established during the years of Soviet power. They include the scientific research institutes of history, economics, and language and literature, which are under the jurisdiction of the Council of Ministers of the Udmurt ASSR (the Udmurt Scientific Research Institute, founded in 1931, published Zapiski [Transactions] from 1935 to 1970), and the Udmurt State Agricultural Experimental Station (founded 1933). Higher educational institutions play an important role in scientific research. As of 1975, the republic had more than 4,000 scholars and scientists, conducting research and teaching. They included approximately 700 doctors and candidates of sciences.

Press, radio, and television. In 1974 the Udmurt Publishing House published 117 books and pamphlets totaling 1,806,000 copies. Republic newspapers include Sovetskoi Udmurtiia (Soviet Udmurtia; published since 1918) and the Pioneer newspaper Das’ lu! (Be Prepared!; 1930), both published in Udmurt, and the Russian-language Udmurtskaia pravda (1917) and Komsomolets Udmurtii (1921). Thirteen periodicals are published, including Molot, an Udmurt-language journal of literature and the arts (since 1926).

Local radio broadcasts in Udmurt and Russian are carried for 2½ hours a day in addition to programs of the All-Union Radio, which are relayed from Moscow for 16 hours a day.

There are two television programs. The first includes broadcasts from the Central Television totaling 12.2 hours, and local broadcasts in Udmurt and Russian, totaling 0.7 hour. The second program includes republic-level broadcasts, totaling 2.3 hours, and Moscow broadcasts, totaling 0.7 hr. The television center is located in Izhevsk.

Literature. Udmurt literature emerged in the 19th century. Appearing at the end of the 19th century were the poems and narrative poems of G. E. Vereshchagin (1851–1930) and the poems of G. P. Prokop’ev (1873–1936). The Calendar in Udmurt was published in Kazan from 1904 to 1909, and it was in this publication that the narrative poem The Fugitive (1909) by M. G. Mozhgin (1890–1929) first appeared. Kedra Mitrei (D. I. Korepanov; 1892–1949) completed the novella Child of a Sick Century in 1911 and published the tragedy Eshterek in 1915.

The October Revolution of 1917 provided new possibilities for the development of literature among the Udmurt people. During the 1920’s, Udmurt literature was dominated by poetry, whose initial romanticism gradually gave way to a realistic depiction of life; representative works of this period were the poems of M. P. Prokop’ev (1884–1919), D. A. Maiorov (1889–1923), and I. T. Diadiukov (1896–1955). The poet Ashal’chi Oki (L. G. Vekshi-na; 1898–1973) focused on the theme of the Udmurt woman. K. Gerd (K. P. Chainikov; 1898–1941), author of the narrative poems The Factory (1921), Lenin (1925), and Ten Years (1931), among others, wrote of the October Revolution and industrialization.

The first Udmurt plays, primarily one-act works, were agitational in nature. The second half of the 1920’s witnessed the appearance of P. M. Sokolov’s social drama The Insurgents (1926), which depicts the revolutionary events of 1906 in the village of Novyi Muultan, and Nas’tok (1928) by M. N. Timashev (1905–38), the first musical drama. Prose during these years was not as popular as poetry and drama. Kedra Mitrei’s novella The Old Village (1926) and the novella The Black Whirlwind (1927) by D. Pima (D. I. Bazhenov; 1904–38) were devoted to the Civil War of 1918–20. The first Udmurt novel was Kedra Mitrei’s The Heavy Yoke (1929), which depicts the lot of the toiling peasantry under tsarism.

During the 1930’s, prose became the leading genre. Works of this period include the novella They Are Being Tempered (1931) by A. S. Mironov (1905–31) and the novel The Face With a Scar (1933) by M. A. Konovalov (1905–38), both about the working class. Konovalov’s historical novel Gaian (1936) deals with the Udmurts’ participation in the peasant war under E. I. Pugachev. G. S. Medvedev (1904–38) created the first sociopsychological trilogy, Lodzia Field (parts 1–2,1932–36; part 3, published 1959), which is devoted to kolkhoz construction. P. A. Blinov (1913–42) published the novel I Want to Live (1940), which depicts the new man.

Poetry of the 1930’s was dominated by the theme of the socialist transformation of the countryside, exemplified by the poems of M. P. Petrov (1905–55), I. G. Gavrilov (1912–73), F. G. Ked-rov (1909–44), and P. M. Chainikov (1916–54). Children’s literature was represented by the poems of F. G. Aleksandrov (1907–1941) and the narrative poem Maksi (1936) by A. N. Kla-bukov (born 1904). Also popular during this period were Petrov’s plays The Farmhand (1931), Through Fire (1933), and The Yoke Trembles (1936) and Gavrilov’s plays The River Vala Murmurs (1931), Cold Spring (1934), and Grunia Tarasova (1938).

