Center for Strategic Assessment and forecasts

Autonomous non-profit organization

Home / Politics and Geopolitics / On the national idea / Articles
Tractor, tank, shopping centre... As was born, lived and died the first Soviet tractor factory
Material posted: Publication date: 14-06-2019
In the spring of 1929, an American architectural firm albert Kahn had received from the Soviet Union commissioned to design and supervision of construction of the main workshops of the tractor factory in Stalingrad. 90 years later, in the spring of 2019, on the ruins of this plant began construction of a multipurpose center. Between these events, the Stalingrad tractor plant. F. E. Dzerzhinskogo (1961 — Volgograd tractor plant) managed to visit one of the main symbols of labor and military achievements of the Soviet Union.


The main transport of the Volgograd high — speed tram (ST). One of the end stations of both routes of ST still bears the name "Tractor plant". Next stop of the train, Tractor and passenger. Parallel lines ST and the railway is multi-lane Avenue named after Lenin. Once trains, trams, buses and cars every weekday morning brought to this place thousands of people. People went where indicates the pedestal of a copper Dzerzhinsky,— to the entrance of the Volgograd tractor plant. The plant was huge, it was a city within a city.

Dzerzhinsky and stands on its place, it is the monument of Federal significance. There is walkable. A huge gate with the name of the plant and silhouettes of the orders — two of Lenin, Patriotic war and the red banner of Labor. To enter the gates impossible. They are locking, with security and video surveillance. Outside the gate there is nothing — only a Paradise for lovers of abandoned buildings and somewhere in the distance a construction site. To the left of a gated entrance — office center "Tractor". Right — a few rooms, inhabited by the last of the Mohicans, the Council of veterans of the defunct plant. Further to the right is a dead building, decorated with the slogan "can do anything in real estate" and a phone that can call anyone is to buy the building. Even further to the right shopping center, in the past one of the buildings of the plant.

The monument to Felix Dzerzhinsky in the square in front of the Volgograd tractor factory. Photo: Gennady Gulyaev, Kommersant

Other buildings were less fortunate.

The factory looks like it was restored after the battle of Stalingrad. From the first five-year plan, the giant of Soviet industry was left almost nothing.

There is even a Museum telling about the great past of the Volgograd tractor plant. Were once departmental are unavailable to the General public. Now this is not.

The territory of the Volgograd tractor plant. Photo: Gennady Gulyaev, Kommersant

Here he writes in his Facebook Dmitry Lubichenco, urban planner and former Vice-mayor of Volgograd: "Now the shop of the legendary factory turned into dust, and this is the real folly. I think this place is worthy of revival. The development of the territory VGTZ may be attached only to vacant buildings, land, apartment buildings and shopping centers. This place must generate fundamentally different values and benefits for our city...

I propose to create in the remaining buildings VGTZ modern IT cluster and business incubator for companies working in the field of innovation. Residents of the cluster can be enterprises, created by the talented graduates of the Volgograd high schools... And more. On the territory of VGTZ you need to create a Museum of Soviet industrialization."

This article is about that could not tell while the existing Museum.

Born in the USA

The Soviet tractor industry was born in severe agony. Until 1930 the industrial tractor does not actually exist. In 1924 at the Leningrad plant "Red Putilovets" began mass production of tractors "Fordson-Putilovets". It was an unlicensed copy of the tractor FordsonF Ford. From the original she was distinguished as the worst in two and a half times higher price.

July 12, 1926 in the watermelon field on the Northern outskirts of Stalingrad took place the ceremony of laying the first stone of the future tractor plant. On it was written: "Here is a powerful industrial centre, where we will start to catch up abroad".

Eight days later he died, Felix Dzerzhinsky, and not yet existing plant was decided to assign his name.

It was planned that the tractor factory in Stalingrad will build on concession Ford. Its representatives came to the Soviet Union for three months before laying the stone. After much thought, Ford said the Soviet government refused. Between the USSR and the USA did not then have diplomatic relations, and the firm feared that the plant was built natsionaliziruyut and investment will be lost. In November 1926, the Supreme Council of national economy, declared: "the Construction of the first tractor factory in Stalingrad is first and foremost the most important task of the government along with the work in the field of electrification".

