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Donetsk (dənyĕtskˈ), city, capital of Donetsk region, E Ukraine, on the Kalmius River. The largest industrial center of the Donets Basin and one of the largest in Ukraine, it has coal mines, coking plants, iron and steel mills, machinery works, and chemical plants. Due to underground tunneling, the city has had problems with land subsidence. The city was founded in 1870 as Yuzovka, named after the Welsh industrialist, John Hughes, who built a factory and many buildings there. From 1924 to 1961 it was called Stalino. In 2014 and 2015 the city and its region became the most prominent center of the pro-Russian uprising against the Ukrainian government, and some of the most persistent fighting was located around the city.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(until 1924, luzovka; from 1924 to 1961, Stalino), a city, center of Donetsk Oblast, Ukrainian SSR. Located on the Kal’mius River in the central part of the Donbas, Donetsk is one of the major centers for heavy industry in the USSR. The city is a railroad hub, and its economic development has been promoted by its location at the center of the densest network of railroads in the Ukrainian SSR, which includes the Donbas-Moscow and Donbas-Krivoi Rog electrified rail lines, as well as by highways and other forms of transportation. (Donetsk has an airport.) The population was 891,000 in 1971 (174,000 in 1926; 474,000 in 1939; 708,000 in 1959).

With Makeevka, whose limits are near Donetsk, as well as with Khartsyzsk, Lasinovataia, Avdeevka, and other nearby cities and settlements, Donetsk forms the Donetsk-Makeevka industrial hub and conurbation.

In the early 1860’s a mining settlement was founded on the site of present-day Donetsk. Between 1869 and 1870, as the English capitalist D. Hughes (hence the settlement’s name, luzovka) and other entrepreneurs built metallurgical plants, coke furnaces, and mines, the miners’ settlements began to merge into a city. By the late 1870’s there were 4,000 workers in Donetsk. In April 1874 the first demonstration and strike by the workers of luzovka took place. The workers of Donetsk actively participated in the Revolution of 1905-07, calling a general strike in February-March 1905 and establishing a soviet of workers’ deputies and a fighting druzhina in December 1905. During the Civil War of 1918-20, the city was temporarily captured by the German occupiers and the White Guards. Soviet power was established in Donetsk in December 1919.

During the period of socialist transformations Donetsk became a major industrial city of the Ukraine. During the Great Patriotic War (1941-45) it was occupied by fascist German troops (Oct. 21, 1941-Sept. 8, 1943). Destroyed during the war, the city and its industry were rebuilt in the early postwar years. Industries that were reconstructed and expanded in Donetsk on a new technological base were the coal industry (a number of large mines), the metallurgical industry (Donetsk Metallurgical Plant), machine building (the Ukrainian Communist Youth League Machine-Building Plant, a mining-equipment repair plant, a constructional engineering plant, and a refrigerator plant, which went into operation in 1963), and the chemical industry (a chemical reagents plant that puts out 680 products, including household chemicals).

Donetsk produces building materials. In the postwar period a large-scale food-processing industry and light industry were developed, and many enterprises were built. A cotton combine, a fish products combine, and a toy factory are under construction. More than 4 million sq m of the total residential area was built between 1961 and 1970, and by the end of 1970 the housing supply amounted to 11.7 million sq m of the total area. Under a general plan Donetsk and Makeevka are being joined into a single community on the bank of the Kal’mius River. Among the buildings already constructed are the Research and Planning Institute of Industrial Construction (1969, architect G. A. Blagodatnyi) and the Shakhter Hotel (1969, architect L. la. Shteinfaer).

One of the largest cultural and scientific centers in the Ukrainian SSR, Donetsk has 30 scientific research and planning institutes, including institutes of the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR in applied mathematics and mechanics, physics and technology, and industrial economics. There are five institutions of higher learning, all of them founded during the Soviet period, including a university, a polytechnic institute, and a music teachers training institute. The city has 18 specialized secondary educational institutions, including a polytechnicum and mining, industrial, and industrial-automation technicums. There is a theater of opera and ballet, a drama theater, a puppet theater, and a symphony orchestra. The city has a museum of local lore, an art museum, and a museum of municipal history, as well as a television center. There is a botanical garden in Donetsk.


Donetsk: Istoriko-ekonomicheskii ocherk. Donetsk, 1969.




(until 1955, Gundorovka), a city (since 1951) in Rostov Oblast, RSFSR. Landing on the Severskii Donets River, 8 km from the railroad station Izvarino on the Likhaia-Rodakovo line. Population, 38,000 (1970). There is coal mining in the vicinity and the production of power shovels. Donetsk has cotton-spinning and knitted goods factories.

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


a city in E Ukraine: the chief industrial centre of the Donbass; first ironworks founded by a Welshman, John Hughes (1872), after whom the town was named Yuzovka (Hughesovka). Pop.: 992 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005