During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), Udmurt literature glorified the heroic deeds of Soviet warriors; for example, the poems of Petrov, Kedrov, S. P. Shirobokov (born 1912), and T. I. Shmakov (1910–61) and the sketches and short stories of Petrov, M. A. Liamin (born 1906), and T. A. Arkhipov (born 1908).

During the postwar decade N. S. Baiteriakov (born 1923), G. S. Sabitov (born 1915), M. P. Pokchi-Petrov (1930–59), and D. A. Iashin (born 1929) began their poetic careers. Petrov published his best works—the novella Before the Dawn (1952) and the novel Staryi Multan (1954)—and Liamin published the first part of the novella In the Name of Happiness (1950). New plays by Gavrilov and Shirobokov (1915–75) appeared, as well as the comedy The Wedding (staged 1946) by V. E. Sadovnikov (1915–75).

During the 1950’s, prose once again became the leading genre. Writers turned to new themes. Larger works appeared, such as Arkhipov’s two-part work By the Ludzinka River (1949–57), which depicts the people of a kolkhoz village, and a two-part work by G. D. Krasil’nikov (1928–75), comprising The Old House (1956) and Oleksan Kabyshev (1962). Important works of the 1960’s include Krasil’nikov’s novella I Will Remain With You (1960) and the novel The Beginning of the Year (1965), both about the new Udmurt intelligentsia. The development of the republic’s culture is the subject of Gavrilov’s trilogy In Our Native Land (1958–63; translated into Russian as Your Roots, 1975), the novella by A. G. Kolesnikova (1916–67) I Am Happy (1963), and Shirobokov’s novella Songs Find the Road (1962). In the novel Stremnina (1968), Arkhipov showed the heroic toil of the hydroelectric power plant builders, and in the novella A Meeting With the Past (1971) he dealt with the events of the Civil War. The Great Patriotic War is the theme in Liamin’s novella Four Years in Uniform (1965). Memorable characters of contemporaries were created by S. A. Samsonov (born 1931) in the novellas I Love You (1965), A Thunderstorm Rumbles Over the Kama (1967), and Night Bell (1967) and by R. G. Valishin (born 1937) in the novella Invozho Is Bright Even at Midnight (1974).

Among the leading contemporary poets are F. I. Vasil’ev (born 1934), A. E. Belonogov (born 1932), P. K. Pozdeev (born 1931), G. A. Khodyrev (born 1932), A. N. Uvarov (born 1936), K. E. Lomagin (born 1933), V. V. Romanov (born 1934), A. K. Leont’ev (born 1944), and V. I. Bubiakin (born 1929).

Modern drama has also developed, represented by Gavrilov’s play The Sun Has Risen (1957), the plays Ensign Orlov (1961) and An Expensive Gift (1968) by L. I. Perevoshchikov (born 1913), Gavrilov’s comedies When Nightingales Sing (1963) and Clear Autumn (1966), and Shirobokov’s comedies If There Is No Love (1962) and Hey, Beautiful Girls (1969). Important moral questions have been raised in the plays Spring Rain (1961) and The White Swan (1967) by E. Zagrebin (born 1937), You Cannot Hide From the Light (1963) by A. S. Butolin (1908), and Bear’s Corner (1973) by Sadovnikov and M. S. Tronin.

Works by Udmurt writers have been translated into many languages of the peoples of the USSR, as well as into foreign languages. Udmurt literature has become a component part of the Soviet Union’s multinational culture.


Architecture and art. Numerous artistic remains have been found in what is now Udmurtia. Dating from the first millennium B.C. to the first half of the second millennium AD., they belong to the Anan’ino, P’ianyi Bor, Mazuninsk, and other cultures. During the second half of the 17th century, wooden fortresses, such as Sarapul, were built. Beginning in the mid-18th century, settlements sprang up around plants. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the cities of Gazlov, Sarapul, Izhevsk, and Votkinsk were built in accordance with general plans (architects V. I. Geste, S. E. Dudin, V. N. Petenkin, F. M. Rosliakov, and others). The empire style was predominant in the brick urban architecture of the first half of the 19th century.

Characteristic of folk architecture is the traditional Udmurt hut (korka) of log-cabin construction, resembling the Russian izba. The huts were positioned along an open courtyard or in a π-shaped fashion around the courtyards. The courtyards had wooden or stone paving and a massive gate, which, like the hut itself, was often decorated with carved geometrical and plant designs. Also typical were unique, two-story granaries (kenosy), which also served as summer sleeping quarters.