Passed in 1927, then from 1928. Where was to build the plant, is still grown watermelons. But on June 17, 1930 with the conveyor of the first Soviet tractor factory in Stalingrad went first wheeled tractor STZ-1. What happened in between?

In the interval was 1929. A year of great change in the Soviet Union, the year of the beginning of the great depression in the United States.

May 8, 1929, American architect albert Kahn, of Detroit, arrived at the invitation of the office of the company Amtorg in Manhattan (Broadway, 165). In the absence of diplomatic relations Amtorg made all the trade between the USSR and the USA. Legally it was an American company with a presence in the Soviet capital, in fact, the Soviet foreign trade firm with the presence of a large number of scouts in the state.

Architect Albert Kahn. Photo: Getty Images

Albert Kahn and the head of Amtorg, Saul Bron signed a contract for the design and maintenance of the architectural firm of Kahn the construction of three major manufacturing plants of the Stalingrad tractor factory (STZ).

The full value of the contract, including equipment, was $30 million, of which $4 million — the cost of factory buildings. In today's dollars this would amount to respectively about $450 million and $60 million.

More than 100 American companies have become suppliers of materials and equipment for STZ. And the building of the plant, and the filling — everything was American. Windows, lamps, overhead lighting, ventilation, electrical, plumbing. After working a shift on the American machine, the worker can wash off the sweat in a shower American. The steel structure was manufactured in new York by the McClintic Marshall Products company, and then shipped to Stalingrad for field Assembly. The huge flow of cargo went first by water via the Atlantic ocean, the Mediterranean and Black sea, then along the Volga. From the Volga to the place of construction, on land, in trucks, horses, camels and on specially laid (also according to the drawings of albert Kahn office) train lines.

"Fathers" of the Stalingrad tractor factory

Directly in Stalingrad, the process of construction of the plant was supervised by the Americans. Workers on the construction of the plant is not enough. At the call of the Komsomol in the construction was sent to "7000 young workers and laborers, tested on public work." Each team of 20-30 "peaks" foreman was an American.

The Stalingrad tractor plant. Dzerzhinsky was copied from the tractor works of International Harvester company in Milwaukee (Wisconsin). The first tractor, which began to gather on the Assembly line in Stalingrad, was manufactured by the same company McCormick Deering 15/30. In the USSR, he became known as 15/30 STZ (STZ-1).

On the day of the start of the Stalingrad tractor factory June 17, 1930, Stalin sent his workers and leadership greeting: "50 thousand tractors, which you have to give the country every year, there are 50 thousand shells, blowing up the old bourgeois world and paving the way to the new socialist way of life in the village."

Proletarian court over racist

In the midst of the great depression in the house at 255 West Congress street in Detroit opened Soviet employment office. To work on year contracts in the FTZ was hired 380 American workers.

Some came to the Soviet Union with their families. American workers were allocated new housing, they could buy food and merchandise in the store Insnab (which stands for "supply of aliens"), they produced a newspaper in English, organized lectures, concerts, dances, film screenings.

American workers were in the Union not for the sake of your own eyes to see the country of the victorious proletariat. They had another, more powerful incentive is money.

On the Assembly line at Ford simple collector received $140 per month. For the same work in Stalingrad was promised $250 per month, of which $150 on a U.S. Bank account, and $100 on hand. Plus free housing and a one-month paid vacation.

One of the migrant workers in the USSR the Americans had their own goal is to finish College and become an engineer. In the US the road to higher education was closed to him. His name was Robert Robinson. Of the 380 enlisted in Detroit, only he had dark skin.

Engineer Robert Robinson. Photo: Leo Nosov / RIA Novosti

Two weeks after his arrival in Stalingrad he was attacked by two fellow Lewis and brown. After beating Robinson, they promised to drown him in the Volga, if he, within 24 hours, not leaving the city. In the United States in those years, no one would pay attention to the incident: Yes, beat the nigga, what? In the USSR, Lewis and brown was arrested. About the conflict wrote newspaper "Trud", and "Truth". In Stalingrad there was a demonstration of workers demanding to punish the racists. Demanded the same labor groups throughout the Soviet Union. Lewis and brown had to repent, they stood for the American Embassy. For inciting national discord and hatred they faced in prison. But the court decided that prison was too lenient a punishment for racists. Lewis and brown were sentenced to the exceptional measure of punishment — expulsion from the USSR for a period of ten years.

