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This Is Tomsk, A Small Town In Siberia Near Kazakhstan

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SIBERIA – Tomsk is a small town in Siberia with the population of about 600 thousand people. It is considered to be 1604 as the year of its foundation and for more than 400 years it has existed and prospers.

Historical building in Tomsk (Picture: THE EDITOR)

By the beginning of the 19th century, the city had grown to the status of a regional administrative center and in 1804 it became the center of the enormous Tomsk province, which included the territories of the present Altai Republic, Altai Territory, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk and Tomsk Regions, and East Kazakhstan Region (Kazakhstan) , western parts of Khakassia and the Krasnoyarsk Territory.

In the 19th century, the growth of the gold industry, metal smelting and fur trade concentrated large capital in Tomsk, causing a revival of trade. Important transport routes passed through Tomsk – Moscow and Irkutsk tracts. By 1914, Tomsk was one of the 20 largest cities in the country. In 1888, the first university beyond the Urals was opened here.

During World War II, about 30 enterprises from the European part of Russia were evacuated to Tomsk, which became the basis of the city’s industry: during the war years, the volume of industrial production tripled in Tomsk. The administrative status of the city also changed – on August 13, 1944, the Tomsk Region was formed, and Tomsk became the regional center.

In the post-war period, the period of stagnation, the main strategic positions and the scientific and educational complex are developing in Tomsk. Thanks to the oil industry of the Tomsk Region, created almost from scratch. The attraction to the Tomsk region of projects of the USSR Ministry of Oil Industry, in particular, became the basis for the urgent development of regional transport infrastructure, including the construction of a modern airport.

The city becomes the capital of the oil-producing region, the defense industry of the modern (1960s) military electronics is deployed in the city, part of the capabilities of the closed enterprise of the Soviet atomic project (Fifth Postal) is aimed at solving the problems of the Tomsk citizens. Around the city, a network of agricultural enterprises is developing for the food security of residents, a powerful base of enterprises of the construction industry is being created, the city is receiving powerful cultural development.

Artists, poets, theater and film figures are invited to Tomsk from all over the country, the wide-format movie theater called Rodina and the Sports Palace indoor ice stadium are being commissioned. Most of these socio-economic transformations are generally typical of the entire Soviet Union- period,but many foreign and Russian historians and politicians consider them to be the merit of Yegor Ligachev, who served as first secretary of the Tomsk Regional Committee of the CPSU from 1965 to 1983.

Today, thanks to the restoration work, a large number of monuments of wooden architecture, created mainly at the end of the 19th century, have been preserved in Tomsk, but over time their number has significantly decreased.

Tomsk is the only city in Russia in which this scientific and educational complex is a city-forming branch of the economy. The city has six state universities. According to statistics, every eighth resident of Tomsk is a student. Every time I moved back to this city I found it more peaceful and fascinating. At the first few days I’m walking  down the streets and totally enjoying it, find differences since my last visits.

For the reason that a lot of students live and study here, the city never stop developing. Business is growing, because of high demand and the services sector significantly strengthens its positions. Despite the fact, that in small provincial towns echoes of the Soviet past are preserved to our times, people from year to year try to get away from obsolete rules. And in my point of view they are doing it sucessfully.


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