After the October Revolution of 1917, extensive construction was done primarily in Izhevsk, in whose new buildings the forms of constructivism were used; the 1940’s and 1950’s saw a shift to the classical style, for example, the circus (1940–43; architect P. M. Popov) and the Pushkin Street ensemble (1953–59; architects V. P. Orlov, V. S. Masevich, and others). From the 1950’s through the 1970’s the general plans for Glazov, Sarapul, Votkinsk, and the large settlements were worked out, along with designs for numerous sovkhoz and kolkhoz facilities. New residential districts were built in the cities (architect V. P. Orlov and others); a new administrative and cultural center was built in Izhevsk according to a general plan (begun in 1961; architect G. E. Aleksandrov). Construction today is being carried out primarily according to standard designs, utilizing block sections.

The Udmurt section of the Architects’ Union of the USSR was created in 1948.

In folk decorative and applied art the most characteristic forms are embroidery and patterned weaving. The embroidery of northern Udmurtia is characterized by tiny stitches, dark terracotta or red color, and ancient ornamental motifs, such as S-shaped figures, swastikas, slanting crosses, and schematic female figures, which completely cover individual elements of the costume ensemble. Embroidery also predominates in southern Udmurtia; with its bright colors, plant decorative motifs, and large, free stitches, it closely resembles the embroidery of the neighboring Turkic peoples. Striped, primarily two-colored, articles are woven in northern Udmurtia and multicolored items in southern Udmurtia.

Professional representational art emerged in the 1920’s. An important role in its development was played by the studio established in 1920 in Izhevsk by the portrait artist M. V. Balagushin. In 1939 the Union of Soviet Artists of the Udmurt ASSR was formed; in 1968 it became the Artists’ Union of the Udmurt ASSR.

The best examples of Udmurt fine arts of the 1950’s through the 1970’s include the genre canvases of N. A. Kosolapov, P. S. Semenov, A. M. Senilov, and D. V. Khodyrev, the portraits of A. P. Kholmogorov, and the landscapes of V. A. Zharskii and A. E. Lozhkin. The best graphic artists are G. G. Vereshchagin, I. N. Nurmukhametov, N. la. Popov, B. A. Postnikov, and R. K. Tagirov.


Music. Udmurt folk music developed under the influence of the music of the Finno-Ugric, Turkic, and Slavic peoples. It is distinguished by its genre diversity, for example, hunting, beekeeping, agricultural-seasonal, wedding, commemorative, and round-dance songs. Later, recruiting, farm-labor, orphans’, coachmen’s, and lyrical songs appeared, as well as songs of convict labor and exile. Outstanding are the Udmurt improvisational songs, similar to the songs of the northern peoples of the USSR, and the original narrative songs.

The music is based on diatonic scales, with the extensive use of pentatonic turns. Diverse polyphonic forms are also encountered. Instrumental music occurs in the form of dance and song accompaniments. Folk musical instruments include the krez’ (a zither-type instrument), chipchirgan (a reed pipe), uz’y-gumy (a vertical flute), and tutekton (shepherd’s horn); also used are instruments borrowed from other peoples, such as the accordion, balalaika, violin, and guitar.

Udmurt professional music emerged after the October Revolution of 1917. The first arrangements of folk songs appeared in the 1920’s, and the first compositions by M. G. Romanov, K. P. Gerd, E. V. Molotkova, and M. A. Kurochkin appeared in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Major contributions to the development of Udmurt music were made by N. A. Golubev, D. S. Vasil’ev-Buglai, M. N. Byval’tsev, and N. M. Grekhovodov. Golubev composed music to M. P. Petrov’s plays The Yoke Trembles (1935) and Italmas (1937). D. S. Vasil’ev-Buglai and M. N. Byval’tsev noted down folk music and composed folk-song arrangements; they were also active in music education. N. M. Grekhovodov composed the music for I. G. Gavrilov’s Kamit Usmanov (1941) and the first Udmurt musical comedy, The Wedding (1946); he also did arrangements of folk songs.

The 1940’s witnessed the emerging careers of the composers G. A. Korepanov and G. M. Korepanov-Kamskii. Among Kore-panov’s works are the opera Natal’ (1961), a symphony (1964), and various choral works. Korepanov-Kamskii is the composer of the ballet Italmas (1961), the opera-ballet Chipchirgan (1964), the opera The Russian Woman (1967), the operetta Liubushka (My Beloved), and several symphonic works. The songs of N. E. Shkliaev, G. N. Matveev, N. S. Novozhilov, and G. A. Shaklein are popular. Among the more recent composers (1970’s) are A. M. Rudenko, L. V. Vasil’ev, and Iu. V. Boldenkov.

