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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(until 1780, Sinbirsk; until 1924, Simbirsk), a city and the administrative center of Ul’ianovsk Oblast, RSFSR. Situated on the banks of the Volga and Sviiaga rivers. Railroad junction for lines to Moscow, Kazan, Ufa, and Saratov. River port. Airport. Population, 436,000 (1976; 42,000 in 1897; 66,000 in 1926; 98,000 in 1939; 206,000 in 1959; 351,000 in 1970). The city is divided into four urban districts.

Ul’ianovsk was founded in 1648 as Sinbirsk Fortress and was besieged in 1670 by detachments of S. T. Razin. In the early 18th century the city was incorporated into Kazan Province. In 1780 it became the administrative center of the namestnichestvo (vicegerency) of Simbirsk, and in 1796 it was made the capital of Simbirsk Province. In the 19th century Simbirsk became one of the centers in the Volga region for the trade in bread, fish, cattle, and timber, and the city’s food-processing industry expanded. The city was linked by railroad with Inza in 1898 and with Bugul’ma in the early 20th century. Narodnik (Populist) societies were formed in the city in the 1870’s.

In 1869 I. N. Ul’ianov became inspector of the public schools of Simbirsk Province. His son V. I. Ul’ianov (Lenin) was born in Simbirsk on April 10 (22), 1870; Lenin spent his childhood and adolescence in the city. Simbirsk is also associated with the names of A. I. Ul’ianov, A. I. Elizarova-Ul’ianova, M. I. Ul’ianova, and D. I. Ul’ianov.

A Bolshevik group of the RSDLP was founded in the city in 1904. The working people of Simbirsk took part in the October All-Russian Political Strike of 1905. Soviet power was established in Simbirsk on December 10 (23), 1917. On July 10, 1918, the Left Socialist Revolutionary M. A. Murav’ev attempted to stage an anti-Soviet revolt in the city. From July 22 to Sept. 12, 1918, the city was held by White Czechs.

On May 9, 1924, Simbirsk was renamed Ul’ianovsk in honor of V. I. Lenin. In 1928 it became part of the Middle Volga Oblast (later designated the Middle Volga Krai), and in 1936 it was incorporated into Kuibyshev Oblast. Under Soviet power Ul’ianovsk has become a large industrial center. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45) a number of industrial enterprises were evacuted to the city. Ul’ianovsk has been the administrative center of Ul’ianovsk Oblast since January 1943. On Dec. 11, 1970, the city was awarded the Order of Lenin.

Simbirsk was the birthplace of the poet N. M. Iazykov and the writers I. A. Goncharov and D. V. Grigorovich. The writer and historian N. M. Karamzin was born in Simbirsk Province.

The principal industries in Ul’ianovsk are machine building and metalworking. The most important plants are the V. I. Lenin Ul’ianovsk Automotive Plant, the Kontaktor Plant (electrical equipment), the Avtozapchast’ Plant, the Volodarskii Machine-Building Plant, and the Communist Youth International Knitwear Plant. There are also plants for the manufacture of engines, heavy and custom-made machine tools, hydraulic machinery, and heat-insulation products. Ul’ianovsk also has a leather and footwear combine, a prefabricated-housing combine, and enterprises of the construction and food-processing industries.

