Hero City Murmansk founded

4 October 1916

September 21 (October 4), 1916 was founded the city of Romanov-on-Murman, subsequently given its present name - Murmansk.

The first projects of laying the railway to the Kola Peninsula appeared in the last third of the 19th century, but the decisive impetus was the First World War. Termination of functioning of all Russian Baltic ports, closing of Black Sea straits by Turkey extremely complicated relationship between Russia and the Entente Allies, while the port of Arkhangelsk, freezing in the winter, did not meet the dramatically increased transportation needs. There was an urgent need for creation of a new harbor on the coast of the non-freezing Kola Peninsula. In early 1915 began active construction of the railroad from Petrozavodsk. At the end point of the road, on the shore of the Kola Bay, rose several villages. New transport route was built in a short time, and in summer 1916 the Minister of Communications A. Trepov presented a report to the emperor on the arrangement of a new city.

September 21 (October 4) 1916, a solemn laying of the bronze plate in the foundation of the church of St. Nicholas of Myra, symbolizing the foundation of a new city. The ceremony was attended by Naval Minister of Russia, I. K. Grigorovich, A. F. Trepov, Arkhangelsk Governor S. D. Bibikov and other dignitaries. The city was named in honor of Nicholas II - Romanov-on-Murman - and became the last city founded in the Russian Empire. In April 1917, it was given its present name, that of Murmansk.

After the October Revolution in Murmansk was established a provisional revolutionary committee, headed by the Bolsheviks. But in March 1918 an armed landing disembarked from military vessels of the Entente, which anchored in the Kola Bay before the February Revolution, and that was the beginning of the intervention. In 1919, the Whites took the rule of the city; the Provisional Government of the Northern Region recognized the sovereignty of Admiral Kolchak. In autumn 1919 the Entente troops evacuated from Murmansk, and in February 1920 the Soviet rule established there.

In the second half of the 1920s Murmansk began rapidly develop as a major strategic port, transit through which was independent of relations with neighboring countries. From 1933 the city was one of the bases for the supply and repair of the newly created Northern Fleet.

In the 1920-1930-ies, due to changes in the administrative and territorial division, the city had repeatedly changed its status. In 1921, Murmansk was made the center of the province of the same name, in 1927 – the center of the Murmansk district of the Leningrad Region, and from 1938 – it has been the center of the Murmansk Region.

The most important page in the history of Murmansk was the Great Patriotic War. German command regarded the capture of the city and the port through which the passed the goods from the Allies as the most important strategic goal. According to the enemy’s plan, Murmansk was to be taken in a few days. June 29, 1941 was launched "The Polar Fox" - the offensive of the German-Finnish troops, which included the select infantry units, in the Murmansk area. By July 4th the Soviet forces withdrew to the line of defense on the river Zapadnaya Litsa, where the enemy was stopped by the 52th Infantry Division and the units of the Marine Corps. In September 1941, the enemy made a second all-out attack on Murmansk, but was again repulsed. After the frustration of the direct capture of the city, the enemy aircraft and artillery began its systematic bombardment. In total, during the war the Germans had made 792 flights to Murmansk and dropped about 185, 000 bombs. As a result of the bombing three-quarters of city buildings were destroyed, but Murmansk port did not stop the work even for a minute.

The defense of the Soviet Arctic lasted more than three years. October 7, 1944, Soviet troops began Petsamo-Kirkenes offensive, and Murmansk was not threatened any more.

By the end of the Great Patriotic War the city was almost completely burned. In November 1945, the government decided to put Murmansk on the list of those fifteen cities in the country, the restoration of which was declared a priority. In the postwar decades, it was the most important transport, industry, military and strategic center in the north of the country. Significant expansion of the territory and the dramatic increase of the population transformed Murmansk into the largest city in the world, located above the Arctic Circle.

In 1971, the city was awarded the Order of Red Banner of Labor, in 1982 - the Order of the Patriotic War, 1st class. In 1985, for distinguished service in the Great Patriotic War Murmansk was awarded the title of "Hero City", the Order of Lenin and the medal "Gold Star".

Today Murmansk remains the largest economic, cultural and industrial center of the European North of Russia.

Lit.: Дмитриев Н. А. Мурманская область в послевоенные годы. Мурманск, 1959; Киселев А. А. «Город мой широкоплечий…»: Истор. очерк к 80-летию Мурманска. Мурманск, 1996; Он же. Как жили и сражались мурманчане в войну: менталитет северян в 1941-1945 годах. Мурманск, 2002; Он же. Мурман в дни революции и гражданской войны. Мурманск, 1977; Смирнов С. А. Мурманская область в годы Великой Отечественной войны 1941-1945 гг. Мурманск, 1959.

Based on the Presidential Library’s materials:

Огородников Е. К. Мурманский и Терский берега: по Книге большого чертежа. СПб., 1869;

От Астрахани до Мурманска, 1928-1933 гг.: Фрагменты кинохроники / реж. монтажа Т. И. Дьяконова. СПб., 2010;

Подгаецкий Л. И. Мурманский берег: его природа, промыслы и значение. СПб., 1890;

Сиденснер А. К. Сведения о Мурманском береге, собранные летом 1896 года, контр-адмиралом Сиденснером. СПб., 1897;

Устав (Основной Закон) Мурманской области: принят Мурманской областной Думой 26 ноября 1997 года. Мурманск, 1997.