Kirishi and Kirishsky District of Leningrad Region

Kirishi and Kirishsky District of Leningrad Region

Nowadays the town of Kirishi is the center of the fuel and energy industry of the north-west of Russia. Although the town was founded in the early 1960s, people have inhabited this territory far longer than that.

The village of Kirishi was first mentioned in census books of 1693. A local legend has it that it was named after Kirsha – a settler from Veliky Novgorod.

Since the late 18th century the village had been a part of Soletsky (Soltsy) estate of a noble family of Bestuzhev, which gained notoriety when four Bestuzhev brothers participated in the revolt on December 14, 1825. By the end of the 19th century there were 45 houses and a chapel in the village. The Kirishi peasant women were involved in lacemaking like those in Vologda: this handicraft finally disappeared at the beginning of a new millennium.

A new page in history of Kirishi began under the Soviet rule with the construction of the Leningrad – Mga – Sonkovo ​​railway, opening of the Kirishi station and building of industrial enterprises. In 1931 the village of Kirishi was turned into a district center; on December 27, 1933 – into a workers' community (settlement). By the beginning of the Great Patriotic War the building had been primarily finished.

From the autumn of 1941 through early October 1943 Kirishi had been under the German occupation. At the Kirishi bridgehead the German Command was going to launch an offensive, join the Finnish troops and close the second ring of the Leningrad siege; but, although the enemy’s plans were destroyed, Kirishi, turned by the Germans into a fortress, had been besieged by our troops for 21 months and in tough battles was wiped off the face of the earth. Some inhabitants died, while others either escaped or were taken by the Germans to Latvia.

After the liberation from invaders the center of Kirishi district was moved to Budogoshch.

On September 24, 1960 the Council of Ministers of the USSR passed a resolution on construction of the Kirishi oil refinery and a power plant. The construction was begun in 1961, while in 1963 it was given the status of the All-Union Communist Youth League (Komsomol) shock construction. Squads of volunteers with Komsomol travel tickets arrived to Kirishi to take part in the Komsomol construction project.

On January 12, 1965 the settlement of Kirishi became a town and the center of Kirishi district. It was then that the Kirishi District Komsomol Organization numbering 1900 Komsomol memberswas set up. Kirishi Town Komsomol Organization was established in 1967. For decades Komsomol volunteers had been the driving force of development of the town of Kirishi.

In 1968 the oil refinery was given the honorary title of the 50th anniversary of the Komsomol for the participation of its young volunteers in a socialist competition marking the upcoming anniversary. In 1972 the All-Union Komsomol construction site was awarded the Red Banner of the Komsomol Central Committee. In 1973 the All-Union Komsomol youth shock construction project announced the beginning of the construction of a biochemical plant, and in 1974 the Kirishi Town Komsomol Organization was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor. The Kirishi Komsomol members took part in the Komsomol congresses and became laureates of the Lenin Komsomol Prize.

In 1972 the construction of a protein-vitamin concentrate plant was launched in Kirishi. In 1973 this building project also became known as the All-Union Communist Youth League (Komsomol) shock construction.

By the end of the 1980s Kirishi had become one of the most important centers of bio-and petrochemical industry of the USSR.

In the 1990s Kirishi industry partially remained (the core enterprises Kirishinefteorgsintez and Kirishi State Regional Power Station) and is currently developing steadily, its enterprises are among the largest in the north-west of Russia.

The collection includes memories of members of the Communist Youth League (Komsomol) movement, their photographs and documents.