The radial-grid plan of Ul’ianovsk’s streets is based on a general plan drawn up in 1780 and refined in the 19th century. In the Soviet period, housing space in Ul’ianovsk has increased by a factor of ten; as of 1975, the city had 4.8 million sq m of general (usable) living space. The city has all the modern amenities. Construction is carried out in accordance with the general plans of 1946 and 1965 (both drafted by architects V. A. Gaikovich, N. V. Kashkadamova, and others). New residential districts—including Levoberezh’e and Zasviiazh’e—have been built, new parks established, and many new civic buildings erected. In 1965 a river station was opened (architects T. P. Sadovskii and A. A. Pekarskii, engineer B. F. Semin). To mark the centennial of Lenin’s birth, the Lenin Memorial Zone was created in the central part of Ul’ianovsk. The zone combines elements of old Simbirsk (primarily buildings associated with the life of the Ul’ianov family in the city) with new construction immortalizing the memory of the leader of the October Revolution. The ensemble of the Lenin Memorial Center, which forms the nucleus of the memorial zone, comprises two squares. On V. I. Lenin Square (formerly Sobornaia Square) are architectural monuments and buildings in the classical style, including the Gymnasium that Lenin attended (now School No. 1, 1786), government offices (now an agricultural institute, 1804), and the building housing the assembly of the nobility (now the V. I. Lenin Palace of Books, 1838–47). Connected with V. I. Lenin Square is the ceremonial Square of the Centennial of V. I. Lenin’s Birth, where the Lenin Memorial (1967–70) is located. Beyond the ceremonial square is an esplanade along the river.

Ul’ianovsk has monuments to Lenin (bronze and granite, 1940; sculptor M. G. Manizer, architect V. A. Vitman), V. Ul’ianov as a Gymnasium student (granite, 1954; sculptor V. E. Tsigal’, architect M. A. Gotlib), N. M. Karamzin (bronze and granite, 1845; sculptors S. I. Gal’berg, N. A. Ramazanov, and K. M. Klimchenko), K. Marx (granite, 1921; sculptor S. D. Merkurov, architect V. A. Shchuko), and I. N. Ul’ianov (bronze and granite, 1957; sculptor M. G. Manizer, architect I. E. Rozhin).

Ul’ianovsk has a polytechnic institute, an agricultural institute, a pedagogical institute, a branch of the Kuibyshev Planning Institute, and 11 specialized secondary educational institutions. The city also has the following museums: a branch of the Central Lenin Museum, the V. I. Lenin House-Museum, the I. A. Goncharov Museum of Local Lore, and the Ul’ianovsk Oblast Art Museum, which has a branch dedicated to the collection of works of art depicting V. I. Lenin.

Ul’ianovsk is a city with theatrical traditions. Public theatrical performances were first given in the city in the 1790’s, and in the 1840’s a theater building was constructed. In the 1860’s the impresario A. A. Rasskazov formed a company featuring the actors V. N. Andreev-Burlak and P. A. Strepetova. In 1879 a new stone building was erected. As of 1975, Ul’ianovsk had a dramatic theater (located since 1970 in a new building with 917 seats), a philharmonic society (with a concert hall seating 674), and a puppet theater.

On Jan. 1, 1976, Ul’ianovsk had 21 hospitals, with a total of 5,500 beds—that is, 13 beds per 1,000 inhabitants. In 1940 there had been only five hospitals, with a total of 600 beds, or 5.2 beds per 1,000 inhabitants. In addition, the city had seven outpatient polyclinics by the beginning of 1976. It also had 15 creches and 90 combined creches and kindergartens, with a total of 14,100 places. (In 1940 there had been eight creches, with 545 places.) By 1975 the city had 1,700 doctors, or one doctor for every 249 inhabitants, as compared with 108 doctors in 1940, or one doctor for every 1,200 inhabitants. Ul’ianovsk has a preventive-medicine sanatorium.


Gritsenko, N. P. Ocherki po istorii g. Simbirska-Ul’ianovska i Ul’ianovskoi oblasti, part 1. Ul’ianovsk, 1948.
Ul’ianovsk—rodina V. I. Lenina: Pamiatnye mesta, 4th ed. Saratov, 1969.
Lenin i Simbirsk: Dokumenty, materialy, vospominaniia, 2nd ed. Ul’ianovsk, 1970.
Rodnoi gorod Il’icha. Ul’ianovsk, 1972.
Bakman, T. B. Ul’ianovsk—rodina Lenina: Fotopanoramy. Saratov, 1968.
Golenko, E. I. Ul’ianovsk. Moscow, 1971.
Rodina V. I. Lenina: Ekonomiko-statistich. sb. Moscow, 1970.
Brosman, A. I., and N. N. Medvedev. Ul’ianovsk. Moscow, 1973.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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