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Volgograd

From Academic Kids

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"Rodina Mat" ("Motherland"), statue on the Mamayev Kurgan, Volgograd

Template:Redirect Volgograd (Волгогра́д) (population: 1,012,000), formerly called Tsaritsyn (Цари́цын) (1598 - 1925) and Stalingrad (Сталингра́д) (1925 - 1961) is a city on the west bank of Volga river in southwestern Volgograd Oblast (province), Northern Caucasus district, Russia. Geographical location Template:Coor dm

History

Volgograd originated with the foundation in 1589 of the fortress of Tsaritsyn at the confluence of the Tsaritsa and Volga rivers. The fortress, which took its name from the local Tatar language, was established to defend the unstable southern border of tsarist Russia and became the nucleus of a trading settlement. It was captured twice by Cossack rebels, under Stenka Razin in the rebellion of 1670 and Yemelyan Pugachev in 1774. Tsaritsyn became an important river port and commercial centre in the 19th century.

The city was the scene of heavy fighting during the Russian Civil War. Bolshevik forces under Joseph Stalin, Kliment Voroshilov and Semyon Budyonny defended it during 1918 but were evicted by White forces under Anton Ivanovich Denikin, who held the city in 1919-1920. After its recapture, it was renamed Stalingrad (literally: "Stalin city") in 1925. The name change typifies the way in which a role much larger than he actually played in the Russian Revolution became attributed to Stalin retroactively. (See also List of places named after Stalin.)

Under Stalin, the city became heavily industrialised and was developed as a centre of heavy industry and transshipment by rail and river. It was a major strategic target for the forces of Nazi Germany during World War II (known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War). The Germans besieged the city from August 21,1942 to February 2, 1943 during the Battle of Stalingrad. In terms of loss of human life, this was one of the costliest battles in history, with at least 1.5 million casualties on both sides. The city was virtually razed to the ground in the fighting but reconstruction began virtually as soon as it had been liberated in early 1943.

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Map of European Russia showing the location of Volgograd

For the heroism shown during the battle, Stalingrad was awarded the title Hero City in 1945, and King George VI of the United Kingdom awarded the citizens of Stalingrad a jewelled sword in appreciation of the bravery that they had shown. A memorial complex commemorating the battle, dominated by an immense allegorical sculpture of Mother Russia, was erected on the Mamayev Kurgan, a hill that saw some of the most intense fighting during the battle. A number of cities around the world (especially ones that had suffered particularly badly during the war) established sister/friendship links (see list below).

In 1961, the city's name was changed to Volgograd ("Volga city") as part of Nikita Khrushchev's programme of destalinization. This was and remains somewhat contentious, given the fame of the name Stalingrad, and there were once serious proposals to change the name back during Konstantin Chernenko's brief administration in 1985. There is still a strong degree of local support for a reversion and proposals have been made from time to time, though as yet none have been accepted by the Russian government.

Economy

Modern Volgograd is still an important industrial city with a major railway junction that links to Moscow, the Donbas region of Ukraine, the Caucasus, and Siberia. It stands at the east end of the Volga-Don Canal, opened in 1952 to link the two great rivers of southern Russia. Its industries include shipbuilding, oil refining, steel and aluminium production, manufacture of machinery and vehicles, and chemical production. A large hydroelectric power plant stands a short distance to the north of Volgograd.

Sister/friendship cities

A number of communities in France have streets or avenues named after Stalingrad, hence Place Stalingrad in Paris and the eponymous Paris Mtro station of Stalingrad.da:Volgograd de:Wolgograd eo:Volgogrado es:Volgogrado el:Βόλγογκραντ fi:Volgograd fr:Volgograd id:Volgograd ja:ヴォルゴグラード nl:Wolgograd no:Volgograd pl:Wołgograd pt:Volgogrado ru:Волгоград sv:Volgograd

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