June 3, 2023

The Obukhov plant celebrates its 160th anniversary in May: from the moment it was founded in May 1863 to the present day – now as part of the Almaz-Antey Concern VKO – it has contributed and continues to contribute to the development of science and technology, and is also an important part of the military -industrial complex of the country. Covering more than a century and a half is not an easy task, but in a documentary film about one of the largest enterprises in St. Petersburg, it was possible not only to identify milestones in its history – there was a place for a detective, a thriller, and an action movie.

The difficult situation of Russia after the defeat in the Crimean War requires decisive measures to replace the import of German steel and German guns. But the treasury is empty – and this task seems overwhelming. Well-known businessman Nikolai Putilov wants to build a plant, but he doesn’t have land, money, or even… a recipe for steel. Meanwhile, mining engineer and metallurgist Pavel Obukhov, who smelted the first Russian steel, is exhausted in the battle with the clumsy Russian state machine and is about to leave his homeland forever.

Tension grows, but in the end we see how a partnership of private individuals is being created: the metallurgist Pavel Obukhov, who is in charge of technologies and personnel, the industrialist Nikolai Putilov – he is, as we would say now, the project manager – and the merchant Sergey Kudryavtsev. The latter risks all his fortune.

The plant, which is being built on the spot, starts operating in a year and begins to produce Russian steel. The gun, produced by the plant, receives a gold medal at the London Exhibition and begins to be supplied to Russian warships.

It would seem – a victory? But the problems are just beginning: more money is spent, the profit is less than expected. Kudryavtsev dies, Putilov leaves the case … The life of Pavel Obukhov ends tragically. Who will save the enterprise?

The first part of the film looks like a good piece of art in one go. The second is dedicated to a new birth after the October Revolution: the plant mastered the production of tractors, tanks and aircraft engines and received the name “Bolshevik”. Its products were extremely important for the Soviet Union in the context of the impending World War II.

During the war years, the enterprise did not have time to evacuate, and it turned out to be practically on the front line. Veterans, women and children worked on it under shelling and bombing, as most of the workers went to the front. Throughout the blockade, the Bolshevik supplied the front with guns, shells and mines.

After the war, a new stage began – the production of rockets and missile systems, participation in the space race. In the film, a spy detective about the activities of American intelligence services and the benefits of violations of the railway schedule begins at this place.

Perestroika and the harsh 90s almost put an end to the history of the plant. He survived on the production of civilian products. Everything changed when it was included in the Almaz-Antey Concern in 2002: the enterprise was modernized and now not only products for nuclear energy, shipbuilding and other industries, but also various weapons systems and military equipment commissioned by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. In 2004, by Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, the plant was included in the list of the 100 most important strategic enterprises in the country. In 2008, a unique military-industrial technopark was created on the basis of the plant, bringing together seven leading St. Petersburg enterprises of the Almaz-Antey concern.

The concern is very attentive to the solution of not only production, but also social issues.

“We always remember that the main thing for the plant is the people who work on it. Therefore, taking care of those who produce such important and necessary products for the military-industrial complex is a priority task for us, ”says Mikhail Lvovich Podvyaznikov, General Director of the NWRC of the Almaz-Antey Concern, at the end of the film.

Read more about the history of the Obukhov plant in our material

JSC Aerospace Defense Concern Almaz-Antey, almaz-antey.ru

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