Robert Robinson after the trial became a celebrity. After the expiration of the contract in Stalingrad, he moved to Moscow, enrolling in the bearing plant. In 1934 he was elected member of city Council. In 1937, the U.S. government asked him to return home or renounce his U.S. citizenship. He chose the latter. In 1944, Robinson graduated from the Moscow evening machine-building Institute. After the war he repeatedly tried to return to the US, but he was repeatedly denied an exit visa. To leave the USSR, he could only in 1974, thanks to the help of diplomats from Uganda. He was able to return to America and to restore the citizenship. In the United States, he published a memoir titled "Black among the red".

Marriage and the enemy

In the history of STZ end of 1930-ies are closely intertwined two themes: the shock work and spy. In March 1935, the head of the economic Department of the gugb of the NKVD of the USSR Lev Grigorievich Mironov reported to Stalin that his subordinates have revealed evidence of issue on STZ poor quality tractors. The report lists the number of defective parts: frame — 11 thousand units, axles — about 40 thousand pieces, gear boxes — 8300 pieces of gear first and second speed — 12 thousand. Conclusion Mironov was: the perpetrators are active Trotskyites leading the counter-revolutionary sabotage aimed at disrupting the production of tractors.

Photo: RIA Novosti

And at the same time, the newspaper "Pravda" daily reported on the unprecedented success of the employment of plant workers. 27 February 1937: stakhanovka Marcinkova of machine-Assembly Department has processed 1200 of the bushing pusher instead of 800. 4 Mar 1937: stakhanovka Velikanova blocked record Marcinkowo, treating 1260 sleeves.

In December 1936 from the podium VIII Extraordinary all-Union Congress about the factory Director comrade Fokin said: "an Able young engineer, has the largest plant". And in February of 1938 Deputy people's Commissar of machine building of the USSR Valentin Fokin admitted to the investigator that on the instructions of the first Secretary of the regional Committee of the CPSU(b) Joseph Varejkisa and second Secretary of the CPSU(b) Jacob Goldin created at the plant subversive subversive organization.

25 APR 1938 Fokin shot. His predecessor as Director of STZ Ilya Melamed shot the next day.

Hero of Socialist Labor tractor driver Praskovya angelina. Photo: Gendelman S. / TASS

The first Director of factory Vasily Ivanov in February of the same year. Lev Mironov, reported to Stalin about Trotsky nest in the plant in August. Repressed at the Stalingrad tractor was in every shop, in every division.

The growth rate of STZ

In 1939, I felt a slight thaw. To arrest were not counter-revolution and Trotskyism, but just for a disruption of production. For example, the head of the tool Department Nikolay Pavlyuk went to court for being insufficiently actively struggled with of late. Trains coming into the factory at 6:20 and 7:20 am. The morning shift started at 7:00. Those travelling on the second train, recorded late "for cause". But by October 1939 the plant had over 20 thousand mnogostanochnikov.

Tractor is a tank

Once albert Kahn discussed with his brother Moritz orders from the "Russian". Customers are somehow required to do on the factory floor flooring that can withstand the increased load, with a smile, explaining that the cold Russian winters. "They're crazy," said albert. Moritz said, "They're not crazy. They just want us to build military factories, not knowing about it." The tractor weighed 5 tons, and the weight of the tank can exceed 10 tons.

The production of tanks in STZ Spezzano began in 1932. In the same year, when was severed the contracts with the American specialists. At first things weren't going well. In 1933, the company produced only 5 tanks, in 1934 — 23, 1935 — 115. The exact number released of Stalingrad, the T-26 unknown — approximately 200 cars.

