Our history

The 220-year history of Kirovsky Zavod reflects the development of Russian industry and of the state itself

Our story begins

On March 21 (April 3 in the modern calendar), 1801, the St Petersburg Iron Foundry was founded. At that time, the enterprise fulfilled orders for artillery ammunition. The first director of the plant was Charles Gascoigne, a leading British engineer and industrialist, who was well known in Russia at the time.

From 1812 onwards, the plant began to manufacture steam engines and move into machine building. Around this time, the plant’s specialists mastered ironwork and began to create sculptures and architectural ensembles for St Petersburg and its suburbs: casting details for the Narva Triumphal Arch, sculptures and casting for the Lion and Bank bridges, and more. The fruits of that labor adorn the city to this day.

In 1824, the plant was almost completely destroyed after a massive flood. Pushkin describes the event in his poem The Bronze Horseman. The next 40 years were a period of struggle for the plant’s survival.

Putilov Plant

In 1868, the plant was acquired by the renowned Russian engineer and entrepreneur Nikolai Ivanovich Putilov. Over the next 12 years, he significantly increased the plant’s output and expanded its product range. The enterprise was known as the “Putilov Plant” from 1868 to 1922.

The plant became the main supplier of rails for Russia’s railroads, high-quality steel, and ammunition and cars. Many types of product were manufactured using bespoke technology.

Under Putilov, the foundations were laid for diversified production and professional excellence. A school, library, hospital, pharmacy, and canteen were opened, a park created, and a theater constructed.

Putilov Plant’s
first rails

The rails manufactured by Nikolai Putilov used an innovative design: a strong steel cap piece was welded onto old rails, which were then put back into operation. This innovation was put through its paces in February 1868. A 500-kilo cast-iron weight was dropped on Putilov’s rail. The rail came out unscathed. “Now let's try the English one,” ordered Putilov. The English rail cracked at once. This victory over England was celebrated right there on the factory floor.

Dominant position at start of First World War

By 1914, the plant had become a major center of mechanical engineering and a Russian and European leader in locomotive building, artillery production, and shipbuilding.

Employees at the Putilov Plant were active in the workers’ movement at the beginning of the twentieth century, and played an important role in the revolutionary struggle and events of 1905–1907 and 1917. More than 10,000 of them fought on the fronts of the Civil War in 25 military units: detachments, regiments, battalions, and divisions.

From 1922 to 1934, the plant was known as the Red Putilovite Plant

At that time, the plant produced:

  • Fordson-Putilovets tractors. This was the beginning of the domestic tractor industry. The production of agricultural machinery is still a major focus of Kirovsky Zavod’s business. Before the Second World War, the plant produced a total of around 200,000 tractors;
  • equipment for the Volkhov Hydroelectric Station;
  • powerful steam turbines;
  • hoists;
  • lifting structures for the dams and locks of the Moscow–Volga canal;
  • trams;
  • gold dredges;
  • hydraulic cotton presses.

In 1934, the factory became the Kirov Plant

The renaming followed the murder of Sergei Mironovich Kirov. On December 17, 1934, just 16 days after the death of the first secretary of the Leningrad Regional Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, the enterprise was renamed the Kirov Plant at the request of the plant’s workers.

Production during the Second World War

In the autumn of 1941, most of the plant’s equipment and about 15,000 of its employees were evacuated to the Urals with their families. Here, at the Chelyabinsk Kirov Plant (the famous “Tankograd”), they produced “victory tanks”: KV and IS heavy tanks, as well as the self-propelled artillery guns mounted on them. Between late 1939 and May 1945, the plant produced more than 18,000 heavy tanks and self-propelled guns for the front (about 20% of the total).

Meanwhile, in the besieged Leningrad, the remaining plant employees were also working tirelessly for the front, continuing to repair tanks and armored vehicles and produce ammunition. During the blockade, 2,500 factory workers died of starvation and around 150 perished in bombing raids.

A new direction: the Kirovets tractor

In the postwar years, the Kirov Plant went back to producing agricultural machinery. It has been producing Kirovets tractors since 1962. The K-700 has become the plant’s hallmark. Since the plant was first established, about 600,000 tractors have left the shop floor, 12,000 of which were exported to 14 countries around the world.

The Kirov Plant also moved into nuclear engineering, producing turbo-gear power units for 80% of nuclear submarines of all generations, as well as nuclear reactors for Russian Navy ships, a tanker fleet, and nuclear icebreakers.

Reorganization in the post-Soviet period

The Kirov Plant was one of the first state-owned enterprises to receive the status of joint stock company. When the plant was restructured during perestroika, its defense division was transformed. Initially, Kirovsky Zavod JSC included more than 20 subsidiaries. These changes helped the plant quickly switch to producing equipment in demand on the market.

A line of specialized machines for road construction and the oil and gas industries was created on the basis of the K-702 and K-703 industrial tractors. Onega and Ladoga armored vehicles, Maral forage harvesters, Tundra high-speed trenchers, half-tracks, self-propelled crawler cranes, and other equipment were also produced.

The 21st century: modernized production

Kirovsky Zavod continues to produce agricultural machinery to this day. Kirovets tractors have seen success in foreign markets and are used for up to 40% of agricultural work in Russia.

Since 2013, Kirovsky Zavod has been designing, manufacturing, and testing steam turbine units and other key equipment for the latest Russian nuclear icebreakers for Project 22220. The only universal test bench in Russia for ships and ship turbines was modernized to fulfill this order.

Another new line of business is the production of drilling rigs for industries such as engineering geology, hydrogeology, and seismic exploration.

The construction of a high-tech production facility for special steels and alloys for the automotive and oil industries, power engineering, engine building, and aerospace is in the pipeline.

The Kirovsky Zavod group is actively investing in digital agriculture, the industrial Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, big data and robotics.

People and achievements

The labor and military achievements of the Kirov plant have been commended by the state. The enterprise’s banner features seven medals:

  • achieve

    of the Red Banner of Labor

  • achieve

    Order of Lenin

  • achieve

    of the Red Bannerr

  • achieve

    Order of Lenin

  • achieve

    of the October

  • achieve

    of Friendship of Peoples

  • achieve

    of the Patriotic
    War, First Class

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