Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Toils of Tol’iatti

The cities that sprang into existence in the 1960’s were unlike any Soviet cities that had come before. The city of Tol’iatti was transformed during the 60’s through industrialization. Prior to the transformation, Tol’iatti was known as Stavropol. It was renamed after the Italian Communist Party leader Palmiro Togliatti. The city’s revolution started with the creation of the Kuibyshev Hydroelectric Station that generated huge amounts of electricity for the increased industrial production. Following that, the Volga Automobile Factory was established in 1966. The creation of the factory also introduced a new section of the city. This Avtograd (auto town) was completely comprised of auto workers and their families.

A map of Tol'iatti after the creation of the new housing districts
A map of Tol’iatti after the creation of the new housing districts

The population of the city was incredibly young. The average age of the city’s inhabitants in the 1970’s was 26 years old, the youngest in all of the USSR. The young tenants of the city also engaged in many acts of “hooliganism”. The city became famous as a ‘crime capital’ due to the amount of crimes reported.

In addition to the high amount of crime, Tol’iatti was often thought of as a cold and heartless city. The city was constructed with what was thought of as “heroic intensity”. In all actuality however, the large and booming housing structures were thought of as depriving the city of an atmosphere of warmth.

The city of Tol'iatti in 1975
The city of Tol’iatti in 1975

The construction of the city also encountered many problems according to an article from The Current Digest of the Soviet Press. As of January 22, 1969, only 29,000 square meters of housing space had been constructed. However, 137,700 square meters should have been constructed. The housing feat was so large that there was not enough manpower to build the towering city. However, the city still grew astronomically as a result of the industrialization that was brought to the city.

Works Cited:

To’liatti Picture: Flicker, 2010.

Map of To’liatti:

Bolshakov, V., Vorobyev, A. On the Construction of the Volga Automobile Plan: Changing Horses in Midstream- Why Plans for the Opening of Housing for Tenancy in the New Borough of Togliatti are being Disrupted. 22 January 1969. Current Digest of the Russian Press, Pages 32-33.

Russia, We Don’t Have A Problem

On October 4, 1957, Russian scientists surged ahead of the United States with their launch of Sputnick I. The “space race” between the two countries was only just beginning.

Sputnick, the First Soviet Satellite
Sputnick, the First Soviet Satellite

Russia’s launch of Sputnick I put the United State’s attempted launch of the Vanguard satellite to shame. Sputnick weighed six times more than the Vanguard satellite. The US had attempted to launch the Vanguard into space in December 1957, but had failed. The Russian’s widened the gap between the two countries further when they launched Sputnick II on November 3rd, 1957. However, this time the dog “Laika” was sent into orbit.

The Soviets were beating the United States in the ‘space race’, and they knew it. An article from The Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press shows how the Russians believed they would beat the Americans in the space race. For the Russians, it was not just about beating the Americans. Rather, it was scientific and technical advancements that earned the Soviet Union international prestige. It was something for the country to be incredibly proud of. It also was something that could benefit the country in a huge way.

“There is no doubt that the launching of three Soviet satellites in less than a year and the rapid improvement in these satellites testifies to the unprecedented tempo of scientific and technical progess in the Soviet Union and gives us the right to think that these rates will, in the near future, increase still more rapidly for the good of the great Soviet people and all the world’s peaceful working people” (18 Rybkin). The Soviets truly believed they were making technological advancements that would change their way of life.

Work Cited:

The First Soviet Satellite Sputnik, FUNET Image Archive. 1997.

Rybkin, F. “Outstanding Feat of Soviet Scientists and Production Workers.” 25 June 1958: 18-19. East View Information Services. Web. 3 November 2013.