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Tolyatti History, Russia

Tolyatti history is pretty interesting. Formerly known as Stavropol-na-Volge, the city was established as a fortress in the 18th century (1737) by the Russian ethnographer and statesman, Vasily Nikitich Tatishchev. This former-city, unlike the present-city site, was on the other embankment of the Volga River. Following the construction of the Kuybyshev Dam and Reservoir as part of the Volga Hydroelectric Power Plant in Zhigulevsk in the 1950s, this old city was flooded.

This untoward incident initiated, marked the foundation of the new city (named Novo Stavropol), which interestingly was developed on the other embankment of the Volga. (Tolyatti now stands on the same side of Volga as Saratov, Samara, Kazan and other important Russian cities).

This new city (that enjoys the distinction of being the largest new town/city of Europe) is essentially an agglomeration of three distinct districts, namely, Avtozavodosky, Tsentralny and Komsomolosky and Tolyatti history is nothing more than a tale of the development of these three individual districts.

Tolyatti History – Establishment of the 3 Districts

The Komsomolosky-chapter of Tolyatti history approximately began with the completion of the Volga Hydroelectric Power Plant in Zhigulevsk in 1957. The Komsomolosky-district and its housing estates were planned to accommodate the Hydroelectric Power Plant workers and their families.

The Tsentralny district (or the Old Town) came up at about the same time; since this district was to be the seat of the city’s governing-body (in addition to being an industrial hub), it was built over two decades – construction work started in the 1950s and the town was almost ready by the 1960s.

The most important district, the last-entrant in the block of the three districts, is the district of Avtozavodosky. Also known as the New Town, Avtozavodosky (the residential estate meant for the employees of AvtoVAZ’s Lada Car Plant) came into existence in the late 1960s, following the completion of the AvtoVAZ factory in 1966. Of course, by then the city of Novo Stavropol had already been named Tolyatti or Togliatti (in 1964) after the Italian Communist Party leader, Palmiro Togliatti, in recognition of his role in the establishment of the AvtoVAZ Plant, which was set up in collaboration with Italian Car manufacturer, Fiat.

Tolyatti History – Modern Times

The AvtoVAZ Plant, as said, was one of the biggest achievements of the Soviet times, an achievement that left its mark on the city – in its commonness or lack of individuality – something that was very apparent in the residential blocks and communal wards and wide streets. The end of the Soviet-era has brought about some changes and Tolyatti is taking the initial steps to shape an identity for itself through reforms. The post-socialist Tolyatti is characterized by the presence of non-governmental and private businesses. As said, the city’s face is also changing – the completion of the Preobrazhensky Sobor, one of the world’s largest Orthodox Cathdrals in 2003 has been an important happening in Tolyatti’s recent past. Nevertheless, it will be sometime before Tolyatti is proclaimed a global city.

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