March 31, 1940 the defence Committee of the CPC issued a decree on the production of T-34 tanks. The production of new machines was faced with many problems. In the design of the tank was continuously altered to some components and parts required to develop new production processes, not enough workers with the appropriate skills, plant belatedly received the drawings of the tank, of late delivered components. In 1940 were collected 23 machine, but defects can not put any one. But in the first half of 1941 was commissioned 294 of the tank. After the war production of tanks in STZ increased, despite the disruption of supplies of components with evacuated to the Urals factories of subcontractors.

After the loss of the Kharkov tractor Zavod STZ was the main supplier of "thirty" in the army, producing 200 to 300 tanks per month.

Work on the plant continued even during German air raids on Stalingrad in late August 1942. In the same month, the evacuation equipment. During the battle for the city was mobilized available on STZ tanks. Those that were not on the move, was used as a firing point.

The ruins of the Stalingrad tractor plant named after Dzerzhinsky, 1942. Photo: RIA Novosti

The plant was shut down in October 1942, when its territory was already fighting. The battle of Stalingrad ended February 2, 1943 at the plant by the surrender of group of Nazi troops under the command of Colonel-General Karl Strecker.

A year later, the newspaper "Pravda" published a letter "to the Great Soviet leader, comrade Stalin", signed 546 348 workers of the city of Stalingrad and Stalingrad region. Quote: "the Germans savagely destroyed the firstborn of the Stalinist five — year plan- the Stalingrad tractor factory. They hoped that he would never again rise over the river. But no! Plant-a warrior shall rise again from the ruins. Factory rebuilt 86 thousand square meters of production area, shop after shop up in operation, increasing output with the name "STZ"".

The Golden age

The postwar history of the plant is the history of new tractors and new combat vehicles. Reclaimed virgin lands DT-54 and the massive Soviet tractor DT-75. A veteran of the Vietnam war and Indo-Pakistani incident, the member of the Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur war from both sides of the floating tank PT-76. Helping the brotherly Afghan people to build a bright socialist future combat vehicle landing BMD-1 and extends the range of the BMD-2, BMD-3, BMD-4. Another veteran of Afghanistan airborne BTR-D self-Propelled anti-tank gun "Sprut-SD".

Tractor DT-54. Photo: Levdansky Alina / photo Archive of the magazine "Ogonek" / Kommersant

New shops, new conveyor, new automatic lines, machine tools with programmed control. Gold medals ENEA received the tractor factory, the medals — workers VGTZ (in 1961 renamed the Volgograd tractor plant) and the plant itself. In 1970 it was the one-millionth tractor. In 1975 every second tractor in the farms of the country had a stamp "VGTZ". In 1980, the CPSU Central Committee and the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR congratulated VGTZ 50th anniversary. In February 1983 from the factory, rolled off the two millionth tractor. Volgograd tractor factory was visited by the heads of foreign States and foreign Communist parties during his visits to the USSR. The plant's products were exported to dozens of countries.

Russian tractor today

And then the USSR collapsed and fell apart at the plant. In 1992 VGTZ was privatized and began a strange time. Who will say, why, for example, in 1992, the lease enterprise "Volgograd tractor plant" has invested in the production of the movie "In the region of the heavens..."? In 1993, stopped five Assembly plants, workers were sent into extraordinary leave. The conveyor is idle, and in 1994, and in 1995 and 1996. In the late 1990s the plant was producing less than 3,000 tractors per year. Six times less than in the early 1930s. the Workers were paid wages with significant delays and not in full. Electricity to the plant were also submitted not in full from-for debts before energetikami. Changed Directors and owners. Debts rose. In 2002 the factory was divided into four business units. In 2005, VGTZ was declared bankrupt. It became the legal successor of JSC "Tractor company VGTZ". 26 November 2015, the factory produced its last tractor. Last year the decision was made to transfer the plant in the management of state defence Corporation rostec.

28 December 2018 arbitration court of Volgograd region declared joint-stock company "Tractor company VGTZ" insolvent (bankrupt). Total creditors amounted to 70 965 508 082 RUB 75 kopecks.

Alexey Alexeev


Tags: Russia , USSR

RELATED MATERIALS: Politics and Geopolitics
Возрастное ограничение