Chelyabinsk (Russian: Челябинск) is a city and the administrative center of Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia, located in the northeast of the oblast, 210 kilometers (130 mi) south of Yekaterinburg, just to the east of the Ural Mountains, on the Miass River, on the border of Europe and Asia. Population: 1,130,132 (2010 Census); 1,077,174 (2002 Census); 1,141,777 (1989 Census).
The fortress of Chelyaba, from which the city takes its name, was founded in the place of a Bashkir village of Chelyaby by colonel Alexey (Kutlu-Muhammed) Tevkelev to protect the surrounding trade routes from possible attacks by Bashkir outlaws. During Pugachev’s Rebellion, the fortress withstood a siege by the rebel forces in 1774, but was eventually captured for several months in 1775. In 1782, as a part of Ufa Viceroyalty that was later reformed into Orenburg Governorate, Chelyabinsk became a seat of a its own uyezd and finally was granted town status and its current name in 1787.
Until the late 19th century, Chelyabinsk was a small provincial town. In 1892, the Samara-Zlatoust Railway that connected it with Moscow and the rest of European Russia was completed. At the same time, the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway started; in 1896 the city was tied with Yekaterinburg. Soon Chelyabinsk started turning into a major trade center, its population reached 20,000 inhabitants by 1897, 45,000 by 1913, and 70,000 by 1917.
For several months during the Russian Civil War, Chelyabinsk was held by the White movement and Czechoslovak Legions, becoming a center for splinters of the Romanian Volunteer Corps in Russia. The city later fell to Bolshevik forces. In September 1919, a new Chelyabinsk Governorate was created out of the eastern parts of Orenburg Governorate and the southwestern parts of Tobolsk Governorate. It lasted only until 1923, when it was absorbed into Ural Oblast, created during one of the Soviet administrative reforms.
During the first Five-Year Plans of the 1930s, Chelyabinsk experienced rapid industrial growth. Several establishments, including the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant and the Chelyabinsk Metallurgical Plant, were built at this time. During World War II, Joseph Stalin decided to move a large part of Soviet factory production to places out of the way of the advancing German armies in late 1941. This brought new industries and thousands of workers to Chelyabinsk. facilities for the production of T-34 tanks and Katyusha rocket launchers existed in Chelyabinsk. The S.M. Kirov Factory no. 185 moved here from Leningrad to produce heavy tanks; it was transferred to Omsk after 1962.