As of 1976, Udmurtia’s performing groups included the Italmas Song and Dance Ensemble (founded 1936), the Chorus of Udmurt Radio and Television (1933), and various amateur choral groups. Cultural institutions include the Vasil’ev-Buglai Music School’(1933), the House of Folk Creativity (1936), and 41 music schools. The Composers’ Union of the Udmurt ASSR was organized in 1973.

Among the leading musicians are the conductors People’s Artist of the Udmurt ASSR A. V. Mamontov and Honored Art Workers of the Udmurt ASSR G. N. Bekhterev and R. A. Ankudinova. Singers include People’s Artist of the RSFSR K. A. Lozhkin, Honored Artists of the RSFSR N. S. Zubkov, E. S. Pakhomova, and G. I. Titova, People’s Artist of the Udmurt ASSR G. M. Korepanov-Kamskii, and Honored Artists of the Udmurt ASSR V. K. Vinogradova and N. D. Vakhrushev. Instrumentalists include Honored Artists of the Udmurt ASSR O. S. Farfel’ and E. S. Valov.


Theater. There was no professional theater in Udmurtia before the October Revolution of 1917, although elements of dramatic art were encountered in folk rituals and games. The first theatrical production in the Udmurt language was staged in 1918 in the village of Iagoshur, Glazor District. During the 1920’s a number of folk theaters toured Udmurtia. In 1931 the Udmurt Dramatic Theater, which drew its performers from amateur groups, opened in Izhevsk. A number of kolkhoz and sovkhoz theaters were organized in the 1930’s, including the Alnasho (1934), Glazov (1936), and Debesy (1936) theaters. The V. G. Korolenko Russian Dramatic Theater and a republic puppet theater were founded in Izhevsk in 1935.

The best productions of the Udmurt Dramatic Theater have included I. G. Gavrilov’s plays The River Vala Murmurs (1930), Cold Spring (1933), Heroes (1937), Azin (1938), Clear Autumn (1964), and White Snow (1970). Also notable have been the productions of M. P. Petrov’s The Farmhand (1931) and The Yoke Trembles (1935; new productions, 1945 and 1958, under the title Staryi Multan), G. Krasil’nikov and N. Kulikov’s The Old House (1959), E. E. Zagrebin’s The White Swan (1967), L. I. Perevosh-chikov’s An Expensive Gift (1970), and S. P. Shirobokov’s Hey, Beautiful Girls (1970). During the 1940’s a large place in the theater’s repertoire was occupied by musical productions, such as Gavrilov’s Kamit Usmanov (1941) and Annok (1944) and V. E. Sadovnikov’s The Wedding (1946) and The Enchanted Beard (1948). The best dramatic productions were T. A. Arkhipov and Sadovnikov’s Morning Dews (1958) and Zagrebin’s Spring Rain (1961). In 1952 the character of Lenin was portrayed for the first time on the Udmurt stage in I. F. Popov’s The Family.

In 1958 the Udmurt Dramatic Theater was reorganized as a music and drama theater; however, since 1974 the dramatic troupe has once again become an independent group. The theater has recruited graduates of the Leningrad Institute of Theater, Music, and Cinematography (1951,1961) and the Moscow B. V. Shchukin Theatrical School (1973).

The actors and actresses who have performed in the republic at various times include People’s Artist of the RSFSR K. A. Lozhkin, Honored Artists of the RSFSR A. S. Glotko, A. K. Gro-zin, N. V. Konopchuk, E. A. Smirnova, G. I. Titov, and A. V. Shkliaeva, Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR I. L. Fel’dman, People’s Artists of the Udmurt ASSR V. K. Vinogradova, K. K. Gavrilova, B. P. Gal’nbek, G. P. Ovechkin, A. V. Pastunov, I. K. Protod’iakonov, and I. A. El’skii, and Honored Art Workers of the Udmurt ASSR S. A. Gliatter, I. I. Kudriashov, and S. T. Smirnov.

Among the representatives of the theatrical arts are (1975) Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR G. V. Veretennikov, Honored Artists of the RSFSR N. P. Bakisheva and V. Ia. Perevoshchikov, People’s Artists of the Udmurt ASSR M. A. Aleshkovskii, B. A. Bezumov, N. I. Malisova, and E. G. Romanova, and Honored Artists of the Udmurt ASSR I. I. Kudriavtsev, V. A. Sadaeva, G. K. Solov’ev, and A. I. Perevozchikov. Among the painters who have worked in the theater are Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR G. E. Vekshin and Honored Art Worker of the Udmurt ASSR V. I. Vekshina.



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